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The weekend’s best deals: Xbox Series S bundles, M2 MacBook Air, and more

The weekend’s best deals: Xbox Series S bundles, M2 MacBook Air, and more

Ars Technica

It’s the weekend, which means it’s time for another Dealmaster. Our latest roundup of the best tech deals from around the web includes a new promotion for the Xbox Series S. We’ve seen a few deals for Microsoft’s diminutive game console in recent weeks, but this latest offer bundles the device with a digital game of your choosing for no extra cost. The promotion is available across several retailers, though both Microsoft and Target have the console priced at $290, which is $10 below its MSRP. (Stock appears to be limited at Target as of this writing, however.)

Exactly which games you can pair with the console differs by retailer. Microsoft’s selection, for one, includes the just-released Madden NFL 23 and notable 2022 games such as the kid-friendly LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga and the looter-shooter Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands. Amazon’s promotion includes the ultra-popular Game of the Year contender Elden Ring, among others. Target, Best Buy, and GameStop, meanwhile, have extended the offer to many of the digital Xbox games in their respective stores. You’ll get the most value if you go with a newer game that isn’t included in Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service, but if you were thinking of picking up the Series S anyway, this is a good chance to save on your first game regardless. In any case, you’ll see the full discount for each offer at checkout.

If none of the eligible games appeal to you right now, though, or if you just plan on using the console with a Game Pass membership, note that Adorama is still offering the device itself for $250 with an in-cart coupon.

To be clear, whether the Series S is worth buying in the first place depends on what you’re looking for. It is technically one of Microsoft’s “next-gen” consoles and can play all the same games as the beefier Xbox Series X, but it’s not designed to push a native 4K resolution or the higher frame rates of the Series X, Sony’s PlayStation 5, or a quality gaming PC. (It can still hit a solid 60 fps at 1080p in many cases, though.) It lacks a disc drive—hence why this promotion only applies to digital games—and its 512GB of built-in storage is fairly meager and pricey to upgrade. As your “main” console, it’s not an ideal choice—which likely helps to explain why we’re seeing greater availability and more discounts for the device compared to the Series X and the still-difficult-to-buy PS5.

All that said, as a secondary console to access Xbox exclusives or Game Pass games, stick in an upstairs bedroom, or just play on a lower-resolution 1080p or 1440p display, the Series S still has value. It’s significantly smaller than its peers, its SSD storage still results in markedly faster load times than the previous generation of consoles, and Game Pass continues to offer great bang for the buck. The whole thing is still an affordable entry point into the latest generation of games, and a recent game devkit update is expected to give a slight boost to the console’s performance, too.

If you don’t need another new gaming device, though, our weekend deals roundup has plenty more offers of note, including an early $100 discount on Apple’s latest MacBook Air, all-time lows for Google’s Pixel 6 phones, and lower-than-usual prices on the recommended board game Wingspan, Amazon’s Fire HD tablets, the Apple TV 4K, Echo Show and Nest Hub smart displays, Anker charging cables, and almost the entire Doom series of shooter games. You can find our full curated list of deals below.

Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.

Featured deals of the day

Motorola's Moto G Stylus isn't without issues, but it's an <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Android phone we like</a> if you can't spend more than $200.
Enlarge / Motorola’s Moto G Stylus isn’t without issues, but it’s an Android phone we like if you can’t spend more than $200.

Ron Amadeo

Electronics deals

The Apple TV 4K with Apple's improved Siri Remote.
Enlarge / The Apple TV 4K with Apple’s improved Siri Remote.

Jeff Dunn

The Echo Show 15 is the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">jumbo-sized entry</a> in Amazon's smart display lineup.
Enlarge / The Echo Show 15 is the jumbo-sized entry in Amazon’s smart display lineup.

Laptop and desktop PC deals

You can get better performance for the price, but we <a href=
Enlarge / You can get better performance for the price, but we like the Surface Laptop Go 2 for its attractive design, clean software, and comfortable keyboard anyway.

Andrew Cunningham

Gaming deals

Microsoft's Xbox Series S (left), next to its Xbox Series X (right).
Enlarge / Microsoft’s Xbox Series S (left), next to its Xbox Series X (right).

Sam Machkovech

Video game deals

The 8Bitdo Pro 2 is a customizable and comfortable alternative to Nintendo's Switch Pro Controller.
Enlarge / The 8Bitdo Pro 2 is a customizable and comfortable alternative to Nintendo’s Switch Pro Controller.

Sam Machkovech

Bethesda's QuakeCon event is this week, so a bunch of the publisher's games are currently on sale, including the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">FPS <em>Doom Eternal</em></a>.
Enlarge / Bethesda’s QuakeCon event is this week, so a bunch of the publisher’s games are currently on sale, including the FPS Doom Eternal.


Accessories and miscellaneous deals

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