Which Xbox console should I buy in 2022?

Xbox HeaderMicrosoft

Looking to choose between Microsoft’s different Xbox consoles? Here’s what you need to know.

Which Xbox console should I pick? Thanks to Microsoft’s naming conventions, finding the right box for you can be a little confusing. There’s the last-gen Xbox One and its two revisions – Xbox One S and Xbox One X – alongside two current generation consoles, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. There’s much to consider and if you’re unsure where to go, and we’re here to help. Fortunately, Microsoft’s given significant support to ensure a smooth generational transition, so even older choices remain viable. 

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Many games support Smart Delivery, so if a game’s available on both Xbox One and Xbox Series, you’ll get both editions for the price of one. Xbox Series leads the way with backward compatibility too, while Xbox Game Pass continues adding new games into its subscription service every month. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate also includes Xbox Cloud Gaming, so if you can’t afford the newer hardware just yet, you can still experience next-gen exclusives, providing you’ve got a strong internet connection. 

Granted, you won’t see many big streamers playing off an Xbox. PC remains the platform of choice, but that doesn’t mean there’s no love for them. We’ve seen big names collaborate with Xbox before, like Shroud appearing in a PC Game Pass advert, or when FaZe Clan launched Xbox 360-themed merch last May. You can stream to Twitch directly through an Xbox One or Xbox Series X|S without a capture card, which is certainly handy for new starters. 

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Xbox Logo wallpaper

Ultimately, the best choice isn’t a universal decision, everyone’s got personal preferences that’ll make a particular console more appealing. This guide’s intent is to break down those important factors, helping you make an informed choice before spending your money. So, if you’re looking to choose the best Xbox console for you in 2022, here’s everything you need to know.

Xbox One

It’s hard to believe that nearly nine years have passed since the original Xbox One release. Microsoft’s launch missteps cost them initially, but thanks to game-changing initiatives like Xbox Game Pass, fortunes eventually shifted.

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Even now, we’re seeing some strong support for the older console, and Microsoft’s still dropping big cross-gen games onto it, which includes Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5.

Xbox One launch console

Unfortunately, this support won’t last forever and nearly two years into the new generation, developers are slowly leaving Xbox One behind. Realistically, unless you’re operating on a shoestring budget – or simply don’t care about 4K graphics – there’s not much reason to pick up an original Xbox One console these days, especially when compared to follow-up models. That said, if all you’re after is a budget gaming machine, you could certainly do a lot worse.

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  • Key Specs
    • CPU – 1.75GHz 8-core AMD custom CPU| GPU – Integrated AMD graphics clocked at 853MHz| RAM – 8GB DDR3| Storage – 500GB | Weight – 3.5kg| Optical Drive – Blu-Ray| 4K Support – No| Max Refresh Rate – 60Hz | HDR Support – No
    • Release Date: November 22, 2013
    • RRP: $249.99/£249.99
    • Where To Buy?: Amazon USA, Amazon UK
  • Pros
    • Still has a strong library of games
    • Can be found incredibly cheap
  • Cons
    • Bulky design
    • Weakest performance of the pack

Xbox One S

Slim revisions are common in many console generations, and Xbox One S is one of the more impressively shrunk consoles. 40% smaller than the original, Microsoft removed the bulky power supply previously used and created a more refined design. Crucially, One S added an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, making it a cheap entry point for 4K film collectors. You won’t find native 4K support for games, though it’ll upscale them from 1080p resolution to 4K.

Xbox One S

Otherwise, there are no major changes with processing power, Microsoft only made minimal adjustments for the Xbox One S.  There’s also an Xbox One S All-Digital Edition that has the same specifications, minus that UHD Blu-Ray disc drive.

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Whichever console you choose, the One S contains all the original Xbox One’s advantages but provides a more appealing package. If you’re looking for a Game Pass machine, it’ll do nicely.

  • Key Specs
    • CPU – 1.75GHz 8-core AMD custom CPU| GPU AMD Durango 2 GCN 1.0| RAM – 8GB DDR3| Storage – 500GB, 1TB, 2TB | Weight – 2.9kg| Optical Drive – Ultra HD Blu-Ray| 4K Support – Yes, video only| Max Refresh Rate – 60Hz |  HDR Support – Yes
    • Release Date: August 1, 2016
    • RRP: From $299.99/£249.99
    • Where To Buy?: Amazon USA, Amazon UK
  • Pros
    • Great redesign
    • Excellent multimedia machine
    • One of the cheapest Ultra HD Blu-ray players around
  • Cons
    • Nearing the end of its life

Xbox One X

For several years, Xbox One X was Microsoft’s flagship console. Similar to Sony’s PS4 Pro, the Xbox One X served as a mid-generation upgrade with significant technical improvements, providing increased performance. Games benefitted greatly as they could now be played in native 4K resolution with HDR support, taking it further than the Xbox One S. A select few games supported 120Hz, though this remains uncommon.

