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Xbox One Console- Standard Edition

Posted

Pros: TV and gaming at once, voice and hand commands, streaming services, Smart Glass from your phone, amazing graphics

Cons: lack of a true wireless headset, Some issues with Dolby Digital,(no battery display for controller, cumbersome to navigate party chat- updates coming)

Features: 5 out of 5
Features available with the Xbox One are plentiful.

Value: 5 out of 5
Based on what you get inside the box, the value is worth every penny.

Design: 3 out of 5
Design is large and doesn’t go out of its way to please aesthetically.

Video Quality: 5 out of 5
Video quality is what you would expect from a Blu-ray player. It’s top notch.

Controller: 5 out of 5
The controller is solid and feels great in the hand. It has just the right amount of weight, and your hand wraps around it like a glove.

Audio: 4 out of 5
The audio quality is great, although getting the desired settings is a bit cumbersome.

This review is based on the newest console released by Microsoft, the Xbox One. I based my console purchase on the features available on each of the next generation consoles, the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. I did not solely make my purchase on the gaming experience. I went into the purchase knowing that both consoles had updated RAM, CPU and GPU that could deliver the 1080p 60fps rate that will produce stunning graphics. The Xbox One boasts 8GB DDR3 of RAM where as the PS4 uses a different RAM which is 8GB GDDR5. The CPU is similar with each system using an 8 core with Microsoft's custom CPU to PS4's single-chip x86 AMD "Jaguar" processor. GPU spec's for the Xbox One is 853MHz AMD Radeon GPU w/ 768 shaders and PS4's AMD Radeon graphics core Next engine w/ 1152 shaders. So, what does all that mean you ask? I couldn't tell you to be honest, but from most of what I've read and understand, it all comes down to the games. Most will say the games on the PS4 will look better but after playing both consoles, I can say with confidence you're not going to tell much of a difference. Both consoles come with 500GB of internal storage. With all of that said, can each console deliver the 1080p at 60fps that everyone wants to see out of the two next gen consoles? Well, a lot of that depends on the companies making the games and how well they cater to each systems specs. Time will tell but you have to be optimistic for both systems based on those specs.

The Xbox One comes with an external power block (I'm assuming it's external to reduce the heat build up that would occur if it was inside the Xbox), Kinect (camera and mic), HDMI cable, headset and control (two Duracell Batteries provided, non rechargeable). The media experience they put into this console is hands down the winner and why I went with the Xbox One. Not everyone is sold on this feature as it doesn't cater to his or her needs but for me it is a great experience. In a sense I sometimes catch myself saying, "oh it plays games to." The system is set up to engulf you in the media experience, using your A/V receiver, set-top box, in my case Dish Network. What I mean is, not only can you control watching TV with your voice but also using hand gestures. Yes there is a slight learning curve but tutorials are readily available and if you have any issues trying to remember what voice commands to use all you have to say is, "Xbox". Once you do that the screen dims a bit and everything that you can control using your voice turns green. Whatever is green say it and it will do it. Hand gestures work by moving your hand up toward the screen, it will place a translucent hand on the screen and to select anything on the screen you simply hoover over it and move you entire hand towards it, like you are pushing it. Some other cool features using hand gestures are, making a fist. The on-screen hand mimics this, at this point you can now move your hand left or right essentially sliding pages on the screen left and right. Also to close a screen you place both hands on each side of the screen and make a fist. The screen will mimic your action. The then move you fists together and it will close the current screen you are on. The hand motions are tedious and it does take a bit of a learning curve, but as mentioned above there are tutorials readily available.

In a game hand, gestures worked really well. There is a wave runner game that is free and you act like you are riding it. Once you get past the learning curve (5-6 games later for me) it becomes quite easy and very fun. The Kinect works really well and recognizes every move you make. To be specific, your right hand is the throttle in this game. If you make a fist, you engage the throttle. If you open your hand the wave runner stops, very impressive. A few other features in the game that the Kinect recognizes are front and backwards flips. You go over a ramp and move you upper body forward and you do a front flip, move your body back you do a back flip. You raise your hands you get points for a no-handed jump. I can't wait for future games to utilize the Kinect. Some already are, such as Battlefield 4. I used this feature for a brief time but games need to spend more time on these features to make them viable. I ended up turning that feature off after a short period of time. The screen kept popping up a message on the top of the screen and it was rather annoying.

The set up of the Xbox One is relatively easy if you are simply plugging it into the TV. If you have it set up as I do, (with my set-top box and A/V receiver) then things might get a little tricky for you. My current set up is kind of getting old but if it isn’t broke don't fix I suppose. I have a Denon avr1909 with Polk speakers and an even older Sony LCD projector (which is 1080i) and a Dish Network 722k set-top box. Hey, it all works great and does what I want it to. If you want the most out of your Xbox One then you should run an HDMI cable from your set-top box into the IN port in the back of you Xbox, then run an HDMI cable from the OUT port of you Xbox to your A/V receiver, then an HDMI cable out from your A/V receiver to your TV. Doing it this way you will get all the high-end features of audio along with the highest resolution for picture your TV has to offer. There is no component option on the Xbox One, there is one optical port on the back. There is one major set back with the Xbox and that is the lack of "true pass-through” of the HDMI signal from your set-top box. The Xbox has to be on if you want to watch TV. The only way around this was to use component cables from the back of my Dishnet receiver straight to my TV and an optical cable from the Dishnet receiver to the Denon receiver. Problem solved. You don't need an A/V receiver to achieve this but I wanted to run my optical cable to get Dolby Digital from my Denon receiver. There seems to be the lack of DD (Dolby Digital) as the audio is set to stereo as default. From my understanding it has to do with your set-top box and has nothing to do with audio from games or DVDs. To change this setting go to Settings and under "TV & OneGuide" select troubleshooting then select Surround Sound (BETA). This will supposedly change you set-top box to DD. I can confirm that this did work for my Dishnet receiver.

