Unboxing the Xbox Series X: Everything in the box

This minimalist console gets a similarly sparse set of extras in the box, but it does include two AA batteries.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman
2 min read

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

We just saw the PS5 unboxed on Tuesday, and now it's time to see what's inside the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S boxes. We don't have any new hands-on impressions with the games or UI yet, besides what we've previously seen with backwards-compatible games and the console's high-refresh-rate output, but now we have a closer look at the final retail hardware and can see exactly what's included. 

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Here's what's in the box (as pictured above):

  • Xbox Series X console
  • Xbox wireless controller
  • HDMI cable
  • AC power cable
  • Two AA batteries

Unlike the PlayStation 5, there's no USB cable in the box. That's because the PS5 controller has a built-in rechargeable battery, which requires a cable to sync and charge, while the Xbox gamepad runs on AA batteries (the first set of which is helpfully included in the box). 

Here's what I learned from unboxing the new hardware.


The new Series X controller is on the right. 

Dan Ackerman/CNET

The controller is a subtle tweak to an already universally loved design. The biggest difference is the new d-pad, which gets an eight-way rocker, as opposed to the older four-way version. But, there's also a new textured surface on the triggers, a dedicated share button for, you know, sharing, and some small sculptural changes. But at a glance, you'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference.


War of the Gargantuas

Dan Ackerman/CNET

It's not really much smaller than the PS5. The 16-inch (with stand) PS5 towers over the nearly 12-inch-inch tall Xbox Series X. But that doesn't tell the whole story. Doing some quick volume calculations (the Xbox is much easier to measure), the PS5 is about 445 cubic inches in total volume, versus roughly 432 cubic inches for the Xbox Series X. The PS5 has fins and valleys and slopes and curves, so don't take that exact number to the bank, but it's ballpark. 


The game (console) is afoot. 

Dan Ackerman/CNET

It works vertically and horizontally, but it's clearly meant to stand straight up. As I discovered when taking some early Xbox mockups to Ikea to test-fit them into different types of popular living room furniture, sometimes you need to place your console vertically, and sometimes you need to place it horizontally. Unlike the PS5, which has an overly complex removable/adjustable plastic stand for switching orientations, the Xbox Series X has a small built-in foot on the bottom panel. Flip the Xbox on its side, and the foot just sits there. Also, the tiny illuminated Xbox logo will be sideways. That said, this is much, much easier to fit in vertically than the towering PS5. 

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