Should I Buy an Xbox One or Xbox One S?

Should You Buy an Xbox One or Xbox One S?
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If you don’t have an Xbox One and are wondering whether you should buy one, I’ll save you a lot of reading:

Yes, you should buy a new Xbox One S.

Ever since Microsoft’s June 2016 press conference at E3 when they revealed the newest Xbox One model, people have been wondering – is it worth upgrading my first-generation Xbox One to an Xbox One S?

What’s wrong with the Xbox One I spent $499 on just a few short years ago?

Complete with upgraded horsepower, better video capabilities, support for higher quality entertainment, and a great entry price of $299 (currently on sale for $266), the new Xbox One S is the latest and greatest gaming console and entertainment platform to own. 

Let’s take a look at some of the new functionality, and then compare the two systems to help make your buying decision easier.

Reasons Why You Should Buy an Xbox One S

As we’re updating this article in 2020, a lot has changed since the Xbox and then the Xbox One S was announced in 2016.

Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to find a new, in-box OG Xbox One without going second-hand, so the reasons below for purchasing an Xbox One S are an absolute no brainer.

And, with the recent announcement of the Xbox Series X, the Xbox One X is now a serious contender for anyone who is wondering whether they should upgrade to the X, or wait for the Series X.

Reason #1 – It has a Sleeker Exterior

Xbox One vs Xbox One S - Side by Side - Should You Buy an Xbox One or Xbox One X?

Right away you can tell that Microsoft was going for a smaller, sleeker appearance with the Xbox One S, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Coming in 40% smaller than the first generation Xbox One, the Xbox One S right away appears more compact. It’s less of a giant brick, and more like a modern-day gaming console. It’s even slightly smaller than the Sony Playstation 4, which has always been considered a more portable console. 

But Microsoft didn’t stop there.

Not only did they get rid of the extra bulk from the original Xbox One, but they also ditched the giant power-brick that so many of us have come to hate. This is a big plus for someone who travels with their Xbox or doesn’t have a lot of extra space near their setup.

However, one of the best decisions Microsoft made was to ditch the touch power button and replace it with a much better physical button.

Gone are the days of trying to eject a disk, or even touch your console, and having it turn off in the middle of the game.

The Verdict: This is a no brainer – the new Xbox One S is a significant and welcome improvement over the original Xbox One system when it comes to shape and size. If you’re a gamer on the go, this will be a huge advantage for you.

Click here to read more about the exterior comparisons between the Xbox One and Xbox One S.

Reason #2 – They Updated the Graphics and Processor

We know Microsoft made some great external upgrades to the Xbox One S, but what about under the hood?

Although Microsoft never explicitly stated the Xbox One S would receive hardware updates, people quicker than me have been tearing the Xbox One S apart and have found there is a ~7% clock speed increase for the GPU (914MHz vs. 853MHz), and a ~8% ESRAM increase (219GB vs 204GB) in the newest model of the Xbox One.

Although this seems insignificant, it helps future-proof the device to ensure all of the newest content runs without any hiccups.

The newest Xbox One S also comes in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB versions which will help ensure that anyone who has a large collection of games, music, or movies has plenty of room to store all of their entertainment.

Last but not least, an added IR blaster will enable accessibility for individuals with additional devices, such as an AV receiver, making the Xbox One S an entertainment powerhouse as well.

Reason #3 – It Has New Feature, Like HDR and 4k Gaming

This is where the new Xbox One S really shines.

With the rise in popularity of 4k and HDR video, the Xbox One S will support both the newest, highest resolution TVs, and the significant increase in color and contrast that comes with HDR.

Related: HDR (High Dynamic Range) Gaming on the Xbox One S

It’s important to note that in order to take full advantage of these newest features, you’ll need a 4k TV and HDR compatible games.

HDR Comparison SDR vs HDR - Should I Buy an Xbox One or Xbox One S?

The fact of the matter is although there isn’t much available now, in the very near future the price of 4K TVs will drop and the amount of HDR content will increase. Think of it as future proofing your system.

The Verdict: If you’re looking for the best gaming experience available, the Xbox One S will provide that to you. If you’re not in to cutting edge technology and being a first adopter, then there is no need to upgrade your system. The first-generation Xbox Ones still pump out some pretty impressive video capabilities that will satisfy most individuals.

Reason #4 – Xbox One S Comes with A New Controller

New Xbox One S Controller - Should I Buy an Xbox One or Xbox One S?

The Xbox One S comes with a slightly modified controller, but the jury is still out whether it’s an improvement or a step back from the previous generation. People have immediately commented on the cheap build of the new controllers and feel it is less durable than the Xbox One controller.

Although it’s not as drastic as an upgrade as the Xbox One Elite Controller, there are cool updates like textured grips to help prevent slipping, a more streamlined and ergonomic design, and enhanced wireless range so you can sit further away from your Xbox One S.

Another addition is Bluetooth functionality on the updated Xbox One S controller. This is a great feature for those who like to play games on their Windows 10 enabled PC without having to jimmy-rig any type of hardware or software.

It’s still disappointing that there are limited ways to connect a pair of bluetooth headphones to an Xbox One, but there are ways to mitigate it by either buying an Xbox One Stereo Headset or using an Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter in combination with any wired gaming headset.

Xbox One vs. Xbox One S – Head to Head

Need help deciding whether to buy an Xbox One S, or upgrade your current Xbox One? Let’s run through some scenarios:

When Should I Buy an Xbox One S?:

  • You don’t already have an Xbox One
  • HDR enabled games are important to you
  • You have a 4k TV and want 4k BluRay playback
  • You have an AV receiver or another device that can use the IR blaster
  • You frequently travel with your Xbox
  • You have a lot of games, movies, or music

When Should You Keep Your Xbox One:

  • You already have an Xbox One
  • You’re a casual gamer or use the Xbox One for entertainment only
  • You’re on a tight budget
  • You don’t have devices like an AV receiver
  • You like the old Xbox One controllers
  • You don’t travel with your Xbox One

The Verdict: Buy an Xbox One S if you Don’t Have an Xbox One.

If you haven’t bought an Xbox One yet, there’s really no choice. Even though there are a few cons to the new Xbox One S, given the same price point, and additional hardware, software, and feature upgrades, it wouldn’t make sense to buy the first generation Xbox One.

As of 2020, Microsoft has made multiple Xbox One software updates that have sped up and optimized older hardware. While it might not have the new cutting edge features like 4K and HDR for Xbox One, the original consoles still perform well for light and casual use. 

But, you already have a first-generation Xbox One and are a casual gamer, there aren’t many reasons to purchase a new Xbox One S. If you’re looking to unleash the latest in HDR and 4k technology, you could always buy Microsoft’s newest console, the Xbox One X (Read XboxDIY’s review of the Xbox One X).

We’re hoping this article provided you with a fair, and unbiased comparison between the Xbox One and Xbox One S, giving you the information you need to decide which one you should buy. Drop us a comment below or head over to our Contact page to send us a message about your experience. We would love to hear from you!

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