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Xbox Series S – The Rapid Review

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Fast Facts

Dimensions27.5cm x 15.1cm x 6.5cm
Weight4.25 lbs.
CPUCustom Zen 2 CPU8x cores @ 3.6 GHz(3.4 GHz w/ SMT) 
GPUCustom RDNA 2 GPU20CUs @ 1.565 GHz4 TFLOPS
SOC Die Size197.05 mm
Memory10GB GDDR6 w/ 128 bit bus Title Accessible Memory8 GB @ 224 GB/s
Internal StorageCustom 512 GB NVME SSDPCIe Gen 4 x 2Raw I/O Bandwidth: 2.4 GB/s
External Storage1TB Seagate Storage Expansion CardUSB 3.1 HDD or SSD
HDMI resolution and framerate2160p (4k) @ 60Hz, 1440p @ 120Hz 2160p (4k) @ 120 Hz with Ultra High-Speed HDMI cableHDMI Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)AMD FreeSync

S is For Super Excited!

Now and then, you get an email that’s a little more exciting than others! This happened recently when I found out that Rapid Reviews had been chosen to review an Xbox Series S.

Xbox Series S Review
The all-new, all-digital Xbox Series S

I’ve been using the console for just over a week now, and I’m thrilled to be able to share my thoughts on the all-digital next-generation Xbox.

S is For Size

The Xbox Series S has to be seen to be believed. I knew that it was small, but until you get it in your hands, you can’t appreciate how small it is. Unlike the PS5, and the Series S‘s bigger brother, which has seen people needing to buy whole new TV units, the XSS fits neatly underneath my gaming monitor.

Xbox Series S
The Series S is so small, yet so powerful!

The Xbox Series S can be positioned in a horizontal or vertical configuration. As you can see in the images below, I preferred the horizontal layout.

S is For Stylish?

Rapid Reviews giveaway 2020

When the final design of the Series S was released, there were lots of memes about it, and I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t too keen on the design at first glance. However, as soon as I unboxed the console, my opinions changed, and I now think that it’s a great looking console. You can take a look at some of my Series S photoshoot in the slideshow below.

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S is For Silent

Another huge positive of the console is just how quiet it is. I would go as far as to say that it is silent.

Xbox Series S Review
The Xbox Series S fan is near silent, and does a great job of keeping it cool.

Even when playing an optimised title like Gears Tactics, the Series S hardly makes a sound. This is so impressive that even my wife (who takes no notice of technology) commented on how quiet is it.

S is For…Same Dashboard?

With a new generation of gaming and new consoles, you would be forgiven for thinking that the operating system and dashboard would change as well. Personally, I’m still a fan of the Xbox 360 blades. In this case, Microsoft has decided to keep the dashboard to the familiar one of the Xbox One.

Dynamic backgrounds in action.

There is, however, one aesthetic difference, and that is dynamic backgrounds. Basically, depending on what your chosen theme colour is, it will display a moving swirl of colour. It is a nice feature, but nothing groundbreaking. In the future, I imagine that they will add more features to this, incorporating certain games and characters.

S is For SerieS Speed

The Xbox Series S is fast and noticeably quicker than my Xbox One X. The XSS loads in a couple of seconds, and moving through the menu and dashboard is a very smooth experience. Xbox Series S optimised games load in seconds, not minutes. Xbox One games and other backward compatibility titles also benefit from the extra power of the Xbox Series S and load noticeably faster.

S is For Speedy Resume

One of the most exciting new features of the next-gen Xbox consoles is Quick Resume. This is the ability to switch between several games, and supported apps, allowing you to jump back into your game or video, exactly where you left off, even if the Xbox is powered down, or indeed, unplugged.

During my time with the Xbox Series S, I was able to use Quick Resume to play my games from across the Xbox generations. As you can see in the video below, I was able to switch between Alan Wake from the Xbox 360, Forza 7 from the Xbox One, and Gears Tactics on the Xbox Series S.

Quick Resume in action!

Quick Resume is an amazing feature. Switching between many genres of games, across the whole Xbox family and resuming in a couple of seconds truly felt like next-generation gaming.

S is For SSD Storage

The only slight downside of the Xbox Series S is that it only has a 512GB SSD, and of this 512GB, you only have access to 360GB. Consequently, after you’ve downloaded some optimised Xbox Series S titles, this will very quickly fill up, and you will find yourself moving games around, and deleting games to make space. While you can use any external HDD to store and run backwards-compatibility titles from, you will need to purchase the Seagate 1TB Storage Expansion Card to store and run optimised Xbox Series S games.

Xbox Series S Review
Here’s the slot for the storage expansion card.

While the Seagate Storage Expansion Card is an amazing piece of kit, which delivers the same speed and performance as the console’s internal SSD, at £210, it is expensive. It will have you questioning whether or not you should have paid the £450 for the Xbox Series X with the larger SDD. However, my personal opinion would be to wait a while, before different expansion cards (cost and size) become available, which we’ve been told that they will.

S is For Sharing

The Xbox Series S comes with a white controller, that has had some slight tweaks made to it. The first thing that you will notice is that it feels ever so slightly smaller in hand. It’s not a huge difference, but it does feel comfortable. A more significant change is the textured shoulder buttons and triggers.

As a user of the Elite Series 2 controller, which is thankfully compatible with the Xbox Series S, I was glad to see this added to the new controller. Further enhancements are USB-C charging, if you have a battery pack, a redesigned D-Pad and a dedicated share button on the controller itself. This is an excellent addition and makes taking screenshots and videoclips that much easier.

S is For…Success?

I genuinely believe that the Xbox Series S will become an extremely popular choice for those who want to get into the next generation of gaming, without having to spend hundreds and hundreds of pounds. It’s also appealing for those who, like me, do not yet have a 4K TV. In conclusion, at £249.99, when combined with Game Pass Ultimate, and the back-compatibility catalogue, the XSS is quite simply a must-buy.

Rapid Reviews Rating

I want to say a huge thank you to the team at Microsoft for providing Rapid Reviews UK with an Xbox Series S for review. You can purchase your Series X|S from the Microsoft Store.

Keep an eye out for next-gen gaming reviews on the site in the near future!

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