The Xbox One S is now available, ready to grace living rooms with its angelic white paint job.
Whether you’re an existing Xbox One owner, a PS4 fanboy or a console-less mercenary, Microsoft’s shiny new console is definitely worth considering.
We’ve rounded up some reasons both for and against the Xbox One S, to help you decide whether it's actually the best console for you to buy.
1) It’s a (great value) 4K Blu-ray player
Forget all the games for a moment - the Xbox One S has a built-in UHD Blu-ray player that can pump out native 4K resolution from the latest pixel-packed discs.
If you’ve got a 4K TV then this alone is a great reason to pick one up. While Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are gradually offering more and more shows in 4K, they’re still pretty much the only options available, unless you count sub-par YouTube videos. And streamed 4K just isn't quite as glorious as it's more data-packed disc equivalent.
The Xbox One S is one of only three 4K Blu-ray players currently available in the UK, and it’s also the cheapest by a pretty big margin.
Panasonic’s offering is the benchmark 4K Blu-ray player, and while it admittedly looks a little sharper than the One S, it also costs £600. And it obviously won't play the latest and greatest console games.
If you want a great 4K Blu-ray player, this alone makes the Xbox One S a no-brainer.
There’s no denying the value the Xbox One S offers when you look at it with your rose-tinted 4K Blu-ray specs, but if you’re after the very best quality - i.e. you’re a What Hi-Fi reader with an eagle eye for detail - then the Panasonic is still the better option.
It performed better in our side by side comparison - not by a huge amount, is has to be said - but still, if you’re after the very, very best picture quality, a dedicated unit should be top of your list.
2) Upscaled 4K games look amazing
We were blown away by Rise of the Tomb Raider upscaled in 4K, and Mirror’s Edge looked absolutely stunning too. There’s not much else to say here, other than the fact that 4K upscaling really does a great job, making all of your existing titles really shine on the big screen.
PC Master Race checking in - if you have a beefy gaming rig, then you can enjoy tonnes of games running at native 4K resolution - none of this upscaling cheating nonsense. They look even better, and you’ll be able to sleep easy at night knowing you’re not living a lie.
3) It looks bloody amazing
Just look at it. That white paint job with black accents, coupled with the rigid straight lines and simplistic shape make the One S a minimalist Storm Trooper’s dream console.
Somehow, Microsoft has managed to internalise the god awful power brick, while making the entire console 40% smaller. There’s no doubt in our minds that had this been its first console attempt this generation, it would have left the PS4 in the dust. Impressive stuff.
There’s no denying the One S is a lovely thing, because it is gorgeous. But there are still a few design changes that are rather annoying. The tweaked controller still doesn’t have in-built batteries, which means we still have to fork out for those every couple of weeks or buy Microsoft’s Play and Charge kit for £20.
There's no Kinect port either, and while Microsoft will send you an adapter for free if you had an original Xbox One, you need to faff about requesting one online. That's a bit galling considering Microsoft forced Kinect down everyone's throats in the first place.
4) It’s got some amazing exclusives
Rise of the Tomb Raider, Halo 5: Guardians (for its multiplayer), Forza Horizon 3, Gears of War 4 - these are all exclusive to Xbox, and make for a very strong lineup, even without great indie games like Super Hot and Ori and the Blind Forest to bolster the list.
That’s a strong lineup, but if you’re an existing Xbox One owner it’s not worth upgrading (unless you’re desperate for 4K Blu-ray) as you’ll have access to them all anyway.
Not only that, but pretty much all new future titles will be available on PC, thanks to Microsoft’s excellent Xbox Play Anywhere programme. Hear that? That’s the sound of the PC Master Race ascending above console peasants once again.
Oh, and one more thing - the Xbox Project Scorpio will be out at the end of next year, blowing the Xbox One S out of the water with way more power, and native 4K gaming. Not to mention the PS4 Neo, which will be out later this year...
5) It’ll play your old games
The Xbox One S has full backwards compatibility, letting you play your old 360 games, allowing you to relive all the joys of the last console generation without any hassle.
When was the last time you heard anyone say the words “I really want to play Perfect Dark Zero”? Never? We’re not surprised. Nostalgia is a powerful drug, often clouding past flaws with warm fuzzy feelings. The past, for many, is best left behind - current and future AA titles is where it’s all at.