Review Xbox Series S: too small and ideal for digital format [análise/vídeo]

O Xbox Series S arrived and inaugurated, next to the Series X, the new generation of consoles of Microsoft. O Tecnoblog start your battery of analyzes with the company’s white video game and comment, in detail, what it has to offer to the public. Miniature in size and price, the Series S is a curious device to say the least. Is it worth the investment? Follow the review and find out.

Xbox Series S video review

Ethics notice

O Tecnoblog is a technology-independent journalistic vehicle that helps people make their next purchase decision since 2005. Our product reviews are opinionated and have no advertising intent. For this reason, we always transparently highlight the positive and negative points of each product.

No company, manufacturer or store has paid the Tecnoblog to produce this content. Our reviews are not reviewed or approved by external agents. The Xbox Series S was provided by Microsoft on an indefinite loan. The product will be used in future content.

What is the Xbox Series S?

The Xbox Series S can be called a “smaller console”, literally, both in power and in design. But those who think it is less important are mistaken than the Xbox Series X, its “most powerful” brother.

Xbox Series S is one of two new consoles from Microsoft (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

With this device, Microsoft wants to reach a well-defined type of audience, who wants to enter the new generation while spending as little as possible. Whether in cash for the video game, space or even investment in the game collection – and we will detail about that, throughout the analysis.

In the USA, the Series S costs US $ 299. The price is the same as for a Nintendo Switch, a console that was launched in 2017 and is already, more or less, in the middle of its “useful life”. In Brazil, it is even cheaper than the Nintendo device: R $ 2,799 is the price practiced by Microsoft here, against R $ 2,999 for the Switch.

But this is not a comparison, but analysis of the Xbox Series S as an individual device, without depending on others. The example given was just to get an idea of ​​what kind of audience your production company wants to reach with it.

The amount charged on its sale is an excellent track, but the S Series has other attractions that can serve as a gimmick.

Unboxing

Here in the Tecnoblog, we have already made an unboxing with the Xbox Series S. For those who lost, here it is:

In the box, the complete product consists of:

  • The video game itself
  • Control
  • Two batteries for control
  • HDMI cable
  • Energy cable
  • Quick installation guide
  • Warranty and safety paperwork

Be sure to check out the unboxing video to learn more about our first impression and get to know the look of the Xbox Series S as soon as it “is born”.

Design: simple and effective

I confess, I found the whole new generation of consoles a little strange in terms of design, the first time I saw the images over the Internet. None of them looks like a “traditional video game”, if one can consider such a concept.

But the look of the Xbox Series S caught my eye in a positive, or less negative, way than the others.

The official dimensions of the Series S are 6.5 cm x 15.1 cm x 27.5 cm. It may not seem like it, but the device is tiny, as far as possible. Slightly bigger than the Wii, which is known to be small, and much smaller than the first Xbox One, which is huge.

The Xbox Series S is really small (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

The Xbox Series S is really small (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

Another detail is that the Xbox Series S is also lightweight. Less than 2kg, or 1.92kg, if you want precision.

But, as I said, I found the design of the device to be of very good taste, actually. Yes, it resembles a portable speaker, thanks to the circle that serves as ventilation at the top, or front, depending on the point of view. At least it’s different!

The Series S has an air of “device of the future” and combines well with the unusual things that technology has been presenting us in recent years. The combination of the white color with the black grille that covers the air outlet also fell very well in the design.

Oh, and it’s worth the tip: be careful not to cover that same outlet: although large and wide, it needs ventilation, since the device heats up a little – not to the point of concern. At the same time the small Xbox is extremely quiet. You only hear the “beep” on or off. I didn’t hear any noise from a “little engine” or a noisy cooler, I hope it will continue to do so over the years.

This air outlet is very quiet (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

This air outlet is very quiet (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

The new joystick

Praise for design also extends to control. The Xbox Series S comes with a white joystick, following the standard of the device. It is slightly smaller than the Xbox One S accessory, but it shares almost all functions – so much so that it works normally on the previous device.

