Xbox One

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7.5 Overall Score
Hardware: 7/10
Software: 9/10
Online Services / TV & Social Features: 6/10

Good launch line up | Fast & Clean Interface | CPU is great for multi tasking and Spanning applications| The controller is better than ever | Hardware | Social & Services Feature (Available only on supported countries) | 5GB of RAM available for developers | Windows Azure cloud computing for Games (Physics, Graphics and Animation render)

GPU is less powerful than it's competitor |Calibrating kinect | Certain games are 720p | Controller is still using AA batteries | Certain services not being available even on launch countries | No launch Streaming Support | No backwards compatibility

The Xbox One hasn’t been officially released in our country just yet, but that didn’t stop us from importing a console and take our own look at Microsoft’s next generation machine.

Microsoft’s next generation machine doesn’t only focus on games however.  The Xbox One is designed to become the the only box that you have under your TV, the console can be used for the TV cable service as well as movie/music streaming, Netflix, Skype calls and another services that are provided in the launch countries.

So as you can see the reason of acquiring the Xbox One is more than just games contrary to it’s competitor the Playstation 4.  The Xbox One also brings  Kinect 2.0, a version that in some aspects vastly improved from the previous version that was available to be bought separately on the Xbox 360.

But let’s start talking about the software/user interface before we get in technical terms with both the Xbox One and the Kinect.

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Software/Interface

The first time that you set up the Xbox One  it will take more than time than the Playstation 4,that does not mean it’s more complicated though it just requires a great amount of steps like for example : Calibrating Kinect motion sensor, sound, video, setup of the HDMI TV cable and the last one updating the console with the Day One patch which is around 1.80 GB.

But let’s get more into detail with the Xbox One’s interface which is called Home Screen.  Xbox One Home screen will remind you of Windows 8 right from the start, but don’t judge a book by it’s cover even if it resembles Windows 8 that’s not a bad thing at all.

And why do I say that? because Microsoft’s next generation console interface is smooth and clean.  It might take you some time to get used to it, but if you’re a Windows 8 user you’ll see how easy is to navigate thorough the menus even if you’re not a fan of using the controller you can use Kinect via voice commands such as “Xbox go to Skype” or “Xbox go to Dead Rising 3″.

These commands work with every application and it’s very handy if you’re occupied with something in our hands or if your in another room and want to turn on/off the console.

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The Xbox One Home Screen also features something called Snap. This allows you to  run two applications at the same time by only using a bit more than third of the screen, this allows too for example browsing your game libbary while you’re either waiting for loading or a multiplayer match to start and it’s quite simple to switch between them as you only have to say to Kinect “Switch”. But if by any reason you “unsnap” an application for example Skype, the call will be hanged.

Microsoft has improved the profile,friends and achievements areas this time around. The achievement section however is disappointing when you earn an achievement in a game the time that it takes to load the achievement application is more than the time it took on the Xbox 360 which personally removes the magic feeling, not only that but the feeling of scrolling thorough the achievements is not the same because it’s more complicated than before.

The console has a feature called Game DVR, which allows the user to save up to 5 minutes of gameplay recorded at 720p.  All you gotta do is issue the voice command “Xbox record that”, and the last 30 seconds of it will be recorded, the console also features an Upload Studio which allows you to edit gameplay on a basic video editor built in program.

Once you’re done with the editing you’ll be able to upload that gameplay directly to Skydrive.

At the end of the day Xbox One’s interface is a love/hate relationship and depends on the person who uses it, due to some voice commands or even to some people who really hate the Metro style of it.

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Hardware

Xbox One’s hardware has been one of the hot topics of the gaming industry ever since the console was compared with the PS4. It’s usually said to be the “less powerful” console, it’s not completely true however.

The Xbox One CPU is more oriented for multi tasking like for example watching TV & Skype at the same time or gaming and skyping, while the Playstation 4CPU is supposed to be mainly focused on the game. ( If you want to know more about the Playstation 4′s GPU read our review here)

Let’s get down to details in the hardware then, Xbox One CPU is a custom AMD 8 core x86 architecture with 1.75GHz, while the GPU is an AMD Radeon GPU,  that features 1.31 teraflops. The GPU is 25% little behind the PS4  1.84 teraflop GPU.

