The only minor issues with the Series S that I have is the size of the internal SSD, which sits at about 512GB (more on this in a bit) and the heat grille where the fan blows out all that warm air. It really stands out and I would have preferred if it was white like the rest of the console. Yet once you turn it on, you will forget all about it and just start enjoying what it has to offer.
The Xbox Series S also comes with the new Xbox Wireless Controller and some AA batteries. I am not sure how I feel yet about the batteries in the Xbox controllers, as there are both advantages and disadvantages to having rechargeable battery packs built in. The new controllers on the Series consoles are improved over the previous gen controllers with better a new ‘Share’ button in the centre, making it easier to capture your moments of glory. The D-pad is more ergonomic and circular, but it does have a kind of clicking response to it that I am not too fond of.
Loading times for your games are super quick, like fast traveling in Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla is almost done in an instant. Games like FIFA 21, where you normally have a kick about in the arena before each match is also fast enough that you feel the arena is just not needed in the game anymore. You will find that our games load around 30-70% faster and in some cases even faster than that. The Xbox Series S also has ‘Quick Resume’, which is a feature that lets you pause your game and then return to the exact moment where you left it. Even if you experienced a power cut or had to move your Series S into another room, the system will load up your game to where you left it. The feature also allows you to have around four to five games available for this feature and you can switch between them within an instant.
This can vary as it depends on the size of the games you are switching to and from and this is all thanks to the extremely fast SSD that Microsoft has chosen for their Series consoles. Since we are talking about load times and the SSD, the only negative point is the amount of space on offer. The SSD in the Series S is only 512GB and with todays games and even games that are coming out over the next few years, you will be wanting more space to hold all your favourite games. While you can plug in most external hard drives/SSDs, and still get the benefits of ‘Quick Resume’ and the Auto-HDR features. You will need to have your games on the internal SSD to get the most out of your games. Especially when you want to play those games that are optimised for the Xbox Series S|X.
In some of the games I play, like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, my Xbox One X fan would be having a panic attack trying to keep up and sometimes felt like it would take off. Thankfully on the Xbox Series S and X the fan barely makes a flutter and sits there quietly while you play. It’s so quiet that my clock ticks louder than it in the room (of course with the TV muted…).
While at this moment in time there is not many titles that scream next gen, or current gen at this point, with games like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and Gears 5 probably the best-looking games out on Xbox right now. It’s exciting to wonder what the games of 2021 and beyond will look and play like.
If there is anything that I would say I dislike about the Xbox Series S is that the size of the internal SSD is too small, especially for the newer games coming out over the next few months that will eat their way through it quickly. While it is understandable that the size reflects the cost of the overall system, it does sting slightly, more so when you consider the pricing of the expansion cards. In time, this will be less of an issue when the price of these cards starts to fall and hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.