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Xbox One Review: Unifying Your Living Room Experience

Xbox One Review: Unifying Your Living Room Experience
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We've been messing with Microsoft's Xbox One for a while now, and it's surprisingly hard to compare against Sony's PS4. Join us as we walk through the hardware, the software, and the console's role quarterbacking your more connected living room.

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:


Width
Depth
Height
Xbox One
13.1"
10.8"
3.1"
Xbox 360
12.15"
10.15"
3.27"
Xbox 360 S
10.6"
10.3"
2.95"
Xbox
12.5"
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.

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  • 6 Hide
    lostgamer_03 , November 20, 2013 2:16 AM
    Great review, really made reflect over what a gaming machine should be able to do nowadays. A gaming machine isn't just a gaming machine anymore and the Xbox One, even though it might not be as powerful as PS4, is a really attractive product in my perspective.
  • 0 Hide
    Ceee9 , November 20, 2013 2:24 AM
    any Am%$^$N want to trash this?
  • 1 Hide
    Nahkman , November 20, 2013 2:53 AM
    Reinventing the TV experience only applies to the Americas as the rest of the world does not really care much about ESPN, and also a lot of the functionality is NA only, there was also a rumor that kinect voice commands do not work in a lot of european countries.
  • 5 Hide
    Maziar , November 20, 2013 2:59 AM
    Great review
    At the time being,IMO PS4 is a better gaming machine;whereas,X1 is a better entertainment system.
    PS4 has a more powerful GPU so it should perform better in games and is $100 cheaper too;whereas,X1 tries to do more than just gaming and costs more.
    For me,PS4 is a better machine because I only tend to play games on a console but X1 is also a great machine
  • 2 Hide
    de5_Roy , November 20, 2013 3:27 AM
    10 pages and.. nothing about xbone(R)'s gaming capability or gaming experience. the review was done well, but seems restricted to media capabilities. the device seems versatile.
    some of the ps4 reviews i read had info on gaming as well as media/entertainment. i mean info like how the games look and feel to a player, resolution and user perception, joystick (and other input devices) performance in gaming etc.
  • 1 Hide
    daglesj , November 20, 2013 3:50 AM
    As a 42 year old that back in 2006 played a lot of games on my console but now mainly uses it for media and streaming with a bit of gaming on the side (I'm sure I'm not the only one) the Xbox One is a more compelling unit than the PS4.

    I'm pretty sure MS went over the usage stats of the 360 and found that more and more people were using the media/TV/movie aspects. After all thats where the money is.

    MS could sell half as many Xbox Ones as Sony but it will still be making far more per console in subscriptions and services. The money going forward isn't in games.

    However, I don't think this generation will be as long lived as the 360/PS4. I see One.5 or PS4.5 models or total replacement within 5 years.
  • 3 Hide
    zzzaac , November 20, 2013 4:02 AM
    Unfortunately all these nifty things are half working or not working at all for countries other than US of A

    I might be getting both, but to be honest I might not get any, as I've become more of a PC gamer
  • 0 Hide
    daglesj , November 20, 2013 4:03 AM
    delete
  • 0 Hide
    daglesj , November 20, 2013 4:23 AM
    delete
  • 1 Hide
    cats_Paw , November 20, 2013 4:23 AM
    I think im getting old, becouse when i read this i think that the Xbox one is basicly a low end PC with limited usability...
  • 0 Hide
    daglesj , November 20, 2013 4:25 AM
    Holy moly what other web forum keeps your comment hidden below and adds it every time you refresh the page???

    One day Tom's will move into the 21st century. Apologies folks.
  • 1 Hide
    Yuka , November 20, 2013 5:44 AM
    Ugh... I think Microsoft tried (and wants to) put in the same bag as much people as possible with the XBox One. Just like the Wii did at first with the "casual" games and first party "hardcore" games (yeah, whatever).

