Every seven years or so, console owners are forced to reckon with the worrying notion that their TV stand might not be big enough to hold the next Xbox or PlayStation, which tend to get bigger with every new iteration. 2020 is one of those years, as those of us considering making the investment in Microsoft's next-gen console are all asking the same question: How big is the Xbox Series X, exactly?
The thing is, we know, precisely how big the Xbox Series X is thanks to Microsoft's published specifications. It's 301 (height) x 151 (width) x 151 (depth) in millimetres, when standing upright. But, unless you're someone who can visualise scale from statistics as though you had the console in your hands, it's difficult to grasp a decent idea of the box's physical presence from those measurements.
To understand how big the Xbox Series X really is, it's more helpful to compare it to consoles that we already own and are familiar with; in this case the Xbox One and Xbox One S. The original, 2013 version of Microsoft's console comes in at 332 x 78 x 275 mm when sat vertically, which technically makes it both taller and deeper than the Xbox Series X, but you have to remember that console was primarily designed to sit on its side, whereas its next-gen counterpart is built to stand upright.
Similarly, the dimensions of the Xbox One S are 295 x 64 X 230 mm but, again, it's rare for owners to position the system vertically. This points to a radical revision in form factor for the Xbox Series X, the infrastructure of which is more akin to that of a gaming PC than a console which sits lengthways across your TV stand. You can, of course, position it in that way, but the box's bottom stand isn't detachable, so it'll lose some of its visual symmetry should you choose to.
Microsoft's reasoning for this new design relates to the Xbox Series X's internal architecture, since its all important cooling exhausts are situated at the top of the console's head. This, according to Microsoft director of mechanical engineering Jim Wahl, is crucial for the console's ability to run demanding next-gen experiences at a steady rate.
“You have exhaust out the top and we have large venting holes," explained Wahl in a recent interview with Digital Foundry, "but the the net effect of putting all of this together, having parallel paths, having this really powerful quiet fan at the top, is that we get 70 per cent more airflow through this console than the past generation and we get 20 per cent more airflow through our heatsink alone than in the past generation.”
Big things, small packages
As for the Xbox Series S, Microsoft has placed rubber feet for the console to sit both vertically and horizontally without looking awkward one way or the other, but the Series X's smaller sibling is much more compact in size no matter how you look at it.
When standing upright, the system is 275mm tall, 151mm deep, and 63.5mm wide. That does indeed, as Microsoft has confirmed, make it 60% smaller than the Xbox Series X, and the smallest next-gen console hitting the market this year.
For comparison, How big is the PS5? The standard version of Sony's next-gen console is 390 x 104 x 260mm when positioned vertically, making it both taller and deeper than the Xbox Series X, but nowhere near as wide, with Sony's box somewhat making up for its chonky size with a slimline effect that hopefully doesn't look too chic for an everyday living room.
That should give you an idea of how big both the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are in relation to each other, their predecessors, and their main rival for this Holiday next-gen season. Hopefully this doesn't mean you'll have to reorganise your entire home entertainment setup just for your brand new console, but hey, it's all part of the next-gen experience...
Here's everything we know about the upcoming Xbox Series X pre-orders too, or watch the latest episode of Dialogue Options below.