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Xbox Series X and S unboxing: See Microsoft's gorgeous new consoles up close

xbox series x
(Image credit: Marshall Honorof/Future)

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are still a few weeks away from wide release, but we can now share photos and videos of the physical consoles themselves. The Xbox Series X is a stately black device, while the Xbox Series S is a sleek and surprisingly small system. The controllers look more or less like their Xbox One predecessors, and they both come with all the cables you’ll need to get them up and running.

At present, all we can discuss is the consoles’ physical designs, so analysis of gameplay, interface, streaming video and all those other meaty topics will have to wait a little while longer. But if you want to know what you get in the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S boxes, how the consoles look, and what kind of connections each one offers, read on.

Xbox Series X

xbox series x

(Image credit: Marshall Honorof/Future)

Microsoft gave us our first look at the Xbox Series X a long time ago, so there are no big surprises here. The console is a large, rectangular black box (12 x 6 x 6 inches) with big, circular vents on the top. (These vents really do have tasteful green highlights, just like the marketing photos suggest, and they look pretty cool.) Each side is plain black with a matte finish; one has an Xbox logo, and the other has rubber feet for a horizontal configuration. The bottom of the device also has one large, circular rubber foot.

The front of the console houses a power button, a disc slot, a disc eject button, a pairing button and a USB-A port. On the back, you’ll find a small vent up top and larger vents below, with two USB-A ports, a storage expansion slot, an HDMI port, an Ethernet port and a power port. There’s even a slot for a Kensington lock, which is a nice touch if you plan to travel with your device.

Overall, the Xbox Series X is a gorgeous, minimalist gadget that looks like a smaller, squatter tower PC. My only big complaint is that there’s no USB-C port — a useful feature now, and one that will be absolutely indispensable over the next few years.

xbox series x

(Image credit: Marshall Honorof/Future)

Xbox Series S

I knew the Xbox Series S was going to be small, but seeing it in person, it’s even smaller than I expected — easily the trimmest console I’ve seen since the PS2 Slim. At roughly 11 x 6 x 3 inches, it’s about two-thirds the size of an Xbox One S, but much more powerful. While it doesn’t have the same robust specs as the Xbox Series X, the Xbox Series S does indeed promise quad HD resolution and 120 fps frame rates, at least for certain games.

The Xbox Series S also works in either vertical or horizontal configurations, with rubber feet on both the bottom and one side of the device. There are vents everywhere, from a big, black, circular one on top, to two large ones on the side, and one small one on the bottom.

There’s barely anything on the front of the device: just a pairing button, a USB-A port and a power button. The back of the Xbox Series S is better-equipped, with an Ethernet port, two USB-A slots, an HDMI port, a storage expansion slot and a power port. Again, a USB-C input somewhere would have been forward-thinking, but it’s hard to think of anything else the system is missing.

Xbox Series X/S controller

xbox series x

(Image credit: Marshall Honorof/Future)

There's not too much to say about the Xbox Series X/S controller. The Series X comes with a black one; the Series S comes with a white one. They're nearly identical to the Xbox One controllers, complete with replaceable AA batteries instead of rechargeable packs.

There are only two noticeable differences: A new Share button located dead-center, and a hybrid D-pad with a circular track around it. We won't know much about the Share button until we get to try the console out, but the D-pad feels comfortable, and should prove especially handy for fighting game players.

The Xbox Series X/S controllers also have some light texturing on the back of the grips. Otherwise, though, they feel the same as the Xbox One controllers in terms of weight, button responsiveness, materials and so forth.

For the moment, I can say that both systems look appealing, and they’re both reasonably sized — especially compared to the gargantuan PS5. We’ll report back as soon as we can on how they run games, videos, music and more.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is an editor for Tom's Guide, covering gaming hardware, security and streaming video. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.