    It is not a bad thing when done right, yes, but then you'll have a "jack of all trades" instead of a "gaming machine". I'm not an advocate of putting too many specific functions into one device until the technology is up to par with the individual ones. Smartphone cameras is a fine example for that: today we find "good" picture quality compared to a Point and Shoot and it will get even better down the road thanks to tech advancements. In the case of consoles, I expect SteamBox to trash everything else in the living room gaming wise first and other-stuff second, including the recent-out consoles. There's a world of horsepower of difference between the custom APUs and using an Intel + nVidia/AMD video card with an optimized OS (SteamOS, remember?).

    I'll need a first hand experience with the XB1 and the PS4, but as "consoles", they must not disappoint. Kinnect is a feature you should/can put in a PC/HTPC with little effort if you want one (we're in a tech site, so this phrase is valid). Same for the EyeToy. Hell, even speech recognition used in the XB1, I'm sure is a derivative from the one in Windows that anyone can actually tune and use.

    Cheers!
  • -1 Hide
    Jgriff , November 20, 2013 5:48 AM
    look at that new and improved steam controller, thats all i see when i look at the x1
  • 5 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , November 20, 2013 5:51 AM
    So basicly the xbox one has a bunch of stuff that I already have on my tv and cable box, which makes its features pretty much useless to me. Already have a smart TV don't need another smart deivce. Already have a DVR, don't need that either. Also I find some of the features they put on there rather dumb. if I'm playing a game why would I want to Skype with someone or watch tv at the same time, which would distract me from playing the game in the first place! I don't need a Kinect so why would have to shell out an extra 100 dollars for something I don't want not to mention I don't have the room for it. if microsoft was actually smart they would bundle the xbox one without a Kinect and cut the price by 100 dollars to compete with sony I just think that Microsoft really missed out here.
  • 2 Hide
    rsktek , November 20, 2013 6:19 AM
    The reasons why the Xbox One is not the right choice for me ( I appreciate what they tried to do ) is that I DON'T HAVE CABLE, rural USA doesnt have that available. So all the TV functionality is pointless :/  Also, having a tablet, like the Nexus 7 along with you as you're playing games or watching Local TV, I don't see Kinect and its voice commands being any faster than searching stuff on the tablet. Just my 2 cents (Disclaimer: Not getting any Next Gen machines, only appreciate them pushing developers to use more CPU resources AKA better PC ports)
  • 0 Hide
    tuanies , November 20, 2013 6:22 AM
    Quote:
    Great review
    At the time being,IMO PS4 is a better gaming machine;whereas,X1 is a better entertainment system.
    PS4 has a more powerful GPU so it should perform better in games and is $100 cheaper too;whereas,X1 tries to do more than just gaming and costs more.
    For me,PS4 is a better machine because I only tend to play games on a console but X1 is also a great machine


    We'll have more stories on both consoles.

    Quote:
    10 pages and.. nothing about xbone(R)'s gaming capability or gaming experience. the review was done well, but seems restricted to media capabilities. the device seems versatile.
    some of the ps4 reviews i read had info on gaming as well as media/entertainment. i mean info like how the games look and feel to a player, resolution and user perception, joystick (and other input devices) performance in gaming etc.


    The problem is a lot of the functionality is limited until the day one update, which the press samples did not have yet. We will have follow ups in the coming weeks. I'll be out camping for mine Thursday night :) 
  • 0 Hide
    rsktek , November 20, 2013 6:24 AM

    *Edit I hope this doesn't double post -_-
  • 0 Hide
    cknobman , November 20, 2013 7:02 AM
    Wow the review really put in perspective just how big and ugly the Xbox One is (physically). It will make my XBox 360S look like a midget.

    The Xbox One may be an astounding piece of technology but it looks fat and ugly.
  • 5 Hide
    expl0itfinder , November 20, 2013 7:02 AM
    I don't think this is a very relevant console compared to the PS4 (for a gamer). The value is just plain bad for a gaming machine. This is mainly because of the price point. There is no significant advantage over the PS4 to justify a $100 price bump IMHO.
  • -2 Hide
    monkeycmonkeydu , November 20, 2013 7:28 AM
    This thing is simply a low end DVR that happens to be able to play a few games, while the PS4 is actually optimized for games and can do a few simple media functions. Anybody who buys this thinking it will compete with the PS4 in gaming quality is an idiot.
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