xbox one slim

Xbox One Slim Review: Worth the Upgrade?

Xbox One S Review

Xbox One Slim vs Xbox One Comparison

Xbox One Slim, the newly released, slimmed down, flag ship game console from Microsoft, is jam-pack with a cluster of 4K qualities. A lot of people are asking questions about the main differences between the new Xbox One S and the original Xbox One. On this page, we will answer those questions. This review is based in part on the two featured Youtube videos by  Andru Edward and to Austin Evans. Thanks to them upfront for making these videos.

Top 5 Xbox One Slim Features:

Xbox One S vs Xbox One Comparison

Xbox One Slim – Much Smaller

At E3 this year Microsoft unveiled the new Xbox One Slim which looks like a standard slim form of a console. However there’s actually a lot more than meets the eye with this one. First of all, the Xbox One S is minuscule. Seriously. Compared to the previous Xbox One, the slim is 40% smaller. This is no joke, It’s hard to appreciate just how much smaller it is until you see it in person. That mainly has to do with how monstrous the original Xbox One was. The new robot lily-white dye surely helps to make it pop.

Xbox One Slim – A Different Look

Xbox One Slim

Xbox One S

So, let’s kick it off beginning with the the most obvious difference: looks. Show someone the original Xbox One, and then the Xbox One Slim, and if they aren’t a gamer, they’d likely not be able to tell that these are essentially the same console platform. When the Xbox One was released only a few years ago, it was huge and clunky, and sported a larger power brick to boot. Compare that to the Xbox One S, and it’s a night and day difference.

The overall intent still appears quite similar. The newest xbox is split down the middle with the optical drive on the left and the ventilate for cooling on the right side. It has a new dimpled finish which is fascinating, I guess. It’s still not the most beautiful piece of hardware out there, but it is a step forward.

Xbox One S New Features – Ports

Gazing on back, all the ports are the same with the exception of the omission of the Kinect Port on the new version. They’ve also moved a USB port up front for easy access along with the sync button and a new IR blaster which was previously part of the Kinect. Speaking of the Kinect, it look as if Microsoft is phasing out the Kinect. Take a look around back and there’s no Kinect port to be found. Microsoft will be selling a Kinect adapter which will be available for free if you already own an Xbox One with Kinect, but it looks pretty goofy. Instead, Microsoft apparently wants gamers to use a headset microphone for voice commands and the new, built-in IR blaster (in front of the Xbox One S) for remote control of other home theater equipment.

Otherwise though, the ports are similar. You still have both HDMI in and out – which is appreciated – along with two more USB ports. That makes a total of three USB ports. There’s also an IR out, optical audio and Ethernet. What you won’t find is a monstrous power brick.

Power Cord, not Power Brick

Gone is the bulky external power brick, replaced with a simple power cord. Not merely was Micrsoft able to reduce the sizing of the Xbox One S by 40%, they were even able to move the power supply into the Xbox One S console itself at the same time.

Smaller, More Power, Vertical Stand

Like the PS4, the power supply is now internal which mean you only require a single cable to power up the Xbox One S. This change is an absolutely welcome change. Another key hardware difference is that the Xbox One S can stand vertically with the elective upright stand accessory. If you buy the two terabyte version, you’ll get the stand included in the box. If you get the 1 terabyte, or 500 GB version, it’ll cost you.  Also, while typically slim simulations are about making a smaller and cheaper console, the smaller Xbox One Slim is actually slightly most powerful than the original Xbox One.


There’s one huge change, and it’s my favorite feature: HDR capability. When most people think of HDR, they think of photography, but with video, HDR refers to the dynamics assortment between the darkest colours and the brightest colours that your television can display is much wider. It really is something you have to see for yourself, but the colors are amazing and more true to life, and the brightness is unlike anything you’ve ever seen on a television. The Xbox One Slim offers HDR for streaming, for 4k Blu-Ray disks, and for gaming. We’ll discuss each of these feature more below.

If you want to take advantage of 4K, you’ll need a television capable of displaying the open HDR 10 spec, as compared to a TV that can only display Dolby Vision HDR. In my exam, HDR on both 4K Blu-Ray and streaming from Netflix performed great. I couldn’t evaluate high-dynamic assortment gaming, though, because inexplicably, Microsoft didn’t release any HDR capable games at the time. You’d thing they’d have launched something alongside the new console to display it off, but nope.


Newer xbox one s games like Forza Horizon 3, now include HDR displays which will allow for wider dynamic array – a feature noticed especially on newer high definition 4k TVs. Don’t get too excited about 4K though, it’s mostly for video. You can now play Ultra HD Blu-rays along with watching 4K video from Netflix. Paired with HDR video assist, this is a small but much appreciated update. It makes the new xbox one s consoles a much more impressive home theater box.

