Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

The $299 Xbox Series S is just too good to pass up

Published Sep 10th, 2020 11:12PM EDT
Xbox Series S
Image: Microsoft

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

  • The Xbox Series S offers excellent value with its $299 price tag compared to both the previous-gen Xbox One and the brand new Xbox Series X and PS5.
  • The cheaper console will be even more affordable via installment plans such as the Xbox All Access program, which also includes access to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and cloud gaming.
  • The console should appeal to casual gamers and families shopping for brand new hardware on a budget, especially in the year of the novel coronavirus-related economic hardships.

Microsoft earlier this week confirmed the rumors that said a cheaper version of the Xbox Series X was in the works. The company was quick to act on a series of leaks that showed the full design of the console, as well as its price. The first thing Microsoft confirmed about the Series S was that it would cost $299. Hours later, the company released a promo video that revealed the full specs of the device, as well as preorder and release dates for both next-gen Xbox consoles. Now that all of the relevant Xbox Series S has been announced, gamers have started comparing it with the presumably cheaper next-generation PlayStation — the PS5 Digital Edition.

The PS5 Digital Edition has two major advantages over the Series S, and even the Series X. First of all, it has the same specs as the regular PS5, meaning that it will be more powerful than the Series S. Secondly, the PS5 will have a lot more first-party games than the Xbox. Even if the Digital Edition costs $399, which would be $100 more than the Series S, it would still be a better choice for some gamers. That price point has yet to be confirmed, however. But regardless, there’s simply no denying that $299 is too good of a deal to pass up this year.

Even without the extra performance of the PS5 Digital Edition, and even without the first party games, we’re still looking at a device that costs $299. That’s in the year of the novel coronavirus, when some parents and gamers might not be able to afford new consoles and new games. The price goes down to $24 a month if you’re willing to spring for the Xbox All Access program, which comes with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. This gets you access to over 100 games, as well as cloud gaming starting on September 15th. Moreover, existing Xbox All Access members will be able to upgrade to Series S and Series X faster than ever.

On top of All Access, other retailers might run installment plans of their own, which will make the Series S even easier to buy. All of that should be more than enough for casual gamers who aren’t necessarily interested in the most recent games, or Sony’s exclusive titles, but who want new gaming hardware that will last for several years.

Xbox Series X vs. Series S specs
Official specs comparison between Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. Image source: Microsoft

The Xbox Series S packs the same processor as the Series X and the same speedy hard drive, as seen in Microsoft’s specs comparison above. It also supports the same external custom SSD as the Series X. It’s in the GPU department where it takes a hit, but Microsoft still aims for 1440p resolution, 120 frames per second, instant resume, and ray tracing. That’s an incredible set of features, and you will have trouble building a gaming PC for the same price. Microsoft’s Xbox Series S presentation video highlights all of the console’s capabilities:

The $299 price is incredible for the console, especially if you’re the casual gamer who only plays Fortnite with friends and who uses the console to stream video. Similarly, if you’re a parent or grandparent of a kid who is only starting to game, the Series S might be just what the doctor ordered, especially if paired with Xbox Game Pass and cloud gaming. By the way, the Xbox All Access program was expanded to include 12 additional countries, which means installment plans will be available in several other markets for the Series S.

For the same $299, you can buy the Xbox One S right now, but you shouldn’t. The previous-gen console will probably drop in price by at least $100 this holiday season. But even then, you should choose the Series S instead. The $299 Xbox Series S isn’t just faster than the One S, it’s also much faster than the now-discontinued Xbox One X.

Xbox Series S
Xbox Series S console placed vertically next to Xbox Wireless Controller. Image source: Microsoft

Finally, games like the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Cyberpunk 2077 will run flawlessly on all the new consoles, including the Xbox Series S. What you’re about to watch below will be available on a $299 next-generation console in just two months (even though Halo Infinite sadly won’t be):

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.