January 24, 2021
Unboxing Xbox Series S: Everything in the box

Unboxing Xbox Series S: Everything in the box


Update, Nov. 5: Read our reviews of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.


Nov. 10 is just two weeks away, which means the lucky ones who snagged a preorder for either the Xbox Series S or X will soon be playing their next-gen Microsoft console. CNET has review units of both consoles, and here we’re taking a look at the Xbox Series S.

The Series S is smaller, less powerful and, perhaps most importantly, cheaper than the Series X. It’ll cost you $300, £250 or AU$499, as compared to the Series X’s $500, £450 or AU$749. To get that lower price, the Series S makes two concessions: It’s all digital, meaning no disc drive, and it’ll play games at 1440p rather than 4K. 


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

What’s in the box?

  • Xbox Series S console
  • Xbox wireless controller
  • Two AA batteries 
  • HDMI cable
  • Power cord 

We’ve not yet had time to fully explore the user interface or play any of the launch games, but a few details jumped out as I set up this next-gen Xbox.

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Daniel Van Boom/CNET

When you first open the Series S box, you’ll be struck by how small it is

Part of that is an optical illusion: It’s around the same height and width as a standard PlayStation 4, but looks slighter because it’s a clean slab. The PlayStation 5 demands everyone know you’ve got a gaming machine in the house, but the sparseness that makes the Series S look small also allows it to disappear in your living room

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The Series S is about as long and thick as a base PS4, but much less wide. 


Daniel Van Boom/CNET

The controller is super comfortable

It’s a little thing, but the Xbox Wireless Controller is adorned with hundreds of tiny studs on the back and side, which makes gripping it much more comfortable and, in a strange way, satisfying. I’ve yet to get in any long sessions on the console, but I suspect it’ll make extended stretches of gaming easier on the hands. The direction pad also has an eight-way rocker, rather than the previous four-way one. 

The whole gang.


Dan Ackerman/CNET

The Series S is about a half the size of the Series X

As the price and specs suggest, the Series S is by far the smallest of all the next-gen boxes. The Series X is taller and much wider than the Series S, and both the digital and optical-drive PS5 are bigger than the Xbox Series X. (But, notably, it’s not much more voluminous.) 

More on the PS5 and Xbox Series X soon, including full reviews and detailed buying advice.



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