The Xbox Series S is the best big gaming gift to buy in 2022

The Xbox Series S is the best gaming gift of 2022
(Image credit: Windows Central)

The holiday season is officially here to finish 2022 with a grand finale, and millions of people are scrambling to fulfill their gift-giving ambitions for families, friends, and loved ones. For those still on the fence about larger gift ideas, look no further than the impossibly compact Xbox Series S, which will undoubtedly go down as one of 2022's best gifts for countless givers and recipients.

The Xbox Series S delivers a wonderful current-gen gaming experience packed into a svelte package, all wrapped up with an attractive price point that far undercuts other options. Even better, the Series S is enjoying a plethora of discounts for the holidays and is much easier to find in stock than larger, more expensive gaming consoles. The Xbox Series S has been an amazing value since it was released, but it has never been more so than right now. Thanks to Xbox Game Pass, it's arguably a better buy than a Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 5 too, for those seeking true value. 

Xbox Series S contains big power in a small package

Xbox Series S viewed from the front.

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft's affordable current-gen console is often overlooked in favor of the premium Xbox Series X. It's easy to constantly compare the Xbox Series S and Series X, but the Series S is a surprisingly capable machine that stands toe-to-toe with the absolute best available — with some understandable compromises befitting its incredibly low-price tag. In every way, the Xbox Series S epitomizes the age-old adage by offering big power in a small package.

Don't believe me? The Xbox Series S' hardware speaks for itself.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
SpecificationsXbox Series S
ProcessorCustom AMD Zen 2 CPU with 8 cores @ 3.6GHz (3.4GHz w/ SMT)
GraphicsCustom AMD RDNA 2 GPU with 20 CUs @ 1.565GHz, 4 TF
Memory10GB GDDR6 RAM
StorageCustom Xbox Velocity NVME SSD, 512GB
Expandable storage2TB / 1TB / 512GB expansion cards (identical to internal storage)
Dimensions10.83 x 5.94 x 2.52 inches (275mm x 151mm x 64mm)
Weight4.25 pounds (1.93kg)
Performance targets1440p @ 60 FPS, up to 4K or 120 FPS
Gaming featuresQuick Resume, DirectX Raytracing, Auto HDR, FPS Boost, Smart Delivery, DirectX Ultimate
Other features4K HDR, Dolby Vision, Auto Low Latency Mode, Variable Refresh Rate, AMD FreeSync, DTS 5.1, Dolby Atmos

To summarize what all the numbers and enigmatic gaming terms above means... the Xbox Series S is a beast of a console squeezed into a tiny white box. It understandably doesn't have the same capabilities as the far larger and more expensive Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5. Still, the Series S offers a fantastic experience for the vast majority of gamers — anyone who doesn't require the absolute best of the best.

The Xbox Series S can play all the latest and greatest Xbox games at up to the highest settings, with performance targets perfectly catered to 1080p to 1440p TVs and monitors. Have a 4K TV? While the Xbox Series S isn't focused on delivering true 4K gaming, it's still more than capable of upscaling all your games to fit your TV's confines and streaming your media like movies and TVs at the highest resolution and quality.

All the newest gaming features are baked in and supported right out of the box like hardware-accelerated ray tracing and HDR for greater visual fidelity, a lightning-fast SSD for reduced wait times, and the best sound technologies to make the most of your sound system. Microsoft has also built-in some exclusive Xbox features to make gaming even easier, such as Smart Delivery to ensure you're always playing the best possible version of a game for your console, and Quick Resume to let you near-instantly switch between multiple games without fear of losing your place.

All of this comes in a package much more compact than the competitors. The Series S is a tiny white box that fits in any setup. It's 60% smaller than the beefy Series X (which in turn is more reasonably sized than the PS5)! This small size means the Series S is also surprisingly portable, with unique accessories like the Xbox Series S xScreen letting you game on your current-gen console practically anywhere there's a bit of space and an available outlet. If you pick up one of the best gaming headsets for Xbox Series S, you can take your entire gaming setup with you when you leave the house.

Xbox Series S offers peerless value made better with deals

Image of the Xbox Series S.

(Image credit: Windows Central)

What's better than the most affordable current-gen console capable of playing the most amazing video games? That same console but paired with tantalizing discounts to make it even more value-driven than it already was. The Xbox Series S retails for $299, a price tag that undercuts its closest competitors (the Series X and PS5) by $100-200 and rapidly approaches "impulse buy" territory. A swarm of Xbox deals for Black Friday and the holidays have flooded the internet, with savings of $50-65 coming to the Xbox Series S. Some deals even offer additional rewards like $50 gift cards and free games or in-game content.

With must-have accessories like Xbox Wireless Controllers also enjoying sweet discounts, there has never been a better time to purchase an Xbox Series S for yourself or anyone in your life. These incredible savings arrive in stark contrast to the still-limited availability of the Xbox Series X and PS5, which continue to be difficult to reliably find from trusted sources or for retail prices. It's clear that the Series S is being positioned as the greatest value of the 2022 holiday season, and it's delivering that value in spades.

The Xbox Series S (and Xbox Game Pass) is the best gift of 2022

Xbox, Xbox PC Game Pass at Gamescom 2022

(Image credit: Jez Corden | Windows Central)

The value of the Xbox Series S is even more obvious when you consider that its discounted $240 price point could only net you 3-4 full-price Xbox games. The price of video games can quickly put a damper on anyone's gaming interest, but Microsoft also offers a value-driven solution to this problem that pairs perfectly with your Xbox Series S: Xbox Game Pass.

Xbox Game Pass offers access to over three hundred high-quality Xbox games that you can download and play to your heart's content on your Xbox Series S. The best Xbox Game Pass games include every first-party Xbox exclusive like Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5, high-profile titles like A Plague Tale: Requiem and Scorn, and a vast assortment of fantastically creative and wonderful indie games like Beacon Pines and Vampire Survivors. The best part? Xbox Game Pass is only $10 a month, granting you an endless number of amazing gaming experiences for the cost of a single meal.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate provides even more value, giving you access to that always-expanding library of Xbox Game Pass titles in addition to industry-leading online multiplayer in hundreds of games, a separate library of games on Windows PCs, and Xbox Cloud Gaming that lets you bring the power of your Xbox Series S and hundreds of games anywhere you want with your phone. This added value does increase the cost of the critically acclaimed subscription service to $15 a month, which is still less than the price of Netflix's 4K-capable tier.

The Xbox Series S and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate offer value impossible to find anywhere else, even without considering how the Xbox Series S is enjoying substantial discounts at the moment. The Xbox Series S can provide years of entertainment and positive memories, and the value of Xbox Game Pass only increases from month-to-month as new games are released and added. Simply put: the Xbox Series S is the best gift you should be buying in 2022, and it's a purchase that won't be regretted.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.