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Xbox Sequence S Overview



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The Xbox Sequence S is the little console that might. It’s half the scale – and worth – of the flagship Sequence X, however guarantees to play all the identical video games, with many of the similar efficiency. What offers?

Properly, the disc drive for one – there isn’t one right here. You’ll must put up with a smaller laborious drive too, and quit on hitting 4K. But when these trade-offs don’t sound too dangerous, then oh boy do I’ve the Xbox for you.

If not, try my overview of the Xbox Sequence X for my full ideas on the larger, brawnier new Xbox.

Design & construct

The Xbox Sequence S is one of the best wanting console of this upcoming era, and among the best ever.

For starters, it’s a dinky little factor. At 6.5×15.1×27.5cm the Sequence S is small by any requirements, and positively miniscule in comparison with the Sequence X and PS5. In contrast to the X it’s additionally a standard console form, that means it’ll match wherever you at present maintain your console of selection – no must redecorate your front room for this one.

Completed in white, with a distinguished black disc the place the warmth exhausts, the Sequence S can also be extra hanging than its huge brother. It’s a design that seems like an announcement, however not an obnoxious one (*cough* PS5 *cough*).

Just like the Sequence S, it’s designed to both stand vertically or lie on its facet, so that you’ve obtained choices relating to putting it.

You’ll discover a single USB 3.1 port on the console’s entrance, with one other two on the rear – although no USB-C. They’re joined by HDMI 2.1, ethernet, the facility socket, and a brand new port for expandable storage – extra on that later.

After all, there’s one huge omission right here: a disc drive. It is a huge a part of how Microsoft has saved the Sequence S each low-cost and compact, however there are apparent downsides. It means you’ll be able to’t use the Sequence S as a Blu-ray participant, you miss out on backwards compatibility with any outdated discs you may have, and also you’re caught paying the premium for digital video games for the remainder of the console’s life.

I feel for many individuals these downsides can be definitely worth the saving – and don’t fear, even when digital video games often value a bit extra you’d have to purchase a variety of video games to make up the value distinction between this and the Sequence X. Nonetheless, issue it in.

There’s not an enormous quantity else to say about how the Sequence S appears to be like, besides that I’m a fan of it, and I reckon most individuals can be. In contrast to the Sequence X it feels designed to be accommodating to folks’s front room and TV setups, in a position to seamlessly change no matter you at present have with minimal fuss.

Controller

If the console is a seamless transition, then the controller is much more so. Microsoft has chosen to not reinvent the wheel with its gamepad, although there are refined enhancements throughout the board.

The controller right here – similar to the one which ships with the Sequence X, besides white moderately than black – is roughly the identical measurement and form because the acquainted Xbox One pads, solely with barely re-curved grips, now improved by a dotted, textured end for additional grippiness.

A brand new Share button offers you a fast and straightforward option to take screenshots and movies whereas enjoying, and the D-pad has had a considerable rework. It’s now round, optimum for rolling throughout it in preventing video games – actually the one trendy style the place D-pad efficiency is basically important.

Microsoft additionally contains the flexibility to remap lots of the controller’s buttons, a welcome contact for accessibility from the corporate that also leads the pack right here by a cushty margin. Observe additionally that each port on the console is marked by a raised level for the visually impaired.

There may be one deadly flaw to the controller, and it’s a well-recognized one: AA batteries. Whereas Microsoft has switched the controller’s port to USB-C, you continue to can’t truly use that to cost it except you drop £20/$20 on a chargeable battery pack. In any other case it’s disposable AAs all the best way, which is frankly absurd in 2020.

Specs & efficiency

So that is what actually issues – what does the Sequence X do this the Sequence S doesn’t?

The large one, as I’ve already talked about, is 4K. With much less RAM, an underclocked CPU, and a considerably slower GPU, the Sequence S will not be designed for 4K gaming.

It may well do it, and builders have the choice of enabling 4K, however in apply this can solely occur with video games that in any other case aren’t graphically demanding. The remainder of the time, Microsoft says the efficiency goal is 1440p, although there’s scalar rendering tech to ‘pretend’ 4K by upscaling when the console is linked to a 4K TV.

What does that imply in apply? Most video games can be at 1440p and even 1080p – even at launch, Sea of Thieves, which has been optimised for the brand new {hardware}, is simply delivering 1080p on the Sequence S. In case your TV is HD then this doesn’t matter a jot. In case your TV is 4K, then most video games can be upscaled to 4K anyway, and except you may have a eager eye you in all probability gained’t have the ability to inform the distinction.