The Xbox One has a BluRay player and will also play a standard DVD. I still choose to use my PlayStation 3 for BluRay and streaming services, particularly Amazon Prime. The PS3 shows what type of audio is being output where as I'm not sure what the Xbox One is outputting. Also when using Amazon Prime, although I like the set up on the Xbox One better than the PS3, the Xbox doesn't have a section to rent movies where as the PS3 does. Hopefully an update to the app will fix this. There are many apps available that you can download from the store such as, Netflix, Amazon Prime, NFL, ESPN (requires a log-in to confirm your TV service provides this channel), FXNOW (requires a log-in to confirm your TV service provides this channel), Hulu, YouTube, the list goes on. What's cool about YouTube is if you have a compatible smart phone, once you log into your account on the Xbox and launch the app, you can also launch the app on your phone. Then you can control what you see on your TV from you phone and it works quite well, fast with no lag and no load time. There are other features you can use on you smart phone device. There is an app called Xbox One Smart Glass. It basically acts as another remote. This also works quite well and is very impressive.

Another nice feature is the Snap feature. This allows you to watch TV and play a game at the same time. Unfortunately the area were the TV screen comes up is rather small and has a noticeable lag to it. It's cool to have this feature but hopefully in future updates to the console they will give you more options for split screen and fix the lag issues. You can also use voice commands with the Snap feature as well. Lets say you are playing a game and you decide you wanted to check a score on ESPN. All you have to do is say, “Xbox snap TV. Xbox go to ESPN." BAM, there you have it. You don't even need to stop playing your game.

The biggest difference from the previous Xbox 360 controller to the Xbox One is the plug for a headset. It's been updated from the Xbox 360's 2.5mm, to a flat pin type plug. I'm assuming this brings the mute, volume controls straight to your controller when plugged in. It is convenient to have all the buttons right at your fingertips. Another upgrade to the control is the vibration that you feel in the trigger buttons. The controller feels good in the hand and has a nice good quality feel to it. It's not too heavy and it's not to little. I think it accommodates big and little hands. The sound out of the headset is very clear although I wish it could get a little louder. Setting up a party is a bit cumbersome, as you have to navigate through one to many menus to start a party with friends. Good news on that though as Microsoft has already acknowledged user dissatisfaction with its current function and an update is coming out to simplify starting a party.

The user interface resembles Microsoft Windows 8. It is somewhat customizable but will get more customizable in future updates per Microsoft. For now you can "Pin" things you want to have faster access to. You go to whatever app you would like pinned, press the three line button (menu) or as I like to call it "the pancake button", select pin and it will pop up to the far right of the home menu. You can also switch easily between your pinned items, home menu and store by tapping the right and left bumpers. Pretty easy if you ask me.

One of the coolest features, in my opinion, is being able to use voice commands to power on all my devices and also powering off. When I get home and say "Xbox turn on" it powers on my TV, Denon receiver, Dishnet and of course the Xbox and the boot up time is nonexistent. There is no wait at all except of course the time it takes for everything else to turn on. And playing a game is immediate. This is what is so cool about having everything hooked up to your Xbox, you can watch TV immediately, play a game immediately, or do both at the same time. There is no wait whatsoever, I'm not exaggerating a bit.

The game play is pleasing as there is no lag in any campaign that I've played. I haven't had any issues with reboot or freeze up. You get your typical lag and an occasional freeze up when playing Battlefield 4 online but over all is hasn't been anything as bad as last gen consoles. I'm glad to see this has drastically improved. Although the lack of games that are currently available and show the full potential of the graphics, I played Ryse Son of Rome and I had to stop and look at the textures and detail of the cobblestone because I was amazed. The depth of detail, the shine and reflection were the best graphics I've ever seen on a console game. I also played Battlefield 4 and as these graphics are nice they don't hold up to Ryse. The audio in battlefield 4 is superb but this has a lot to do with the system you have.

Based on the features the Xbox One delivers, the choice for me was simple. The Xbox One offers everything a complete entertainment center demands and more. If you enjoy your entertainment center as much as I do and like to the have your set-top box and gaming available at the push of a button then this system is for you. The additional hundred dollars over the PS4 is justified as you get the Kinect, a much better headset and an HDMI cable. Those three items alone make up of the higher price. Happy gaming!

Posted

Pros: Excellent GUI; Effective Voice Control; Superb Gaming Experience

Cons: Very few must-have titles as of early 2014; more expensive than the competition

A Unique Privilege

We lovers of performance-grade a/v systems are in a very unique position, due primarily to the fact that the manner in which we experience media is markedly more detailed on systems with deliberate audio and visual enhancements. Any dedicated system—be it a $50 Home Theater In a Box or a $50,000 high-end setup—will offer an experience that far surpasses the standard television speakers. Gaming generally provides a uniquely satisfying experience to home theater enthusiasts because it offers exposure to wholly dynamic, object-based sound mixes--a truly ear opening experience to be sure.

 

As time has progressed, video game systems have morphed into complete media juggernauts. 2005 saw the birth of the game console as a media machine and manufacturers of high performance gaming systems have been advancing that concept ever since. The two current high performance game consoles are the Microsoft Xbox One and the Sony PlayStation 4. Although I own both systems, this is a review of the Xbox One—for no other reason than the fact that it is the superior machine for integration into a home theater setup.

