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(Pocket-lint) - The Xbox Series X and Series S may now be the default consoles in the Xbox family, but the last-gen Xbox One machines are still attractive propositions.

The Xbox One S, for example, is available as an entry-level proposition, while you can still get an Xbox One X or Xbox One S All-Digital Edition from eBay and many resellers.

The only question is which Xbox One should you choose? We give you the rundown to make a buying decision a little easier.



One of the major differences between the last-gen machines lies with graphical hardware and the ability to render full 4K visuals.

The Xbox One S and All-Digital Edition are both capable of up to 1080p graphics running at 60fps (as on games such as Forza Horizon 4). Not all games achieve those heady heights, but the included 12 GCN compute units, running at 914MHz can reach it. The consoles also upscale all video output to 4K for compatible TVs, but games do not run in Ultra HD natively.


Xbox One X, on the other hand, is capable of full 4K gaming visuals running at 60fps, thanks to graphics processing that consists of 40 customised compute units running at 1.172GHz. That's much more powerful and faster than the other machines in the family.

All three consoles are compatible with games that run in HDR.


CPU and memory

Like with the graphics, Xbox One X is much more powerful than either Xbox One S in central processing. It runs on eight custom x86 cores, clocked at speeds of 2.3GHz. The Xbox One S consoles also have eight cores but they are slower, running at 1.75GHz.

The One X also bosses things in RAM. There is 12GB of GDDR5 RAM with bandwidth of up to 326GB/s. The Xbox One S and All-Digital Edition each have 8GB of DDR3 RAM and 32MB of ESRAM, with bandwidth of 68GB/s and 219GB/s respectively.

The upshot of this is that developers get far more memory and processing speeds to play with on Xbox One X.


All games for Xbox work across the entire family of devices. You can buy an Xbox game and it'll work on all three consoles, albeit with different grades of performance.

The only exception to this is that the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition will only be able to play games bought digitally. You cannot use game discs bought from a separate store as there is no drive.

Xbox One X versions have the potential to be far better graphically than their Xbox One S counterparts - with greater resolution, draw distances and the like. It's something Microsoft calls "enhanced". However, the gameplay technically remains the same. As does the price considering the game is the same bought copy.

It's a similar deal with the PS4 Pro. All PlayStation 4 games work on Pro and the standard PS4, they just look better on the Pro - for the most part.

All three can run a large collection of Xbox 360 and original Xbox games in backward compatibility.

They also have access to Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft's game subscription service that offers hundreds of full games - including new titles - to download and play for just one monthly fee. You can find out all about it here: Xbox Game Pass games list, price and everything you need to know.

Home entertainment

The Xbox One S was the first games console to offer 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray playback, with HDR picture tech to boot.

This is something the Xbox One X boasts too, with even better performance, we have found, and faster loading times.

As the Xbox One S All-Digital edition does not come with a disc drive, it cannot play 4K Blu-rays - or any other type of disc media, for that matter.

All other major streaming apps and services are on board all three consoles, though. This includes Netflix, Amazon Video and Disney+, with each running supported shows and movies in 4K HDR and Dolby Vision, where possible. You will need a TV that supports later versions of Dolby Vision, however. For example, older LG OLED TVs do not.

Dolby Atmos for extra surround sound channels is also supported across the Xbox consoles.


Xbox One X vs Xbox One S: Conclusion

There is little doubt that Xbox One X is a more powerful, more graphically competent games console than the Xbox One S or its digital-only counterpart, but you have to pay a premium price for such a premium machine.

If you are content with Full HD gaming, the Xbox One S is an excellent games machine and 4K Blu-ray player. And, the All-Digital Edition might be able to fit an even tighter budget, at the cost of ditching the ability to spin Blu-rays, disc games, and the like.

If your budget can stretch though, we also thoroughly recommend you check out the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X.

Writing by Rik Henderson. Editing by Max Freeman-Mills.
Sections Games