One of the great new features is a “Share” button, in the center of the joystick, which captures screens and game videos more quickly – an inheritance inspired by the same button that already existed in the DualShock 4, from the PlayStation line, which finally reaches the competition. A more than welcome change, by the way.

Share button is new to the Xbox Series S controller (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

Share button is new to the Xbox Series S controller (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

The control, in general, became a little smaller and lighter, but it is almost imperceptible. The triggers have also reduced their size, which is not bad, and have gained a light texture to help “better” trap your fingers in them.

Another great novelty is the digital directional, or D-Pad, which is no longer in the shape of a cross, but rather a disc with stuck directions, similar to what was seen on the Xbox One Elite Controller. Despite being a change that I welcome, I found the D-Pad much louder in this new version of the joystick. It may be because it is a new device and that over time it gets better and less noisy, but it is something that we will only know later.

Detail of the D-Pad for the Xbox Series S controller (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

Detail of the D-Pad for the Xbox Series S controller (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

Maximum speed

The Xbox Series S is a notable little one. It is a console with much less graphics power than the Xbox Series X, but it does not do badly when playing more current games, like Fortnite, Marvel’s Avengers, Gears 5 or Forza Horizon 4, among others that I tested.

It is really impressive what Microsoft in the device architecture, especially if you think that the Series S has “only” 4 teraflops of processing power, aimed at the graphics power – for those who do not remember, the Series X comes with 12 teraflops.

Even so, the Series S is capable of accomplishing almost all the accomplishments of its big brother: it runs games at up to 120 FPS, depending on the title, it is compatible with Ray Tracing in some cases, it has Auto HDR that improves the colors of old games the Xbox line, among other functions.

I wanted to take a break from the graphics debate and talk about another important point in the Series S. What is impressive about this most basic model is the speed.

Thanks to the Xbox Velocity architecture, which is a group of technologies used in the design of the two devices, everything on the S Series is incredibly faster than on any past Xbox One model. Loading a very heavy game can go from 60 to 15 seconds, or even less, depending on the case.

The heart of the idea behind Velocity is the custom NVME SSD storage for the new Xbox. In the case of the Series S, only 512 GB, but which manages to impress when loading the games with the longest loading times possible.

Speed ​​is the highlight of the Xbox Series S (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

Speed ​​is the highlight of the Xbox Series S (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

The SSD is another world. When you start playing with this type of equipped storage, you don’t want to go back. This is a reality that was already very present on computers, although many have adapted SSDs for old video games in recent years, but now we have a technology dedicated to consoles.

The only problem here is that, in fact, it’s only 512 GB. Anyone who is used to playing on recent consoles, such as PS4 or Xbox One, knows that many games take up a lot of disk space. In my tests, I installed between 4 and 6 games, which took up almost all of the storage and did not allow me to download anything else.

It is to be imagined that the smaller SSD, added to a less powerful console and without input for physical media, are some of the main responsible for making the device much cheaper than the other model.

Still, storage could be a bit bigger, if the proposal is to depend only on digital games.

The side more of the same

One thing … Strange, for lack of a better word, in these new Xbox models is that they share the Xbox One interface, in its most updated version. There are only minor news, such as a customizable animated background, Quick Resume – which takes advantage of the SSD – and small options in the settings. But otherwise it is all the same, with a higher speed, also for processing and storage.

While this is good, it can also be bad for some people.

This is an official screen of the Xbox Series X interface, which is valid for the Series S and Xbox One too (Image: Microsoft)

This is an official screen of the Xbox Series X interface, which is valid for the Series S and Xbox One too (Image: Microsoft)

Get the point: when we move from one generation of consoles to another, the tendency is for new devices to have everything new, from the way it starts to the menu, settings and game options.

With the Xbox Series S, and also the X, it’s not quite like that. It feels like playing on a more powerful Xbox One, as the entire interface is virtually the same.

The good thing is that, who migrated from an old platform to the newer one, will have familiarity and will not waste time going straight to the point, the games. The downside is that it does not convey the exact “New Generation” feel that a console of this type requires.

In a way, the same is true with the game library. Which major exclusive company game is being released with the arrival of the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X? Would be Halo Infinite, but it was postponed to 2021. We do have great multiplatform games, like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Watch Dogs: Legion, in addition to others arriving at the same time, such as Gears Tactics.

