Microsoft’s latest gaming console, the Xbox One S will release on August 2nd. Currently, you’re still able to pre-order a limited edition 2TB console, which will set you back $549AUD. After this pre-allocation sells out, Microsoft will be offering a 500GB bundle for $399AUD and a 1TB bundle for $499AUD, both with Halo 5 and Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
The tech giant used E3 to announce not only the S model, but another beast that it has lurking in the shadows, titled Project Scorpio. With Scorpio releasing in 2017, many are asking ‘Should I buy an Xbox One?’Firstly, let me tell you what we know about the Project Scorpio. Xbox chief Phil Spencer has said it will be “the most powerful console ever built.” Although, it may have some competition, with Sony releasing the PlayStation 4.5 NEO, which is rumoured to come out later this year. A recent leaked document however has suggested that the NEO will pack around 2.3x the power of the PS4, putting it at around 4 teraflops. Comparatively, Scorpio is expected to reach 6 teraflops, albeit the NEO is more of an incremental update rather than a new generation of console like Scorpio.
Let’s first look at what sets the Xbox One S apart from the original Xbox One. The obvious difference is its form factor. At 40% smaller than its predecessor, the S is a sleek looking machine which now comes in white rather than black. In addition, Microsoft has managed to remove the unsightly external power brick which accompanied the Xbox One and 360, and internalise the power supply entirely. Aesthetically, these changed are welcome, although I will be interested to see how the S manages any heat issues with the power supply having moved into a considerably smaller shell.Looks aside, the S now supports 4K Ultra HD video playback, which I feel may ultimately be the biggest drawcard for the console as those with true 4K televisions can now enjoy their 4K Blu Rays and Netflix media in all their glory. In addition to 4K media playback, the Xbox One S also includes high dynamic range (HDR) colour support. This will bring more accurate colours, deeper blacks, and brighter whites to your screen. This is a big deal, but again, you will need to have a compatible TV to enjoy this feature. It also comes with an updated controller which is bluetooth compatible, allows you to plug headphones into directly and is said to have better group and will also come with a vertical stand.
Lets break it down and work out whether you should buy an Xbox One S based on your current gaming status.
YOU DON’T CURRENTLY OWN AN XBOX ONE, BUT WANT ONE
This is ultimately the easiest position to be in when it comes to deciding whether or not to buy an Xbox One S. While the original Xbox will inevitably get a price drop, the sleek improved look, new controller, precious extra hard drive space and support for 4K media and HDR makes the S an obvious choice. Unless you particularly like the look of the original One or are on a strict budget, shell out the bit of extra cash and pick up the S model.
YOU ALREADY OWN AN XBOX ONE
This is a trickier situation. Aside from support for 4K and HDR playback, you aren’t going to be getting any other operational benefits from the S that you don’t already enjoy from the console you own. If you have a 4K capable TV and have been wanting a device to play 4K content, given the One S is the same price as many standalone UHD players, it’s a no brainer to trade in your current console and upgrade to an S. However, if 4K playback or the addition of HDR doesn’t appeal to you, it is difficult to mount a case as to why you should buy an S, especially with Scorpio waiting in the wings. Unless you have a strong passion for form factors, you should give the S a miss.
YOU’RE WAITING FOR THE RELEASE OF PROJECT SCORPIO OR PLAYSTATION NEO
If you are among the masses excited about these future consoles from the 2 biggest players in the console industry, then you also have a decision to make. While the release of NEO is supposedly closer than Scorpio, it is said to be a more incremental update compared to what Scorpio is said to offer.
If you own an Xbox One or PS4 already and have your sights firmly set on Scorpio or NEO, of course you should give an Xbox One S a miss. However, if you don’t own one of these consolse already but are wanting to experience console gaming before the release of these consoles, the Xbox One S could be a perfect stopgap option in the meantime. It is a powerful console capable of playing the full Xbox catalogue, and should still hold good resale value between now and the release of either of those consoles.
Whether you should buy an Xbox One S comes down entirely to circumstance. If you don’t own an Xbox but want one, get an S. If you own an Xbox currently, don’t waste your cash on an S for now. Ultimately though, most gamers would at least be curious about Project Scorpio or NEO, which are both next level gaming consoles. The One S is Microsoft’s attempt to keep Xbox sales stimulated in the lead up to the release of Scorpio. With its sleek and attractive new form factor, 4K and HDR support and increased hard drive space, the Xbox One S will be the perfect suitor to some consumers.