Explore Xbox Series S: user-friendly setup, large game library, high speed, compact design, and its limitations... Read more
Test of Xbox Series S – 512GB SSD All-Digital Gaming Console – Robot White
- Compact and portable design
- Straightforward setup process
- Huge game selection via Game Pass
- Quick resume and launch speeds
- Affordable entry into next-gen gaming
- Fits into any aesthetic
- Switching between games/apps is quick
- Limited storage of 5.2GB
- Exclusively digital downloads, no CD slot
- Controller D-pad not distinct
- Not very next-gen feeling
- Storage expansion costly
- Home screen similar to previous versions
- Limited to four or five games
“After thoroughly exploring and experiencing the Xbox Series S, I must say it offers excellent value for gamers who are looking to step into next-gen gaming on a budget. While the limited storage presents sizeable drawbacks long-term, features like Quick Launch, Quick Resume, and the vast library offered by Game Pass are undeniable attractions. Although it might not fully encapsulate the powerful allure of next-gen gaming compared to its counterparts such as the Xbox Series X or PS5, the Series S is certainly a noteworthy contender, especially considering its compact size and lower price point.”
Why trust Shaper Mint Review? Our analysts and reviewers specialists spend their days testing products and analyzing other users’ experiences to help you find a verified unbiased opinion on the product. See how we review
Introduction to Next-Gen Gaming with Xbox Series S
In the wave of next-gen gaming, the spotlight has been shared by none other than the Xbox Series S. This compact, budget-friendly, and digital-first console marks a significant leap in the world of gaming. In this review, we’ll dive into the detailed walkthrough of my personal journey with Xbox Series S, all while maintaining impartiality.
The Unboxing Experience
The first impression of unboxing the Xbox Series S was nothing short of intriguing. The packaging was sleek, minimalist, and inside it lay a console significantly smaller than one would expect. It’s challenging to fully grasp the size of the console until it’s physically in your hands. It was astonishingly lightweight which speaks volumes about its portability. The unboxing process as a whole felt premium, setting the inquisitive stage for the gaming experience that lied ahead.
First Glimpse of the Console
What caught my attention upon unboxing is just how compact and minimalistic the console truly is. The design is clean and unobtrusive, making it easy to blend into almost any environment. Despite its size, the Xbox Series S manages to pack the promise of next-gen graphics, vast game library, and speedy load times, which left me practically buzzing with anticipation.
Aesthetics and Design
The Xbox Series S sports a white exterior with black accents, and it’s incredible just how light and portable it is for a modern gaming console. As a gamer, I appreciate a console that doesn’t dominate my living space and can easily be taken along on trips, making the Xbox Series S something of a beautiful anomaly. However, the compact size does raise questions about the device’s capabilities and whether the performance would be compromised due to this form factor.
In the next segments of this review, we’ll delve into the setup process, controller experience, and the exclusive features that elevate Xbox Series S into the realm of next-gen gaming.
The Device Setup Process
- Xbox Series S setup involves familiarizing with console and app
- Setup process flexible for both new and old users
- Entire setup largely reliant on mobile application
Setting up the Xbox Series S begins with getting familiar with its visual and physical attributes. This console is refreshingly compact, streamlined, and all the controls and connecting ports are intuitively placed.
Downloading and Navigating Xbox Application
As part of the setup process, the Xbox application needs to be downloaded on your smartphone. This step is essentially seamless. The application is user-friendly with a clear layout and easily-understandable prompts guiding you through the entire process.
Understanding the Account Setup
You are then prompted to either log in with your existing Xbox Microsoft ID or create a new account, making it quite flexible for both old and new users. One great part about this step is how well the app links up with the console because, once completed, you find yourself automatically logged in and ready to get started on the console itself.
Upon successful login, you’re taken straight to the Xbox Game Pass page, allowing you to readily purchase the game pass. This is where it becomes evident that Microsoft is putting a stance on their Xbox Game Pass constancy. Given the evolving trend towards cloud-based gaming, it’s a logical move, though it might come as a surprise for those more used to traditional console gaming.
However, it should be noted that the entire setup process seemed heavily reliant on the mobile application. While this might be a welcome feature for tech-savvy gamers, it might pose a hurdle for those less comfortable with technology, who find it easier to navigate through the console itself.
In conclusion, the setup process for this gaming console is convenient and straightforward, though certain aspects may require improvements to provide a fully immersive user experience.
