Top positive review
A budget beast, but not for everyone
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 22 November 2020
I love this thing, but it won't be for everyone. I'm mainly a PC and Playstation gamer. I had an Xbox One but the exclusive titles didn't really appeal so I got rid. When I saw Microsoft were releasing 2 versions of their next gen machine though I figured this was a good time to jump back in at the cheaper end.
First, the good. This thing is TINY! Check the measurements, out of the box I was surprised at just how small it is. Tiny is good for me because I don't have a lot of space. And considering its size, it's powerful. Sure, not as powerful as its big X brother, or the PS5, or even my PC, but this thing lets me play my old, digitally owned, Xbox games. It also has Game Pass, giving me access to hundreds of Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One games. This is an extra cost, but we'll worth it. I found a deal that gave me a year of Game Pass Ultimate AND EA Play for £50. It's quiet and cool. No fan noise, barely any heat coming from that big black speaker-like vent. It has a 1440p display option, which is great because my PC monitor is 1440p so I have had it on there and things look great, BUT I've also hooked it up to my 4K TV and tried both 4K and 1080p output and both are great. I'm not really bothered about resolution or even FPS to any great degree, as once in game I doubt I'd notice. Everything I've played looks and plays great, I've experienced no problems or issues whatsoever. It's also very quick to boot up and load games thanks to the SSD and I love being able to just go right back to where I left a game rather than having to sit through logos and intros every time.
Now the bad. The big one for me at the moment also applies to the X and it is that there are NO exclusive games. Nothing you can play on these two new consoles at present isn't also available on the Xbox One, and if you buy the S you won't even be getting a graphical upgrade. I'm not a Halo fan, so even knowing that's coming next year doesn't excited me. If you have an Xbox One at the moment, there's really no reason for you to buy one of these. Two is the storage. The S has under 400GB of useable storage and even though I'm playing old games I'm nearly full. Also, this S version has no disc drive so you'll HAVE to either buy digital games - still too expensive in my opinion, on all systems - or invest in Game Pass. There's no optical out so if your TV speakers suck I'd suggest getting some decent headphones. The controller STILL isn't rechargeable. I've bought some rechargeable batteries, but you do get a LOT of play time from one pair.
All in all I reckon the S is a great option for diving into Game Pass and playing older games, maybe as a second console if you mainly game on another platform. It's a tidy, tiny, sleek, bargain box of tricks, but it won't give you a full on next gen experience. Time will tell how it stands up - will future, more demanding games perform like garbage on this? Hopefully not, but at this price you'll have had more than your money's worth by then anyway!