Heads up, holiday shoppers: The Xbox Series S is currently in stock at Amazon. In a way, that's not news: Unlike the newer Nintendo Switch OLED and the more powerful Xbox Series X and PS5, the Series S has always been comparatively easy to obtain since its November 2020 release. (The PS5 and Xbox are getting a big bite at the apple today when Walmart will have them, initially only for Walmart Plus members, later this afternoon.)
But we're highlighting it here because -- even as folks continue to pay huge premiums for the chance to snag a PS5 -- we've found the Xbox Series S to be a great little gaming box when paired with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. Yes, plenty of gamers shake their heads at this $300 console because it doesn't deliver "true 4K" gaming. That's true, as is the fact that it packs a relatively paltry 512GB of storage (a proprietary expansion card costs a whopping $220). It doesn't play disc-based games or movies, and if you're awaiting upcoming PlayStation exclusives like Horizon Forbidden West or God of War: Ragnarok, you won't find them here.
But as someone who's owned a Series S for the past 11 months, I think the benefits far outweigh those caveats. Of course, the Series S offers all those other big cross-platform games of the season -- the latest entries in the Battlefield, Madden, Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto series, to name a few. And thanks to Game Pass, I have access to dozens of other great games at no extra charge, including the Xbox-exclusive Halo Infinite when it hits on December 8. Not too shabby.
Published earlier, updated to reflect new availability.