Remember when all those Xbox One bundles looked enticing as hell? Maybe you even picked one up to snatch all those included games because it was a deal too good to pass up? Welp, I hope you bargain hunters can wait a little longer because the Xbox One S (for “Slim”, natch) is coming to a retail store near you.
E3 is definitely a place for hardware surprises and shockers – even if they’re not really surprises or shocking. With all the confirmations surrounding Sony and their beefier and VR-ready PlayStation 4 upgrade known as ‘NEO’, we were expecting Microsoft to follow suit (despite saying they won’t). To their credit though, this is a sensible remodel for this console generation as the market splinters in a thousand different directions.
Indeed, the slim model sticks to its intended guns by losing about 40% of its thickness while giving us more specs for value. We can expect 2TB of hard drive space, and expect the storage to be of the 2.5-inch HDD variety rather a SSD. Incorporation of a vertical stand and integrated power supply, effectively eliminates that notorious power brick. For convenience, one of the three USB 3.0 ports has been relocated to the front along with a new IR blaster, but what’s more telling is the unceremonious removal of the Kinect port, enough said.
The controller appears to a low-key refresh on the outside, and has adopted the same texture surfaces on the handles like the Elite controller. The addition of Bluetooth is the biggest upgrade, and wireless range is improved and can connect wirelessly to any Windows PC. However, the streamlined controller still uses AA batteries.
Microsoft has also upgraded the S internally as the box receives proper 4K/UHD video playback support (the jury remains out the gaming front) and the latest in High Dynamic Range (HDR) color luminosity, a noted feature for videophiles rocking high-end displays and AV receivers with HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2.2. This probably means little for the majority, but the Xbox One S is officially the first console able to play Ultra HD Blu-ray discs natively.
Pre-orders for the, slimmer, more capable Xbox One S are on for August, and will set you back $399 if you opt for the limited launch edition (2TB). For those waiting on the right deal or college freshmen prepping for the fall semester, a $299 (500GB) or $349 (1TB) will be part of your future bundle.
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