Curiously, the Sequence S is definitely much less highly effective than the present Xbox One X in sure respects, which suggests it gained’t play the variations of video games enhanced for that console. It means One X homeowners have little or no purpose to leap from that console to this – although anybody on an Xbox One or One S will nonetheless see a efficiency soar.

That’s largely as a result of as an alternative of promising 4K, Microsoft has emphasised that the Sequence S ought to solidly ship 60 frames per second, with the aptitude to go as much as 120fps – although only a few TVs assist 120Hz but, so that you’re unlikely to see this particular profit.

Keep in mind that I mentioned Sea of Thieves runs at 1080p? That’s as a result of it’s 1080p however locked in at 60fps, whereas it was solely 30fps last-gen. It’s an identical story with many video games on the Sequence S, whereas Gears 5 goes additional and may hit 120fps in its multiplayer mode.

The tradeoff between decision and framerate is a tough one. Microsoft has clearly determined that the latter is extra vital, emphasising easy sport really feel over pixel rely.

Darting between the Sequence S and Sequence X in Forza Horizon four I might see the distinction intimately, however not by a lot. Each variations felt equally easy and fluid although, and after my eyes adjusted to not getting ‘true’ 4K, it didn’t actually matter. It felt nice to play, and that’s actually what Microsoft is pushing right here.

That’s additionally why the Sequence S shares arguably the largest technological leap this era: a strong state drive. This permits considerably quicker loading – seconds in most video games – in addition to the choice to change between supported video games and begin proper the place you left off, additionally inside seconds.

Sooner or later video games can be designed with SSDs in thoughts, creating extra dynamic and open worlds, theoretically, however for now the advantages are merely to high quality of life. You’ll spend much less time on loading screens or hitting ‘A’ to get by start-up menus, and much more time truly enjoying.

That is additionally the third and last limitation of the Sequence S: storage. It solely has a 512GB drive, in comparison with 1TB within the Sequence X. Issue within the OS and also you’re simply over 350GB of usable cupboard space, which is someplace between 5 and ten trendy AAA video games – and as few as two or three in the event that they’re Name of Duties.

For those who’re pondering you’ll simply plug in an exterior laborious drive get some additional area, assume once more. It’s a bit of extra sophisticated than that. Microsoft’s slick new SSD is quicker than USB, which suggests any exterior drive can be too gradual – which causes issues when video games have been optimised for these SSD speeds.

You possibly can fill any USB 3.zero or quicker exterior drive with older video games – something from the Xbox One or earlier – and play from it no downside. However something that’s been optimised for the Sequence S & X must be put in on the interior drive. Your different choice is to retailer some video games externally and transfer them backwards and forwards – it solely takes 5 minutes or so to switch even an 80GB sport like Forza, so should you don’t thoughts the inconvenience that is essentially the most environment friendly method.

The choice is to purchase one among Microsoft’s official expandable storage playing cards – keep in mind that customized slot? The catch is that at launch there’s just one, from Seagate, and it’s £220/$220 for 1TB. I haven’t examined it, however in concept it ought to allow you to play any sport instantly from the cardboard, with no efficiency hit. It additionally prices about the identical as an entire new Sequence S although, so till costs drop I’d wrestle to advocate this to anybody.

Storage capability apart, the SSD stays the brand new Xbox’s killer function. It’s the primary purpose to improve proper now, and with the Sequence S getting the very same efficiency as its huge sibling, it’s a large level in favour of the cheaper console.

Video games & software program

Microsoft has given each Xboxes a visible overhaul and a brand new person interface. It’s an enchancment, however on the finish of the day nonetheless a bit of clunky. Like most consoles, it takes a number of too many button presses to get the place you need to go, and an excessive amount of display screen actual property stays dedicated to adverts making an attempt to lure you into the sport retailer. Plus, it’s Microsoft, so that you get Skype and Edge whether or not you prefer it or not.

Fortunately, Microsoft has improved integration with the up to date Xbox smartphone app. Now you can use this not just for the console’s preliminary setup, but additionally to handle cupboard space and set up video games, share screenshots and movies, chat to buddies, and even stream video games from the console to your telephone.

