Xbox Series S: Your Complete Guide


The Xbox Series S is Microsoft’s newest venture into the world of next-generation consoles. This sleek and compact device boasts impressive processing power at an accessible price point. But is it the right choice for you?

This blog dives deep into everything Xbox Series S. We’ll explore its technical specifications, compare it to other Xbox models, and unveil its exciting features. We’ll also cover compatibility with your favorite games and accessories, troubleshoot common problems, and discuss upgrade and customization options.

By the end of this comprehensive guide, you’ll be a certified Xbox Series S expert, ready to make an informed decision about your next gaming adventure.

Xbox Series S Specs

The Xbox Series S packs a next-generation punch in a surprisingly small package. Let’s dissect its technical components to understand its true potential:

  • Processor: Custom AMD Zen 2 3.6 GHz octa-core CPU (with SMT – Simultaneous Multithreading)
  • GPU: Custom AMD RDNA 2 architecture with 4 teraflops, 20 CUs (Compute Units) at 1.55 GHz
  • RAM: 10GB GDDR6 memory (with 8GB at 224 GB/s for graphics and 2GB at 56 GB/s for system functions)
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe PCIe Gen 4 SSD (usable storage around 364GB) with 2.4 GB/s throughput
  • Resolution Capabilities: Targets 1440p resolution with support for 4K upscaling, capable of reaching up to 120 FPS (frames per second)
  • Ports: One HDMI 2.1 port (supports 4K resolution at 120Hz), one USB-A port (for external storage), one Gigabit Ethernet port, and a dedicated port for the Xbox Wireless Controller

Additional Technical Details:

  • Backward compatible with four generations of Xbox games
  • Supports DirectX Raytracing for enhanced lighting effects
  • Features Xbox Velocity Architecture for faster load times and improved game performance
  • Quick Resume allows you to pick up where you left off in multiple games instantly

This hardware configuration allows the Xbox Series S to deliver smooth gameplay, fast loading times, and stunning visuals, even if it doesn’t quite reach the native 4K capabilities of its bigger brother, the Xbox Series X.

Xbox Series S vs. Other Models

The Xbox Series S doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Let’s see how it stacks up against its competitors:

Xbox One and Xbox One S:

The Xbox Series S blows its last-generation counterparts, the Xbox One and Xbox One S, out of the water. It boasts significantly faster processing power, a next-generation architecture for improved visuals and performance, and features like DirectX Raytracing and Xbox Velocity Architecture that are simply unavailable on older models. While the One S has a disc drive, the Series S targets a future where digital downloads reign supreme.  Price-wise, the Xbox One and One S can be found at very attractive discounts, but they lack the future-proofing and raw power of the Series S.

Xbox Series X:

The Xbox Series S shares the same DNA as its bigger sibling, the Xbox Series X. However, the Series X is the undisputed powerhouse. It boasts a higher resolution target (native 4K vs. 1440p with upscaling), more powerful hardware, and a larger storage capacity (1TB vs. 512GB). However, this extra muscle comes at a premium price.

The Xbox Series S is the ideal choice for gamers who want to experience next-generation features at an accessible price point. It’s perfect for those who primarily rely on digital downloads and prioritize affordability over absolute top-tier performance.

PlayStation 5:

The PlayStation 5 (PS5) is the main competitor to the Xbox Series S. Both consoles offer similar performance and features, with some key differences. The PS5 boasts a unique DualSense controller with haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, while the Xbox Series S counters with its focus on Xbox Game Pass, a subscription service with a vast library of downloadable games. Ultimately, the choice between Xbox Series S and PS5 boils down to personal preference for games, controllers, and ecosystem.

Xbox Series S Features

The Xbox Series S isn’t just about affordability; it boasts a compelling set of features that cater to a specific gamer niche:

Compact Design:  The Xbox Series S is the smallest Xbox ever created. Its sleek and lightweight design makes it perfect for smaller entertainment centers or those who prioritize portability.

