Microsoft Xbox One S
The disappearance of gigantic power supply, the size decreased by 40% compared to the original model, the support of Ultra HD for streaming video playback, Blu-ray Ultra HD playback, HDR contrast control in videos and games, the new controller that is compatible with other Bluetooth devices
The Xbox One S is the console that Microsoft should have released three years ago, but there is little reason to adopt it if you already have the original version.
This Xbox One S is the version that Microsoft should have launched in 2013 instead of the mastodon we were entitled to. It is better in many ways and is positioned even more as a real alternative to the PlayStation 4 . The Xbox One S is available in 2 TB storage. Other versions with less storage capacity are expected.
Therefore, consider the One S as a thinned version of the Xbox One that offers a slightly improved controller and support for Ultra HD . The most pragmatic opt for a classic Xbox One whose prices have dropped. Those who are preparing to buy their first Microsoft console and do not plan to save for the Scorpio Project will still be a good deal with the Xbox One S.
What’s New in This Xbox One S?
The list of improvements is short but still significant.
For starters, the console is 40% smaller than the original model which is impressive knowing that it now incorporates the power supply. It is white, with a material effect that makes it the most seductive Xbox of all. The 2 TB version comes with a bracket to mount it in a vertical position (optional for other versions).
This is the video side that the One S brings the most novelties, with Ultra HD (3.840×2.160 pixels) and HDR that improves contrast and color. However, keep in mind that you need a TV and compatible content. Amazon and Netflix are broadcasting in Ultra HD and we are starting to find Blu-ray Ultra HD movies. However, some games may exploit the HDR. They are not numerous and especially not yet available. We think in particular of Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3 and Scalebound. But do not expect games in Ultra HD quality as on a PC.
The One S controller has been redesigned, with a slightly refined upper part, textured handles and improved range. It can work in Bluetooth, which makes it compatible with other devices without the need for an adapter.
We have not been seduced by this new controller that we find less qualitative than the original version. The textured handles are not as nice as those coated with rubber. But fortunately, the triggers are identical. On the other hand, the directional pad seems less comfortable.
The good news is that the One S offers the same connectivity as the Xbox One, with the exception of a port for the Kinect for which it will acquire an adapter. There are outputs and HDMI inputs. Needless to say, the console supports all existing games for Xbox One and Xbox 360. There is also the redesigned software interface, the Cortana Virtual Assistant (with a microphone headset), access to the Windows Store and even soon the possibility of facing players on Windows PC on some titles.
Ultra HD and HDR
We personally want to thank the Xbox One S for introducing us to the craze of Ultra HD and HDR formats. We thought we were comfortable with the language of home cinema and yet we were confused by the level of confusion that reigns.
Indeed, you should know that you will not be able to go into Ultra HD without first downloading at least two different updates on the One S before the console detects that it is connected to an Ultra HD TV.
We hooked up the console to four different TVs with mixed results. In any case, we understood that we must arm ourselves with patience and perseverance to make these display technologies work. The most complicated thing was to get the TV to recognize HDR.
The problem, which is not the sole fact of the Xbox One S, is that some TVs require the activation of a “UHD” or “deep color” setting in order to operate the HDR. These modes push the brightness to the maximum and automatically activate when HDR content is detected. Except that none of our TVs has detected the HDR signal of the Blu-ray Ultra HD Star Trek that we tried. We had to force the One S to go up to 10-bit instead of the default 8-bit to get a clean HDR signal.
It may be that your own configuration is easier, but you must know that there are many variables to manage to taste the joys of Ultra HD and HDR anyway. Refer to the console’s display menu, which provides useful details on what prerequisites and settings are already available after you have connected the TV.
The worst part of all this is that sometimes it’s impossible to realize the difference between HDR and Ultra HD. It will be said that these are nice novelties but that even the most knowledgeable eyes can not always perceive the benefit. Added to this is that at first only a handful of games will be HDR compatible. Also be aware that games on Xbox One S will not have native Ultra HD resolution , but converted to achieve that. That said, there is now a good amount of Blu-ray Ultra HD and Netflix also offers this quality.
For those who have or plan to buy an Ultra HD TV and are considering buying an Xbox One, then S will be the right choice. Also be aware that the console does not support the most advanced audio formats such as Dolby Atmos. The best you can get is 7.1 surround sound.
Strongly Project Scorpio
Microsoft’s message with its Xbox One and One S consoles is a little confusing. In terms of graphics performance, they are identical. The next big evolution to wait in this area will come with the Project Scorpio whose release is scheduled for the end of 2017. We still have little details about this machine, but it is quite likely that it far surpasses the Xbox One, One S, the PlayStation 4 and even its future replacement ( PS4 Neo ) if we believe the rumors.
Microsoft has already announced that the console will be ready for virtual reality, with perhaps a dedicated headset.
As for games, the scenario is quite simple: all Xbox One (standard, S or Scorpio) will be compatible with any Xbox One game. But the Scorpio will offer better graphics, higher performance and higher resolution.
In most cases, you do not need to buy an Xbox One S. If you already have an Xbox One or if you plan to wait for the Scorpio Project, there is no reason to opt for the S. In contrast, If you are thinking of buying your first Xbox One, whether you have or plan to invest in an Ultra HD TV, then the One S can be a good choice.
If instead you do not plan to spend on a TV Ultra HD, then the basic Xbox One is the bargain of the moment.