Exploring the Xbox Game Pass
- Xbox Game Pass has a massive game library
- New releases are not readily available
- Game Pass’ value varies by individual preferences
The venture into the gaming world of Xbox Series S truly kicks off with the exploration of the Xbox Game Pass. Right when I completed the console setup, I was welcomed straight by the Game Pass page. This instant introduction subtly whispers the embedded significance of the Game Pass in the experience offered by Xbox Series S.
An Impressive Game Library
Firstly, the volume of the game library left quite an impression on me. It’s certainly no exaggeration to term it ‘massive’ . You can find games dating back to years ago. Yet, it extends its stretch to include the latest releases as well. On the other hand, a small snag hits when I noticed that the very new releases are not readily available. Nonetheless, if you decide to place your gaming expectations within a flexible frame, the game selection may just win your approval.
Pros and Cons of the Xbox Game Pass
Now, coming to the all-important question, what makes this Xbox Game Pass stand out? My journey unveils that the strongest selling point for not just Xbox Series S, but also for Xbox Series X, would be this highly touted Game Pass. It’s a considerable factor to ponder upon mainly because of its prominence in the gaming ecosystem of Xbox and Microsoft.
However, it is also essential to reach a balanced viewpoint by taking into account the possible drawbacks. While the Game Pass may encase an extensive library that could be overwhelming for new gamers, for someone anticipating an array of brand-new game releases, it may not cater to their expectations optimally.
In the end, the value derived from this commuting trip along the path of Xbox’s gaming library via Xbox Game Pass would vary based on individual gaming preferences. Therefore, the secret to maximizing your gaming experience fully lies in aligning your expectations based on these factors.
Review of the Xbox Series S Controller
- Series S controller introduces practical improvements.
- Critical view reveals D-pad and visual design issues.
- Delivers solid user experience with minor design hiccups.
Shifting gears, let’s delve into the specifics of the Xbox Series S controller. Functionality, design, and user experience are all critical aspects when evaluating a game controller. Comparisons with last generation controllers are inevitable but, let’s focus on this one’s unique offerings.
Controller’s Design and Features
The Xbox Series S controller didn’t go through a dramatic transformation from its predecessors. Many users appreciated this consistency, taking comfort in the familiar, whereas others were left longing for a more revamped design to match the “next-gen” hype. Although visually similar to the last-gen, the new controller introduced a few practical improvements: a share button placed conveniently at the center for easy screen capture and an enhanced texture on the back and triggers for better grip and handling. It balances between heaviness and lightness, just enough to have a sturdy feel without being burdensome during your gaming marathons.
Critical View of the Controller’s Design
Despite these improvements and the overall good handling, one cannot overlook the downsides of the controller. The D-pad appeared slightly confusing and unnecessarily clicky. The top, bottom, left, and right directions on the D-pad merged together, lacking clarity. This might take some getting used to, especially when precision is required in gameplay.
The controller’s minimalist design was greeted with mixed feelings. Thus, whether you’ll appreciate its simplicity or find it plain might boil down to personal preference. Nonetheless, it delivers a good grip, catering to long hours of gameplay.
Overall, the Xbox Series S controller is well-designed from a functionality perspective, albeit with room for improvement in terms of the D-pad design and a more refreshing visual appeal.
In all fairness, the Xbox Series S controller creates a seamless user experience solidly grounded on sound ergonomics and optimized functionality, with minor hiccups in its D-pad design. It has stayed true to its roots while offering slight enhancements that matter to the gamers. However, whether these improvements warrant a “next-gen” label, is for the individual gamer to decide.
User Interface and Home Screen
- Home screen of Xbox Series S offers navigational ease
- Series S interface suits existing Xbox console users
- Design leans heavily on predecessors, may lack freshness
In my journey through the Xbox Series S, I next found myself at the home screen. If you’re an existing Xbox user, this will probably feel more like a homecoming than anything else. The home screen of the Xbox Series S hasn’t gone through a massive transformation compared to its predecessors, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Navigating the Home Screen
On starting up the console, it’s clear the designers have aimed for familiarity over drastic change. The nuances of traversing menus and selecting options are straightforward and smooth. The home screen puts your games front and center, making accessing your favorites you want to dive back into as easy as can be.
Comparing with Previous Xbox Versions
From my personal experience, the home screen has maintained that particular Xbox flavor, if you will. This sense of familiarity might be a blessing for existing users, as you would not have to spend time understanding new setups and designs. For those coming from older Xbox consoles, adapting to the Series S’s interface will not feel like a chore. Yet, while it supports seamless integration for existing users, it may feel a bit ‘old hat’ to others yearning for a fresher visual revamp.
