Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S: What’s the difference?

  • Microsoft Xbox Series X

    Editor’s Choice

    The Series X has acres of power to offer up, and is lovely and silent while you use it, although its undeniable bulk does make it a bit unwieldy. Still, this is Microsoft’s premier gaming machine right now.


    • Superb power
    • Excellent backwards compatibility
    • 4K gaming

  • Xbox Series S stood on a table

    Microsoft Xbox Series S

    Budget pick

    The Xbox Series S might be smaller and less powerful, but as a budget option it’s hard to beat, and you get access to all the same games at lower resolutions – a perfect deal that opens up this generation way more widely.


    • Great value
    • Tiny footprint
    • All the same games

Key Takeaways

  • The Xbox Series X is the more powerful and high-end console, offering the best resolutions and smoothest performance.
  • The Xbox Series S is a more affordable alternative with lower resolution and half the storage space, making it ideal for those with smaller budgets or without a 4K TV.
  • Both consoles have similar features such as fast load times, compatibility with Xbox One accessories, and support for Xbox Game Pass, making them both compelling options.

By all accounts, the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are the fastest-selling Xbox consoles of all time.

One is a super powerful games machine, with PC-like specifications, the other a more affordable alternative. So which should you save up for?

We’ve put together a handy guide to help you decide which next-gen Xbox could suit you best.

Price, specs and availability

A few years into their generation, both the Xbox Series S and Series X are now widely available and easy to find in stock at a bunch of retailers, something that took quite a while to become the norm. We’re still quite a way off any new consoles from Xbox, too, although a new version of the Series S in black does launch later in 2023, with double the storage at 1TB, which is an interesting change.

You can also purchase either console on the Xbox All Access monthly payment plan. It includes the console and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for a low monthly fee. Check out all the details here.

  • Microsoft Xbox Series S Microsoft Xbox Series X
    Processing Power 4 TFLOPS 12 TFLOPS
    Storage 512GB internal SSD 1TB internal SSD
    CPU 3.6GHz 3.8GHz
    Dimensions 275 x 150 x 64mm 301 x 151 x 151mm
    Weight 1.9kgs 4.5kgs
    Screen Resolution 1440p 4K


Perhaps surprisingly, the two next-gen consoles from Xbox look nothing alike.

The Xbox Series X is a monolithic beast of a machine, best designed to stand vertically – but can lay horizontally – and available in black only with some green highlighted openings on a top grille.

The Series S, meanwhile, looks more like the earlier Xbox One S – it even has a similar grille on the top (when horizontal). Xbox has decided to make that grille black and the console white, however, which makes it look like a loudspeaker when it is stood on its end.

Processing and graphics

Both the Xbox Series X and Series S are powered by a custom AMD Zen 2 eight-core processor, but the Series X CPU runs at 3.8GHz per core (3.6GHz with multi-threading) and the Series S at 3.6GHz (3.4GHz with multi-threading).

They differ even more greatly in the graphics processing, with the Series X sporting 12 TFLOPS (52CUs at 1.825GHz) of RDNA 2 graphics power. The Series S will have 4 TFLOPS (20CUs at 1.565GHz) of RDNA 2 graphics.

The amount of RAM is also different across machines. The flagship console has 16GB of GDDR6 RAM, while its stablemate has 10GB.

Ray tracing is supported by both, but while the Series X is able to run games at a 4K resolution natively, the Series S is effectively locked at a maximum of 1440p for gaming. Both consoles will run games at 60fps natively, although are capable of up to 120fps, usually by dropping the resolution.

Even with its lower-spec though, the Series S supports variable refresh rates (VRR) and shading, just like its sibling.


In terms of storage, both have an SSD for faster load times and the rest of the abilities that solid-state drives (SSD) can offer. They also each support Xbox’s quick resume feature, which can pause up to six games or so at a time, allowing users to instantly continue where they left off or switch between them.

The Series X comes with a 1TB internal SSD, plus USB 3.1 support.

In comparison, the Series S has a smaller 512GB SSD to keep costs down. That gives it the same super-fast loading times and other features, but consider that many games these days are between 80-100GB in size so it’ll fil up much more quickly.

Both consoles have an expansion slot for an additional, proprietary drive – the Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X/S – which functions like the internal SSD, supporting all those next-gen features and quick resume.

Both consoles support external USB 3.0 drives (and above) – although they won’t work with the faster loading times of the internal/Storage Expansion Card nor enable any Xbox Series X/S optimisations on games. They are best used, therefore, to store Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox games.

You can have up to three external hard drives connected at once.


  • Both consoles: 1x AA-battery powered controller included
  • Both consoles: Also compatible with Xbox One controllers

A new Xbox Wireless Controller ships with the Xbox Series X and the one with the Series S is no different – just a different colour. You can find out more about the new gamepad here: Xbox Series X controller: All you need to know.

It is also available to buy separately and works with legacy Xbox One consoles too.

All Xbox One controllers work with both new consoles too.

Games and accessories

  • Both consoles: Backwards compatible with Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox games
  • Both consoles: Also compatible with all Xbox One accessories

Nigh-on all Xbox games – be they Xbox One, original Xbox or Xbox 360 – will work across the entire family of consoles. The only exceptions will be those that require Kinect.

That includes the Series X and Series S, with games featuring enhanced graphics and other platform talents coming under the banner of “Optimised for Xbox Series X/S“.

Microsoft’s games library subscription service, Xbox Game Pass, is available for both Series S and X, with EA Play and Cloud Gaming also part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, making for a very compelling subscription service.

All Xbox One accessories and headsets will work on the new consoles.

Home Entertainment

  • Both consoles: Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), HDR (high dynamic range), Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos
  • Xbox Series X: 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray drive
  • Xbox Series S: No drive, digital-only

There is no physical disc drive on the Series S. The Series X (like the existing One X and One S) sports a 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray drive for games and movie playback alike.

They both support HDR, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, for video and games. However, Dolby Vision will not work during 4K Blu-ray playback.

Which is best for you?

It makes complete sense for Microsoft to have two consoles, at two price points, much like it has done in the past. However, having reviewed both – the Series X here, and the Series S here – our feeling is the X is the real next-gen powerhouse, with the most storage, that will fire on all cylinders when it gets the chance.

Xbox Series X on a table

Microsoft Xbox Series X

The default choice if your budget stretches to it, the Series X will play games at the best resolutions and with the smoothest performance.

The Series S, meanwhile, has its place and is an excellent machine for the money, but its resolution drop and half the storage space could be a dealbreaker.

Xbox Series S stood on a table

Microsoft Xbox Series S

A nonetheless superb second option, the Series S is perfect for those with smaller budgets or who don’t use a 4K TV, with lower resolution presentation for the exact same games.

Trending Products

Add to compare
Add to compare

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Register New Account
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart