Why I'm Buying An Xbox One S This Year

In just a few short months, Microsoft will be launching the slimline Xbox One S. To some, this hardware release feels like a complete waste of time — who's going to buy this thing when Project Scorpio is just around the corner? Personally, I think there are a few reasons. Apart from being the best looking Xbox I think to date (if you like white), the new unit supports 4K Blu-rays, boasts an improved wireless controller and has finally done away with that goddamn, brick-sized PSU.

Officially announced during Microsoft's E3 2016 press conference, the Xbox One S will be available from August for a wallet-friendly $US299. We've since learned that the 2TB version will cost a significantly steeper $549.95 in Australia — but that's for the top end version. Hopefully, a cheaper 500GB/1TB offering will also make it over here.

The new model is a whopping 40 percent smaller than the current Xbox One. The original is a goliath piece of hardware — to the point that it was difficult to fit into entertainment cabinets — so this size downgrade is definitely appreciated. The new console is capable of supporting 4K video as well as HDR output, and will come with a 2TB hard drive. The 4K extends to the Blu-ray player, so you're not just stuck with Ultra HD Netflix. Hurrah!

Crucially, it also features an integrated power supply. This is a bigger deal than you might think. Microsoft's inability to fit the PSU inside its consoles has always been a personal annoyance: they were always too big to tuck behind the TV and made transporting your console a real nuisance. It will be interesting to see whether this has any affect on operational noise. Like the PlayStation 4, it can be placed either horizontally or vertically with an optional stand.

Interestingly, Microsoft has removed the dedicated Kinect port from the back of the new console. To use Kinect, you'll need to connect to a Xbox Kinect Adapter via USB. (This will be offered free of charge to current Xbox One Kinect owners.) It seems that Microsoft is finally backing away from its aggressive Kinnect sales pitch. Will the Scorpio also be sold without the Kinect sensor? Time will tell.

Other hardware differences include shifting one of the three USB ports and the pairing button to the front of the console and the addition of an IR blaster. It will also ship with a newly designed Xbox Wireless Controller with textured grip, sturdier thumbsticks and improved wireless signal performance with up to twice the wireless range. It also has inbuilt Bluetooth for use with Windows 10 games.

The only thing we're not entirely sure about is the “robot white” color scheme. With the exception of Nintendo, it's been a long while since a console manufacturer has offered anything other than basic black as the default finish. If everything else in your entertainment unit is black, this console is going to stick out in a bad way. Nevertheless, I'm going to be snapping one up; if only for the improved controller and portability factor.

Mind you, most serious gamers will be better off waiting for Xbox's Project Scorpio which is set to come with a cavalcade of improvements including high-fidelity VR, six teraflops of computing power, an eight-core CPU with 320 gigabits of memory bandwidth and true 4K gaming. But we can still see a market for this thing: if you like the idea of a secondary Xbox for your bedroom, a console for the kids or a way to experience Xbox exclusives without taking up huge amounts of space, get in line.

Kotaku attended E3 at the invitation of Microsoft.


    With the exception of Nintendo, it’s been a long while since a console manufacturer has offered anything other than basic black as the default finish.

    Didn't the 360 come in both black and white as default, by which I mean, equal measure to begin with?

      I thought the original 360 was white (the one that red ringed badly), then later they switched to black. Then offered both black and white with the 360 Slim

      Last edited 17/06/16 8:33 am

        Yep, the first 360s were white, with the idea that you'd use face plates to customise them. I can't remember when they started doing black ones but my Modern Warfare 2 console was black. I know black was the standard for the slim/elite and I've got a limited edition blue elite.
        Looking into it I think black original 360 units may have been a US exclusive.

        I've got a white 360 (elite) that wasn't in the original red ring batch (bought it a few years after release) and it's not a slim so they kept white going.

        Last edited 17/06/16 8:47 am

      It originally came in only white, then they offered the Elite which came in black with the larger HDD & wireless adapter, then they did the redesign of the slim which came in just black. But Sony have offered a white PS4 for a while they also offered a white PS3, but not sure if that was available here? There was the blue & red redesigned slim PS3's that came out a year or so before the PS4 however.

        Thanks for the indepth knowledge, legend :)

          I knew my retention of useless information would come in handy one day :P Also working for EB Games may have helped.. There was also that R2D2 Slim Xbox I guess that counts as white :P

            Omg did you check its hdd for Lukes hidden location!!??!?!?!

              Hah! Maybe if the Kylo Ren & his goons got their hands on one of them they may have found Luke before Rey did.

      The original Xbox 360 was ten years ago. That's a pretty long while in my books.