4K Blu-Ray – A Game Changer

This new big change that Microsoft introduced here on the Xbox One S is actually a big deal. 4k Blu-Ray takes things to another level. The original Xbox One played standard Blu-Ray discs and DVDs. The new Xbox One S support for 4k Blu-Ray will actually save you money. Since the Xbox One S starts at $299, it’s officially the cheapest 4k Blu-Ray player that you can buy. Plus, it does much more than merely play 4k Blu-Ray discs, unlike the standalone units. This means that people who own a 4k TV, and want to play 4k discs, will likely be seriously thinking about buying the Xbox One S, even if they aren’t inevitably gamers. This could be a huge win for Microsoft.

4K Video Streaming – An Even Bigger Deal

The next new feature that sets the Xbox One S apart from the original Xbox One is 4k video streaming. Services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Youtube, allow 4k streaming video, which the original Xbox One couldn’t do. With the new Xbox One Slim, you get access to the higher definition videos that these services have to offer. That means that you can pull out my Youtube channel on your Xbox One S, and watch this very video in glorious 4k.

4k Game Upscaling

Another new feature found on the Xbox One S is 4k Game Upscaling. So, you’re probably feeling a motif here. Microsoft invested a lot of resources optimizing the Xbox One S for the new influx of 4k televisions. To be clear, though, this is 4k upscaling, absolutely no truth to the rumors of 4k gaming. You’ll have to wait until next year’s much more powerful Xbox One Launch: Project Scorpio for true-life 4k gaming and virtual reality. Instead, the Xbox One S takes whatever the resolution is from the game you’re currently playing and upscales it to 4k before sending the signal to your television. That will make the games appear better if you’re playing them on a 4k TV set, but it won’t be using 4k textures.

xbox one slim


Something a little more interesting are the spec amends. According to the developers of Gears of War the Xbox One Slim packs a slightly more powerful CPU and GPU.  They’re using this more power to make sure Gears 4 maintains either a higher settlement or frame frequency when playing on the Xbox One Slim. Interestingly, Microsoft certainly didn’t go into detail on how they’re getting 4K and HDR support out of the Xbox One S, so I’m curious to see exactly what’s powering this thing. On the surface of the updated  Xbox One Slim console, there’s also a refreshed controller.

Bluetooth Controller

At first glance the controller appears virtually indistinguishable from the original. However, the Xbox One S controller has some minor changes as well. The biggest of these changes is that it is currently includes Bluetooth connectivity to the console as well as to PCs and even mobile machines like smartphones and tablets. You can connect it to a PC without necessitating the Xbox wireless adapter. There’s also a new textured control around back which is comparable to the Elite controller. This more perceptible finish on the hand tractions, renders it less slippery. The thumbsticks have been improved as well. The new lily-white controller will be included with the Xbox One Slim, and it’ll be on sale for $60.

Controller Customization

But there’s also a new option for official customization announced Design Lab. This online tool will let you seriously customize most parts of the controller, including the body, control, buttons and puts. This is legitimately cool and you are able to even etch something on the controller, Design Lab is already lives and they’ll be carrying in September for $80 for a normal controller and $90 if you miss the engraving.

High Definition Audio Problem

There’s one caveat that I’ve observed so far. If you have a high-end speaker system or receiver in your residence that they are consistent with Dolby Atmos or DTS X like I do, the Xbox S doesn’t send that untouched audio from the disc over to your receiver. In fact, for whatever reason, I’ve found that it even struggled to send uncompressed audio. Microsoft says that an update is forth-coming for the high definition audio alternatives, though. And if you don’t have a crazy sound system in the first place, then this won’t even affect you at all.

Xbox One S Deals

The Xbox One S went on sale in August 2016 starting at $299. That price will get you a 500 gigabyte console. However, you can also upgrade to a terabyte for $350 or a two terabyte hard drive for $400.


When it comes to a slim console, I’ve got to say it’s nice to see more and better instead of only a cheaper, more stripped down console. So what do you guys think about the Xbox One S? Check it out using the link below.

So, there you have it, guys. These are the big changes that Microsoft introduced to the Xbox One S that built it into an even better console than the original Xbox One. Now, I want to hear from you. Is this review enough to make you want to upgrade? Or are you going to wait for Project Scorpio instead? Or are you not even a console gamer at all?

Thanks to Andru Edward and to Austin Evans.

Check out various Xbox one S bundles at Amazon

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