Next-Gen Performance at an Accessible Price: Don’t let the size fool you. The Xbox Series S delivers impressive next-generation power thanks to its custom AMD architecture and the Xbox Velocity Architecture. Experience lightning-fast load times, smooth frame rates, and stunning visuals without breaking the bank.

Backward Compatibility Champion: The Xbox Series S boasts incredible backward compatibility. Play games from four generations of Xbox, including Xbox One, Xbox 360, and even original Xbox titles.

Quick Resume: This innovative feature lets you jump back into multiple games exactly where you left off in seconds, eliminating long waits and letting you dive straight back into the action.

Digital Games Library: The Xbox Series S is a digital-only console. This translates to a clutter-free setup and easy access to a vast library of downloadable games.

Subscription Powerhouse: Pair your Xbox Series S with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (subscription sold separately) and unlock a treasure trove of benefits. Play new releases the day they launch, access hundreds of high-quality games, and enjoy online multiplayer, all with a single subscription.

Cloud Gaming: With Xbox Cloud Gaming (available with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate), you can stream certain games directly to your console. This eliminates download times and lets you try out new titles before committing storage space.

Seamless Integration: The Xbox Series S integrates perfectly with the Xbox ecosystem. Use your existing Xbox account, controllers, and accessories (with some limitations for older hardware) to hit the ground running.

The Xbox Series S might not be the most powerful console on the market, but it punches well above its weight in features, making it a compelling option for budget-minded gamers who crave a next-gen experience.

Xbox Series S Compatibility

The Xbox Series S excels at bridging the gap between generations. Let’s explore its compatibility with games, accessories, and peripherals:

Game Compatibility:

  • Xbox One Games: The star of the show! The Xbox Series S boasts fantastic backward compatibility, meaning you can play the vast majority of Xbox One games on your new console. In some cases, you might even experience improved performance, faster load times, and even auto HDR.
  • Xbox 360 and Original Xbox Games: A selection of Xbox 360 and original Xbox titles are also playable on the Xbox Series S. You can check the official Xbox backward compatibility list here to see if your favorite classics are supported.
  • Disc vs. Digital Download: Here’s a crucial point: The Xbox Series S is a digital-only console. It doesn’t have a disc drive. This means you’ll need to purchase games digitally or redeem download codes. However, if you already own digital Xbox One games, they’ll be readily available in your game library.

Accessory and Peripheral Compatibility:

  • Xbox Controllers: Here’s some good news! Most Xbox One controllers, including the standard Xbox One Wireless Controller, the Elite Series 2 controller, and the Xbox Adaptive Controller, are compatible with the Xbox Series S.
  • Other Accessories: Generally, wired headsets and other accessories designed for Xbox One should work with the Xbox Series S. However, it’s always a good idea to check the manufacturer’s specifications for confirmation.
  • Kinect Sensor: Be aware that the Xbox Series S, like the Series X, does not support the Kinect sensor. Games that require Kinect functionality won’t be playable.

Overall, the Xbox Series S offers excellent backward compatibility with Xbox One games and most Xbox One accessories. While there are a few limitations, like the lack of a disc drive and Kinect support, the Series S seamlessly bridges the gap between generations for a smooth transition into next-gen gaming.

Xbox Series S Problems

The Xbox Series S is a powerful little console, but no device is perfect. Here are some common problems you might encounter, along with solutions to get you back in the game:

Limited Storage Space: With only 512GB of storage (with usable space around 364GB), the Xbox Series S can fill up fast, especially with modern game file sizes.

  • Solution: Be strategic about what games you install. Utilize cloud storage with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to archive games you’re not actively playing. Consider an external storage expansion card for additional space, although these can be expensive.

Performance Issues: While the Xbox Series S is capable, it may not always reach the same graphical fidelity or frame rates as the Xbox Series X.

  • Solution: Adjust in-game graphics settings to prioritize performance over visuals. Ensure your console has proper ventilation to avoid overheating, which can throttle performance.

