At the point when the Xbox Series S audit unit was conveyed at my doorstep a week ago, I had minimal desires from Microsoft’s littlest Xbox support. Presently, in the wake of utilizing the plate less reassure for a couple of days, I understand how wrong I was. It makes me can’t help thinking about why the Xbox Series S isn’t ruling the discussion as the lead Series X, despite the fact that the previous reassure is Microsoft’s smartest choice at recapturing the lost ground to PlayStation in business sectors, for example, India.
The Series S is intended to be a Game Pass machine, and that chooses the destiny of the brand Xbox soon. It’s alright if the Series S has no plate drive, and it can’t mess around in 4K. The only thing that is important is the Series S can play the equivalent cutting edge titles as the Series X and supports in reverse similarity.
From the outset look, I was staggered by the presence of the Xbox Series S. It helped me to remember the PlayStation, which I got from a vintage shop in London two years back. On the off chance that the PlayStation appears as though a tiffin box, the Series S looks somewhat like the Sony Boombox. For a couple of moments, I totally failed to remember the Xbox Series S was intended to be a customary gaming console. It has a little impression and it’s white with a striking dark hover in the middle. That dark circle isn’t a speaker the same number of figured it would be. All things being equal, a dark round circle is a vent that keeps the comfort cool. What I like about the Series S configuration is that you can keep the comfort in both vertical and level positions. It likewise fits consummately on my jumbled TV stand.
At the back, there is the force port, an Ethernet jack, two USB-A ports, a HDMI yield and a capacity extension opening. The front of the support then highlights a solitary USB-A port and no plate drive. Indeed, this is a reassure that comes up short on a circle drive since it is intended to be an all-computerized support. That implies I have the opportunity to download another AAA title the second it gets delivered from the Microsoft store. Not any more holding up in line, or requesting that your companion get a game from abroad. My broadband is sufficiently quick to download a game like Sea of Thieves in under 30 minutes, so for me, the idea of an advanced just comfort works.
Xbox Series S review: Mildly updated controller
And, of course, the Series S comes with the Xbox wireless controller. Unlike the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller which is redesigned from the scratch, the Series S gets a mildly redesigned wireless controller. It’s not a bad thing but I wish Microsoft had made substantial changes to the wireless controller. Nevertheless, the controller now comes with an updated D-pad, a new share button for sharing screenshots/clips similar to the PS4, and a USB-C port. The finish on the new controller has a matte look, which improves the controller’s overall grip. The controller fits in my hand just like the old controller. Unfortunately, the Xbox controller still uses AA-batteries. That means you need to insert new batteries. I really don’t know why Microsoft is sticking with an old fashioned way to charge batteries.
Xbox Series S review: Set up and user interface
Setting up the Series S is simple and straightforward. I used the Xbox app on my iPhone to set up the console. It took me 10 to 15 minutes to complete the process, from connecting the TV to the console via HDMI and linking the Series S with my Xbox account.
The interface on the Series S is what you also get on the Series X or the previous generation console. You will find a Tile-like interface that shows games and apps. Scroll vertically to access different tabs like specific games you have downloaded, Windows Store and Game Pass (more on this later). The user interface is easy to navigate and has no learning curve.
While Microsoft left the user interface as it is, it did add one new feature that won me over — Quick Resume. Simply put, Quick Resume allows users to have multiple games loaded up at the same time, and lets you jump from one game, then start another game. Unfortunately, it currently works only with certain games.
Xbox Series S review: Performance
The Series S has the same DNA as the Series X, meaning they are part of the same generation of consoles. However, the two consoles are designed to be different machines altogether. The two consoles can play the same new next-gen games, and both are backward compatible and capable of playing titles released on previous generation Xbox consoles. Both consoles also output a 4K video signal, plus the Series X and Series S support variable-rate shading and ray tracing. But that’s where similarities end. Unlike the Series X which is designed to play games in 4K (native) at 60 frames per second, the Series S has less powerful hardware and which is why the affordable console delivers 1080p and in some cases 1440p visuals. That doesn’t mean the Series S skimps on performance, or is a less superior console. It’s just that the Series S is designed for those who have a 1080p TV at home and that’s completely fine.
The Series S features the same Zen 2 CPU core as the Series X, but opts for a 4-teraflop GPU and 10 GB of RAM. I do not have the Series X to compare the differences between the two consoles in terms of performance and graphics quality. But during my time with the Series S, I did notice that games load faster and the console boots up instantly. Titles like Forza Horizon 4 and Sea of Thieves took about 15 seconds to load, while some games like Ori and the Will of the Wisps had taken even less time to load on the Series S. I can clearly see a drastic performance enhancement over my PlayStation 4. If I am not wrong in my assessment, buying a new console has become more like getting a new smartphone. You get a performance bump with every new console.
But the biggest improvements in the Series S come in the form of a 512GB NVME solid-state drive (SSD). The move from HDD to SSD is a big jump — it’s almost like a generational shift. But I have bad news to share: you get about 364GB of storage that will be user-accessible. I have been filling up the storage pretty quickly. As I spend more time with the Series S, I fear I will run out of storage in a matter of days. Though I have the option to plug in external drives, those hard drives will be notoriously slower, resulting in longer load times of opening games. Given the Series S is a digital-only console, I wish Microsoft had given consumers options to choose between 512GB and 1TB storage.
Xbox Series S review: Next-gen titles and Game Pass
I have had a great time playing Forza Horizon 4 and Sea of Thieves on the Series S. Both titles are old but optimised for the next-generation consoles. I tested on both the TVs at home including a 4K-ready set. In case you have a newer TV with 120Hz refresh rate, the improvements will be drastic. Games optimised for the Series S run well on the console with solid graphics.
Older games also look better on the Series S but I terribly missed next-gen titles that aren’t there yet. Having exclusive titles decide the fate of a console and in the case of Series X/S, you need to wait for a few more months to get your hands on games like Halo Infinite. But there are still plenty of high-profile titles such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Dirt 5 that will keep you entertained. The problem is that these titles that I have just mentioned can also be played on the Xbox One and PS4. While I could play these titles on the Xbox One, I am going to miss the speed and responsiveness that Microsoft is promising on the Series S.
That said, the real reason to buy the Series S is the Xbox Game Pass, a Netflix-style subscription service that gives you access to hundreds of games for a monthly fee. I have subscribed to Game Pass Ultimate (Rs 699 a month), and I have plenty of games to explore that I have never played in my life.
Should you buy the Xbox Series S?
No one is denying the fact that the Series X is a superior console than the Series S. If you are a hardcore gamer and a fair idea of the console market, I am 100 per cent sure you will choose the Series X over the Series S any day. The Series X offers a different set of speed and graphics performance along with the ability to play physical games. But if you are someone who is a casual gamer and owns a 1080p TV but wants to play the next-gen titles, the Series S will be a perfect fit for you. I see a lot of value in the Series S as it is designed as the Game Pass machine and shifts focus from buying physical copies of games to digital downloads. That said, from the hardware point of view, the Series X is a future proof console.