        It's only 1 console generation ;)

          X360 has been all black (sans special editions) since 2010. Still a long while :-)

            Hey when you're over 35 10 years is just 'yesterday'! GET OFF MY LAWN JAGER! GET OFF MY LAWN!

              It seems like just yesterday I was a carefree teenager, going to meet friends at the fish and chip shop to play arcade games. Joe and Mac Caveman Ninja and one of the 700 versions of Street Fighter 2.

              Personally I think it's a side effect of overclocking my memory to fit in all the moves, boss patterns and codes I used to need to know.

              Last edited 17/06/16 10:59 am

    Because as a video game journalist it is tax deductible?

    You mean to say the original Xbone is huge AND has an external power brick? I assumed being that big it had it's PSU inside.

      No, it has a power brick the size of a house brick (living up to its name) that is external.

      Last edited 17/06/16 8:34 am

        It's literally the size of a house brick? Even in length?

          I'm most likely off by a few cubic centimetres so I'll stop digressing.

          In answer to the OP question, despite its size the PSU is external to the Xbone.

          Bricks come in all sizes. I'm sure it compares to at least a few of the smaller ones.

    To me, Xbox One S being white is probably to make it stand out from the PS4

      I think it's more about making it stand out from the XBOX One. They look pretty similar at a glance and the improved features aren't exactly in your face. Plus there is a certain section of the market that reponds to recolours.

      Thing is Sony released a white PS4 about a year ago & it's still readily available to buy at EB & JB :/

        My PS4 which I bought 12 months ago is indeed "iceberg white"

        Microsoft also released a white Xbox One when Sunset Overdrive came out. (Around the same time as the PS4

          Fair point, yeah that was like 2 years ago, damn..

    I'm keen to pick up one of the new controllers for my Steam Link since it uses bluetooth. :3

    Why get the S when Scorpio is around the corner?
    Well it has these features that the Scorpio is bound to have also. Also, it looks a certain way although no one knows how the Scorpio looks yet.
    What was the logic for buying one again?

      The answer to all your questions and the purpose of this article is at the end -

      Kotaku attended E3 at the invitation of Microsoft.

        Every other article on here is basically shilling something, but this is a paid advertisement.

        We aint fools kotaku

    I'd be convinced if there were more exclusive games that grabbed my interest. Backwards compatibility's probably the main thing that the console has over the PS4 for me. The fact that they're pushing for integration between the Xbone and Windows 10 though means I have less incentive to get a One S.

    The Scorpio on the other hand, well, again it depends on what it can actually do and what exclusive content it will have.

      Agree here. I'm wondering (as I have a gaming PC) why I need an xbox at all?

    I only recently got the original Xbone back in the Target sale.

    I'm not bitter about this new release though because I got a great deal and plugging in a bigger hard drive is no big drama as you can hide it behind the TV along with the power brick (The WiiU also has a power brick slightly smaller than the Xbone one - it's power brick central behind my tv!)

    I don't find the size of the console too offensive either but I grew up with VCRs that were about the same size so maybe I'm just used to it.

    I might snap up the new controller though.

    I'll be buying one also. i wanted to wait for the Scorpio, but I don't know if I matters considering Microsofts push to leave no one behind. And since I'm in the market for an Xbox One, the S looks like it'll be the one to buy. Although from rumours and hints already, I'll wait until either Gears 4 or Titanfall 2 is released because I feel like a bundle will be out by that stage.

    Still, at $550, it's a great price. Now let's just hope it doesn't stuff up with the heating considering the power brick is all internal.

      To throw a spanner in the works, EB currently has a 1TB Xbone with 8 games (including guitar hero controller!) for $479...

    Is this august 2016? Damn I need a decent 4k tv! So much to buy now

    I've had a XBone in my living room for the last 6 months, have played it ONCE (it was lent to me by someone who hasn't come to get it back yet). I've had a PS3 for years, but in the last 12 months I've played a game ONCE on it.. ONCE.

    I admit, I'm a PC gamer.. however, I will be buying a Nintendo NX when it comes out.. Nintendo games are so often very different to the PC/XB/PS games, and it's why I tend to play them a lot more.

    Can't wait till it's released.

    Bought my first 4K TV last week, which supports HDR. So I am keen to replace my Day One XBone with a new S model. Mainly since it will play 4K blurays, but keen to see new GoW in HDR.

    I would pick one up with my tax back if it wasn't for the backwards compatibility looking so limited and complicated. I wish the old discs just worked.

    Interesting piece. I'd be interested to know the authors reasons for wanting a cheaper option for the Xbox One S. Assuming that cheaper comes in the form of a smaller hard drive, I'm not sure that you'd really want smaller than a 2TB when buying one from this point.