Overheating: The compact design might lead to overheating issues, especially in poorly ventilated areas.

  • Solution:  Place your console in a well-ventilated space with plenty of airflow around the vents. Avoid completely enclosing the console. If overheating persists, contact Xbox Support.

Game Compatibility Issues: While the Xbox Series S boasts great backward compatibility, there might be a few titles that aren’t supported or experience glitches.

  • Solution:  Check the official Xbox backward compatibility list here for known issues. Update your games to the latest versions, as updates often address compatibility problems.

Connectivity Problems: Maintaining a strong and stable internet connection is crucial for online gaming.

  • Solution:  Run a network test on your Xbox to diagnose any connectivity issues.  Try restarting your router and modem. If using Wi-Fi, consider a wired ethernet connection for a more reliable signal.

For any issues beyond these, remember to consult the Xbox Support website here for detailed troubleshooting guides and additional resources. They can also help with more specific problems you might encounter.

Xbox Series S Accessories

The Xbox Series S might be a streamlined machine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enhance your gaming experience with a variety of compatible accessories. Here’s a look at some must-have options to elevate your gameplay:


Xbox Wireless Controller (Black or White): The tried-and-true standard gamepad for Xbox. It features a familiar design, textured grip, and Share button for capturing screenshots and gameplay clips.

Xbox Elite Series 2 Core Controller (White):  For the ultimate competitive edge, the Elite Series 2 offers superior customization options. It boasts interchangeable thumbsticks, adjustable hair triggers, and rear paddles for additional button mapping.

PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller (Various Colors):  A budget-friendly option that delivers wired performance at a fraction of the cost of wireless controllers. It offers a comfortable design and multiple color options to match your style.


Xbox Wireless Headset:  A solid all-around headset designed specifically for Xbox consoles. It provides clear audio, comfortable earcups, and a built-in microphone for seamless communication during online gameplay.

SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless Headset: For the ultimate audio experience, the Arctis 9X offers wireless freedom, exceptional sound quality, and a comfortable fit. It features a sleek design, a noise-canceling microphone, and long battery life.

Storage Expansion:

Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X/S:  The official storage solution from Seagate seamlessly integrates with your Xbox Series S. It’s a pricey but convenient way to expand your storage capacity for a vast library of games.

WD Black D10 Game Drive (Various Storage Sizes):  A more affordable alternative for external storage, the WD Black D10 is a portable hard drive that offers a significant storage boost for your Xbox Series S game collection.

Other Accessories:

PDP Media Remote Control:  For a more relaxed gaming experience, the PDP Media Remote lets you control your Xbox Series S like a streaming device. Perfect for browsing apps, streaming movies, and navigating the dashboard.

Xbox Rechargeable Battery + USB-C Cable:  Ditch the disposable batteries! This rechargeable battery pack keeps your Xbox Wireless Controller powered up for extended gaming sessions.

This list provides a starting point for enhancing your Xbox Series S setup. With a variety of controllers, headsets, storage options, and other accessories to choose from, you can personalize your console and create the perfect gaming environment.

Xbox Series S Upgrade Options

The Xbox Series S is a fantastic console, but you might crave more storage or a customized experience. While internal hardware upgrades aren’t possible, here are some ways to optimize your Xbox Series S:

Storage Expansion:

External Hard Drive (HDD): The most affordable way to add storage. It’s great for storing older Xbox One and backwards compatible titles you don’t play frequently. However, external HDDs have slower transfer speeds compared to other options, impacting load times for next-gen games played from them.

External Solid State Drive (SSD): A faster and more balanced option. External SSDs offer a significant performance boost over HDDs, improving load times for all games, but they come at a higher cost.

Seagate Storage Expansion Card: The official and priciest storage solution. These cards match the internal SSD’s performance, seamlessly expanding your storage for optimal next-gen experiences.

