The Xbox One gaming console just got a whole lot smaller. Microsoft has taken the covers off the new Xbox One S (the “S" moniker supposedly signifies “slim"), at the annual E3 gaming conference. This is the first shot fired in what is expected to be the restart of the console gaming battles with Sony, who had confirmed just days earlier that it is working on a more powerful PlayStation 4 variant.
Here is a quick look at what the new Xbox line-up is all about.
When can you buy the new Xbox One S from, and how much will it cost?
Microsoft says that the Xbox One S will be rolling out in some markets starting August 2016, and steadily make its way around global markets before the end of the year. The 500GB version is expected to cost $299 ( ₹ 20,000 approximately), while the 1TB variant will retail for $349. It is expected that a special edition variant with a 2TB hard drive will sell for $399.
Evolving into a smaller package
The new Xbox One S is 40% smaller than the current Xbox One console—which measures 333mmx276mmx78mm. It will take up a lot less space, but it will be interesting to see how Microsoft manages to keep the console running cool in a smaller chassis. There are design changes as well, which makes the new console look a bit sleeker.
This evolution is following the route that Sony took many years ago with the PlayStation 3 and then the PlayStation 3 Slim consoles—this is a smart way to refresh the product line-up and create some excitement, while ironing out the minor drawback of the product it succeeds. And keeping that in mind, Microsoft has integrated power supply in the Xbox One S. Finally, we can do away with that massive power brick that used to sit between the power plug and the console itself.
That is not all. The new Xbox One S can also be placed vertically, something you couldn’t do with the Xbox One. However, the vertical stand remains a separate accessory which will cost $19.99, but could be worth it if you are adamant about keeping the aesthetics of your room just the way you like them.
Supports HDR Gaming and 4K videos
Microsoft is adding High Dynamic Range (HDR) capabilities for gaming. This is right on cue, as a lot of the newer smart TVs are launching with HDR compatibility, which improves the contrast and the detailing on screen. However, the availability of HDR will depend on whether the game developers have baked in that feature into any particular game title or not, but the vivid colours, deeper blacks and the richness of the scenes will be a lot better.
The Xbox One S console also adds the 4K playback feature. However, that is restricted to Ultra HD video playback only for the time being, and is a nice touch if you own a 4K TV or monitor. There’s no support yet for 4K games, but Netflix’s House of Cards will look a lot better on your TV now. While the original Xbox One is technically capable of supporting 4K video as far as the hardware is concerned, it comes with an HDMI 1.4a port, which can only output 4K at 30Hz and is pretty useless for videos. The Xbox One S has HDMI 2.0a, which can handle the 4K 60Hz video output.
Ins and outs
The USB ports on the Xbox One S have been moved to the front, unlike the side and rear positioning on the Xbox One. There is also a new built-in IR blaster. However, the Xbox One S doesn’t have the dedicated Kinect sensor port—Kinect for voice controls will now require a separate adapter.
Is it more powerful?
No. The Xbox One S retains pretty much the same hardware as the Xbox One ( ₹ 32,990; 500GB; Amazon.in). This is not an entirely new console, but a mid-cycle refresh of the Xbox One. Which is exactly why Microsoft is playing the pricing game very smartly, and positioning this as an even more affordable Xbox One console. In turn, Sony has confirmed that they are working on an even more powerful PlayStation 4 version, which will cost more than the current PlayStation 4 ( ₹ 32,490; 500GB version; Amazon.in).