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The Xbox Series S Is the Best Budget Gaming Console Right Now

The Xbox Series S is the Xbox I use the most. Here's why.

Eric Franklin Former Editorial Director
Eric Franklin led the CNET Tech team as Editorial Director. A 20-plus-year industry veteran, Eric began his tech journey testing computers in the CNET Labs. When not at work he can usually be found at the gym, chauffeuring his kids around town, or absorbing every motivational book he can get his hands on.
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  • Once wrote 50 articles in one month.
Eric Franklin

In a world where game consoles actually increase from their original price, it's nice to know there remain affordable and viable options in 2022. The Xbox Series S is Microsoft's smaller, cheaper version of its newest Xbox -- and it's fantastic.

Why it's a great gift: At $300, the Series S is by far the cheapest current-generation game console on the market. Also, it has all the features of the more expensive Xbox Series X ($500). Those include a fast SSD drive for quick loading of games and the same basic internal architecture; however, the Series X can achieve higher resolutions in games. The Series S also has Quick Resume, which lets you continue multiple games right where you left off. Lastly, there's Xbox Game Pass, the company's $9.99 monthly subscription service that provides access to hundreds of games across four generations of Xboxes as well as nearly every Microsoft, Bethesda -- and possibly soon, Activision Blizzard -- first-party game... and some big third party games as well. The Series S plus Game Pass is the perfect gift for old and new gamers on a budget.

What you'll pay: Most places charge $300, but there are frequently sales of up to $50 off.

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