 

The System

The Xbox One is essentially a mid-grade gaming computer with some proprietary tweaks. Technically, it's nothing special; however, as we watch emerging technologies become mainstream, it's important to note that technology by itself is useless without innovative implementation. The Xbox One does have quite a few innovative uses of existing and emerging technologies, as well some less-than-exciting implementations of existing technology.

 

Utilizing an AMD 8-core processor (1.75Ghz) and an ATI Radeon graphical processing unit (GPU), the Xbox One is able to handle games at 1080p (1920x1080 resolution) with ease. The frame rate of these games vary between 30 frames per second (fps) and 60 frames per second (fps). It is, however, important not to use frame rate as the sole factor in quality determination.

 

The Xbox One is infrared (IR) controllable, unlike the PlayStation 4 which cannot be controlled by IR or Bluetooth remotes. This means that it can be integrated comfortably with a home theater system and controlled via a universal remote. Users of universal remotes like iRule will relish in the customizable control possibilities.

 

The Setup

Having used its predecessor--the Xbox 360--for years, setting up the Xbox One was very straightforward, which is to say, the setup experience is no different from setting up any other addition to your system. The basics: power, connectivity, and a/v, are the only requirements to get started.

 

Well, not the only requirements...

 

There is also the giant elephant in the room known as Kinect. Microsoft's implementation of Kinect in the Xbox One is actually quite effective [more in this later]. The motion controls are quite responsive, and while I'm not sure there's a place for motion controls in gaming, there's definitely a place for voice control. The Kinect has a direct, proprietary connection on the rear of the Xbox One unit and lights up with a slightly muted Xbox logo when powered on.

 

Once the hardware is connected, the next step is to power on the unit and connect to your network. Once a network connection is established, you will either transfer your existing gamer tag from your Xbox 360 or you create a new gamer tag and you're ready to dive into all the system has to offer.

 

Features and Use

The Xbox One is capable of 2D Blu Ray disc playback via a seamlessly integrated Blu Ray application. Playback of Blu Ray discs is almost flawless and offers perhaps 90% of the performance I get from my reference Oppo BDP-105D.  Blu Ray playback, however, only scratch the surface of the capabilities of the Xbox One. Thanks to the Xbox "App Store," users can enjoy a broad range of applications from media powerhouses like Hulu Plus to niche favorites like Machinima. Every supported streaming service is first downloaded from the app store and is thereafter available on the system itself.

 

The voice control integration made possible by Kinect plays a major role in the superb application experience and has changed the way I enjoy my media. Users can open apps by verbally prefacing the app name with "Xbox go to." For instance, if a user wants to access Hulu Plus, he or she simply says the words "Xbox go to Hulu Plus," and the system will launch Hulu Plus immediately from the home screen. If the user is in another app, the system will put that activity in stasis and switch to the Hulu Plus application. When watching media, uttering "Xbox Play," "Xbox Pause," and other transport commands will execute those commands. Just a warning: the Xbox will not detect your voice if your media is being played back at reference volume. Trust me; I've tried.

 

When directly comparing the Xbox One to the Sony PlayStation 4, it became quite clear that the two systems were deliberately designed to move in two different directions, with the former veering toward media dominance and the latter veering toward a gaming. That being said, the Xbox One provides a very satisfying gaming experience. The Xbox One controller has a very comfortable feel to it. Anyone who has used an Xbox 360 controller will be right at home. Microsoft claims that a plethora of changes have been made to the controller; however, in my hands, it feels only slightly different during use. Oft-times, I forgot I was playing Xbox One and just felt like I was playing "an Xbox."

 

The a/v experience available from video games is simply astounding, which is not surprising given the extremely high production budgets baselined by the production studios. For example, Call of Duty: Ghosts is, by far, the best experience I've had on the Xbox One. The graphics weren't groundbreaking, but they were solid and stutter-free. Every skyline, jungle, and building was artfully and impressively reproduced. The sound conveyed over HDMI is crystal clear and the channels are clearly defined. This is as much a testament to the advances in game design and production values as it is a testament of the Xbox One's ability to deliver a truly outstanding A/V treat with the right source material.

 

Conclusion

Since the days of the Sega Genesis, I have been a dedicated gamer. As my passion for home theater has grown, I have been quite pleased that the gaming systems are able to deliver experiences that scale to each individual's system. The Xbox One is more a spectacular glimpse into the future of media playback than it is a glimpse into the future of gaming. With that said, as an overall device, the Xbox One provides a spectacular end-to-end experience for any end-user fortunate enough to own one.

 

Review System
Speakers: Triad Platinum LCRs
Subwoofer: Dual (2) Seaton Submersive HP+
Pre/Pro: Theta Digital Casablanca 3-HD Home Cinema Controller
Amplifiers: Emotiva XPR-1 Monoblocks
Display: Panasonic ST130
System Control: iRule Pro

Posted

Pros: Powerful Gaming components, Kinect Voice Control, 7.1 Uncompressed audio, HDMI In, Many streaming option available

Cons: Many features require Xbox Live Subscription, Currently few games available, Some software features need redevelopment (parties, optical output, etc.)

Features: 4.5/5 The Xbox One acts as an entertainment powerhouse. Like the Xbox 360 before it, the device operates as both your entertainment center and your gaming console. However, whereas the 360 "revolved" around you, the Xbox One is all "of your entertainment in one". The promise from Microsoft so far holds quite true. Through a slew of features such as HDMI IN, an Infrared blaster, 7.1 uncompressed audio, and smart apps such as netflix, xbox video, skype and more - you are in stock for endless entertainment. When you walk into your room you simply say "Xbox - On" and suddenly your Television and Receiver jet to life, the Xbox whirs on. As you sit down you are automatically logged in by the Kinect which recognizes your face. This is going to utterly change you use of your home theater.