    If you have a 500gb Xbox One/One S. Roughly 100gb is OS and other stuff. That leaves 400gb. If you want Halo MCC. Now you have 320GB. If you want Halo 5 as well, now you have 270GB.....My point is that 500gb or even 1TB is not a sustainable option. You're gonna have to upgrade the hard drive at some point so might as well get it out of the way.

      I must seriously be the only X1 owner who has never come close to filling their 500GB hard drive... So many people complain about constantly having to either shuffle content around or buy an external, and I've not had to do either... Guess I'm just not using mine as much as others.

    It does seem that people have very short memories. The Xbox 360 was sold in white and had a similar plastic casing as the Xbox One S (Swiss Cheese Style) and this was chosen for heat dissipation primarily. The Elite was then sold in Black and later there was the RROD issues cause mainly by Microsoft using "environmentally friendly" solder which had no lead content. With expansion and contraction this meant the flexibility of the solder was non-existent which caused the traces and connections to break / crack.

    As for the "re-packaged" Xbox One S I would not touch it. People also seem to forget that iterations of hardware usually result in something being dropped or removed. People also don't for get about the Xbox One optical drive issues making "grinding" noises. The Xbox One S dropped all touch based controls and instead uses el-cheapo microswitches and clunky to press. As for everyone complaining about the external power supply which means when the PSU dies you don't have to ship off the whole console, whereas with the new Xbox One S when the PSU dies internally off goes the console. As for HDR gaming this is purely another marketing gimmick - just like those AMOLED displays that have over-saturated colours and unless its a feature that is pushed by default, most people will not notice the difference. The "updated" controller (with design features from the Elite) looks cheap and nasty front on compared to the standard controller.

    As for 4K playback again this is just another marketing gimmick to try to get people to buy 4K TV's which are mostly useless due to poor free to air programming and online movies in 4K are quite huge in file size which negates the point of having such a "feature". Unless MS make 4K default (don't let the developer choose whether to or not) there is no point and this won't convince many to splash cash on a new TV just for a console.

    I purchased a new Xbox One Elite yesterday and love the size of the console and the Elite controller as well. The Xbox One S is not designed as a replacement for the Xbox One as its more aimed to those still on the Xbox 360 who want a smaller footprint Xbox One console to replace it. Only Project Scorpio will be the true replacement to the Xbox One and hopefully by then a new Elite model will also be released.

    Also these new Xbox One S models along with most existing Xbox One consoles (except for the Elite with the Hybrid drive) will still use mechanical 5400RPM internal hard disks and not 7200RPM. Considering SSD drives have been around for 10 years, the so-called "cost" would have dropped over time - not increased as proclaimed by many. A 512GB or 1TB SSD drive should be standard for all systems now.

    Based on the laws of physics a smaller system has to expel heat faster and get it out as quickly as possible. The larger chassis of the current version allows the console to run relatively quietly under heavy load. When you shrink the chassis this means heat is trapped (builds up faster) and has to be removed asap which means either a whole new cooling system or using larger and faster (and louder) fans to extract the heat. By design heat rises.

    I would therefore be concerned the new Xbox One S would have a higher thermal operating temperature and be noisier during operation, especially since the PSU is also inside generating it's own heat as well (one disadvantage of having it internally). As it also appears they kept the slot-loading drive these are known to be noisier at higher RPM, and having a smaller chassis may make the noise "echo" inside the casing - amplifying it. Hopefully it's a CAV drive (Constant Angular Velocity).

    Last edited 17/06/16 10:45 pm

      I may reply to this in more depth later, but I'd like to say I think you're being fairly negative. You criticise some aspects of the new design based upon what you think it looks like, when I assume you haven't had hands on experience. And criticising 4K and OLED technologies is a bit silly really, they are realistically the future of screen technology. I think it's unrealistic that LED LCD will continue to be the optimal tech. Most people who have used these technologies extensively agree that they are far superior.

      Based on the laws of physics [......] By design heat rises.

      This entire thing could just be abbreviated to "smaller object has worse heat dispersion. Most people understand the basics of how heat works. And it's not really an issue when you're decreasing the physically size of the Xbox One, to the Xbox One S. It's not a huge decrease and it'll still be larger than PS4, which doesn't really have significant heating issues.

    Microsoft wasn't "unable" to build the PSU into the console, they intentionally didn't do it due to issues they had with the original Xbox. It was a safety issue.

    Now that the Surface team is behind all Microsoft hardware, they have the confidence to build it in. Id assume Scorpio will also have it built in.

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