Next-Generation at a budget

For those looking to get a next-gen console, the price may put people off. £450 (The RRP for a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X) is a lot of money, especially during the events of COVID we have currently, meaning budgeting is more important now than it perhaps ever has been. Microsoft has released 2 next-generation consoles this year. The Xbox Series X and the Series S. We were sent a Series S for review purposes from Xbox UK and after having spent near enough 2 weeks with the console itself, the Series S whilst small definitely is worth considering if you’re a gamer just starting out.

I think we have to get something clear. The Xbox Series S wasn’t brought out for the hardcore gamer who wants everything the best it can be. That’s what the Xbox Series X is for. The Series S I would describe is for the more casual of gamer. One of the biggest differences starting out is that it doesn’t have a disk drive. The Xbox Series S is a digital-only system. A little disappointment was that there was only under 700GB of available storage in the console, so you are definitely going to want to consider getting an external storage device if you plan on having a lot of games installed on your system (if you have Game Pass, I definitely would say an extra storage device is mandatory)

Unboxing the Xbox Series S, the first thing that stood out to my was how light and small the console was. Comparing it to the PlayStation 5 on the same shelf, I couldn’t believe how small it was for a next-gen console, but in a good way. There is one single USB port on the front, with a further two more at the back. I think I’d have preferred it the other way round, but that’s just a minor detail.

Setting the console up was simple, thanks to the official Xbox app which is available on Android and iOS devices. Whilst my console was setting itself up in the background, I was able to login to my Gamertag and set up all settings on my phone, which was really nice touch. Within 2-3 minutes, I was fully set up on my Xbox and ready to play. A very seamless experience, and one that as simple as it sounds.

Once set up, I was greeted with the home screen, the same home screen that greets me on my Xbox One X. I wouldn’t say I was disappointed, as It was nice to have that familiarity on a new console. However, after seeing what Sony did with the new UI on the PlayStation 5, it perhaps would have been nice to see a few improvements in the overall UI, but with Xbox, I am very sure we will see changes down the line.

Performance wise is what impressed me the most with the Series S. You won’t even notice that the console is on, it is so quiet when on. Playing Dragon Quest XI, Football Manager 2021, Gears of War Ultimate and Forza 4, the console had no problems with them whatsoever. The console caps itself at 1440p, which means you’re not going to get the full 4K performance though that the Series X has to offer. Media streaming apps like Netflix and Disney+ can however output at full 4K

Overall, I have to say that the Xbox Series S is a great release from Microsoft. It comes in at £250, which is a great price if you consider that it is still a next-gen console. Granted, it won’t be as powerful as the Xbox Series X or the PlayStation 5, but it knows that and performs admirably. If you’re a parent looking at a budget console for their child, I couldn’t recommend the Xbox Series S more.

A Xbox Series S console was provided by Xbox UK