To sum up, the user interface and home screen of the Xbox Series S nail the balance between friendly familiarity and easy navigation. While some might argue it leans too heavily on its predecessors, it’s hard to fix something that isn’t broken. However, if you’re after a newer, fresher interface design, you may be left somewhat wanting.
Analyzing the Resolution and Display
- Xbox Series S provides enhanced resolution, display.
- 4K upscaling affects 120Hz refresh rate access.
- Overall gaming performance may require adjustments.
Our gaming experience truly entered the next level when we tuned into the resolution and display capabilities of the Xbox Series S. I want to share my personal take on how well the device performed in this crucial aspect of gaming.
The 2K LG Monitor Setting
The monitor we used for this initial test was the LG monitor supporting 2K resolution. Coupled with the Xbox Series S’s impressive capability to upscale to 4K, the overall visual performance was quite promising. Nevertheless, it was not without its fair share of struggles.
The Upscaling Experience
Getting to that sweet spot of a 120Hz refresh rate turned out to be a bit more technical than expected. At first, we were stuck at a more standard 60Hz. Slightly frustrating, yes, but not insurmountable. After a bit of finagling with the settings by turning off the 4K upscaling feature, we achieved the coveted 120Hz refresh rate. The difference in smoothness is quite noticeable, and any serious gamer knows that smoother gameplay can dramatically enhance the experience.The learning curve for this:
- Make sure the 4K upscaling is off if you want to access the 120Hz refresh rate.
- If you’re OK with the standard 60Hz, you can leave the upscaling feature as it is.
Overall, the resolution and display capabilities of the Xbox Series S are commendable for the price range. Even though it posed some initial challenges, the end result turned out to be quite a smooth and visually pleasing gaming affair. However, do consider the fact that changing the settings might be a matter of personal preference and the type of games you’re playing.
At the end of the day, achieving the desired resolution and display might require a few adjustments here and there. Yet, the Xbox Series S provides a solid overall experience in terms of display and gaming performance. Just be ready for a little bit of tweaking on the technical side!
The True Meaning of Next-Gen Gaming Experience
- Next-gen gaming includes graphics, refresh rates, resolution support
- Xbox Series S offers restrained ‘next-gen’ features
- PS5’s ‘next-gen’ features are notably superior
Next-gen gaming invites discussions of trailblazing graphics, incredibly high refresh rates, and staggering resolution support. But after my immersive experience with the Xbox Series S, I felt compelled to reevaluate what next-gen really means.
Expectations vs. Reality
Let’s start by managing expectations: if you’re picturing the Xbox Series S as a console designed to deliver an extraordinary leap in gaming technology – you might be slightly off track. I discovered that while Xbox Series S does boast solid gaming features, it doesn’t significantly push the envelope as far as next-gen performance is concerned.
I expected an exceptional gaming leap with the arrival of this new breed of consoles, but my experience with the Xbox Series S depicted something less dramatic. It’s important to clarify that this does not make the Series S a bad device; it’s just not as “next-gen” as the term suggests.
Comparing with PS5’s Next-Gen Experience
When it comes to drawing comparisons for a better understanding, the PS5 enters the picture. In my opinion, PS5 brings a flavor to the table that tastes notably more “next-gen”. For instance, its haptic feedback controller with adaptive triggers is unlike anything else, lending a tactile reality to the gaming experience that flies high on the ‘next-gen’ factor.
This doesn’t mean that the Xbox Series S is devoid of ‘next-gen’ features. It has them, but they feel a bit more restrained when compared to what PS5 has to offer. The Series S shines with its interface, game load times, quick resume feature, and some visual enhancements, but it sometimes feels like a subtler evolution rather than a revolutionary leap.
In sum, the true meaning of next-gen might hover rather subjectively based upon your personal expectations and experience, but it’s safe to say that the Xbox Series S serves a commendable version of it without necessarily redefining the notion.
Xbox Series S Launching Speeds
- Xbox Series S provides quick launching speeds
- Features include ‘Quick Resume’ for seamless gameplay
- Improvements deliver a high-performance gaming experience
One of the powerful aspects that need to be discussed when reviewing the Xbox Series S is its launching speeds. This feature might not be the first thing that comes to mind when deciding on console, but should not be overlooked, as it can either enhance or interfere with your gaming experience.
Experiencing the Quick Launching
When testing the Xbox Series S, one of the standout features was certainly the quick launching speeds. For people who value their time and want to get into action as fast as possible, you’ll appreciate the rapid readiness of this console. Compared to the previous generation, the Series S launching speed felt incredibly faster. Games that have grown infamous for long loading times didn’t pose as a roadblock; they loaded almost instantaneously, something you would expect from a so-called next-gen console. This noticeable improvement is indeed a nod to Microsoft’s promise of delivering a seamless and high-performance gaming experience.