Controller Customization:

Xbox Design Lab: Design your own unique Xbox Wireless Controller with a variety of colors, finishes, and even custom laser engraving to reflect your style.

Interchangeable Thumbsticks:  Replace the stock thumbsticks on your controller with different heights and textures to improve grip and comfort, especially for specific genres like FPS games.

Controller Paddles:  Add paddles to the back of your Xbox Elite Series 2 controller for more button mapping options, potentially giving you a competitive edge in fast-paced games.

Performance Enhancements (Limited Options):

Due to the locked nature of the console’s hardware, internal upgrades like adding more RAM or a more powerful CPU aren’t possible. However, you can optimize performance through software means:

Manage Storage Space: Regularly delete or archive games you’re not playing to free up space and improve overall system performance.

Ensure Proper Ventilation:  Keep your console in a well-ventilated area to prevent overheating, which can throttle performance.

Adjust In-Game Settings: If you prioritize frame rate over visual fidelity, some games offer graphics settings that allow you to tweak performance.

Update Your Games:  Game developers frequently release updates that can improve performance and address bugs. Keeping your games up-to-date can ensure a smoother experience.

Remember: The Xbox Series S is designed to be a budget-friendly next-gen entry point. If you crave the absolute top tier performance and raw power, consider the Xbox Series X or a high-end gaming PC. However, with strategic storage management,  customization options, and software optimizations, you can get the most out of your Xbox Series S and enjoy a fantastic next-gen gaming experience.

Xbox Series S Customization Options

The Xbox Series S might be a minimalist marvel, but that doesn’t mean you can’t personalize it and make it your own. Here’s a look at how you can add a touch of flair to your console:

Controller Customization:

Xbox Design Lab:  The crown jewel of controller customization. Design your dream Xbox Wireless Controller with a vast selection of colors, finishes, and even laser engraving to reflect your personality or favorite game.

Third-Party Controller Skins and Decals:  For a more affordable option, various third-party vendors offer vinyl skins and decals for your Xbox Wireless Controller.  These come in a vast array of designs and themes, letting you showcase your favorite characters, games, or simply add a splash of color.

Interchangeable Thumbsticks and D-Pads:  These aren’t just about performance (mentioned earlier).  Many come in different colors and even unique shapes, allowing you to subtly customize the look and feel of your controller.

Limited Console Customization:

While the small size and clean lines of the Xbox Series S make it visually distinct, there aren’t many options for directly customizing the console itself. However, some third-party vendors might offer skins or decals specifically made for the console, although these solutions may vary in quality and effectiveness.

Overall Look and Feel:

Controller Stands and Charging Docks:  Showcase your customized controller or limited edition controllers with a stylish stand.  Charging docks not only keep your controllers powered up but can also double as display units.

Gaming Headset: While primarily functional, the right headset can add a personal touch to your setup. Many headsets come in various colors and designs to complement your overall aesthetic.

Lighting:  Spruce up your gaming environment with LED light strips or smart lighting that can react to your gameplay or create a specific mood.

Remember, customization is all about personal expression.  While the Xbox Series S itself might not offer extensive customization options, you can personalize your controller and create a unique gaming environment that reflects your style.

In Crux

The Xbox Series S is a compelling proposition for gamers seeking a next-gen experience at an accessible price. It boasts impressive performance, a compact design, and a vast library of games through Xbox Game Pass.

This comprehensive guide has equipped you with the knowledge to make an informed decision. You’ve explored the technical specs, compared it to other consoles, and discovered the features, compatibility options, and even upgrade and customization possibilities.

Are you ready to join the next generation of gaming with the Xbox Series S?

We encourage you to share your thoughts!  Leave a comment below about what excites you most about the Xbox Series S, or if you have any questions this guide hasn’t answered.  You can also continue the discussion on social media using #XboxSeriesS.

Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or just starting your journey, the Xbox Series S offers a gateway to incredible experiences.  We hope this guide has helped you decide if the Xbox Series S is the right console for you.  Happy gaming!

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