The first console to support 4K Ultra HD video, the smaller S version of the Xbox One will initially be up for grabs across 25 different countries.
Lance WhitneyContributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Microsoft will kick off sales of its new Xbox One S starting Tuesday, August 2.
There is one catch. The Xbox One S will be available in three different capacities and price tags -- a 500GB version for $299, a 1TB version for $349 and a 2TB version for $399. However, only the 2TB version lifts off on August 2, Matt Lapsen, general manager for Xbox Devices Marketing, said in a blog post on Monday.
Microsoft will have more to share next week about the 1TB and 500GB Xbox One S consoles, which will launch later this year, a company spokeswoman said.
All three models are currently available for preorder through Microsoft, Best Buy, Amazon and GameStop. Anyone who preorders the 2TB version of the console will be able to grab it come August 2. You can also try walking into your local Microsoft, Best Buy or GameStop store. However, "availability is limited and demand is high," according to Lapsen, who advises preordering the console soon.
Microsoft has tried a number of tactics to boost Xbox One sales, including slashing the price, bundling free games and offering a Kinect-free version of the console. But the Xbox One S represents a new shift. The console is smaller, cheaper and throws in support for 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray discs and 4K streaming services as a way to do battle with both gaming consoles and Blu-ray players.
By supporting 4K (3,820x2,160-pixel) resolution, the Xbox One S will display more vibrant colors and darker blacks. The higher resolution works with movies and TV shows natively but will also support games by upscaling them to 4K. However, you'll need a 4K compatible TV.
Those of you who have a 4K TV and are looking for a 4K Blu-ray player may be tempted by the Xbox One S since you also get the option to play games. The new console also supports High Dynamic Range (HDR) for video and gaming, which means certain games will look better due to a higher contrast ratio.
The Xbox One S will initially arrive in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK and the US. Other regions will get dibs on the new console later this year.
Update, 1:03 p.m. PT: Adds more information from Microsoft.
Watch this: The Xbox One and One S side by side comparison