More Information and Detailed Specifications
Xbox One puts you in the center of the entertainment! Xbox One gives you instant access to TV shows, games, music, movies and Skype - all in one place without having to change the source or waiting for slow updates, and downloads.
Wake Xbox One via voice message and Xbox will display a personalized home screen with your favorite games, applications and content. Store movies, music and more for instant access to the things you like best, right where you want them.
Xbox One is built by gamers, for gamers with the perfect balance between power and performance. It adapts to the way you play and the latest generation of multiplayer is both smarter and faster.
The brand new Kinect sensor comes with an HD webcam that can take up to 30 frames per second. New infrared features increases the precision with extended field of view to accommodate a wider variety of room sizes.
New design, new options, more power
Xbox One is designed to be the centerpiece of any living room with modern hardware, with its new Kinect and the new wireless controller. When it comes to hardware you can enjoy the integrated Blu-ray player, 500GB of hard drive space, eight-core x86 processor, wireless networking, HDMI and 3 x USB 3.0 ports.
You've most likely seen the pictures and read a little about this, and yes - the Xbox One is a physical big machine, with a rather anonymous appearance. Where as the PlayStation 4 is designed to stand out, with sharp edges, a bright coloured stripe and well hidden disk drive and USB ports.
Our subjective opinion is that we like the look of the console. It was only when we put it on our television furniture, next to the PS4 and under PS3 and Xbox 360 that we appreciated its appearance. While PS4 the catches the eye with its sharp angle on the front, the Xbox One is far more more dominant looking, along with the other consoles. Obviously, this is our personal taste and every person and every living room is different.
But yes, it is a physically large console, but this is for a good reason, as the machine itself contains a large heatsink and fan ensuring that it never overheats and repeats the mass failures that the Xbox 360 experienced in its early days.
However, despite its very large size, the power brick is still not integrated inside the machine, unlike the PS4. So you need to find space for it.
A big plus point about the Xbox One is its unbelievably quiet. Not once have we heard a noisy fan or loud disk drive noise during the time we have been putting it through its paces. It's impressive quiet, and this is no doubt thanks to its large size.
We, and many others, agree that the the Xbox 360 controller was superior to all others. Maybe apart from the d-pad. Now Sony has stepped up its game with the DualShock 4, which is a massive improvement from the previous generation. Microsoft has upgrade the controller of its new console is less dramatic fashion, but considering there was very little wrong with the previous version, there was no need for a complete redesign.
The overall design is quite similar, but with several important adjustments. Perhaps the most important is that the protruding battery pack has been removed, with the batteries directly fitting into the controllers body. This ensures there is no lump under the controller, which could often become annoying for gamers.
Another change is the the large home button, which was previously set in the middle of the controller but has now made its way further up the controller. It no longer activates the dedicated guide menu, but takes us home to the main menu, no matter what we do.
The D-pad has been significantly overhauled and is now a fairly traditional D-pad which is much easier to press.
Start and Back buttons are replaced with buttons called "menu" and "view". As you navigate through the console interface you can use the "menu" button to enable an additional menu with shortcuts to various functions. It is totally dependent on the games you play and to what the buttons actually do, but there is no dedicated share button like you get on the PlayStation 4.
Last, but not least, the front buttons. The two trigger buttons have also gained significant new features. They now vibrate separately from the rest of the controller. Currently only Forza 5 really exploits the function, where the triggers vibrate depending on what kind of surface you are driving on. It really gives a good feeling of realism, and we look forward to seeing what other developers come up with as they develop their games.
Bumper buttons have also been adjusted, and we see that not everyone is happy with this, because it can be difficult to move your fingers between triggers and bumper buttons. Personally, we think these works perfectly OK so far, but we see that some people may have a problem with the design.
All in all, as we mentioned earlier - the Xbox One controller is an improvement in most areas, while retaining the excellent shape and comfortable feel of 360 edition. There is no dramatic jump in physical design or functionality, but there's very little reason to fault it. And a great advantage with this controller is its battery life, which appears to outlast the Sony PlayStation 4's Dual Shock 4.
Perhaps the biggest overhauls are made within the user interface.
It is also this menu system which has the steepest learning curve of anything related to the Xbox One.
We have basically nothing against Metro tiles from Microsoft. We use Windows 8.1 regularly, and we think is comfortable to operate with a touch pad system.
But there is something with how the Xbox One-menus are presented. It is perhaps because the actual setup seems pretty messy on appearance, with tiles of different colours all over the place.
Before we get that far, the machine must of course be set up. The process is very simple, even if it takes some time. It's really just that one must download a patch that activates most of the functions. It took a little while before this was downloaded and installed. Aside from that select details such as language, location, time zone, and so on, you can log in with your existing Xbox Live account, which can be painlessly transferred to your new Xbox One (but can still be used on your old Xbox 360). A time-consuming portion of setup is also getting Kinect to recognize your face (now sold separately), which is subsequently used for automatic logon. Once setup it works very elegant.
The main menu is divided over three screens. The main screen has one large window that shows applications that are active, and used last. Since Xbox One is capable of multitasking, these applications are constantly available. You can have a game in progress, press the home button, then return to the main menu while the game is running and still have access to this window.
The other tiles will show other applications you have used in the past, and the left side is your buddy list.