Understanding the Quick Resume Feature
Besides launching speed, there’s more on the feature menu. The ‘Quick Resume’ feature left a significant impression. Just imagine being able to switch back and forth from one game to another without losing any progress. The convenience it brings is unparalleled, and it genuinely lets the player fully immerse in the gaming world without worrying about losing a game’s progress.
Upon experiencing it, you would notice the flexibility of this feature, especially when combined with the Xbox Game Pass. You could play multiple titles, switch between them, and resume from exactly where you left off. This feature is an absolute game-changer as it almost feels like defying the laws of gaming physics. The transition was smooth, and loading speeds were impressive. That is, undoubtedly, a huge achievement for the Xbox Series S.
In conclusion, the quick launching speeds and the innovative ‘Quick Resume’ feature are considerably enhancing the gaming experience on the Xbox Series S. It’s efficient, seamless, and responsive — definitely an impressive attribute for a next-gen console. However, it’s essential to remember that this assessment is based on initial usage, and prolonged use could yield different results. Still, as it stands, the device certainly proves its mettle in delivering a fast and smooth gaming experience.
In the world of gaming where every second count, this feature could be a real game-changer. So, for those looking to get into the heat of battle or the next level as quickly as possible, the Xbox Series S has you covered.
Pros and Cons of Xbox Series S
- Xbox Series S features compact design, Game Pass selection
- Includes Quick Resume, launch speeds, but limited storage
- No CD slot, relies on digital game downloads
I believe it’s essential to assess any product objectively, acknowledging its strengths as well as its shortcomings. Let’s dive into the pros and cons to get a clear picture of Xbox Series S.
Pros of Xbox Series S
- Size and convenience: Xbox Series S impresses with its compact design that fits any environment. It’s incredibly lightweight and portable, making it easy to carry and set up anywhere. Despite its size, it runs very silently, ensuring a distraction-free gaming experience.
- Game Pass and selection: The Game Pass is a big plus. It offers access to an extensive library of games, new and old, giving players a wide variety of options. It’s an attractive deal for anyone who loves to explore different genres.
- Quick Resume and Launch Speeds: The Xbox Series S impresses with its quick launch speeds and the smooth, lag-free transition between games. The Quick Resume feature, which allows gamers to switch between applications instantaneously, really enhances the gaming experience.
Cons of Xbox Series S
- Limited Storage: One of the significant setbacks of the series is the storage limitation – at 512GB, it might not be enough for the gaming enthusiast. While expandable storage is available, the additional costs could lead you to consider the Xbox Series x instead.
- No CD slot: The absence of a CD slot means you’re bound to digital downloads and are unable to trade or collect physical game copies. You’re tied to the storage capacity of the device, which limits your collection, especially if you’re ratioing for the newest and biggest titles.
In my objective analysis, the Xbox Series S provides a next-gen console experience, but with noticeable caveats, especially when it comes to storage capacity. It’s clear that while it offers a lot, it’s targeted towards a specific type of gamer – those who value compactness, cost-effectiveness, and convenience over extensive game libraries and physical copies.
Who is the Xbox Series S For?
- Xbox Series S is ideal for economical next-gen gaming
- It’s less future-proof but cost-effective compared to Xbox Series X
- Suitable for intermediate and casual gamers prioritizing performance
We’re all gamers at heart, but the kind of gaming console that suits us best can vary depending on our personal preferences, gaming habits, and budget. So, who exactly is the Xbox Series S for?
Ideal Player Profiles for Xbox Series S
If you’re someone who’s looking to experience the thrill of next-gen gaming without breaking the bank, the Xbox Series S could be an excellent fit for you. Its compact design, quick resume feature, and impressively quick launching speeds offer a respectable introduction to the future of gaming. It is especially convenient for FPS gamers who primarily play cross-platform games like Call of Duty Warzone or Fortnite, as you can get that higher refresh rate for a much more affordable price than on PC.
Comparisons with Xbox Series X and PC Gaming
That being said, if you’re looking for a console that will keep up with technology and gaming advancements for the next six to eight years, you might want to consider investing a bit more in the Xbox Series X. Its superior 4K support, larger storage, and more robust processing power promise a slightly more future-proof gaming experience. It also includes a CD drive, which can be a major plus if you enjoy collecting games or swapping with friends.
When compared to PC gaming, the Xbox Series S still holds its own. Sure, a high-end gaming PC can outperform it, but at a significantly higher cost. If you’re seeking decent gaming performance on a budget, the Xbox Series S is actually one of the lowest-priced consoles that still provide a worthwhile gaming experience.
