Is Microsoft’s tiny console a better alternative?


The next generation of consoles will present a surprising number of options for consumers wanting to upgrade their existing hardware. Whether you’re opting for something top of the range or a more modest offering, both Sony and Microsoft have something to offer. 

But which one is right for you? This decision is a little harder to make with the recent reveal of Xbox Series S, a small console that’s reportedly capable of more than the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X at a lower price. It’s a tempting proposition, but is it worth picking up over the PS5?

We’ve compiled all of the major differences we know so far to help you decide between Sony’s PS5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series S. Each console has a lot of positives to offer, but your decision will ultimately come down to a number of important factors such as price, games, design, specs and more. 

Related: PS5 vs Xbox Series X 

PS5

PS5 vs Xbox Series S price – How much will they cost?

Microsoft has confirmed that Xbox Series S will retail for £249/$299, which is lower than we were expected given what the console will be capable of. Pricing for its older sibling, the Xbox Series X, remains unconfirmed. 

Sony is yet to announce the PS5 price, although it is rumoured that some form of big reveal will be coming this week. We’ll be sure to update you once we know more. Here’s hoping it’s competitive with the Xbox Series S/X.

Related: Best Xbox Series X/S Games

Xbox Series S

PS5 vs Xbox Series S release date – When are they coming out?

Xbox Series S is confirmed to launch this November, although a specific date remains unconfirmed. Windows Central reports that both Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S will both be launching on November 10, meaning they’ll both be coming to market at the exact same time. 

“We can confirm via our sources that the entry-level Xbox Series S will cost $299 at retail, with a $25 per month Xbox All Access financing option, which Microsoft is planning to push hard via various retailers and a large global rollout. The more powerful Xbox Series X will cost $499, with a $35 per month Xbox All Access financing option,” reads the report. 

PS5 does not have a release date right now, although rumours point to a November release, in time for Christmas and the ominous arrival of Black Friday. We can see it launching either earlier or later in the month to compete with Microsoft, although there is everything to play for right now. 

Related: Upcoming Xbox One Games

Ratchet and Clank

PS5 vs Xbox Series S specs – how powerful will they be?

We currently don’t have exact technical specifications for the Xbox Series S, although a leaked video does provide a concrete glimpse at what exactly it will be capable of in terms of features, all of which we’ve listed below: 

  • 60% smaller than XSX
  • Custom NVME SSD (512 GB)
  • All-digital
  • 1440p up to 120 FPS
  • Ray-Tracing support
  • 4K media playback
  • 4K game upscaling
  • Variable rate shading
  • Variable refresh rate
  • Ultra-low latency

As for the PS5, we already have a solid understanding of its innards, and it’s a supremely powerful console, arguably the most accomplished we’ve ever seen. 

Both consoles look to offer ray tracing support, while featuring an NVMe SSD for speedy loading times. However, the PS5 is expected to be significantly more powerful, offering 4K resolutions opposed to the the 1440p limit of the Series S.

PlayStation 5 PlayStation 4
CPU 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency) 8x Jaguar Cores at 1.6GHz
GPU 10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHz (variable frequency) 1.84 TFLOPs, 18 CUs at 800MHz
GPU architecture Custom RDNA 2 Custom GCN
Memory/Interface 16GB GDDR6 / 256-bit 8GB GDDR5 / 254-bit
Memory bandwidth 448 GB/s 176 GB/s
Internal Storage Custom 825GB SSD 500GB HDD
IO Throughput 5.5GB/s (RAW), Typical 8-9 GB/s (Compressed) Approx 50-100MB/s (dependent on data location on HDD)
Expandable Storage NVMe SSD Slot Replaceable internal HDD
External Storage USB HDD Support USB HDD Support
Optical Drive 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive Blu-Ray Drive

Related: Best PS5 Games

Halo Infinite

PS5 vs Xbox Series S design – How do they look?

The size difference between PS5 and Xbox Series S is fairly astounding, especially when you consider how they might exist in your current entertainment centre. The PS5 is a huge, predominantly white machine with black stylings dashed through the media. 

It’s a huge departure from previous iterations of the console, and judging from images online, it’s positively massive. We’ve dug into exactly how big it might be compared to previous consoles here, since we haven’t seen one in the flesh to take exact measurements. 

Xbox Series S is being advertised as the “smallest ever” and beyond the strange circular vent, it seems very similar to the Xbox Series X with its bright white colour and matching controller. It’s a striking design, and one we’d be happy sliding under our televisions. 

Related: Cyberpunk 2077

Horizon Forbidden West

PS5 vs Xbox Series S games – what will they play?

Microsoft will be continuing its service-based approach with Xbox Series S, as all of its upcoming first-party exclusives will be playable on this platform alongside Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Windows 10. Better yet, all of them will be available on Xbox Game Pass on the day of release.

If you happen to own multiple consoles in the Xbox family you can jump between them with all your saves, achievements and digital library remaining intact. It’s a vastly different approach to what Sony is doing. Halo Infinite, its flagship title, has sadly been delayed into 2021.

Sony has stated that it ‘believes in generations’ with the PlayStation 5, and thus the platform will be home to a number of games you won’t be able to find anywhere else. This will begin with the likes of Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Horizon: Forbidden West and Demon’s Souls Remake in the first few months of launch. Chances are this selection will only continue to grow, and PS5 will become essential for those who are fans of specific franchises.

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