For it’s RAM, Microsoft decided to put in the console 8GB of DDR3 RAM. Developers can use up to 5GB of RAM “guaranteed memory for games” which is more 500mb than 4.5GB that the Playstation has free for games.

As for the HDD, the Xbox One comes with 500gb, however it cannot be replaced for an external one like for example an SSD.

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Controller

It was claimed by many that the Xbox 360 controller is one of the best controllers for gaming out there, Microsoft decided to not touch the design itself but only making it lighter. There’s however some improvements in terms of buttons, the sticks and the analog sticks.

Let’s start with the buttons, Microsoft decided to change the Xbox button to the top where it was previously in the middle this is the biggest change in terms of buttons.  The sticks however which fighting players complained is better than before,  it now features an asymmetrical layout which makes it more comfortable for fighting games itself and especially if you use them in long game sessions. (No more left thumb pain!)

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The analog sticks have also seen some improvement, it has been added a textured rubber to the analogs to have a more comfortable and relaxing thorough long gameplay sessions, it does has a special feeling attached to it that no other controller has ever gave me before a relaxing feeling of moving the analog. (Weird!)

The current most underrated upgrade is  the triggers force feedback, this allows the player to feel the recoil kick of a gun or the bumping from the off-road ways in Forza 5. This is so far my favorite feature of the controller, but unfortunately the launch titles haven’t used it much and I hope the developers in the future use it more.

The bad news is that it still uses AA batteries, you can however buy a Charge Kit Play just like in the good old Xbox 360, also the controller does not feature any “motion” like Sony’s Dualshock 4.

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Kinect

The newest version of Kinect that comes in the package alongside the Xbox One, recognizes each person and features a built in microphone.

Let’s get this part started by saying that Kinect is NOT mandatory, so if you feel Microsoft is spying on you for the NSA you can remove it at any time. You will however lose the voice commands features that will come in handy once you’re used to them.

Kinect offers the best Skype experience, not only by the camera but for it’s surprisingly great built in microphone. If you don’t feel like using the headset you can use Kinect to talk to your friends over the Xbox Live Party or in-game VoIP.

It’s calibration and preparation however could be a pain, it really depends on how the sensor recognizes you and your voice.

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Online Services

Xbox Live is better than before in terms of finding the content you want, everything is well organized and is easier to find than in the previous LIVE on the Xbox 360.

The community side of LIVE has been detailed in such places as above mentioned on the interface part. The market is simpler than in the previous console, and buying a product is twice as fast.

Same goes for the download services, downloading a game has never been faster contrary to the PS4, where downloading a game might take some time and while you’re at it connection to the online service might be lost.

Final Verdict 

As I’ve done with the previously review of the Playstation 4, I’ve collected an opinion of one of our editors this time around Frank Rod regarding whether buying the Xbox One now would be a good choice, even if isn’t being sold on most of the countries in the world.

Xbox one is a wonderful piece of engineering, but what prevents me from immediately acquiring one right now, is the upcoming Microsoft policies and mindset that we can observe in games right now, such as Forza, with micro transactions, subscriptions, and new ways for companies to keep taking more and more money from us trough trivial things such as cars, tracks and in game currencies.

With the amount of cash someone already has to spend on the console, and the current declining economy, Xbox’s policies will undoubtedly leave attentive gamers wondering if it’s at all worth getting on an ongoing investment such as the Xbox one as of now.

My own opinion? If you’re a fan of what Microsoft has been doing with the Xbox One for gaming and if you’re outside of the launch countries and are able to import one, I recommend you to wait for the next few exclusives which will start to be released around March.

If you live in a launch country and think the Xbox One, feeds both your TV/Social & Gaming needs then it’s the console for you some services are not yet available to be used but as time passes they will be available.

At the end of the day it really depends on which gaming franchises you like, and if the social aspects of the console respects your needs.

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Author: Pedro Relvas View all posts by
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