You may have noticed a faint trickle of unboxings and painfully limited previews of new consoles at Ars Technica as of late, and today, I have more of the same to offer. This time, I can finally confirm receipt of Microsoft’s $299 Xbox Series S, now in addition to the $499 Xbox Series X I’ve been testing for over a month.
When we went down this road with Series X earlier this month and Sony’s $499 PlayStation 5 one day ago, here’s how things began: we announced that we’d gotten the device in question and offered a mild tease while ensuring you, Ars readers, that we were merely diving in with tests and impressions ahead of a more formal review. Today’s gallery revolves specifically around the final, retail hardware Microsoft sent us for both flavors of its Xbox Series line; the Series X I’ve previously shown off has been a “near-final” prototype (likely one meant for use at events like E3, before those went kaput).
Hence, I finally get to yank them out of their boxes (above), then present them in a mild comparison gallery (below). Unlike prior generations, neither new Xbox comes with a physical coupon for subscription services like Xbox Game Pass or Xbox Live Gold, arguably because Microsoft has shifted toward offering those directly to brand-new customers once said customers connect consoles to the Internet. (Apologies in advance to longtime Xbox subscribers hoping for a fun 14-day re-up in the box.)
With both consoles’ retail versions in hand, I can now confirm I’m full-steam ahead on preparing their reviews and comparisons. While I can’t say anything yet, I’m laser-focused on the $299 question as of late: how will the same games scale on both the “up to 4K” power of Series X and the “up to 1440p” power of the discless Series S? Plus, of course, I have all kinds of other tests in mind: power draw, noise, memory limitations, and so on. (Whatever you want to know, ask away in the comments, and I’ll keep those queries in mind as I get to “work.”)
While I can’t yet say exactly when those reviews will run, you can be confident that they’ll arrive in time for the consoles’ upcoming November 10 launch at online and brick-and-mortar retailers.
Listing image by Sam Machkovech