It’s official: Microsoft is releasing a slimmer, sleeker edition of its Xbox One hardware. Less than 24 hours before images of the so-called Xbox One S leaked in an advertisement, Microsoft formerly unveiled the compact console at its E3 press conference in Los Angeles. The highlights? It’s smaller, features a “slimmer,” stark white design and bigger hard drive, and supports high dynamic range (HDR) and 4K.
The Xbox One S is an evolution of Xbox One’s design: it also features a half-patterned exterior with prominent black accents. But unlike the first-gen Xbox One, the S can stand vertically and has a footprint a full “40 percent” smaller than its predecessor. Plus, it ships with a matching white controller that has subtle improvements over the current model: a textured grip, increased wireless range, and support for Bluetooth.
That’s not all the Xbox One S is packing. The new and improved console boasts a more practical 2TB hard drive that provides significantly more digital storage space than the current, 500GB model — welcome news considering the tendency of modern, graphics-heavy games to devour vast amounts of storage space. Another welcome change? The power supply for the Xbox One S is built into the console itself, which means no more bulky cords to keep furniture from pushing all the way against the wall — a constant annoyance from previous models.
On the software side of things, the Xbox One S’s headlining feature is support for 4K Ultra HD (UHD) resolution video and HDR. 4K, for point of comparison, is four times the resolution of a standard HD, 1080p TV, and has only slightly less visual quality than the Digital Cinema 4K at a modern movie theater. HDR, meanwhile, preserves the color and contrast of digital video, and gives a true-to-life and immersive feel. The Xbox One S won’t deliver the same experience on all hardware, though — you’ll need a TV or monitor that has 4K UHD and/or HDR capabilities to take advantage.
The Xbox One S retails for about $300 — the price of the current-gen Xbox One. It will go on sale in August.
Updated on 06-13-2016 by Kyle Wiggers: Added official Xbox One S launch details.