Design: 5/5 The Xbox One has a very clean aesthetic with a glossy front, touch power button, and a slot loading blu-ray drive. The side USB ports are easily accessible and the console is only warm to the touch with silent fans. The Kinect 2.0 looks gorgeous and should not detract from your home theater set up.

Set Up: 4/5 The set-up is mostly painless. Simply plug the Xbox One into a power outlet, HDMI to either your receiver or Television, and turn the device on. From there the Xbox will begin an update process which may take several minutes. If you have not used an Ethernet cable, the Xbox One will have you select a wireless network with its built in 802.11n wifi. Beyond this, the set up involves calibrating the Kinect, adjusting some basic output settings, and optional features such as the HDMI in TV feature. Options on the Xbox One are quite extensive for a game console. You can select things such as bit depth, color range, audio output, 24hz for blu ray, and plenty more.

Performance: 3/5 This area is lacking. However, it is early in the console life cycle and this may change in the future. While running games (such as Battlefield 4) the background OS tends to slow to a crawl. This makes accessing features such as your friends list, messages, or adjusting console settings quite tedious or even difficult. Game graphics are superb compared to the PS3 and Xbox 360, but a high end gaming desktop could render similar or better visuals. Games are currently a mixture of 720p at 60fps and 1080p at 30fps (with a few exceptions). Streaming is quite good, I prefer the Xbox One Netflix app to my Panasonic s64 built in app. Online gameplay is superb, features very little lag, and is a rewarding experience. I've noticed in games such as Battlefield 4 and Forza 5 that few players utilize the voice chat features - despite an included microphone and the ability to use Kinect for voice chat. Sound quality is outstanding. The 7.1 LPCM signal shows its strength on a game like Titanfall (currently in beta) - I've never encountered a game which sounded so fantastic with such beautiful range. Very much putting my subwoofer and shaker to the test!

Audio and Video Quality: 3.5/5 With regard to blu ray discs, the Xbox One is a step down from the last generation video game console Playstation 3. While there are an array of playback options, I encountered some errors such as juddering when using 24hz playback. Other users have reported audio becoming unsynced over the period of playback. 3D playback is currently unavailable. With regard to video games, the Xbox One is superb if you utilize an HDMI cable. Currently, users who make use of the Optical audio output are limited to a stereo signal or DTS - Dolby digital is absent and is to be added in a future update. In turn, this leads me to lower the score here, as some users will be disenfranchised in the audio quality department until the unannounced update is released.

Value: 2/5 At $500, the Xbox One is not cheap. You are paying a premium for a gaming console which will require a roughly $60 annual subscription to access many features (such as Netflix) locked behind the paywall. Additionally, the nearest competitor, the Playstation 4, costs $100 less MRSP.

Remote: 5/5 You have 3 fantastic options here: the controller, the Kinect, or Smart Glass. The controller is standard fare and lets you quickly navigate through menus or playback controls. The Kinect lets you perform the same functions with only the sound of your voice, or in some contexts, the wave of your hand. While I find myself rarely using the gestures, the voice control is outstanding. "Xbox Pause" has become common place in my living room. Finally, Smart Glass, a downloadable app for devices such as an Android phone, iPad, or iPhone, allows you to fully navigate the Xbox One with touch controls. This has proven most useful in blu ray playback. Not only do you have access to the standard control scheme but also a "time elapsed bar" for easy scrubbing to the playback position you want.



Overall the Xbox One is a good addition to a home theater, but unless you feel the need to upgrade from your previous generation console, or you must play the latest console exclusives, holding off until late 2014 is the way to go. As Microsoft continues to update the console, it will hopefully deliver on the promise of uniting all the aspects of your hometheater experience under one device.

Posted

Pros: Fast, better graphics, Kinect, quietness, and controller

Cons: Lack of kinect games, requires xbox live for features, and workout programs not great yet

I have owned this console since Christmas time last year and it has been a nice upgrade from the xbox 360. Only have Forza for it right now as a game, but use the Xbox workout app a lot (mainly my wife does). Why I got the Xbox One is for the Kinect sensor and being able to use it for working out. I also like that this time they have a Blu-ray player as well. The console streams content well and produces a nice picture on my tv that is better than the 360s. I really like the potential that the Xbox One has over other consoles with the Kinect and the new voice and sound features as well. It loses a star by the kinect not always seeing us while using it and the random drop outs of internet using WiFi, all of which I hope gets fixed with future updates.
The Xbox One is easy to setup and use, but guests are not as easy to use as the 360 was. I have it connected to my receiver and have had no image issues with the console. The image looks great on my ZT60 and the sound is clear through my KEF speakers and SVS sub. I also like how the kinect has a better field of view so it is not as finicky on where you place it. Going through the menu system is easy with the controller and decent using your hands with the kinect. I like the GUI as it allows for a lot of information present and laid out decently.
Games are fast once loaded and switching between menus is fast as well. Games do take a little while to initially start though. The streamed games through apps like the workouts are fast, but do seem to restart if you lose internet connection part way through. Overall I would say the gaming is smooth and enjoyable to use. I do enjoy the quietness of the system.
The Xbox One is a great console with a lot of potential. I would say it is 5 stars if they had a better amount of games available and the Kinect games were available in higher quantity. Once the system is more utilized by the games it will also provide a better experience to the end user.

