Finally! The Xbox One could be the first ever gaming console to truly deliver on its promise as an all-in-one-entertainment console. Slated to hit the stores in November, Microsoft’s next generation flagship console, the Xbox One, promises to be the conductor of that orchestra composed of entertainment equipment residing in your living.
The base price of the console starts at $499 but before you thrust your hands out in despair know that this price includes the excellent Kinect accessory (more of this later) as part of the package. In comparison the Sony PlayStation 4 (the Xbox One’s biggest rival) sells its equivalent accessory (PlayStation Eye camera and motion detector) separately from the gaming console.
It is often said the proof of the pudding is in the eating so that is exactly what we are going to do with the Xbox One. Let’s look under the hood and see if this game console really walks the talk.
Like most other game consoles the Xbox One is black but in its newest incarnation boasts a head-turning sleek black. Though it is larger than the current Xbox 360 one would be hard pressed to describe it as sporting coffee table like dimensions (as one previous version was so cruelly and infamously described). Paired together with the new more compact and fetching Kinect the entire ensemble radiates a beauty of symmetry that fits perfectly in your home entertainment setup. This by the way is no fluke considering it was Microsoft’s intention from the outset to create a fluid and seamless all-in-one package?
The front view reveals little more than the Xbox logo button and the Blue-ray drive, but the rear view is an altogether more detailed story. There’s an abundant array of ports which include: two USB3 ports, HDMI input and output, Gigabit Ethernet as well as sports dual-band 802.11n WiFi that incorporates a 5GHz option for optimal speed.
The controllers of the Xbox One certainly feel somewhat lighter than those of the 360s and are more angular in appearance. Abiding by that age old adage ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ Microsoft has retained the sublime comfort in the controllers of the Xbox One as that found in its older sibling, the Xbox 360. There have been a few cosmetic changes, notably in that the buttons are no longer colored completely differently but only the letters which rest upon a uniform black background.
Perhaps the most significant change between the controllers of the Xbox One and those of the 360 is that the D-pad is much improved. Though it is still rather taut and colicky it definitely isn’t the nightmare it used to be on the 360 console.
Appearance is all well and good but let’s be honest those aren’t the things that first pop to mind when you eyeball that inviting sign Xbox One for sale at your nearby electronic store. Nope, if we are being honest, most gamers like me (and you I’m sure) wouldn’t mind if this were the darn-ugliest creation on earth so long as it delivered an unbelievably awesome gaming experience. So on that note let’s find out if it does or falls flat.
Under the hood of this latest gaming console from Microsoft is to be found a pretty formidable engine. That engine boasts an AMD eight-core processor Jaguar x86 CPU in conjunction with an AMD 7000 series Radeon GPU. Though Microsoft is still keeping exact specs and details under tight lock and key judging by the performance of various games the output is best described as shock and awe.
There’s 8GB of DDR3 RAM installed onboard of which 3GB is apportioned to handle the system’s three operating systems which include: one to run games; another designed to handle entertainment, background tasks and comms; and the final system has the task of switching and interacting between the two.
Next Gen Features
As part of its promotional campaign Microsoft continuously bombarded us with the fact that the Xbox One is a next generation gaming console. Thus naturally we would expect it to boast features that set it worlds apart from its predecessor, the 360. Well those world apart features of the Xbox One come in the form of the enhanced Kinect and SmartGlass companion app. Through the versatile Kinect, this console can be controlled not only by a conventional joypad but via voice and gesture commands as well as ‘touch’ under the purview of SmartGlass. If you are familiar with Windows 8 or Windows 8 Phone then you’ll be immediately at home with this UI.
This system comes with a brand new Kinect that boasts dramatically improved accuracy via its 1080p camera which now navigates rotational movement in something as complicated as a skeletal structure as if it were taking a stroll in the park. Microsoft even ventures as far as claiming that the new Kinect has no problem reading your heartbeat.
With SmartGlass you can launch single-player games, view achievements, buy in-game add-ons as well as set up multiplayer matches. Via its tablet-based UI SmartGlass will ensure synchronicity and ease of use with a variety of tablets and phones. Also through the more traditional inbuilt WiFi you should have no difficulty setting up Bluetooth communications between external devices.
In closing let me state that this review has merely scratched the surface of the endless list of exciting features of the new Xbox One for were it to cover every little detail it would quickly turn into an encyclopedia. However if you really wish to experience how awesome this new gaming console is then don’t just peruse that Xbox One for sale sign but turn it into a reality!