The PS5 Digital and the Xbox Series S are the cheaper, digital-only counterparts to their beefy, more powerful older brothers. They are two wildly different consoles, but if you’re looking for a cost-effective next-gen console, it’ll come down to the PS5 Digital vs the Xbox Series S.
Both are digital-only consoles, but that’s where the similarity stops. In this article, we’ll take a look at all of the unique aspects of both the PS5 Digital and the Xbox Series S. Then, we’ll weigh out the pros and cons and help you decide which console works best for you.
Looking for more information about the upcoming consoles? Check out:
PS5 Digital vs Xbox Series S
PS5 Digital vs Xbox Series S price
If you’re considering buying either the PS5 Digital or the Xbox Series S, you likely want to save some money. The cheapest option between the two is the Xbox Series S, priced at $299.99. If you want an even more savvy purchase option, Microsoft is offering the Xbox All Access plan. With it, you can purchase a new Xbox Series S console and get an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription for 24 monthly payments of $24.99 plus tax. If you want to upgrade to the Xbox Series X, Microsoft offers a similar Xbox All Access plan for 24 monthly payments of $34.99 plus tax.
The PS5 Digital is a bit more expensive, priced at $399.99 (US), but you get a lot more bang for your buck in terms of specs. Sony does not currently have any monthly payment plans or bundles that decrease the price of the console.
Also read: Miss Xbox Series X pre-orders? Microsoft will have more on launch day
PS5 Digital vs Xbox Series S design
The design of the PS5 digital and the design of the Xbox Series S could not be more different. They’re both primarily white, but that’s pretty much the only similarity.
The PS5 digital is slimmer than the standard PS5, due to the lack of a disc drive. It has a more symmetrical design, with the black console sandwiched between two sleek white panels. You can choose to place the PS5 Digital either horizontally or vertically. Although the design of the PS5 and PS5 Digital has been quite controversial among fans, I quite like the more modern, sleek form factor.
The Xbox Series S also has a minimalist appearance, but it’s more subtle due to its size. The Xbox Series S is the smallest console Microsoft has ever made. It’s about 60% smaller than its towering counterpart, the Xbox Series X. It has a black, circular fan grill on the front, but if you choose to place it horizontally instead of vertically, you will just see the white edge.
PS5 Digital vs Xbox Series S storage
In terms of storage, the PS5 Digital is the winner. The PS5 Digital comes with a custom 825GB SSD. Sony has announced that there will be options to expand the internal storage in the future. However, gamers have been told not to purchase internal storage until they hear which internal SSDs are compatible with the PS5 Digital’s high-end bandwidth demands. Unfortunately, it could be a while before Sony can test various SSDs and certify specific ones for PS5 owners to purchase.
Related: First Xbox Series S expandable drive will cost nearly as much as the console
The Xbox Series S comes with a 512GB SSD. Considering that many games nowadays are easily 100GB or larger, this is not a lot of storage space. Unlike Sony, however, Microsoft has already confirmed there is a 1TB Seagate internal SSD that will be compatible with their console. Nevertheless, with 2TB, 4TB, and larger SSDs, it’s disappointing that Microsoft is only offering a 1TB option. The 1TB SSD from Seagate isn’t cheap either, retailing at over $200. This makes the $299.99 price tag of the Series S not nearly as appealing.
PS5 Digital vs Xbox Series S specs
Both the PS5 Digital and the Xbox Series S have an eight-core AMD CPU. The PS5’s CPU runs at a variable 3.5GHz frequency, while the Series S’s CPU runs at a 3.6GHz frequency. This is the only spec that Xbox Series S has a slight advantage on, but it is incredibly slight.
In the rest of the spec battle, the PS5 Digital wins everything. Both consoles have the same GPU, but the PS5 has a whopping 10 TFLOPS of processing power compared to the Series S’s 4 TFLOPS. The PS5 Digital also has 6 more GB of GDDR6 RAM. It’s understandable that the PS5 Digital would win though because it’s essentially the standard PS5 minus a disc drive.
See also: PS4 vs PS5 – Should I upgrade? Should I wait?
If we take a look at the Xbox Series S, it has less powerful specs, but it’s also $200 cheaper than the Series X. Microsoft didn’t just eliminate the disc drive to give a more affordable, digital-only option to gamers. The company wanted to provide a budget option for gamers who want to spend less or don’t need a super-powerful next-gen console. For a budget device, the specs of the Series S are still pretty dang impressive.
PS5 Digital vs Xbox Series S games
The available games for each console are going to be a huge deciding factor for a lot of gamers. At launch, the PS5 Digital will be able to play all the same titles as the standard PS5, with all enhancements, like 4K resolution, higher frame rates, ray tracing, and more. Some of the biggest PS5 launch games right now include Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Ratchet & Clank, and (hopefully) Demon’s Souls. Most of the PS4 library will be backward compatible with the PS5 digital too, but you’ll have to either own or download a digital copy.
The Xbox Series S will offer the same launch titles as the Series X, but at a lower resolution and lower performance level. Halo Infinite was postponed to 2021, so it’s no longer an Xbox launch title, but you can still look forward to Gears Tactics, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, and more. What’s great about the Series S as opposed to the PS5 Digital is that you can play Xbox One games, plus some Xbox 360 and OG Xbox games. Unfortunately, if an enhanced version of a game is available for the Series X, you won’t be able to experience it on the Series S because it’s not powerful enough. Regardless, there’s a massive games library to explore if you’re new to Xbox consoles. If you decide to purchase a new console through an Xbox All Access plan, you can stream any games available with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
Further reading: Upcoming PS5 games
Should I buy the PS5 Digital or the Xbox Series S?
If you want a powerful next-gen console that will load games incredibly fast and make them look amazing, go with the PS5 Digital. It has all the same specs as the standard PS5 and it should deliver the same performance. You may have to increase more internal storage later on, but 825GB is a pretty decent amount of storage to start out with. If you prefer owning physical copies of games, however, the standard PS5 is a better investment in the long run.
If you want to have a next-gen console, but you really don’t want to spend that much, go with the Xbox Series S. You can still play next-gen games and more on this console without breaking the bank. There’s not a lot of storage space, so you might need to invest in an internal expansion. But depending on which games you play or how titles you play, you may not need that extra storage, making the Series S an easy choice. If you do decide on the Xbox Series S, don’t forget to look into the Xbox All Access plan. With Game Pass Ultimate, you won’t always be downloading games; you’ll be streaming them. You will still get the enjoyment out of experiencing new titles without taking up precious storage space on your console.
Read next: Everything about Xbox Game Pass Ultimate: The best value in gaming?