Posted

Pros: Kinect comes with it! Runs smoothly, watching TV is the best.

Cons: There's jack squat for games yet....Many to come! Friends list is worse than xbox 360. No Turtle beach Mic or surround sound support.....yet

I am a DAY ONE owner. The Day one version is not worth anything extra. It's cool, but the only difference is the packaging is different and you get some words on the controller, whoopty doo! That was kind of a joke, but yeah, it didn't cost anything extra. I love the system itself. It runs great and has the option to run my home theater. Graphics are better, but game play is the exact same as the 360. I am anxious to play a game that has things on it that you can't do on the 360. As of now I have not seen anything different other than graphics. And even that, the graphics are slightly better, but it's not NEARLY the jump like xbox to xbox 360 was. You notice it more if you go back down to a 360, then you realize how "muddy" the 360 looks compared to the new system. The Blu-ray player is much better than the PS3 blurays player. I am surprised on how much better picture quality it actually is, I didn't realize it would be that much different, or even different at all. 

 

There are some problems with the Xbox One though too.....like the friends list. I went on my friends list all the time on the 360, but now it feels like you need to completely leave a game to do 5 clicks to finally see what friends are on and what they are doing. I've heard they are coming out with a big update either today or next month to fix this. So I am pretty sure this will be a non-issue after the update. 

 

They need to get free gold games for the xbox one like they do for the 360. I also can't believe they didn't have a free Kinect game ship with the system from day one. I think they totally missed the boat on that one. They should have learned on the wii sports method. Ship it with a free game to show your friends how awesome the kinect is. But I'm not going to shell out another $60 for the Kinect sports game. It's fun, but I would only play it the very few times I want to show it off. 

 

Telling it to do stuff by just saying Xbox on, or Xbox play is really cool. But I wish there were more adjustments on there. I have a dead silent theater room, but I have to pretty much yell it out for it to hear me sometimes. It's also cool that when my boy runs in the room, that the xbox see's who it is and then signs him in as a guest. My 5 year old thinks it's pretty cool when he sees "Hi Brandon" pop up on the screen when he walks in. 

 

I also like the fact that I walk into my home theater room and just say "xbox on" and my projector, receiver, and xbox one all turn on and is ready to go by the time I sit down.

 

I also love that if you are playing a game. You shut it off at night, the next day it pops back to the same spot instantly, with no loading.

 

Features: Kinect is a great feature. I personally like that they made it a standard, even if it does add $100 now. TV via your Xbox One is awesome! They should incorporate more internet streaming services right into that. I also thought they would be able to DVR your shows too, I'm surprised that didn't happen. It also would have been a lot better if they had HDMI pass through while the system is off, which is another big no-brainer they missed. My only thought is they want you to "have" to turn on your xbox each day. 

 

Value: Value is ok at $100 more than PS4, but I think the first two years that extra $100 is going to bite them in the rear end in sales. It's worth a bit more with the kinect, but $100 more is really pushing it. Especially with the reviews showing more games running at a higher resolution on the PS4. 

 

Design: I like the way it looks. I am surprised that the PS4 can get so small compared to the Xbox One in physical size. To me, I don't care one bit on size of the actual machine, as long as it's smaller than my stereo receiver, it's not too big.

 

Video Quality: Video Quality is great, especially on the Bluray player. I talked about the resolution on some games being different on PS4, but people, you will not notice it at all.

 

Remote: I think the controller is good. I don't like that it shows greasy mark on it so fast at all. I like the rumble in each trigger, but other than that, not much difference from the 360 controller. I really miss my menu pop up button on the 360. This "X" button in the middle of the controller just brings you back to the main menu. I don't care for that as much. Hopefully this is part of the change when they update in March.

I thought I would be able to do more with the kinect, whether it be applicable or gimmicky. I just don't use it much. I use the mic on the kinect more than anything. Like I said before, they really should have sent it with a free sports game for Kinect, that would have helped people think it was worth the extra $100 for kinect much easier.

 

Audio Quality: 7.1 surround sound. Nothing special, I guess it is an upgrade from my non-HDMI 360 that could only do 5.1 via optical, but nothing I really notice. They NEED Dolby Digital decoding though! I can't believe they don't have that yet. Our Gaming headsets need it for surround sound. Supposedly it's coming in March also.

 

All in all, the system has a few bugs and tweeks that I am sure Microsoft will continuously make better. But they need WAY MORE GAMES! I'm not really interested in a single game out there yet. I can't wait for Titanfall. One more month!!!!

 

 

 

PS. I just thought of something that really makes me mad about the system. I have turtle beach headsets and two things don't work on the xbox one yet. First, there is no adapter out yet for my mic to work with the Xbox One from my turtle beach headset. And 2nd, they don't have dolby digital as a decoding option so you can't get surround sound on my headsets. WTF Microsoft! How do you miss out on that! Granted, in a month they say both items will be fixed. But that is absolutely crazy they didn't have that figured out in November already, CRAZY!!! Seriously, all 10 of my close friends have these headsets, make them work with your system!

 

So long story short, I would say a very awesome system, but next year will be a ton better to own it. I tell my friends to buy this system, but if they want to wait another 6-12 months before they do, I totally do understand. It's not a necessity yet. 

Posted

Pros: Graphics, Voice Commands, Sound, The Usual Stuff

Cons: No memory access.

First off, let me start by simplifying the 'pros' and saying the Xbox One is an incredible machine. Forza 5 looks unbelievable, and the physics are phenomenal. Blah blah blah... more gushing mumbo jumbo.