Highlighted games are in the Series S box (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

Highlighted games are in the Series S box (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

But the absence of something of the caliber of an unprecedented Halo ends up reinforcing the feeling that we are still in the same generation, more powerful graphic power and greater processing apart.

And speaking of games …

Yes, games are an important part of the Xbox Series S ecosystem, even though it is less powerful than the other model. The console doesn’t look ugly. Many games are extremely beautiful, especially those that are exclusive to Microsoft.

Technically, Xbox Series S is the least powerful new generation console when compared to Microsoft’s brother and the competition. Still, there are outstanding visual effects. Games like Gears 5 and Forza Horizon 4, which are already optimized, look even more beautiful. Resolution and frame rate increase and have become more eye-catching.

Gears 5 is one of the games that runs very well on the S Series (Image: Microsoft)

Gears 5 is one of the games that runs very well on the S Series (Image: Microsoft)

But, far beyond graphics, the Xbox Series S is defined by something very important: the Game Pass. Since there is no disc input, the device is highly dependent on a subscription to the Microsoft service, which now has more than 100 games and will also receive EA titles, through EA Play, on its launch on 10 November.

It is true that free space on the SSD will remain a problem, but the owners of the Series S will have to get used to the idea of ​​playing each game gradually. Downloading, playing, deleting and downloading again, when you want to resume some old game or give a chance to the one who played a little and did not follow.

Even with the small criticisms, it is undeniable that Series S and Game Pass were made for each other, so much so that they almost rhyme. Although Microsoft could have inserted a subscription in the box of this model for buyers, at least a 30-day tasting, but perhaps this is too much to dream, considering the price charged on the console.

Also take into account that the backward compatibility of the Xbox Series S (and Series X) is immense. All Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Xbox games available on Xbox One run here, except those that need Kinect, a motion-sensing accessory that no longer exists.

These and other games will run on the Xbox Series X / S (Image: Microsoft)

These and other games will run on the Xbox Series X and S (Image: Microsoft)

Even in the Series S, old games receive improvements, such as HDR itself, already mentioned, and higher resolution and smoothness, with more Frames Per Second. Overall, if you are a longtime Xbox user and your Xbox Live account is packed with purchased games, the device will fit like a glove and guarantee hours of fun.

Conclusion

Despite my criticisms, there is no way to take Microsoft’s merit with the Xbox Series S. It is an excellent console. If I decided to embark on the new generation of devices from scratch, without having any video games before, it would be my option, mainly living in Brazil.

Here, buying physical games is not always a good option. We depend on delayed deliveries, to pick up the game somewhere. In addition, in the case of the Xbox line, digital promotions are much better, not to mention old and backwards compatible games from Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox.

Xbox Series S: a good device (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

Xbox Series S: a good device (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

And, of course, we have the Game Pass in play. There are dozens of games for a subscription price that costs less than some movie streams offered in the country. The Xbox Series S was built for that.

The price of the device is also highly inviting: R $ 2,799 for a video game that just came out of the oven. In this year of 2020 I even bought an Xbox One S All-Digital for R $ 2,299, a small difference of R $ 500 that separates two distinct generations.

And we also have other positive factors: it is an extremely portable console, fits in any backpack, anyone who wants to travel can easily take it anywhere, it fits on the shelf in a versatile way, works to clean – despite being white -, among other positive points and contained in the design.

Xbox Series S compact design (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

Xbox Series S compact design (Image: Felipe Vinha / Tecnoblog)

If you don’t mind a huge power console, but want to join the new generation and buy a device that will receive the same games as the Xbox Series X, the Xbox Series S should be your option. In the long run, it just has to grow, with exclusive games and other news that Microsoft decides to invent or studios that decide to buy.

Technical specifications

  • CPU: 8-core AMD Zen 2 – 3.8GHz
  • GPU: AMD RDNA 2 – 1.565GHz – 4 TFLOPS
  • RAM: 10GB GDDR6
  • Performance: 1440p @ 60FPS / 120 FPS
  • Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD NVME
  • Output: HDMI 2.1

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