The 1TB Xbox Series S is an awesome idea, actually

Xbox Series S 1TB Carbon Black
(Image credit: Microsoft)

The value proposition of the Xbox Series S is one that's tough to pour scorn on. Unless you count the Nintendo Switch Lite, it's the cheapest of all current-gen systems and packs some seriously impressive stats for good measure.

Capable of outputting a 1440p resolution, 120Hz support, and the same lightning-quick SSD that you'll find in its more powerful (and more expensive) sibling, the Xbox Series S more than holds its own in the current-gen market. There's just one slight problem: it's got a paltry 512GB of storage.

That's not ideal when many of the best Xbox games chart upwards of 100GB. Microsoft Flight Simulator and Destiny 2 come to mind here. Given the Series S is a digital-only console, it's all too common to be deleting these larger games in favor of others, especially with an Xbox Game Pass subscription and that service’s constantly revolving library.

Thankfully, Microsoft has committed to solving the Xbox Series S's biggest flaw, in the form of a new 1TB model. At first glance, it might not have been the hardware announcement Xbox fans neither wanted nor needed, but I think it's a respectable mid-gen upgrade nonetheless.

Up to par

Xbox Series S - Carbon Black 1TB

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The 1TB Xbox Series S is launching on September 1. It'll retail for $349 / £299 and, like the Xbox Series X, sports a carbon black colorway. Admittedly, I'd have preferred a color scheme that differentiated the new model from the Series X a bit more, and as a 2000s kid, would've loved one of those iconic semi-transparent designs, but it does at least look the part of a console that's packing more heat than its original version.

The new model is $50 / £50 pricier than the base console, but that's about what I'd expect when the only real change is in doubling the amount of storage available. That's not to undersell how valuable of a change that is; more that it's an appropriately light price bump for what you're getting. This is not a complete overhaul of the Series S's capabilities, after all.

What the expanded storage does do, though, is truly fulfill the Xbox Series S's place as an Xbox Game Pass machine. Being limited to a digital-only library, the Xbox subscription service is your best bet at filling out a collection of games at the cost of a monthly, or annual, fee.

Now that there's a whole 1TB to play with, even more of the best Xbox Game Pass games can be stored on the console, thus lessening the need to constantly delete old favorites.

Of course, 1TB is no more than the industry standard right now; the Carbon Black model simply brings the Series S up to par with the Series X and PS5 in terms of storage capacity. Which means if you go big on Game Pass, you may still want to invest in a Seagate Xbox Storage Expansion Card or WD Black C50 for even more space.

Xbox Series Yes

Xbox Series S

(Image credit: Microsoft)

One of the best things about the 1TB Xbox Series S is that it's still cheaper than both the Series X and the PS5 even with a $50 / £50 price jump over the 512GB Series S. That's not really surprising, given it's a pared back system, but really not by all that much. Yes, you're missing out on the truly outstanding visuals those pricier systems can output. But games on the Series S can still look and perform excellently.

There is certainly a gap in the market for a 1TB Xbox Series S. It's for the consumers who can't quite afford to drop almost half a grand on a new console, but still want the opportunity to install and play the generation's best games. The 512GB Series S is a perfectly serviceable (and affordable) starting point. But doubling that storage for not all that much more cash is a deal I'm willing to bet many consumers will pull the trigger on.

In terms of the overall upgrade, I’d say the 1TB Xbox Series S is comparable to the Nintendo Switch OLED’s improvements over the original model, sans that gorgeous portable screen of course. Like the OLED, the new Series S sports a sleek new look and roughly doubles the storage capacity of the 512GB version. That, overall, is a pretty substantial upgrade for a relatively small jump in cost.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.