Xbox One X

Because Microsoft stopped production on all Xbox One consoles in 2020, you may struggle to find this new, though if you don’t mind going for a used console, prices are cheap. Significantly cheaper than Microsoft’s current flagship Series X model, albeit without the next-gen capabilities. If you’re after a powerful console on a budget, Xbox One X remains a capable 4K machine here. Just remember it won’t be long before One, One S, and One X are phased out. 

  • Key Specs
    • CPU – 2.3GHz 8-core AMD custom CPU| GPU – AMD Radeon GCN 4.0| RAM – 12GB GDDR5| Storage – 1TB | Weight – 4.4kg| Optical Drive – Ultra HD Blu-Ray| 4K Support – Yes| Max Refresh Rate – 120Hz | HDR Support – Yes
    • Release Date: November 1, 2017
    • RRP: $499.99 / £449.99
    • Where To Buy?: Amazon USA, Amazon UK
  • Pros
    • Native 4K support
    • Games receive a significant performance boost
  • Cons
    • No longer the powerhouse it was at launch
    • Also nearing the end of its life

Xbox Series X

Competing directly with the PS5, Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s current flagship console, and it’s not hard to see why. Comparable to a high-end PC without the price tag, Series X packs some impressive specs, supporting 4K resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, and 120fps gameplay (although often not all at once).

You’ll need a suitable TV or monitor to get the most out of these features, but if only the best console experience will do, Xbox Series X is easily Microsoft’s best. 

Xbox Series X

The only real downside is that Xbox Series costs considerably more than the other Xbox consoles. However, you’re getting a lot for your money here and unlike the Xbox One, it’s got a long life ahead of it. We’ve started seeing next-gen exclusives like Microsoft Flight Simulator but it’s fully backward compatible with Xbox One too, alongside select Xbox 360 and original Xbox games. If you want power and futureproofing, Series X is your best call. 

  • Key specs
    • CPU – Eight-core 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT) custom AMD 7nm| GPU – 12 teraflops 1.825GHz| RAM – 16GB GDDR6| Storage – 1TB | Weight – 4.45kg| Optical Drive – Ultra HD Blu-Ray| 4K Support – Yes| Max Refresh Rate – 120Hz | HDR Support – Yes
    • Release Date: November 10, 2020
    • RRP: $499.99/£449.99
    • Where to Buy?: Amazon USA, Amazon UK
  • Pros
    • Provides the full next-gen experience
    • Comfortable design
  • Cons
    • Most expensive pick
    • Stock has been hard to come by

Xbox Series S

The current console generation has been unique for one major reason; both Sony and Microsoft kicked it off with a digital-only version of their flagship consoles. In Microsoft’s case, that’s the Xbox Series S, but functionality goes beyond simply removing the disc tray. This is a console designed for affordability, retailing at (almost) half the price of a standard PS5 or Xbox Series X. Even against a PS5 Digital Edition, you’re still saving considerable money.

Xbox Series S

Naturally, the Series S comes with some significant compromises. The Series S can’t natively play games in 4K, though it’ll upscale them from 1440p if you’ve got a 4K TV. It also halves the built-in storage, though that’s expandable on both consoles with a Seagate Expansion Card. Series S targets a very different audience to Series X, so if you’re after a next-gen console but don’t need the fancy extras – or you simply want a cheap Game Pass machine – it’s a solid entry point for newcomers. 

  • Key Specs
    • CPU – Eight-core 3.6GHz (3.4GHz with SMT) custom AMD 7nm| GPU – 4 teraflops at 1.550GHz| RAM – 10GB GDDR6| Storage – 512GB | Weight – 1.93kg| Optical Drive – NA | 4K Support – Not natively, can upscale to 4K| Max Refresh Rate – 120Hz | HDR Support – Yes
    • Release Date: November 10, 2020
    • RRP: $299.99/£249.99
    • Where To Buy?: Amazon USA, Amazon UK
  • Pros
    • Most affordable new-gen console
    • Strong performance for the price
    • Sleek design
  • Cons
    • Digital-only format is restrictive
    • Won’t provide a full 4K experience

What’s the best Xbox console for you?

The best Xbox console for you comes down to your personal preferences and thankfully, there’s no lack of choice here. If you’re really not bothered about next-gen gaming – or you don’t mind using bridging the gap through cloud streaming – the Xbox One S still offers great value, thanks to its Ultra HD Blu-ray player. 

Objectively though, we’d be hard-pressed to argue against either Xbox Series console. Not only will they be supported for years to come, but both also offer full backward compatibility for Xbox One games. If you’re after the high-end next-gen experience, Xbox Series X is your best call, but if a cheaper console that you can use Game Pass on will do, you can’t go wrong with Xbox Series S.