While Xbox Series S might not be the top choice for huge gaming enthusiasts or those committed to owning a future-proof gaming rig, it nevertheless offers an affordable gateway into the realm of next-gen gaming. It seems most suited to gamers who desire a taste of advanced features and improved performance without spending a fortune.
The sweet spot for this console could be intermediate gamers or casual players who value speed, performance, and cost-effectiveness over ultra-high-end tech spec and future-proofing.
Final Thoughts and Reflections on my Xbox Series S Experience
Having spent a considerable amount of time with the Xbox Series S, I’ve had the opportunity to thoroughly immerse myself in the various features and gaming capabilities it offers. I’ve furthermore compared its functionalities with other next-gen consoles and assessed its strengths and weaknesses from the perspective of different types of gamers.
Overall, the Xbox Series S delivered a mostly positive gaming experience. The console’s compact size won me over, making it an attractive choice for those in need of a less bulky gaming setup. The Game Pass, serving as the console’s trump card, offers an impressive array of games that should satisfy a majority of gaming enthusiasts out there.
However, being unbiased and critical, one must not overlook the shortcomings concerning storage. Unfortunately, the limited storage capacity of 512GB may prove to be a significant drawback, especially when considering the digital-only nature of this console and game sizes nowadays.
Stacking it up against the likes of PS5 and Xbox Series X, which truly embody next-gen, the Xbox Series S might slightly fall short in terms of pure system power and overall gaming immersion. Although it suffices as a budget-friendly next-gen introduction, hardcore gamers and tech aficionados might crave that extra kick offered by its more robust counterparts.
At this stage, the principal question remains: who is this console perfect for? To me, it appears ideal for those dipping their toes into the next-gen gaming waters without wanting to splash out on the top-tier consoles. It delivers some of the perks of next-gen gaming like quick resume and faster loading times at a budget-friendly price. Those prioritizing affordability and appreciating a diverse game library will find the Xbox Series S a noteworthy contender.
In summary, the Xbox Series S stands its ground as a compact, affordable next-gen console, despite a few design drawbacks and storage limitations. Depending on your gaming expectations and budget, it could very well be the ideal console for you.
Should you buy the Xbox Series S – 512GB SSD All-Digital Gaming Console – Robot White?
Buy it if…
You are Breaking into Next-Gen Gaming
The Xbox Series S offers a budget-friendly entry into the world of next-gen gaming, with great features like quick launches, faster refresh rates, and game resume.
You Value Compactness and Portability
The Xbox Series S stands out with its compact design. It’s small, silent, and fits into most environments, making it easier to carry it around wherever you go.
You Like Cross-platform FPS Games
If you love playing cross-platform FPS games like Fortnite or Call of Duty Warzone, this console delivers smooth 120 fps performance and 2K graphics at a cheaper price than most PCs.
Don’t buy it if…
You Need Ample Storage Space
With only 512 GB of storage and no CD slot, you might quickly run out of space especially if you plan to play a variety of games extensively.
Next-Gen Experience is Your Priority
The Xbox Series S doesn’t feel next-gen enough in terms of hardware and gaming experience compared to other options like PS5. If this is a deal-breaker for you, this might not be your console of choice.
You Intend to Collect and Trade Games
The Xbox Series S only allows for digital downloads, meaning you won’t be able to collect physical games, or trade them with friends, which limits your flexibility.
- What does the Xbox Series S setup process entail?
The setup process involves downloading the Xbox application on your phone and completing the setup through this app. You will need to log in with your Xbox/Microsoft ID or create a new account if you don’t have one.
- What is the Xbox Game Pass?
The Xbox Game Pass is a subscription service that provides access to a large library of games, from older releases to newer ones. It is a key selling factor for the Xbox Series S.
- What are the notable features of the Xbox Series S controller?
The controller maintains a familiar design with small changes like a new share button in the middle. Textures have been added to the back and triggers for enhanced grip. However, the D-pad design might not be liked by everyone.
- What is the console’s resolution and refresh rate?
The Xbox Series S can upscale up to 4K. With 4K upscaling turned off, the console can achieve a 120 Hz refresh rate.
- What are some negative points about the Xbox Series S?
The storage is limited to 512GB, which might be an issue for those who want to download and play numerous games. Also, it’s all digital download as there is no CD slot.
- Who is the Xbox Series S suitable for?
The Xbox Series S is for those who want to experience next-gen gaming without spending too much. It offers many features for its price range, but if you plan on using the console for several years, consider investing in the Xbox Series X instead.