Xbox One Review: Unifying Your Living Room Experience

Xbox One: The Exterior Design

Eight years have passed since the Xbox 360 debuted and today's Xbox One introduction. That's a massive span between two generations of anything calling itself technology, never mind gaming consoles.

Let's put this into perspective. Call of Duty 2 was a launch title on November 22, 2005. In the time leading up to Call of Duty: Ghosts, there were 10 other additions to the franchise. Think back to the PC you were gaming on when Call of Duty 2 came out. Would it be able to run Call of Duty: Ghosts today? Probably not. Even though the CoD games aren't as taxing as Battlefield, the minimum CPU required for Ghosts is a Core 2 Duo E8200. That didn't even show up until 2008. 

Consequently, this generation's consoles are pretty important to pay attention to; they'll probably be with us for the decade's remainder.

Xbox One Design

Meet the Xbox One. Its exterior design is minimalist, in one sense. But the console is by no means small, either. It's a big, black box that takes us back to the days of the original Xbox. In fact, the Xbox One could very well end up sporting the largest chassis in your home theater cabinet. Here are its specs compared to the device's predecessors:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 WidthDepthHeight
Xbox One13.1"10.8"3.1"
Xbox 36012.15"10.15"3.27"
Xbox 360 S10.6"10.3"2.95"
Xbox12.5"10.5"4"

At launch, the Xbox 360 went to a shade of cream, perhaps to define itself as something different. But Microsoft made like AC/DC and was back in black for the Xbox 360 Elite and S. The same glossy, fingerprint-magnet finish graces the Xbox One as well. The Xbox 360 had curved edges, giving it an organic feel that also made it appear slimmer than it really was. The Xbox One, on the other hand, channels Microsoft's original design in some ways, exuding power.

Also like the first generation, the Xbox One cannot stand vertically. Microsoft's Albert Panello, senior director of Xbox product management, said that the Xbox One is meant to be used horizontally due to its slot-loading disc drive. He further expressed that the design decision wasn't related to cooling. Of course, that's a bit confusing, given existing examples of vertically-compatible optical drives, such as the direct competition's.

Microsoft does appear to have put a big emphasis on keeping its Xbox One well-ventilated, though. Given quality issues the company and its customers fought through with the first waves of Xbox 360 consoles, maintaining manageable thermals inside of this design's chassis was clearly a top priority.

Sitting at the top of the Xbox One, beneath the outer grill, is an extra large fan that exhausts air from inside the console. We don't have airflow numbers to share, but it's naturally very quiet.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.