Should you buy an Xbox One S in 2022?

Xbox One S
Xbox One S (Image credit: Daniel Rubino | Windows Central)

Should you buy an Xbox One S in 2022?

Best answer: Yes, absolutely. Xbox One S is an ideal, affordable, entry-level console in 2019, presenting access to Microsoft's full gaming portfolio for $300.Microsoft: Xbox One S 1TB Console – Starter Bundle ($300)

How Xbox One S improves upon Xbox One

Microsoft debuted the Xbox One S two years ago and it still remains core to the Xbox family in 2019. Bringing numerous revisions to the original design, the console has emerged as a strong entry-point into Microsoft's growing gaming ecosystem. With the original Xbox discontinued, the Xbox One S is treated as the standard Xbox One console.

The Xbox One S delivers a sleek, angular aesthetic, coming in 40 percent smaller than its predecessor. Other features include vertical standing, an internal power supply, and a physical power button rather than the former touch-sensitive key.

Included in the box is the third-generation Xbox One controller, bringing numerous improvements over prior revisions. Bluetooth support is the heavy hitter, bringing native connectivity for PCs and mobile devices. An IR blaster also makes the cut for communication with various third-party devices.

Despite universal improvements, the Xbox One S does abandon the proprietary port for Microsoft's Kinect sensor. To use Kinect, buyers need the now-discontinued Kinect adapter, splitting this into USB and 12V connectors. With Kinect production wrapped, this omission won't affect many, but should be considered by motion control fans.

New features are headed to Xbox One S through regular system updates too, in line with Xbox One X.

Is Xbox One S good for gaming?

The Xbox One S maintains compatibility with all existing Xbox One games and upcoming projects for the foreseeable future. Comparable performance across the board is expected, reaching up to 1080p resolution at 60 frames-per-second (FPS). Although a minor hardware bump on paper, you'll generally experience identical performance to original Xbox One consoles.

The Xbox One S packs a key feature for gamers, with the addition of High Dynamic Range (HDR) support across select titles. This brings a wider color gamut and increased contrast ratio across supported displays, generally leading to more vivid, realistic colors. A significant library of HDR titles has accumulated since 2016, recently bolstered by the HDR-enabled Xbox One X Enhanced lineup.

Microsoft has been criticized for its lack of high-quality exclusives, but Halo, Gears of War, Forza, and other top franchises are accessible on the console. Strong third-party support brings titles from the world's top developers, while Xbox backward compatibility ensures support for classic Xbox 360 and original Xbox games too.

Microsoft's Netflix-style subscription service for games, Xbox Game Pass, also pairs well the budget-friendly Xbox One S. Providing access to a rotating library of over 100 games for a flat $10 monthly fee, this is an ideal way to kickstart your game collection from zero.

Is Xbox One S good for movies and TV?

Although the original Xbox One was pitched as a cohesive media device, the Xbox One S delivers major improvements for movies and TV. With the addition of HDMI 2.0 support, the console can output native 4K 60Hz video, paired with HDR. This delivers the best possible image across select media when paired with a top-end display.

The Xbox One S also packs a 4K HDR Blu-ray player, which is currently absent from all PlayStation 4 consoles in 2019. Standalone 4K Blu-ray players are priced similarly to the Xbox One S, making it viable for media consumption only.

A growing collection of services also offer 4K playback on Xbox One S, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, and more. Alternatively, users can access digital UHD content served via the Microsoft Store, despite the weak library.

Should you buy an Xbox One S?

The Xbox One S is a great all-round entertainment system, providing access to the Xbox One's full library of features, games, and video content. Starting at $299 in the U.S., this is an affordable entry point to the Xbox ecosystem, without comprising on top-tier console features.

For existing Xbox One owners, the upgrade to Xbox One S is a little harder to justify. Advancements over the original are welcome, but hard to warrant the upgrade. Alternatively, the Xbox One X offers significant advancements across the board.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.