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Xbox One S All-Digital Edition vs. Xbox One X: Comparison and buying advice for Microsoft's game consoles – CNET

All three Xbox One devices side by side. The Xbox One X (left), the Xbox One S (center) and soon-to-be-released the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition (right). 

Microsoft

Microsoft's new Xbox One S All-Digital Edition ($250, £200), due out May 7, differs from the existing Xbox One S ($300) in only a handful of ways: 

  • It doesn't have a 4K Blu-ray player, so it can't read game or movie discs -- or any kind of optical disc whatsoever.
  • It weighs 1 pound less. 
  • It includes three games: Forza Horizon 3, the online multiplayer pirate game Sea of Thieves and Minecraft.

Their specs and dimensions are otherwise identical, which is why we thought it'd be more interesting to pit the One S All-Digital Edition against the flagship Xbox One X to help you make a more-informed Xbox buying decision.

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Except for its lower price the One S All-Digital Edition doesn't have any advantages over the more powerful One X. However, questions remain, namely how low will the prices for both consoles go, and how much is the One X's extra power worth to you? It will also be interesting to see what new game bundles crop up and whether Microsoft offers a better deal on its upcoming Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, a subscription service that includes Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold for $15 a month. That $180 per year price is the same as what you'd pay if you bought each separately and combined them.

Specs match-up

By the numbers

Console Xbox One S All-Digital Edition Xbox One X
Processor 8-core Jaguar CPU @ 1.75GHz 8-core Jaguar "Evolved" CPU @ 2.3GHz
Storage 1TB 1TB
Memory 8GB of DDR3 RAM 12GB of GDDR5 RAM
Graphics 12 CUs (914MHz) 1.23 TF GPU 40 CUs (1,172MHz) 6 TF GPU
Ports HDMI-in/HDMI-out, one front-facing and two rear-facing USB 3.0 ports, IR receiver/blaster, SPDIF digital audio, Ethernet port HDMI-in/HDMI-out, one front-facing and two rear-facing USB 3.0 ports, IR receiver/blaster, SPDIF digital audio, Ethernet port
Optical Drive None 4K UHD Blu-ray
Video Output 4K HDR video playback, 1080p HDR gaming 4K HDR video playback, 4K HDR gaming (with select games)
Dimensions 11.6 in. x 8.9 in. x 2.5 in. (29.5cm x 22.6cm x 6.4cm) 11.81 in. x 9.45 in. x 2.36 in. (30cm x 24cm x 6cm)
Weight 5.4 lbs. (2.45kg) 8.4 lbs. (3.81 kg)
Power supply 120W, internal 245W, internal

When it was first released in November of 2017, reviewers spent plenty of time writing about the Xbox One X's performance vs. that of Xbox One S (and Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro). As is evident from the specs above, it's a much more powerful machine, but the problem when the One X first launched was that only a small number of games were certified "Enhanced for Xbox One X." Also, with the One S able to upscale games to 4K resolution on a 4K TV, the lack of true native 4K games made it hard to see a significant difference between the two consoles' output.

Today, however, the list of Xbox One X Enhanced games has grown, along with the number of native 4K games. Many games now look and play better on the Xbox One X. And while you need to own a 4K TV to take full advantage of the One X's performance boost, it never hurts to have more power, even if you're playing on a 1080p TV. Games load faster, the system is zippier overall, and some games may run more smoothly.  

Price check

The Xbox One's list price is $499, but you can pick it up for $399 or even slightly less. As noted, the Xbox One S All-Digital's launch price is $250 (£200), with Microsoft-developed titles MinecraftForza Horizon 3, and Sea of Thieves preinstalled on the drive. 

If you forget the bundled games, the price delta for the two consoles is $150. But, the standard One S regularly sells for $250 or less -- the Black Friday price was basically $200. And those deals invariably include one or more bundled games.   

Personally, I'd argue that it's worth spending the $150 extra on the One X if you have a 4K TV. But Microsoft has effectively said that the price of the One S All-Digital will always be $50 less than the standard One S, so $200 -- or even less -- should be well within reach by fall. 

Now playing: Watch this: Xbox One S: All-Digital Edition drops discs

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Future-proofing: What about the next Xbox? And PS5?

Obviously, the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition is a stripped-down, bargain version of the existing Xbox One. The real next-generation Xbox is still likely more than a year away -- and could be announced as soon as this year's E3 show in June. 

So if an all-new next-gen Xbox is coming in 2020 or thereabouts, why bother with any Xbox now? Well, it took awhile, but Microsoft has made a strong commitment to backward compatibility with the Xbox One -- it can play a huge chunk of the Xbox 360 library, and even some classic Xbox games. It's a safe bet that whatever comes next will likely retain Xbox One compatibility, too -- so any games you buy now are likely to be playable going forward. And Microsoft looks committed to cloud-based gaming too, so that box will likely be check in the new Xbox as well. 

What about PlayStation? That console is still the 800-pound gorilla of the current generation, thanks in part to exclusive series like Uncharted, God of War, Marvel's Spider-Man and Horizon Zero Dawn. (We assume if that's your bag, you bought a PS4 long ago.) And Sony has already started outlining PlayStation 5 details, too, including support for 8K resolution and PS4 backward compatibility. 

But again, PS5 and next-gen Xbox consoles are at least a year away. So if you want to start building an Xbox library now, look to the One S or One X for now.

Xbox One S All-Digital Edition vs. Xbox One X: Comparison and buying advice for Microsoft's game consoles     - CNET

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Microsoft Xbox One X

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