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Microsoft Xbox One S review

 Review: August 2016  
 

Rating: 5 stars

In a nutshell: The Microsoft Xbox One S is a very welcome upgrade to Microsoft's game console and all-round entertainment system. 40% smaller, and with an internal power supply, it's a much nicer-looking box. It's also a low-cost way to embrace UHD Blu-ray, and brings 4K streaming, plus 4K upscaling and HDR support for games.

Best buy: Microsoft Xbox One S 500GB from Currys (£229.99)



 

Evolution, not revolution

Is it really two-and-a-half years since the Xbox One launched? It is. That means it's time for an upgrade - not a new generation console, but a modest upping of performance, and a new look too.

Design

The Xbox One S has been given a design makeover, and it's a real improvement. The One S is 40% smaller than the original Xbox One, despite having the power supply made internal. It's much less overbearing than the original, and can be mounted vertically too. The design is high-end, and is designed to partner with a premium designer TV to add style to your TV room.

Partial support for 4K, HDR

When the Xbox One originally launched, TVs were 1080p. Now they're 4K, and HDR-capable too. UHD Blu-ray also launched this year. The Xbox One S has been upgraded to support all these new developments.

That doesn't mean that the Xbox One S has full support for 4K gaming. Rather, it will upscale games to 4K, and can stream 4K content from Amazon Instant Video and Netflix. It also has support for Ultra HD Blu-Ray.

Games that have been designed to take advantage of HDR, such as Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3 use this feature to add more light and dark, plus richer colours to the game. You'll need a HDR-compatible TV to take advantage of this feature, however. With a conventional TV, the games will look the same as on an Xbox One.

Other changes

There are other minor enhancements. The maximum internal storage has been raised to 2TB. The design of the controller has changed in subtle ways, and has twice the wireless range. The Kinect port has been removed, and it looks like this feature is being phased out.

Should I upgrade?

Is it worth upgrading from an Xbox One to the One S? It might be if you have a high-end HDR TV and want to get the best graphics possible. The One S also gives you a low-cost route into UHD Blu-Ray, as well as 4K streaming. But if you don't have one of the very latest UHD TVs, it would be better to wait until the next iteration of the Xbox is released next year.


Microsoft Xbox One S features include:

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Microsoft Xbox One S 500GB
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Microsoft Xbox One S 1TB
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