The screen to the left of the main menu allows you to set selected applications that you can use as shortcuts.
The right screen is the online store, where you can download games, movies, music and applications.
Since the entire menu system is based on the concept of apps, you must download certain apps to gain full access to all the consoles built-in functions. Blu-ray playback, Upload Studio to edit and share your own game footage, Skype, SkyDrive and more, are separate apps you must download and install separately.
It can be a little bit confusing - but we get the point. Because all these apps are separate programs, it is easier for Microsoft to update these individually to add new features or fix any errors.
A big thing with the menu system on the Xbox One is the "snap" feature. That means you can multitask two applications simultaneously. While you're doing one thing (such as playing a game, or watching TV), you can "snap" another application to the side of the screen. For the most part this feature is pretty pointless. Why would we want to watch Netflix or surf the Internet with Internet Explorer while trying to kill our enemies in an online game?
It is about sharing
The recording function is very convenient. Where PlayStation 4 lets you press a button, then immediately stores the last 10 minutes of your gameplay on its hard drive, and even allows you to upload clips to Facebook or stream them over Twitch or Ustream, the Xbox One is somewhat different. Firstly using your voice. We say "Xbox Record That" to record the last 30 seconds. We can also say "Xbox Go To Upload Studio" to edit your gameplay. You can store up to five minutes of footage or scale it down to the last three minutes, last 45 seconds, and so on.
The clips are stored temporarily in the Upload app folder and from there you can go on to Upload Studio app to edit them. You can set the start and stop time on your gameplay clips, but the program has a few cool features too. For example, you can use Kinect to attach picture-in-picture of yourself commenting on the gameplay, just like PewDiePie.
While PS4 lets you share to Facebook, Xbox One is currently limited to either Xbox Live, or SkyDrive. Uploading your video gameplay to SkyDrive provides access to the MP4 file, which you can download to a PC, and then upload to YouTube. But there are no direct sharing to YouTube, other social media or streaming to Twitch.
The quality of the clips are, like the PS4, are not in full 1080p HD. The clips are recorded in 720p and are compressed to save space. We hope that in the future an update is released, enabling us to record our gameplay in better quality. None of the consoles on sale currently allow us to record longer clips in full HD quality.
Talk to the box
Voice control, perhaps the most essential application for Kinect. We put on our thickest American accent, and get the console to follow our commands. It's good fun to switch it on just by saying "Xbox On", and then be recognized by the camera that logs us automatically. There's also a lot of fun in activating various applications, start a game, go back through the menus, switch over to watching TV, switch over to Forza 5, start Killer Instinct, and the ability to go back to the main menu by saying "Xbox Go Home."
But just like all speech recognition programs it does not always work. You must be clear and speak slowly and you must say phrases correctly.
TV through your Xbox
What we can do at the present moment is connect our terrestrial or satellite set-top box to our HDMI port. If nothing else, it frees an HDMI space on your TV. We can then watch TV by turning on the TV app on Xbox One. But Xbox One does not support direct transmission of the HDMI signal, firstly the console must be enabled for you to watch TV, and we noticed a degradation of the picture quality, because it goes through the internal hardware and software of the game console.
Like the PS4 is the weak support for media formats on the Xbox One. External hard drives or USB sticks with media files cannot be read by the console. Both Microsoft and Sony want us to use their own streaming services or alternatives like Netflix. It will be interesting to see if we can play all video formats in the future with updates.
If nothing else, the Xbox One now allows playback of Blu-ray and 3-D Blu-ray movies just like PS4.
The game machine
Let's not forget that this machine will be purchased predominantly for its ability to play video games. One game we've played a lot is Forza 5. Although the game has received justified criticism for too little content and the dubious micro transactions, it is in any case no doubt a good game that displays the Xbox One ability to pump out great graphics. Forza 5 is the prettiest racer ever in glorious 1080p/60 fps.
There have been an awful lot of controversy around that Xbox One running several multi platform games in a lower resolution than that of the PS4. To be quite honest, this isn't a big issue and it simply a case of developers finding it slightly tricky to optimize their games on both platforms. We believe that multiplatform games will run in 1080p on both consoles in the near future. We do not believe the difference in performance between the two competitors are so dramatic, although PS4 has prevailed on paper.
Xbox One is a strange game console, it can do many things, more than the PlayStation 4, but it's clear that many of its features have not been thought through thoroughly enough. It's not quite finished. The system menu must receive some improvements. It is not always possible to instantly launch apps or load functions. There are things that are missing, some of them are pretty basic (battery indicator to the controller, global settings, better system to find players, et cetera), and the voice control can be annoying when it doesn't get things right.
It's obvious that Microsoft has launched a very ambitious console, and improvements will no doubt come with future software updates.
We believe that both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One has a bright future ahead of them, but neither games console is an essential must have at the present moment. It lacks too much, the games are graphically pretty, but don't really offer that next gen experience even now in late 2014. So if you're happy with your current games console, such as the PS3, Xbox 360 or Wii U, you might as well wait a little a little longer and see what this machine can offer in 2015.
Unfortunately, and despite the high prices of games you are still required to purchase a Xbox Live Gold membership to access online multiplayer features. Subscriptions can be purchased at one month, three months and 12 month contracts.
Xbox LIVE 12 Month Gold Membership
Xbox LIVE Gold 3-Month Membership