The Xbox One S is the most beautiful game console out there

The Xbox One S is the most beautiful game console out there

The Xbox One S doesn’t feel like a toy.

Whereas setting up the original Xbox One often felt like I was handling some sort of Medicare-provided DIY iron lung, the One S is a far tighter experience that’s luxurious and efficient in its build.

Shoddy vent grids covering an alarmingly hollow-sounding interior have been replaced with an innovative perforated vent design that is as fresh-looking as it is solid-feeling. Contrasting glossy and matte textures have lost their gimmick and given way to a cold, solid heft. The integrated power supply gives the One S an air of mobility  that was lacking with its predecessor which felt anchored to the TV cabinet after setup.

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Overall, the Xbox One S, available today, feels like a very dense console. The footprint of the device is now 40% smaller than the One before it and it’s clear that the engineering team behind the One S was considerably more purposeful in its build.

Not to shit talk the hardware design on the original Xbone too much, but comparing the One S to the original Xbox One feels less like comparing the build of a Macbook Air to a Macbook Pro than it does feel like weighing a Macbook Air against a 2005 Dell laptop.

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Now, not everyone out there really cares about this stuff. Few people are honestly buying a game console because of its hardware design. Unlike something like a laptop where weight, build quality and design can all directly influence how a consumer interacts with the product, people have learned not to expect too much from game console design because at the end of the day, it’s just a metal box that is going to live out the remainder of its days beneath your TV.

Something like the controller design is much more important to users. The Xbox One S ships with a slightly revamped wireless controller. It boasts new textured grips and new thumbstick designs, but most of the physical changes are only mildly noticeable. The big changes are the addition of Bluetooth connectivity which gives the controller the ability to connect to Windows 10 devices and the extension of the controller’s wireless range which Xbox boasts now doubles that of its predecessor.

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Once you wax poetic long enough on the design of this console and controller, which, believe me, I could do for a while, you’re prompted to turn less shallow and examine what sets the machine apart on the inside.

There’s not quite as much to see there.