How to Pick the Best Xbox One Console For You

Confused between Xbox One, One S and One X? Sort it out here

how to pick the best xbox one console
How do the different Xbox One consoles stack up?. Microsoft.

The process of choosing a game console used to begin and end with the decision between Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. Hardware revisions were usually minimal and came at the end of a console generation, but the landscape is a lot more complicated now. If you want to buy an Xbox One console, you have to choose between the original, the Xbox One S, and the Xbox One X.

The Xbox One X is the most recent revision of the Xbox One console, so if you want to game on the latest and greatest system available, your choice is easy. However, there are still valid reasons to buy an Xbox One S, and you can technically still play all the same games on the original Xbox One. Every version of the Xbox One is also capable of playing regular Blu-Ray movies, but they aren't all capable of handling ultra high definition (UHD) Blu-Rays.

Here are the three key differences between the Xbox One, Xbox One S and Xbox One X, followed by a more in depth examination of the pros and cons of each:

Xbox One

  • 4k: No, doesn't play Blu-Rays or games in 4k.
  • Regular Blu-Ray: Yes, plays regular Blu-Ray movies (requires app download.)
  • UHD Blu-Ray: No, doesn't play UHD Blu-Rays.
  • Plays enhanced games: Yes, but without enhancements.

Xbox One S

  • 4k: Yes, but games are upscaled to 4k.
  • Regular Blu-Ray: Yes, plays regular Blu-Ray movies (requires app download.)
  • UHD Blu-Ray: Yes, plays UHD Blu-Rays in 4k.
  • Plays enhanced games: Yes, but without enhancements.

Xbox One X

  • 4k: Yes, plays games in native 4k when available.
  • Regular Blu-Ray: Yes, plays regular Blu-Ray movies (requires app download.)
  • UHD Blu-Ray: Yes, plays UHD Blu-Rays in 4k.
  • Plays enhanced games: Yes, with full enhancements.

Xbox One X

Released: November 2017
Display Resolution: 720p, 1080p, 4k
Kinect Port: No, requires an adapter.

The Xbox One X is technically still an Xbox One, and it plays the entire library of Xbox One games. However, the hardware inside the case is significantly more powerful than either the Xbox One or the Xbox One S.

The biggest difference between the Xbox One X and its predecessors is that it's capable of outputting both Blu-Ray movies and games in native 4k.

Pros:

  • Huge game library - The Xbox One X is compatible with the entire back catalog of Xbox One games.
  • Best available graphics - You can connect the Xbox One X to a 720p or 1080p television, but it really shines if you buy a great 4k television. Unlike its predecessors, it supports native 4k output for both Blu-Ray movies and games.
  • Best gaming experience - The Xbox One X features improved graphics and gameplay for select game titles. Look for games that have 4K Ultra HD, HDR, or Xbox One X Enhanced badges.
  • 4k video in apps - Aside from the UHD Blu-Ray drive, you can also watch 4k video in the YouTube App.
  • The most powerful hardware - Features significantly upgraded hardware over the Xbox One S and Xbox One. The Xbox One X is four times more powerful than the original Xbox One.
  • Improved backwards compatibility - Select Xbox 360 games, including Halo 3 and Fallout 3, received tweaks that result in significantly better graphics when played on an Xbox One X.
  • Great controller - the Xbox One X comes with the same improved controller that was included with the Xbox One S.
  • Size - The Xbox One X is a little bit smaller than the Xbox One S, and it still doesn't have a  bulky external power supply.

Cons:

  • Cost - The Xbox One X is more expensive than the earlier revisions.
  • Fails to shine on older televisions - The Xbox One X requires a 4k television with high dynamic range (HDR) to see much of a graphical improvement over the Xbox One S.
  • Missing Kinect connectivity - Microsoft removed the Kinect port from the Xbox One S and didn't put it back in the Xbox One X, so you'll need an adapter to play Kinect games.

Xbox One S

Released: August 2016
Display Resolution: 720p, 1080p, 4k (upscaled)
Kinect Port: No, requires an adapter.

The Xbox One S was released almost three years after the original Xbox One, and it includes a number of improvements. The bulky external power supply was removed, the overall size of the console was reduced, and native support for 4k video output was included.

The major downside of the Xbox One S compared to the Xbox One X is that it doesn't support native 4k gaming.

Pros:

  • Huge game library - Plays all the same games as the Xbox One, and it will also play games that include Xbox One X enhancements, just without the enhancements.
  • Cost - The Xbox One S is significantly less expensive than the Xbox One X.
  • Good graphics - The Xbox One S is capable of upscaling games to 4k.
  • Cheap UHD Blu-Ray Player - Includes a built-in UHD Blu-Ray drive, so you can watch Blu-Rays in native 4k.
  • Great controller - The Xbox One S comes with an improved revision of the critically acclaimed Xbox One controller.
  • Size - The Xbox One S is smaller than the Xbox One and only slightly bigger than the Xbox One X. More importantly, it has no bulky external power supply.

Cons:

  • Missing Kinect connectivity - Microsoft nixed the Kinect port, so you need an adapter to use a Kinect with the Xbox One S.
  • No native 4k games - The Xbox One S can output 4k video, but it doesn't support native 4k graphics in games. Instead, it upscales to 4k from 1080p.
  • Performance - Some games may look worse, or run slower, than they would on an Xbox One X.

Xbox One

Released: November 2013
Display Resolution: 720p, 1080p
Kinect Port: Yes, no adapter required.
Manufacturing Status: No longer being made. The original Xbox One was discontinued when the Xbox One S was released.

The original Xbox One is tough to find these days if you're looking for a brand new unit, but getting your hands on a used or refurbished one is much easier.

The main benefit of the original Xbox One over its newer siblings is that it's cheaper, even though it can play all the same games. However, it's important to remember that there are both cosmetic and hardware differences between the Xbox One, the Xbox One S and the Xbox One X.

Pros:

  • Huge game library - The original Xbox One plays all of the same games as the Xbox One X and Xbox One S, including games that are specifically enhanced for the Xbox One X.
  • Cost - If you can find an original Xbox One, you'll probably pay significantly less for it than you would for the newer revisions, especially if you buy a used or refurbished unit.
  • Kinected - The Xbox One originally came bundled with the Kinect, and it's the only version of the console that has a dedicated Kinect port.
  • Good controller - The Xbox One controller was great when it first came out, and it's still a very good option. However, the Xbox One is also compatible with the newer revisions, including the elite controller and the version that originally shipped with the Xbox One S.
  • Blu-Ray player - The Xbox One can play Blu-Ray movies, albeit not in 4k.

Cons:

  • Graphics - The graphics of some games look worse, or run slower, than they would on an Xbox One S or Xbox One X.
  • Basic Blu-Ray - The drive included with the Xbox One can't read UHD Blu-Ray discs.
  • No 4k video - The original Xbox One can't output 4k video at all, upscaled or otherwise.
  • Size - The Xbox One is bigger and takes up more space than the newer revisions. It also has a bulky external power supply.
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