Now, having said all that, after playing my Xbox One for about a week, I was disheartened to find out one of the 360's most useful features was missing from the latest and greatest Microsoft system. After letting my nephews play on my Forza 5 profile, I decided I would like to restart my Forza career. I was puzzled that I could not find an option to do so within the game. Oh well... I'll just do it the old-fashioned way and delete my game in the Memory Manager. What?! NO MEMORY MANAGER?! Now I'm scared. This extremely useful feature from...well...just about every other next generation system has been nixed from the latest offering in the Xbox family. Why? I suddenly had flashbacks of Microsoft's threats to turn your system into Roz from Monster's Inc (aaallllways watching), and allowing you to play your Xbox One, as long they would always know about it. I couldn't help but think the not-so-subtle omission of any way to access the system's memory is just another step on Microsoft's quest to be in control. What's even weirder is that in order to reboot your Forza career, you have to hold down all shoulder buttons on the Forza Start screen, and press Y, and you would only find that out by researching the forums. Perhaps it's the Mel Gibson in me, but I can hear Microsoft's Black Helicopter's, and I don't like it.

Posted

Pros: Instant resume feature is a life changer

Cons: Needs more games and to iron out some bugs in DVD and Blu-Ray playback

A good system, but I'm definitely looking forward to some more games. The Skype feature is great for a Dad who plays games...gives easy way for family to talk with my son.

1) Features—The Xbox One (XB1) goes upto 1080p. While some are claiming that the games don’t render at that resolution, I’ve got no complaints. The XB1 also does Blu-rays, music and DVDs. However, the lip-sync can get a little off if I fastforward or rewind. I find I need to return to the home screen to get the sync back to normal. And like all TVs these days, it has Vudu and Netflix. A cool feature is that you can pin your favorite Vudu movies to the home and quickly launch them. The kinect is better than on the original xbox, but I still find myself yelling at the system.

2) Setup—Setup is a mixed bag. The HDMI out port I find a little lose so sometimes when the room is cleaned this cable comes out.

3) User Interface—Controller is great!! The home screen however is still taking some time to get use to.

4) Performance—Simply put—instant resume. As a dad, I find that I need to bail on games at a moments notice. Likewise, when I do have a couple of free minutes, I want to spend them playing, not waiting for a system or game to load. The XB1 lets me do both in a matter of seconds. I turn on the system and within ten seconds I’m playing DeadRising 3 right where I left off. And no more, “I’ve got to get to a save point.”

Posted

Pros: Graphics, Audio, SmartGlass, A controller with a proven track record

Cons: TV Integration, Kinect Gestures, Games that feel more like Tech Demos

CONTEXT

When Microsoft introduced the Xbox in 2001 it became clear that they were after our living rooms. While that system never fulfilled the promises Microsoft made, the next system, Xbox 360, did. SInce the 360s release and success we have seen the advent of Android and iOS devices as well as the ubiquity of streaming devices such as Roku. The XBox One seeks to reaffirm Microsoft's nearly decade long battle for our living room by introducing many ambitious features.

AS AN ENTERTAINMENT DEVICE...
Microsoft has included what they have touted to be the replacement for how you watch TV. The Xbox One includes an HDMI IN port that allows the user to pass-thru any HDMI video and audio source. Microsoft is hoping that most users will decide to hook up their cable box as is evidenced by their inclusion of One Guide(more on that in a minute), IR blasting from the Kinect, and voice control of channel switching and volume.

This all sounds intriguing until you finally see it in action. Too much of what Microsoft is trying to accomplish is hinging on what our Cable providers are providing us with. I was excited to hook my Fios Motorolla DVR up to the One. You are prompted to enter information as to what hardware you are using. This was all very intuitive. When it came time to enter my content provider's information trouble began. I typed "Fios" in to the Content Provider Search bar. It responded there was no such service. I thought for a second and realized I needed to type in "Verizon". This is indicative of problems that will arise later in this review. After stumbling through setup I turned my One off. In excitement I announced "XBOX TURN ON!" My voice powered up my television, receiver and Xbox all at once. It was thrilling. However, I was immediately caught with no television. A Verizon Fios logo floated across my screen. The Xbox does not take into account that in order to start watching TV the Fios box must also receive a "Menu" command in addition to the "power on" command. I went searching for my Harmony and corrected the situation. I had realized that it took me longer to watch TV via voice control than it did to just simply use a remote control.

I quickly discovered that using voice commands to control my television was daunting. My Xbox isn't smart enough to understand, "Xbox watch Investigation Discovery" it only understands "Watch Discovery". This was pretty disconcerting as I seem to have almost 5 alternatives to each mainline cable channel. Changing channels through the One also takes an eternity because it does not send a "channel up" command. The One sends the entire key string of numbers to the box which then raise the Motorolla menu to the screen. It makes what is just clunky on my Motorolla cable box an even clunkier and slower process. Using voice commands to pause and un-pause the video feed seems to be the most useful feature while watching TV through the One. I attempted not knowing(and still not knowing) if hand gestures worked to change channels and nothing happened other than the creation of a small breeze in my living as I flapped like a bird.

Microsoft has also included the "One Guide". The guide is actually quite pleasant and is the best TV feature offered by the One. TV shows are listed with accompanying artwork as well as a description of the show. This is something the cable providers really need to pay attention to: User Interface. It looks great but depending on the cable provided box is the huge Achilles heel

I believe a lot of what makes the Xbox One fail as a cable box replacement is that it is not a replacement. It still depends on the same archaic box provided to you from your cable/satellite company. It in no way replaces it. It just layers it's own menus on top of your cable box's menus creating a pretty cumbersome affair. Microsoft is on to something here but their current strategy is wrong. They need to be able to offer the One as the solitary cable box and I just don't see how that can happen given the current climate.

