The $499 Xbox One X is finally here, delivering on its promise of awesome 4K gaming and more power than we've ever seen in a console. But it's not the best Xbox you can buy right now — that honor belongs to the $249 Xbox One S.
Microsoft's entry-level Xbox One isn't just easier on the wallet — it also shares many of the One X's key features, and still reaps tons of benefits for folks with 4K and HDR TVs. Here are 5 reasons why you should resist the temptation of Microsoft's shiny new high-end console and get an Xbox One S instead.
It's half the price.
This is an obvious point, but an important one. The Xbox One S's $249 starting price is half the cost of a $499 Xbox One X, meaning you can put that extra $249 towards a ton of extra games, accessories, or, heck, a second Xbox One S. Most Xbox One S bundles also include at least one free game. That difference is price is especially significant, considering...
It supports 4K Blu-rays and streaming.
While the Xbox One S doesn't offer true 4K gaming like the One X does, it still has a ton to offer for folks with Ultra-HD TVs. The One S plays 4K Blu-rays and supports 4K streaming for services such as Netflix and Amazon Video, making it arguably the best all-around entertainment machine you can get for the money.
It also does HDR.
One of the Xbox One X's major selling points is its ability to play games in High Dynamic Range (HDR), which allows for brighter, richer colors. Guess what? The Xbox One S does that too. Microsoft's entry-level console offers HDR support for titles such as Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3, meaning that folks with HDR TVs will still see a notable upgrade over the launch Xbox One.
It plays all the same games.
While the Xbox One X is more powerful than the Xbox One S, the two consoles share the same exact game library. That means you can enjoy exclusives such as Cuphead and Forza Motorsport 7, big third-party hits like Shadow of War and Wolfenstein 2, and hundreds of backwards compatible Xbox 360 and Xbox games without having to shell out $499 for Microsoft's highest-end console.
Microsoft has promised that there won't be any games that only work on Xbox One X, so getting a One S is still a worthwhile (and cheaper) investment that will handle at least the next few years' worth of Xbox games.
It's nearly as sleek.
You don't have to pay up to get a great-looking Xbox One. The Xbox One S is virtually identical in design to the One X, save for the latter console's slightly slimmer frame, heavier weight and slick black finish. The One S can slide into just about any entertainment center either standing vertically or laid flat, and comes in a variety of cool-looking special editions.
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Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.