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Xbox One X vs. Xbox One S All-Digital Edition: Which console is right for you?

Xbox One consoles
Xbox One consoles (Image credit: Windows Central)

The Xbox One X remains Microsoft's leading gaming console, packing 4K gaming, HDR colors, and so much more. You don't even need a 4K TV to experience its benefits, far outpacing market rivals. Although the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition sounds promising in concept, the long-term costs can't be ignored.

Related: Xbox One S All-Digital Edition vs. Xbox One S

Xbox One X vs. Xbox One S All-Digital: What's the difference?

Microsoft's Xbox One home console takes various forms in 2019, primarily split by the entry-level Xbox One S and the flagship Xbox One X. Pushing 4K resolution and improved visual fidelity, the Xbox One X is pitched as the premium powerhouse touting sharper, fluid gameplay. The alternative Xbox One S is a cheaper, more popular setup, providing HD gaming alongside 4K video playback. The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition is the new box on the block, dropping the optical disc drive, though it's otherwise identical to Xbox One S.

Primarily targeting enthusiasts with its industry-leading performance, the Xbox One X is the 4K gaming machine. Packing millions of additional pixels, games are sharper and more detailed than on other Xbox consoles, even translating to regular HD TVs. Both Xbox One consoles support HDR, too, delivering a wider color gamut and increased contrast ratio. Upgrades under the hood also help reduce load times, shaving vital seconds during gameplay.

Xbox One X retains full compatibility with other Xbox consoles, sharing its games and accessories. An ever-growing list of hundreds of games also packs tailored upgrades, including sharper visuals and smoother gameplay. Backed by 4K Blu-ray and streaming, it's a leading media center for the home. However, this doesn't come cheap, retailing for $500 in the U.S.

CategoryXbox One XXbox One S All-Digital
Processor8-core Jaguar "Evolved" CPU at 2.3GHz8-core Jaguar CPU at 1.75GHz
Storage1TB1TB
Memory12GB of GDDR5 RAM8GB DDR3 RAM
Graphics40 CUs (1,172Mhz) 6 TF GPU12 CUs (914MHz) 1.23 TF GPU
Optical drive4K Blu-ray driveNone
Price$499 RRP (opens in new tab)$249 RRP (opens in new tab)

The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition targets a different gaming crowd, sold as the most affordable Xbox One to date. Sharing hardware with Xbox One S, buyers can expect equal compatibility and performance to the standard console. You'll get the Xbox One S usual offerings, meaning high-resolution 1080p gameplay backed by HDR colors. The only difference is the absence of a disc drive, priced at $250 for $50 saving.

However, with the disc drive removed, the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition bars physical Xbox One games, Blu-rays, and DVDs. Without physical discs compatibility, all game and video purchases must be digital.

While the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition undercuts the Xbox family at a $249 retail price, it likely isn't the most affordable pick. Ditching the integrated disc drive comes with hefty consequences, locking the console down to Microsoft's in-house digital marketplace. It puts physical media off-limits, which spans Xbox One games, older disc-based backward-compatible titles, 4K Blu-ray, and DVDs. With digital gaming infamous for its higher cost, buying an Xbox One X could end up cheaper over time.

Which Xbox One is best for you?

While the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition poses a promising concept, associated long-term costs are detrimental to its money-saving promise. With the Xbox One X cheaper than ever, it costs only around $100 extra to experience the best of Microsoft's gaming hardware.

Packing 4K gaming (or 1080p supersampling) with discs and downloads, it's a winning combo in 2019. Unless desperate to save on the initial console cost, don't overlook Xbox One X.

Matt Brown
Matt Brown

Matt Brown is Windows Central's Senior Games 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.