Microsoft Xbox One S Preview

Posted on June 13, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Xbox One with 0 Comments

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This morning at its E3 press conference, Microsoft announced the Xbox One S, a smaller, sleeker and more versatile version of its flagship video game console. Let’s take a closer look.

It’s a new member of the Xbox One family. That means that the current Xbox One console will remain in market, at least for now.

“S” stands for slim. Just as it did with the Xbox 360 S. But it also stands for sleek: It’s 40 percent smaller than the previous model and includes an internal power supply. That’s huge, as any Xbox One user will tell you.

You can get it in white. Whereas the original Xbox One shipped in both matte and glossy black, the new Xbox One S will be available in “robot white.” There will be a black version too, but it’s not clear if that is glossy or matte.

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It’s affordable. The base Xbox One S will cost $299, which is a great price point for this console. For that price, you get a 500 GB HDD, but versions with 1 TB ($350) and, for a limited time, 2 TB ($400) will be available too. All very reasonable.

You can preorder the limited edition version now. And please, use my affiliate link if you do so: Xbox One S 2 TB ($400).

It plays 4K video. As promised, the Xbox One S can play Blu-ray movies and streaming video at 4K Ultra HD resolutions. Netflix and Amazon Video are among the partners that will deliver this content.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) support for video and gaming. This technology provides “richer, more luminous colors in games like Gears of War 4 and Scalebound,” as Microsoft notes. “With a higher contrast ratio between lights and darks, HDR brings out the true visual depth of your games and media.”

Small redesigns that make sense. Microsoft moved a USB ports from the back of the console to the front, alongside a new IR blaster. Microsoft also removed the Kinect adapter port, but no worries, you can still of course use Kinect over USB. You can also place the console vertically, using a $20 Xbox One Vertical Stand.

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Fully compatible. Obviously all existing Xbox One games work fine on the new console.

New Xbox Wireless Controller. The “newly redesigned” Xbox Wireless Controller (it was previously called Xbox One Wireless Controller, interesting) has textured grips, better wireless performance, and Bluetooth support for Windows 10 PCs. And the thumbsticks has been redesigned to prevent wear—a huge problem for me—over time. It will be available separately for $60.

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Obviously, I’ll need to evaluate the heat/fan noise to see whether this version of Xbox One makes sense in the living room, but it seems to be better than the original version. Granted, that isn’t a high bar.

Overall though I’m pretty excited about this. Looks like I need to set aside $400.

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