Which Xbox is the newest? A brief timeline of Microsoft's latest consoles

Which Xbox is the newest?
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Not sure which Xbox is the newest and looking to buy one for yourself or as a gift? Then this will be the guide for you. It's easy for Xbox's obtuse naming conventions to trip up consumers who aren't overly familiar with the gaming space, so we're here to make sure you don't mistakenly pick up the wrong model.

Over the last decade, we've cycled through several generations of Xbox, all at varying price points and nomenclature to better tell them apart from other models. We feel Microsoft could have done a better job at the naming system for its consoles, though, especially from the Xbox One onwards. Xbox's branding essentially created something of a minefield for prospective consumers who aren't big gamers.

If you're feeling a bit lost when trying to figure out which Xbox is the newest, then, fear not. The following guide will walk you through not only the latest Xbox models but also the older ones that you may wish to avoid if you're shopping for the latest and greatest consoles Microsoft has to offer.

Xbox consoles launched over the last decade

Black and white Xbox One

(Image credit: Microsoft)

A decade ago, there weren't all that many Xbox consoles to worry about. Now, though, the number of Xbox models available on the market has increased exponentially. As such, for more casual buyers, finding out which Xbox is the newest can seem like a bit of a minefield.

First up is the original Xbox One, which launched in 2013, and is the oldest model featured in this guide. A few years later, Microsoft launched improved versions of that console - the Xbox One S and Xbox One X

The Xbox One S was comparable to the original Xbox One in terms of specs but was a more compact machine than its bulky predecessor and was more easily identifiable thanks to its white aesthetic. There was also an Xbox One S All-Digital console, a lower-priced unit that lacked an optical disc drive.

The Xbox One X was a more powerful unit, capable of enhancing certain games to 4K resolution and a higher framerate. At the time of its launch in 2017, the Xbox One X was the most powerful Xbox console one could buy. However, it has since been surpassed by the latest Xbox consoles on the market.

To make things a little easier on consumers, Microsoft has since discontinued production on all Xbox One models, shifting its focus to the Xbox One's successors - the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. However, that doesn't mean you won't still find Xbox One consoles online or on the high street, so it's still important to know the key differences before you buy.

Which Xbox is the newest?

Xbox Series S

(Image credit: Shutterstock/Miguel Lagoa)

Microsoft has not one, but two Xbox consoles that currently serve as its latest models - the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. Note the reusing of the X/S naming convention, as was the case with the Xbox One's follow-up models. In this case, though, there is no "base" Xbox Series console to worry about.

Both the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S were launched on the same day in late 2020, technically making them both the newest Xbox console on the market. There are many key differences that set the consoles apart, however, so buying the right model for you will come down to a number of factors.

The easiest way to tell the consoles apart is in appearance. As unlike the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition, it's actually very easy for a casual observer to tell apart the newest Xbox consoles at a glance. The Xbox Series X is a large black cuboid, featuring an optical disc drive on the front of the unit. You might think it looks a bit like a mini fridge, and so does Microsoft, as the company actually launched an Xbox Series X mini fridge to capitalize on the jokes surrounding its appearance.

The Xbox Series X is Microsoft's powerhouse for this generation of consoles. It's capable of outputting a 4K resolution at a buttery smooth 60fps (frames per second), and select games support 120fps, usually at a lower resolution to compensate. A 12 teraflops processor and 1TB SSD (solid state drive) also allow for lighting fast load times, plenty of storage, and much easier handling of intensive post-processing effects, such as particles or reflections.

The Xbox Series S, meanwhile, is a decidedly less powerful console than its sibling. But it's a much sleeker model and the brand's smallest console to date, featuring a clean, matte white finish and a smaller rectangular build. So, it's still absolutely worth buying in 2022, largely thanks to its lower price point and more reliable availability, making it a fantastic entry point into the Xbox ecosystem.

The Xbox Series S is a digital-only console, so physical discs can't be used. Additionally, it has a smaller 512GB SSD and a less powerful processor, and 4K support is rare, with most games instead ranging between 1080p and 1440p resolution. However, the SSD is identical to that of the one found in the Xbox Series X, meaning you're still getting supremely fast load times across your games.

Which Xbox Series console should I buy?

A couple of factors to consider when choosing which of the newest Xbox consoles to buy are price and availability. Your preferred Xbox Series console will largely come down to your budget and / or willingness to wait on new stock.

That's because the Xbox Series X is often fairly difficult to come by, thanks in large part to the ongoing global chip shortages that aren't just affecting availability of Xbox Series X and PS5, but also PC graphics cards and servers needed for online games.

Even if you do have an easy time finding Xbox Series X stock, its higher price tag is another matter. At $499 / £449, it's certainly the more premium of Microsoft's two current-gen machines. 

The Xbox Series S is a good deal cheaper at $299 / $249, making it a fantastic option if you want an easier way to explore the Xbox ecosystem, and get access to services like the fantastic Xbox Game Pass. The Xbox Series S, by and large, is also much easier to buy thanks to a more reliable level of availability at online retailers.

where to buy Xbox Series X UK

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Now that you understand which Xbox is the newest, and how to differentiate the Xbox Series X/S from the older Xbox One line-up of consoles, you should be better prepared to make an informed purchase on the right Xbox model for you or your gift recipient. 

Remember that while Microsoft retains its X/S naming convention usage, the key signifier here is the use of "Series" over "One" - with the former nomenclature representing the newest and best that the Xbox brand has to offer.

You may also come across special edition consoles online or on the high street, such as the Halo Infinite Xbox Series X. While these are usually limited and thus much harder to buy, just know that if you do spot one, the only big difference will usually be the exterior's design.

Otherwise, all you need to know when shopping for the newest Xbox is to keep an eye out for that "Series" moniker. Then, once you've figured out whether the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S better fit your budget and preferences, you'll have effortlessly bought yourself one of the latest and greatest Xbox consoles on the market today.

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.