There’s going to be a lot of navel-gazing over the coming weeks as Xbox fans wonder whether they should get the new Xbox One S. Honestly, it’s not a hard question.
Of course you should.
The Xbox One S is much more affordable than was the original Xbox One at lunch—at $300 for the comparable base model, a full $200 cheaper—is smaller, lighter, quieter, and more powerful, and can be stood up vertically. It’s kind of a no-brainer, really. If you’re an Xbox fan, and can afford an Xbox One S, you’re going to want the new console.
That said, there are related questions that can help you determine what to do here.
If you can’t afford the Xbox One S…
$300 is still $300, and whether you own an Xbox One or not, that may simply be too much money. A year ago, I might have pointed you towards the affordable Xbox 360, but since Microsoft stopped selling that older console, I can no longer recommend that path. Fortunately, you do have another choice to make. (Beyond just waiting, of course.)
You can buy the original Xbox One. Yes, it’s bigger, heavier, and hotter/louder than the Xbox One S, and no, it won’t ever offer the HDR gaming or 4K video playback capabilities of the newer unit. But it will play all Xbox One games, of course, and can work with Kinect without a USB adapter. (The Xbox One S lacks a Kinect port, so you need to get a dongle to use Kinect.)
Best of all, Microsoft is pricing original Xbox One bundles to sell, and I expect prices to get even better as we move forward. Right now, you can purchase three original Xbox One bundles for $280, a $20 savings over the Xbox One S, plus they’re all available right now and include free games. They are:
- Xbox One 500GB Console – Name Your Game Bundle – This includes a digital code for a free copy of Forza Motorsport 6,Rise of the Tomb Raider, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, or Rare Replay.
- Xbox One 500GB Console – Gears of War: Ultimate Edition Bundle – As its name suggests, this one includes a digital download of Gears of War: Ultimate Edition.
- Xbox One 500GB White Console – Special Edition Quantum Break Bundle – This intriguing option includes a special white Xbox One console and controller plus digital downloads ofQuantum Break and Alan Wake (for Xbox 360, plus the The Signal and The Writer game add-ons).
Or, for the same $300 price as the Xbox One S, you can pick up theXbox One 1TB Console – 3 Games Holiday Bundle, which includesGears of War: Ultimate Edition + Rare Replay, and Ori and the Blind Forest. Plus double the storage of the $300 Xbox One S.
Again, if you wait, you can probably save even more. But of course over time the consoles will sell out, so it’s a bit of a gamble.
If you are still using an Xbox 360…
It’s time to upgrade. The only question is which model to get, as there are three Xbox One S consoles, each with different hard drive capacities. See below.
If you already own an original Xbox One…
This is where things get tricky. For most people, the answer is a resounding no, as the original Xbox One will play all Xbox One games now and in the future.
But there are exceptions. If you bought the original Xbox One at launch, your warranty has already expired, and the three Xbox Ones I own are all too loud—both internally and via the power supply to varying degrees—and too big to use in my living room. The Xbox One should solve those issues, plus add 4K video playback support and HDR gaming, each of which may collectively put the new console over the top for you. They do for me: I’ve already preordered an Xbox One S for personal use, and if it works out as I hope, I’ll get a second one for the living room.
Note that you can always just upgrade to the new Xbox Wireless Controller for $60: This is better than the controller that came with your console and adds textured grips, more precise and reliable thumbsticks, Bluetooth compatibility (for Windows 10, not Xbox), and better wireless range.
Current Xbox One users should also consider…
Can you wait? Remember “Project Scorpio”…
In late 2017, Microsoft will begin selling a third generation Xbox One console alongside the Xbox One S. Codenamed Project Scorpio, this new Xbox One will play the same games but add 4K gaming capabilities and VR compatibility, though it’s not clear how that will work, and whether it will require a third party VR headset. Also not clear is the pricing, which could be very high. (I predict $500 to $600 for just the console.)
If you’re an Xbox 360 user, don’t wait: Get an Xbox One S. But if you already have an Xbox One, it may be worth waiting another 18 months for Project Scorpio, which Microsoft will likely brand as Xbox One 4K or similar.
Personally, I’m not waiting for Scorpio, and if the price is high enough at launch, I may ended recommending waiting past holiday 2017 as well.
Which model should you get?
If you’ve decided to buy an Xbox One S, you do have one other choice to make: There are three versions of the console, each with different hard drive capacities. These are:
- Xbox One S 500 GB Console – $300
- Xbox One S 1 TB Console – $350
- Xbox One S 2 TB Launch Edition Console – $400
That seems straightforward enough, but please consider carefully: If you need more than the internal storage provided by the console, your only option is an external USB hard drive, which might in turn require its own power supply as well. I recommend buying as much storage as you can afford up-front so you won’t have to deal with that.
Another thing to consider is that the 2 TB version of the console will be available in limited supply only. (Also, this one includes the vertical stand.) So if you do want that one, pre-order it now.
Note: Some of the links in this article are Amazon affiliate links. I use the pittance I get from Amazon to help buy electronics I write about on this site. —Paul
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