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Friday, January 15, 2021

Xbox Series S at Rs 34,990 is quite a deal for gamers

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If you love playing games, it is rewarding to survive the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. Microsoft just announced the next-generation Xbox consoles with notable performance upgrades. The Series X has been long in discussion since last year and brings a host of exciting innovations to the gaming community. However, the Series S came as a surprise and Microsoft dropped the mic with the prices – they are mindblowing! Also Read – Sony PlayStation 5 showcase event set for September 16: Everything we know

The Xbox Series S costs Rs 34,990. That’s a figure hard to wrap our minds around, given the proposition it brings to the table. The Series S is affordable but by no means is it weak. You have got 120fps frame rates, 2K gaming, ray tracing and so many of Microsoft’s Xbox innovations. What’s even more surprising is the Xbox Series S being almost one-fourth the size of the Series X console box. Also Read – Xbox Series X, Series S launching on November 10, prices to start from $299

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As always, PC gamers may not be fond of consoles. After all, consoles have some exciting exclusive titles well optimized to run in the best of ways. Additionally, games on Xbox or PlayStation cost a lot more than the ones for PC. There’s also the factor of access to eSports, which is at best limited on the consoles. Despite all these glaring issues, I think the Xbox Series S makes better sense over a gaming PC or laptop if you have a limited budget of Rs 35,000. Also Read – Microsoft reveals Xbox Series S console, prices start at $299

Xbox Series S: The hardware comparison

It’s quite clear that at its price of Rs 34,999, the Xbox Series S undercuts every gaming laptop or PC right now in the market. Decently equipped gaming laptops and non-assembled gaming PCs start at approximately Rs 50,000, that too with discounts applied. Moreover, the PCs or gaming laptops you get at this price end up with specifications circling these:

– AMD Ryzen 5 processors from last year
– NVIDIA’s GTX 1650 or an AMD equivalent
– Full HD gaming at 60 fps

These are not great numbers for anyone who remotely cares about killing time on the controllers without compromising on quality. In fact, a laptop with such specifications will max out at medium graphics with the latest titles. If you go the custom build route, there’s always the reliability factor one has to keep in mind.

Based on specifications alone, the Xbox Series S dominates all of those entry-level gaming PCs based on specifications alone. In most parameters, the Series S is vastly superior to Core i5 or Ryzen 5 equipped PC. Have a look at the specifications.

– An 8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.6GHz
– A custom 7nm Enhanced SoC
– 10GB GDDR6 RAM (8GB @ 224GB/s, 2GB @ 56GB/s)
– 1440p resolution gaming at 60fps, supports up to 120fps
– 512GB PCIe Gen 4 NVME SSD
– Expandable storage: 1TB Expansion Card (same spec as internal)

Xbox ecosystem has its own advantages

While hardware is just a part of the game, it’s the software that makes the Series S an irresistible deal. The Series S runs on Xbox’s custom operating system and with the next-gen upgrades, the benefits are at an all-time high. You will be getting the Quick Resume feature on all games, this not requiring save game files. Additionally, due to the Xbox Velocity Architecture, the Series S will boot up games faster with the help of its SSD.

Another exciting bit in the Series S is the support for ray tracing. Future titles are splurging on ray tracing starting this year (Watch Dogs Legion, CyberPunk 2077 and more). In order to play a ray-tracing supported game, you have to use a Pc or laptop equipped with an NVIDIA RTX series graphics card. An RTX-enabled PC doesn’t come south of the Rs 1 lakh territory. On the contrary, the Series S and even the Series X do ray tracing games for much less than that. It will also support Spatial Sound, including Dolby Atmos, and Dolby Vision – something that may not be easily available for the PC universe.

Additionally, game developers optimize their games to run efficiently on all consoles. With an Xbox Series S, you can be assured of playing the latest titles in good quality graphics four years down its lifecycle. On an equivalent laptop or PC, you will need upgrades to the GPU and CPU. Longevity is definitely an advantage on the Xbox.

Xbox Series X and Series S

Isn’t console gaming expensive?

I won’t deny but gaming on PCs is easier on the wallet. On Steam, Epic, UPlay, and other online stores, there are thousands of games available at reasonable prices. On Steam, you get regular and massive discounts on popular titles. Epic hands out free copies of amazing titles occasionally to its members (I secured free copies of GTA 5 and Batman Arkham Knights). Nothing of that sort happens on the console side. There are sales with discounts on games but the prices usually don’t dip as low as ones on Steam.

However, with consoles, you have monthly subscription services. Microsoft offers its Game Pass subscription at lowly monthly prices with full access to a majority of the games on the platform. With the Series S and Series X, there are more benefits to avail. The Xbox Game Pass Ultimate now throws in a subscription to EA Access and that makes it one sweet deal. The addition of EA Access brings popular franchises such as Need For Speed, Battlefield, FIFA and more at no extra cost. Additionally, the Game Pass also makes available these games on Windows PCs, which is a great deal if you ever consider switching to PC.

What about the PS5?

Sony has so far revealed the specifications of the PlayStation 5 generation but the prices are yet to come by. If you belong to the PlayStation club in the Xbox vs PS debate, you will be happy waiting for the PS5 Digital Edition. You will get similar levels of performance and access to a collection of exciting exclusive titles. Sony hasn’t detailed its subscription services yet but I guess it could do something similar to the Game Pass Ultimate.

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Whether it’s the Xbox Series S or the PS5, these consoles are a cost-effective way to enjoy the latest in gaming without sacrificing the core experience. Unless you want to venture into the eSports territory, getting a console right now makes sense. Console games don’t come cheap but subscription services like Game Pass make it possible to try out the newest titles at a reasonable cost. The Series S in particular offers 2K gaming, up to 120fps frame rates, ray tracing and, Quick Resume, among the many to make gaming on a budget pleasurable. That said, you may differ in your opinion and I would love to go through your side of the story.

The Xbox Series S and Series X will be available from November 10. Sony is expected to announce everything about the PS5 on September 16.

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