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The Xbox Series X is considerably quieter, and more elegant, than you might think

(Image credit: TechRadar)

TechRadar has had hands-on time with a not-final version of the Xbox Series X. Look out for our full preview impressions in the near future. 

After seeing press images of the Xbox Series X, I was preparing myself (and my apartment) for a considerably bulky and inconvenient console. But, in reality, the Xbox Series X is much more elegant than pictures would lead you to believe.

While the console is considerably larger than it's predecessors, it feels like the Series X carries its weight considerably better than previous members of the Xbox family. 

This may be down to its sleek, black matte design, which enables it to blend pretty seamlessly into most home environments. And while it certainly isn't a lightweight console, I found that – whether it's propped up vertically or sitting horizontally – the Xbox Series X looks much better than you would expect.

But this unassuming black box packs quite the punch while being as quiet as a whisper.

A good-looking fridge

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The Xbox Series X's design is a major departure from its predecessors, with an upright tower design more reminiscent of a gaming PC, though you can sit the console horizontally, too. 

Measuring in at 15.1cm x 15cm x 30.1cm and weighing 4.45kg (9.8lbs), the long, cuboid-shaped console is matte black all over apart from a green hue inside the indented cooling vents on the top. 

The console itself looks quite minimalistic. Despite its weight and fairly large size, the symmetrical design of the Series X means it looks considerably smaller than its measurements would suggest. I found it slotted with ease into my Ikea Kallax shelving unit (39cm x 39cm) – either when oriented horizontally or vertically – and easily blended in with its surroundings. However, it's worth noting you will need to leave some space around the cooling vents at the top.

Overall, the Xbox Series X is an unassuming black cuboid and a welcome change from the hulking look of Xboxes past. It's sleek, modern and mature. However, that matte black design does mean that – while the Series X doesn't get dirty per se – it is easily scuffed and scratched.

A silent weapon

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Perhaps the greatest design feature of the Xbox Series X is just how unexpectedly quiet it is. We've almost become accustomed to consoles revving up like they're about to take off when running a game that really puts it through its paces. 

But the Xbox Series X is the quietest Xbox I've had to pleasure to play. When on the home screen, the console puts out around 30dB of sound – that's about the audio level of a whisper. And this changes very little when you actually load up and play games. When playing Sea of Thieves, No Man's Sky and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, I found the decibels never exceeded 33dB. However, when performing a larger update, I was able to record sound levels up to 45dB. Even then, that's the equivalent of a quiet library – and barely registers over the sound of playing the game itself.

While this may not be the case while playing next-gen titles, which I sadly haven't had the chance to test yet, it's still a good sign for a console packing such incredible power. 

It's likely this is down to the implementation of an SSD in the Xbox Series X, which tend to be quieter due to not being mechanical like HDDs. It's welcome news for those who don't want their gameplay interrupted by the whirring of a struggling machine.

But with this quietness still comes a fair bit of heat. And, when it comes to heat emission, the Xbox Series X seems to be on par with the Xbox One. The heat comes out of the cooling vents at the top, which I advise giving ample space for. The console itself does get toasty, too, and it could be a point of concern if this impacts performance when running more intensive next-gen titles. However, it's worth noting again that this is not a final version of the Xbox Series X, which may pull off better heat control.

Modern design for a modern age

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The Xbox Series X may seem like a tanky, fridge-like machine, but I love it. While it's not exactly a console you'll be wanting to move around much (RIP my back), it proves that when it comes console design, sometimes less is more. 

The Xbox Series X design is minimalistic and unassuming. I, for one, welcome the change in design which sees Microsoft moving into a more mature and futuristic design – without being an eyesore.

While the console is indeed large, considering what it's packing inside, it's wonderfully quiet – even if it still runs a bit toasty for our tastes.