Xbox One S arrives on August 2, but is it better to wait for Xbox Scorpio?
The Xbox One S is hitting stores on August 2 in the US, Europe and Australasia. Microsoft’s tagline for it is “Sleeker. Slimmer. Sharper.”, which is a fair summary. It’s basically an upgrade on the existing Xbox One with a higher price tag. The new 2TB console is available for pre-order (via Target, International) and is priced at $399 (£350, AU$549). 1TB ($349) and 500MG ($299) models will appear later in August. For comparison, bundles for the Xbox One are currently selling at $288.79 for 1TB and $264.99 for 500MB versions.
Significant upgrade Xbox Scorpio due in 2017
The Xbox One S is undoubtedly an upgrade on the existing console, although that doesn’t mean it’s worth buying. The vastly more powerful Project Scorpio Xbox is cued to arrive in late 2017. Is it is really worth a small upgrade that costs $399 now, when you can get the real deal in 12 months of so? The Scorpio will have an 8 core CPU, six teraflops of power (ie it’s very fast), true 4K gaming, high fidelity VR and 320GBs of memory bandwidth.
Xbox One S reduces size, increases performance
What has the Xbox One S got? It’s 40 per cent smaller than the original console and its power supply is integrated so you won’t have any clunky cables laying about. Unlike the Xbox One, it also features a vertical stand, so you can reduce its footprint further.
A key technical upgrade is the inclusion of 4K video. The console will be able to stream 4k video from Netflix and Amazon Instant Video as well as play Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. However it doesn’t allow native 4K gaming. It will stretch Xbox games, which are 1080p or in some cases 900p or 720p, to fill a 3840 x 2160 space. Additionally, you can only take advantage of the 4k resolution if you have a compatible TV.
A notable Xbox One S feature is High Dynamic Range technology, which increases the constrast radio between light and dark, bringing out greater visual depth. Like the 4k resolution, only people with compatible TVs will benefit from this. Head of Gears of War 4 studio The Coalition said the console’s additional GPU and CPU power enables faster frame-rates for upcoming game releases. However apart from the improvements mentioned above, the console is not otherwise intended to increase in-game graphics.
Microsoft gives Kinect the boot for Xbox One S
The new console lacks included Kinect functionality, unlike the original release of the Xbox One. Furthermore, you require a USB pass-through cable to connect the device if you want to use a Kinect. While it wasn’t as widely adopted as Microsoft would have hoped, the peripheral can be handy for voice commands and for its microphone during Skype conversations. Charging more for a new console that doesn’t feature it nor allow easy connection of one seems odd, even if the Kinect is not a well-loved feature.
The Xbox One S has a new streamlined Xbox Wireless Controller with up to twice the wireless range. Otherwise the new console is functionally very similar to the existing Xbox.
New console only worth it for specific consumers
The Xbox One S console is perhaps worth it for people with TVs that can take advantage of its new features, have some spare cash and are looking to declutter their lounge room. If none of the above is relevant for you, then it’s really quite hard to justify picking it up. The older console is cheaper and likely to drop in price even further. It’s also really quite similar in terms of gaming applications (as opposed to streaming/movie applications). Furthermore, the Xbox Scorpio is on the horizon. Personally I would be holding out for that or snapping up a bargain with a reduced price Xbox One if you don’t have one already.
The new model is Xbox’s attempt to compete with the more powerful Sony Playstation 4, which has reportedly doubled the sales of its competitor. Sony are also coming out with an upgrade to the Playstation 4, titled Neo. It’s reportedly 4K and VR enabled and features higher visual fidelity and frame-rates. Unlike the new Xbox consoles, the feature set for the Playstation Neo is essentially speculation based on leaks at this point.
The 2TB launch edition Xbox One S will be available in the following countries on August 2: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK and United States.