Xbox Series X vs. Xbox Series S: Which One is Right for Me?

We break down the differences between Xbox's next-gen video game consoles.

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are Xbox's next-gen video game consoles that were released during the holiday season of 2020.

While both consoles are technically part of the same console generation (similar to how the Xbox One and Xbox One S are in the same generation), there are some noteworthy differences between the systems.

We’re here with a look at the major differences (and similarities) between the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, so you can have all of the information you need to decide which console is right for your family.

Xbox Series X (left) and Xbox Series S (right), Source: Xbox

Price and Release Date

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S launched on November 10, 2020.

The Xbox Series X costs $499, while the Xbox Series S is $200 cheaper, at $299.

You can purchase either console individually, or purchase your desired system through an Xbox All Access installment plan.

Through the Xbox All Access program, you can purchase the console of your choice, along with a 24-month subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, for a flat monthly price for 24 months.

(As a reminder, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is Xbox’s game subscription service that gives you unlimited access to over 100 console and PC games, as well as Xbox Live Gold, for a flat monthly price.)

Through the Xbox All Access program, the Xbox Series X is available for $34.99 per month for 24 months, while the Xbox Series S can be purchased for $24.99 per month for 24 months.

Disc Drive or No Disc Drive

Aside from the price, one of the biggest differences between the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S is the fact that the Xbox Series S does not include a disc drive. This means you will not be able to play any of the Xbox games you purchase at the store using their physical discs. You’ll only be able to play games that you’ve downloaded over the internet.

Physically, the Xbox Series S is a much smaller console than the Xbox Series X, so if space near the TV is a concern, keep that in mind.

Performance and Storage

The Xbox Series X is a more powerful console than the Xbox Series S, and it also has more space to store games.

Specifically, the Xbox Series X will contain a 1TB solid state drive (SSD), while the Xbox Series S will only have a 512GB SSD (that’s about half of the space). You’ll be able to expand the storage capacity for both consoles by purchasing a separate expansion card.

The Xbox Series X will also support 4K at 60 FPS (and up to 120 FPS), while the Series S supports 1440p at 60 FPS (and up to 120 FPS).

Aside from these differences, both consoles will be able to play next-gen Xbox games, as well as play “thousands” of Xbox One games and backwards-compatible Xbox 360 games. You’ll also be able to use your Xbox One accessories with both systems.

Check out the image below for a more in-depth comparison of the two consoles’ technical performance.

Source: Xbox

Smart Delivery

The Xbox One X will support a special feature called Smart Delivery. If your family already owns an Xbox One and you plan to upgrade to an Xbox One X, this Smart Delivery feature will allow you to purchase a game for Xbox One, and then receive an upgrade to the Xbox Series X version of the title at a later time, without buying the game all over again. 

Xbox will use Smart Delivery with all of its Xbox Game Studios titles, and all developers and publishers will have the option to use the feature for their own games.

You can learn more about Smart Delivery in our previous coverage.


The Xbox Series X and S aren't the only new video game consoles that launched in 2020. If you're interested in learning about the differences between the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, check out our guide.

Or, if you're looking for the best kid-friendly games on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, we have a list of recommendations right here.