Like an overpriced sports car, the Xbox One S isn’t something you need – but damn does it look pretty. This slimmed down redesign of Microsoft’s games console launches this August for $399 (cheaper models are coming later), and introduces new features such as 4K video streaming and up to a whopping 2TB of storage.
But while it's tempting to pick up an Xbox One S based on looks and fancy extras alone, it's not necessarily a great buy for everyone. If you're on the fence, here's why you should — and shouldn't — pick up Microsoft's eye-catching new console.
You should buy an Xbox One S if...
You don't currently own an Xbox One. The Xbox One S (opens in new tab) is a no-brainer for those just joining the Xbox family. You get a sleeker design, an improved controller and 4K video playback for the same $299 starting price as the current Xbox One. However, if you want the Xbox One S as soon as possible, you'll need to pick up the $399, 2TB model on August 2 -- cheaper models are coming a bit later.
You own a 4K TV. Aside from being a games machine, the Xbox One S is a 4K media powerhouse. The console supports 4K video streaming from services such as Netflix and Amazon Video, and even plays 4K Blu-Rays. Considering that 4K Blu-Ray players can sell for hundreds of dollars on their own, the Xbox One S may be worth buying for its 4K support alone.
You like having lots of storage. The Xbox One S has the biggest hard drive option of any Xbox, offering a meaty 2TB of storage on the $399 model. The $349 config will get you a solid 1TB, while the starting $299 model packs a standard 500GB. Of course, this might not be an issue if you already use an external hard drive with your Xbox.
You're running out of shelf space. It might sound superficial, but I'm personally considering trading for an Xbox One S just because it'll look much better in my entertainment center. The S is 40 percent smaller than its predecessor, and can be stood up vertically, giving you more options when it comes to showing it off next to your TV. Best of all, it ditches the original Xbox One's annoying external power brick.
You shouldn't buy an Xbox One S if...
You're seeking the most powerful console out there. The Xbox One S isn't the only new piece of hardware up Microsoft's sleeve — next year, the company is launching Project Scorpio, which is being dubbed "the most powerful console ever." While details are currently scarce, Scorpio is designed to support true 4K gaming and high-end virtual reality, both of which are currently limited to tricked-out PCs. If power is your priority, you should stick with your chunky old Xbox One for now.
You're content with your Xbox One. Despite a few new features, the S is still an Xbox One. There aren't any games that will require an Xbox One S to play, meaning the console you have now is perfectly ready for Gears of War 4, Halo Wars 2 and every other game headed to the Xbox One family. While the S console's High Dynamic Range (HDR) support will apparently offer richer colors for select games, you shouldn't expect any serious performance benefits on the newer machine.
You really love your Kinect. Remember that thing? If you're particularly fond of Microsoft's motion- and voice-sensing Xbox camera, you should know that the S lacks a Kinect port. Fortunately, Microsoft is offering a free adapter (opens in new tab) for those who want to use a Kinect on their Xbox One S, though you won't be able to request one until after your new console arrives.
You have a decent Windows 10 gaming PC. As part of Microsoft's Play Anywhere (opens in new tab) initiative, you'll be able to buy virtually any of the company's upcoming first-party games once and play them across Xbox One and Windows 10. While this is good news for gamers that use both, it also means that you'll never need an Xbox to play games such as Killer Instinct, ReCore, Crackdown, Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3.
You want the absolute best value on an Xbox One. The S offers a whole lot for $299, but the standard Xbox One now costs (opens in new tab) just $249. That applies to just about every current Xbox One bundle out there, including the Gears of War and Quantum Break packages, as well as the "Name Your Game" bundle that includes your choice of Gears, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Forza Motorsport 6 or Rare Replay.