Telephones are merely higher than sport controllers for an terrible lot of duties, so this can be a welcome transfer, and it takes a number of the emphasis away from the failings of the primary OS. In any case, if it bothers you that a lot, simply swap to your smartphone.

What about video games? The Sequence S performs completely every thing that the Sequence X does, so that you shouldn’t miss out on something. Meaning each optimised title for the brand new consoles, but additionally virtually each earlier Xbox sport from the primary console on – with the notable exception of something that depends on the ill-fated Kinect peripheral, not supported right here.

It’s a great factor that enormous again catalogue is there, as a result of the Xbox Sequence S & X haven’t any exclusives in any respect at launch. Something you’ll be able to play right here you may as well play both on PS5, or on an present Xbox One. That’s prone to keep the case for some time too, with Microsoft promising cross-gen assist for a minimum of a yr or two.

It means there’s no urgency to leap generations, no rush for the brand new {hardware}. The Sequence S doesn’t play any video games your present console cannot – it will simply load these video games a bit (rather a lot) quicker, and possibly play them at larger body charges.

Finally there’ll in fact be exclusives. Whereas Halo Infinite remains to be anticipated to be cross-generation, sooner or later we’ll see Gears 6 or Forza Eight possibly even a brand new Bethesda sport that’s unique to the Sequence X and S. However that’s some time off, and within the brief time period Sony has PS5 exclusives proper now and in 2021, from Demon’s Souls and Ratchet & Clank to God of Battle 2.

To fight that, Microsoft has Recreation Cross. It’s a killer app already, however feels much more so on the value-led Sequence S. Pay £249/$299 for a console, then £7.99/$9.99 a month on Recreation Cross and by no means purchase a sport once more, with day-one entry to Microsoft’s largest titles and a colossal library of older video games, each first- and third-party.

Worth & availability

And worth actually is the important thing right here. At £249/$299 the Xbox Sequence S is comfortably the most cost effective machine within the new console era – the PS5 Digital Version simply can’t match it for worth at £359/$399, whereas the Xbox Sequence X is nearly double at £449/$499. Try our full Xbox Sequence X vs Sequence S comparability for extra element on how they stack up.

For those who favor, you may as well purchase the Sequence S on a subscription mannequin by Xbox All Entry for £20.99/$24.99 per 30 days for 2 years, which incorporates Recreation Cross Final. Assuming you need Recreation Cross this works out barely cheaper in the long term, however in fact keep in mind that you are taking a threat in your credit score rating should you’re unable to make the funds down the road.

It’s not out but, nevertheless it launches worldwide on 10 November, so there’s not lengthy to attend. Try our information on the place to purchase the Sequence S for one of the best guess at discovering a pre-order or some day one inventory.

Verdict

If in case you have a large disc-based again catalogue, are assured you’ll be able to spot the distinction between true 4K and its upscaled equal, or are already getting coronary heart palpitations occupied with solely having 512GB of cupboard space, then the Sequence X might be value the additional expenditure.

However for most individuals the Xbox Sequence S is the console to purchase proper now. You get next-gen’s largest development – the SSD – together with a constant efficiency increase, a dwelling room-friendly design, and that shiny completely happy feeling of shopping for new shopper items.

It additionally feels completely designed to function a second console, because the Xbox for individuals who even have a PS5, and know they’ll get the Sony exclusives and multi-platform video games over there whereas paying pennies for Recreation Cross on the Sequence S.

You in all probability don’t want it proper now – there is not any unique video games for it anyway – however everytime you’re able to make the soar to next-gen, the Xbox Sequence S is the Xbox to beat.

Specs
Xbox Sequence S: Specs

CPU: 8-Cores, 3.6GHz, customized Zen 2

GPU: four Teraflops, 20 CUs, 1.56GHz, customized AMD RDNA 2

Reminiscence: 10GB GDDR6

Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD

Expandable: Seagate Growth Card (1TB) or USB 3.1 exterior HDD

Video output: As much as 1440p at 120fps

Ports: HDMI 2.1, 3x USB 3.1 gen 1, Ethernet

Wi-fi: Twin-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi 5

HDMI options: Auto low latency, variable refresh price, AMD FreeSync

Sound: L-PCM, as much as 7.1, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, Dolby TrueHD with Atmos

Dimensions: 151x275x65mm

Weight 1.9kg

About the author: SubSellKaro

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