Which Xbox One S should you get on Black Friday?

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With years of experience with digital Xbox One gaming, we pit Microsoft’s latest All-Digital console against its tried and tested Xbox One S.

The full package

Xbox One S

$247 at Amazon

Pros

Full Xbox One feature set
4K Blu-ray and DVD playback
Can play game discs
Frequently discounted below Xbox One S All-Digital Edition
Cons

Higher retail price
The trusty Xbox One S holds its ground in 2019, sporting the full offerings of the Xbox entertainment suite. While formally priced higher than the All-Digital, current savings make this a cheaper, better-value buy for most.

Ditch the discs

Xbox One S All-Digital Edition

$229 at Amazon

Pros

Great for digital gamers
Three varied games included
Lowest retail price yet
Cons

Can’t play discs
Undercut by current Xbox One S discounts
Digital games can be expensive
Only 1TB storage available
Microsoft’s first disc-less console is ideal for today’s always-online world. It reduces the retail price tag without comprising core functionality, promoting all-digital Xbox gaming. However, short-term savings will be overshadowed by its costly digital marketplace.

While the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition is built upon an enticing concept of download-only gaming, current Xbox One S discounts undercut Microsoft’s latest console while offering more functionality.

Black Friday is a great time to buy either of these consoles, as we already know that Microsoft and several other retailers will be dropping the price of each of them. In particular, the All-Digital Edition will be much more attractive on Black Friday than normal, so be sure to check out those deals.

Xbox One S All-Digital Edition vs. Xbox One S: What’s the difference?

Microsoft has unveiled the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, its latest entry-level home console under the Xbox family. The new low-cost box aims to cut starting costs for Microsoft’s gaming platform, stripped to its essentials at its lowest price ever. The streamlined package drops the disc drive for an exclusively digital experience, primed for the ever-connected online world. The Xbox One S is framed as the “traditional” console experience, while the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition is a more progressive, internet-dependent variant.

The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition is near-identical to the existing Xbox One S, sharing similar hardware, games libraries, performance, and accessories with the 2016 predecessor. Buyers receive a further-refined white and black design, with the optical disc drive and its associated components now absent on the All-Digital. Side-by-side specifications and performance comparisons are pointless, delivering mirrored under-the-hood value, with minor price-reducing tweaks.

Category
Xbox One S
Xbox One S All-Digital
Processor
8-core Jaguar CPU at 1.75GHz
8-core Jaguar CPU at 1.75GHz
Storage
500GB, 1TB, 2TB
1TB
Memory
8GB DDR3 RAM
8GB DDR3 RAM
Graphics
12 CUs (914MHz) 1.23 TF GPU
12 CUs (914MHz) 1.23 TF GPU
Optical drive
4K Blu-ray drive
None
Dimensions
11.6 x 8.9 x 2.5 inches
11.6 x 8.9 x 2.5 inches
Weight
6.4 pounds
5.4 pounds
Price
$299 RRP
$249 RRP
Games will play the same on Xbox One S and Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, retaining 1080p resolution and high dynamic range (HDR) to deliver a sharp image with popping colors. 4K resolution video streaming with HDR is also shared between both devices, while 4K Blu-ray and DVD playback are naturally limited to the standard Xbox One S. All Xbox One controllers, headsets, and other peripherals are fully compatible with both Xbox One S and Xbox One S All-Digital Edition too.

Buy now, pay later with All-Digital

The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition’s pricing is Microsoft’s main enticement for potential Xbox One buyers, (in theory) introducing the cheapest entry point into the Xbox ecosystem. While the Xbox One S is already a well-priced and recommendable console for most, the All-Digital shaves a further $50 of its retail price. However, retailers rarely offer Xbox One consoles at retail beyond launch, making the standard Xbox One S cheaper in early 2019. The value of the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition hopefully improves over time, eventually putting it among the best budget consoles purely in terms of hardware savings.

However, while the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition reduces that initial retail cost, the disc drive’s removal has significant implications moving forward. Purchasing the console removes all ties to physical media, spanning Xbox One games, older disc-based backward-compatible titles, 4K Blu-ray, and DVDs. You’ll be required to double down on the digital Microsoft Store for buying Xbox One games, movies, TV, and music. And that’s not ideal for your budget.

Physical versus digital is a long-established debate, with both positives and disadvantages associated with each. Going all-in on digital cuts clutter and disc-switching, supported by vital programs like Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Play Anywhere, and EA Access. The Xbox Game Pass subscription is a notably perfect pairing with the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, via a Netflix-style subscription service packing over 100 digital games for a flat $10 monthly fee. Keep in mind all Xbox One S All-Digital Edition bundles ship with Sea of Thieves, Minecraft, and Forza Horizon 3 at launch too.

The Xbox One S is likely best (for now)

The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition is established upon a promising concept, scaling back hardware to pursue a new low-cost Xbox alternative. However, losing discs isn’t beneficial in the long-term, cutting access to third-party sales and second-hand markets. While the initial saving is enticing, there’s a long-term cost that comes with the lavish walled-garden, better known as the Microsoft Store.

With the Xbox One S already over two years old, most third-party retailers offer this console for less than the Xbox One S All-Digital’s launch price. It means you’ll pay a premium for reduced functionality, making the Xbox One S and the onboard disc drive recommended for the chance you’ll use it. There might be times you want to load up a movie or secure disc deals, which isn’t possible with the All-Digital setup.

Xbox One S All-Digital Edition pricing is expected to fall in the coming months, bringing the device in-line with the existing Xbox One lineup. This will help deliver improved value and an easily recommendable console for those striving to save. But in the current Xbox One S landscape, the All-Digital doesn’t pack the insane benefits you’d expect.

Get started

Xbox One S Battlefield V Bundle 1TB

$247 at Amazon

Low-cost gaming (with the disc drive)

Microsoft’s Xbox One S with a disc drive adds that extra value, currently discounted below All-Digital pricing. This Battlefield V bundle packs a 1TB disc-compatible set up with one of today’s hottest first-person shooters.

Jump into digital

Xbox One S All-Digital Edition

Budget gaming with a price.

$229 at Amazon

Secure your Xbox One S All-Digital Edition; Microsoft’s new and ambitious disc-less console. It’s the cheapest Xbox One ever made, bundled with a trio of downloadable games.

How to find the best Black Friday deals on an Xbox One S

Since we know that both versions of the Xbox One S will be available at discounted prices for Black Friday, getting a deal is going to be pretty simple. Getting the best deal is what will take a little more research. The best place to start is Microsoft since you’ll get a baseline offer on consoles and bundles direct from the manufacturer. From there, compare the prices and bundles to what you’ll find at places like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, GameStop, or even a local retailer.

Try and get the most for your money, but also be mindful of getting the wrong bundle. If you don’t need an extra controller, for example, don’t necessarily jump on a bundle than includes one. You could be spending more than you need to, or you could be missing out on the chance to get more games instead of a piece of hardware you won’t use.

Our deals team will be curating the best of the best Xbox One S deals throughout the Black Friday weekend to help you make the smartest choice.

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