Netflix works nicely on the One. Features like The Max are not currently available. The Xbox One also plays Blu-Ray discs more than adequately. Other streaming features found on devices like the AppleTV and Roku are surprisingly absent.

AS A GAMING DEVICE...

This is what I purchased my One for. The One offers three ways to control what's unfolding on-screen, Controller, Kinect, and SmartGlass.

The controller is an excellent piece of equipment. It is durable and runs for an astonishingly long period of time on only 2 AA batteries. Some fuss has been made over the alteration of the bumper buttons on the controller but this has not bothered me at all. The controller is always responsive to even the slightest input and is a joy to use. While playing a game such as Forza(a car driving simulator) you can actually feel the feedback in the buttons used to control both the gas and brakes of your car. The trigger buttons pulse as you grind to a halt or rumble as you careen over the grass after missing that hairpin turn. It is quite something to feel and really improves player interaction with the game.

The Kinect allows for both voice and motion control of games. I didn't games that seemed to require any motion to control. However, the titles "Ryse" and "Dead Rising 3" allowed for some form of voice "control". I'm using quotes because I feel in it's current implement it's more of an interaction than it is a way to control games. For instance in "Dead Rising 3" you can shout at bosses, "You're Crazy!" This leads to the boss to sometimes become disabled thus easier to attack. It felt very tacked on. It's "cool" that the game allows you to step in from another angle but it is yet another feature that feels clunky instead of smooth. In the game Ryse you coulda use your voice to command archers to unleash a volley of arrows upon the enemy. While the 10 year-old in me is excited by this it just doesn't really have any fun or lasting impact on the game. In fact I'd argue that a button would lead to a faster and more player-friendly action. The developers of Ryse seem to agree as they allow you to use a button to bypass their voice commands.

The SmartGlas app I used was on my iPad Air. The app allows you to control your Xbox One and is much more intuitive to me than any of the Kinect controls were. You can start games or apps on your one by touching them on SmartGlass. I also used the SmartGlass app in the game Dead Rising 3. The app acts like a cellphone in the game. You receive phone calls from an off-screen character. He gives you missions which are then added to your in-game mission roster. The missions were never anything substantial however it was neat to be hearing audio come out of my iPad while plowing through zombies. The app also provided offscreen maps which were quite helpful as I often got lost in the game. This felt more "next-gen" to me than the Kinect controls. However, Microsoft is again depending on you to have an outside device to be able to interact with the One in such a way.

Another exciting feature that actually comes by way of the Kinect is the Game DVR. Lets say you just accomplished something really incredible in the game you're playing. Shouting, "Xbox Record That", allows you to record that previous feat. You can then take that clip, edit it, add an intro trailer, and share it with your friends. With game streaming services such as TwitchTV becoming more popular this seems like a feature that will strike the right notes with gamers.

Many of the games on the One are not currently 1080p. I didn't really mind as most games looked great to me. I am accustomed to playing many games on my PC at 1080p and thought this would be an issue. Sound during games like Ryse and Dead RIsing 3 is impressive. Nothing in the line-up really struck me as "different" or as an experience that warranted owning this $500 machine other than to fulfill my inner tech beast. Out of the games I played Dead Rising 3 was the best. While the graphics were not up to par with Ryse the number of onscreen characters is impressive and the game feels like a cohesive whole as opposed to the tech demo feel of the other launch titles. Having recently gotten a taste of TItanfall, releasing March 11, I believe the justification many gamers will need is right around the corner.

IN CLOSING...

Microsoft has created a piece of hardware that is solidly built. Unfortunately, too many of the supplemental entertainment features rely on products outside of Microsoft's control. As a games machine the Xbox One has an interesting, all but short, list of titles that give an ambitious look at what's to come. The future of the XBox One depends on Microsoft's ability to deliver exciting first-party games while also working with cable and satellite providers to deliver on it's promises of an all-in-one device.

Posted

Pros: Great at gaming and streaming media and Blu-Ray

Cons: Doesn't support playback of media from a thumb drive. No 3D blu-ray playback. No Dolby Digital output

I've owned the Xbox One for two and a half months and have a pretty good understanding of its feature set now. Its quite the amazing box that has a few drawbacks in comparison to its older brother the Xbox 360.

Appearance. its a large black rectangular box slightly larger than an original Xbox 360 that is split up by shiny and matte rectangles. It will disappear into an electronics cabinet very easily assuming you have the room. Its also very very quiet. Mine is siting next to me on my computer desk right now and I cannot hear it.

Gaming: What any person is going to buy a gaming console first for anyway is the games. There is an appreciable upgrade in the graphics when a new generation of gaming is brought to the public and the same is true here. the difference is noticeable but is not the "Whoa" moment that happened the first time you plugged an Xbox 360 into a high definition TV. The biggest differences seem to be in the lighting and overall texture quality are much improved. Graphically of the games I own, Ryse:Son of Rome and Battlefield 4 show off what the next generation is going to be able to produce graphically. Followed closely in third is Forza 5. a great driving game that is a treat to behold and fun to play. Call of Duty Ghosts I own and played through the entire campaigns on both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. There are improvements in the graphics, but not the oh wow improvement of the other three games mentioned in this article. Also of note is the change in the size of games. Call of Duty: Ghosts for the Xbox 360 is a roughly 10 gigabyte download for the Xbox 360, for the Xbox One its an approximately 43 gigabyte download. The game size is mentioned because if you are doing a digital download then you may want to upgrade your bandwidth or your usage cap if you have one. If you buy it on a disc you will have to install the entire game to your hard drive, which by the way has roughly 360gb free of its 500 for games.

