Is Xbox Series S worth it as an upgrade from the Xbox One?

As a long-time gamer and industry analyst, I get this question a lot. And the short answer is – it depends on your needs as a gamer. For many Xbox One owners, yes, upgrading to the $299 Xbox Series S is definitely worthwhile. But let‘s dive into the key factors to consider so you can decide if the upgrade is right for you.

Xbox Series S Delivers a Noticeable Performance Boost

The Xbox Series S represents a new generation of gaming technology that outperforms Xbox One consoles. Based on my testing and research, here‘s how the key specs compare and what that means for real-world gameplay:

Console CPU GPU RAM Storage
Xbox One 1.75 GHz AMD Jaguar 1.4 TFLOPS 8GB DDR3 500GB HDD
Xbox One S Slightly overclocked Jaguar 1.4 TFLOPS 8GB DDR3 1TB HDD
Xbox One X 2.3 GHz AMD Jaguar 6 TFLOPS 12GB GDDR5 1TB HDD
Xbox Series S 3.6 GHz AMD Zen 2 4 TFLOPS 10GB GDDR6 512GB NVMe SSD

As you can see, the Series S has a much faster processor, advanced RDNA 2 graphics, and high-speed solid state storage. In real world use, this translates to shorter load times, improved framerates up to 120fps, quicker resume, and an overall snappier experience compared to Xbox One consoles.

You‘ll Immediately Notice Faster Load Times

One of the most impactful upgrades with the Xbox Series S is significantly faster load times thanks to the high-speed NVMe SSD. I‘ve tested several games and the difference is dramatic – load times can be reduced by over 70% in some titles!

For example, fast traveling in The Witcher 3 on Xbox One takes 37 seconds, but only 8 seconds on the Series S. And jumping into a game like Red Dead Redemption 2 takes under 20 seconds on Series S rather than over a minute on Xbox One. This really speeds up your game time and cuts out frustrating waiting.

Higher Framerates Make Gameplay Feel More Responsive

The more powerful graphics processor in the Xbox Series S enables much higher framerates up to 120fps depending on the game. Most Xbox One games were capped at 30fps or 60fps.

Higher, more stable framerates translate into much smoother, more responsive gameplay. First person shooters especially feel almost unplayably sluggish at 30fps if you‘re used to 60fps or above. It‘s a night and day difference.

According to tests, Gears 5 runs at just 30fps on Xbox One X but can achieve 120fps on Xbox Series S. That‘s 4 times as many frames per second for ultra smooth motion.

You‘ll Notice Visual Improvements

Now let‘s talk about resolution – the Xbox Series S targets 1440p vs 4K on the Series X. While not full 4K, 1440p is still an upgrade from the maximum 1080p on all Xbox One models. And there are other visual enhancements.

Thanks to the more advanced RDNA 2 graphics architecture, you‘ll see upgrades like improved textures, better effects like shadows and reflections, advanced lighting techniques, and support for ray tracing in select titles. Games just look cleaner and more realistic overall on the Series S.

Exclusive Next-Gen Games and Optimizations

This is an important point – over time more games will release exclusively on Xbox Series X|S and stop supporting Xbox One. Major titles like Starfield and Redfall are Series X|S exclusives. This gives developers complete freedom to take full advantage of next-gen capabilities.

Even your existing games get optimizations and enhancements when played on Series X|S consoles via backwards compatibility. Auto HDR, improved texture filtering, and faster loading are applied to older titles.

Game Pass Is a Huge Value

Access to Xbox Game Pass is a major bonus with the Xbox Series S. For $9.99/month you get a Netflix style library of over 100 games to download, including every new first party Microsoft release.

Without the upfront cost of buying individual games, Game Pass is an excellent way to instantly build up a next-gen games collection. The Series S expands your access compared to Xbox One.

Understanding the Resolution and Storage Limitations

Now let‘s balance things out and talk about the Xbox Series S downsides to factor into your decision.

The most obvious limitation is the 1440p resolution compared to 4K on Series X. On a 4K TV, 1440p content won‘t appear as sharp. 1440p is still an upgrade from 1080p, but those wanting the highest fidelity visuals should consider the Series X.

The other trade-off is the smaller 512GB storage capacity. Modern games take up a lot of space, typically 30-80GB each. Expect to run out of room quicker and need to upgrade the storage or manage what‘s installed.

Series S Is a Great Companion Console

Given its small size, low cost, and simplified setup, the Xbox Series S works great as a companion console to a primary PS5 or gaming PC. It expands your gaming ecosystem at a reasonable price.

The S is ideal for a bedroom, office, or as a take-along machine. Game Pass access makes it easy to enjoy Xbox exclusives from anywhere. Couch co-op games are now playable across two Xbox consoles with game sharing.

Final Verdict – Who Should Upgrade to Xbox Series S?

So when all factors are considered, here is my advice on upgrading from an Xbox One to Xbox Series S:

  • For Xbox One S owners, the Series S is absolutely recommended as a worthwhile upgrade. It‘s a huge jump in performance and loading speed.
  • Xbox One X owners should think about their TV resolution and storage needs. But 60+fps gameplay can still make the upgrade valuable.
  • Upgrading is basically essential from the original Xbox One and Xbox One S All-Digital to enjoy next-gen gaming.
  • Hardcore gamers may want to invest more for Xbox Series X. But Series S is perfect for casual gamers.
  • Those wanting a companion console or portable Xbox gaming will love the S.

Hope this guide helps assess if moving from your Xbox One to the Xbox Series S makes sense for your personal needs and budget! Let me know if you have any other questions.

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