Right away, you can't get away from the fact that the Xbox Series X is chonky. The brutalistic next-gen box is really tall, it's really thick, and it's also, unsurprisingly, really quite heavy. While being a huge monolith, it's clear that this design was to help increase airflow through the console. When peering through the top grill you can see the huge fan inside the Series X. But then, you can't have a huge next-gen console without some serious fans to cool it down.
At first I wasn't the biggest fan of the design - I placed it under a variety of televisions in the house and it never really fit in any of the set-ups that we have already established (in fact, I'm pretty sure the weight of the console would have buckled one of these shelves if left there for too long). But after a while, after a bit of fiddling and rearranging, I found a spot that just worked - and now I can't imagine my living room any other way.
It would have been nice (as in: why the hell is this *not* a thing) to be able to remove the baseplate and allow the Xbox logo to rotate for the legion of people out there who will need to place their console horizontally. Oh, and boy does this thing pick up fingerprints - although I doubt many of you out there will be moving your Series X around as much as I did for review purposes, once you've decided where to place it.
I can't mention the design without pointing out the console's tactical input indicators - small, braille-like bumps that indicate the location of each input while seemingly revealing their orientation, too. A perfect addition to Microsoft's already stellar application of accessibility features in the Xbox ecosystem.
At the end of the day, the design of the Xbox Series X is all about function over appearance. It's something that sits by the side of your TV (or out of view in a well-aerated TV unit) and plays games - and it plays games really bloody well (and bloody quietly too!).
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It should be pointed out that, no, there aren't any USB-C inputs - which to those with USB-C external SSDs may come as a disappointment if you were hoping to take full advantage of those speeds. But next-gen Series X or S games can't be installed and played off any external device except the proprietary Seagate Expansion Card, anyway. All backwards-compatible titles, however, can be played off an external drive - and will still take advantage of the console's excellent Quick Resume feature.
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