Media: I have not found a Blu-Ray it will not play assuming its not 3D. That's right 3D Blu-Ray support is not offered at the present. I was a little disappointed in this fact even though I do not own a 3D TV. This is marketed as an all in one system and as such it would be assumed to offer 3D play back. Another feature that I am saddened is not included is media playback from a usb drive. My Xbox 360 was frequently used for this and was great at it. Also for those that have a Dolby Digital only reciever or headphones, you'll be saddened to know that as of now Dolby Digital is not supported by the Xbox One, though it has been hinted that its coming later via update. All the streaming services I've tried run flawlessly, no complaints here from either Netflix, Amazon video, or you tube.

User Interface: The user interface is fairly straight forward with a few things that could be better. Kinect should be used heavily for the interface and can be. The good news is it works very well. In fact its so much better than the previous model its actually usable. if you say the command "Xbox, go to Netflix" you are there in around one second. you can do this over and over for different area's and the system never skips a beat. The interface used without Kinect is a mixed bag. things are not as easy to get to as they were on the 360, making Kinect a vital tool to navigate the console, which fortunately works as well as they say it does.

Conclusion: This is a short review of what I use my Xbox One for. I may update this if enough changes are made. The Xbox one is a wonderful console marred by a few issues that can be fixed easily via updates. I don't know if they will but one can hope. I cannot say how much better or not the Playstation 4 is because I do not own one. I do not regret the purchase and play it almost daily. If you have any questions please ask and I'll do my best to answer.

Posted

Pros: see review

Cons: see review

This is a combo review of both the Xbox 1 and the PS4

I have had both of the next gen consoles. I was a Sony guy up until recently. I started off with the original Playstation so of course I got the PS2 when it came out. I never got an Xbox. So I stayed with Sony when the PS3 came out. Over the years I grew to absolutely despise Sony as a company but since I already had the PS3 I was pretty sure I was going to get a PS4. I was leaning towards getting an Xbox 1 because everyone that games at my work has an Xbox. But when Microsoft announced the whole DRM fiasco and not being able to share games I immediately swore off the Xbox. One of the main reasons I bought the PS4 was because I was looking forward to playing Battlefield 4 on it.

Playstation 4 - 3 stars
Pros
$100 cheaper than Xbox 1
Controller - I much prefer the PS4 controller to the Xbox controller but that just may be because I'm not used to the Xbox controller.

Cons
Won't play 3D BD's
Doesn't play CD's
Doesn't play MP3's
Can't put MP3's on the hard drive
Can't work with a universal remote


Xbox 1 - 3.5 stars
Pros
TV through Xbox - This actually works pretty well for me as I often want to go back and forth between video games and TV and turning
the PS4 on and off is a pain.
Can be controlled with a universal remote.
Kinect

Cons
Won't play 3D BD's
Can't put MP3's on the hard drive
Can't turn rumble off on the controller at the system level
Kinect
Xbox live doesn't really get you anything for your money other than being able to play online. At least the PSN gets you some free games.

Set up on both systems was pretty easy if you know your way around a home theater. The Xbox was slightly more complicated as you have to make one more connection to run your TV through it. But this feature is certainly convenient. One thing I don't like about the Xbox is the GIANT power brick that you have to find a place for. Not sure why it can't just use a regular power cord.

I listed the Kinect as both a pro and a con of the Xbox because when it works it's pretty cool but it only seems to work for me about 70% of the time. The only game I have played that is on both systems is Battlefield 4 and the experiences were pretty much the same. I didn't notice any real graphics or performance difference between the 2. The Xbox version does seem to crash a little more often for me than the PS4 version did though. Loading time on BF4 seems to be pretty much the same between the 2 systems and about twice as fast as the PS3.

After using the PS4 for a couple of weeks I ended up returning it and getting the Xbox 1. So far I like the Xbox a little better, not much but a little. I think both systems aren't ready for prime-time yet. But as they are right now I think the Xbox is slightly better. I still don't like the controller and there are a few things I miss about the PS4. I will probably get another PS4 in the future but the lack of 3D BD and CD support was ridiculous to me. Right now the PS3 is superior to either of them as a media player. I thought both of the BD player interfaces on the Xbox and PS4 were clunky.
Xbox One Console- Standard Edition
Description:

Details:
DetailValue
BindingVideo Game
BrandMicrosoft
FeatureShipping date based on availability. This product is not guaranteed at release date. Kinect is included with every Xbox One. Completely reengineered to be more precise, responsive and intuitive with unparalleled voice, vision and motion technology The console is driven by a powerful combination of CPU, GPU and 8GB of RAM, governed by an innovative OS architecture, to deliver power, speed and agility Only Xbox One unleashes the vast and scalable power of the cloud for your games, entertainment and apps with Xbox Live With Xbox One, you can quickly jump from TV to movies to music to a game
LabelMicrosoft
ManufacturerMicrosoft
Package Height7.25 inches
Package Length12 inches
Package Weight10.5 pounds
Package Width11.5 inches
PackageQuantity1
ProductGroupVideo Games
ProductTypeNameVIDEO_GAME_HARDWARE
PublisherMicrosoft
StudioMicrosoft
TitleXbox One Console- Standard Edition
CatalogNumberList - CatalogNumberListElementA20130722
ModelA20130722
PlatformXbox One
ReleaseDate2013-12-31
OperatingSystemXbox One
HardwarePlatformXbox One
EditionStandard
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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