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Alright I’ve got my hands on the Day One Edition of Xbox One last week during its launch here in the UK. It also comes with downloadable Forza 5 which I was fortunate enough to per-order a week before at my local Game store. I am pretty sure there are a few available in stores now but it only comes with the expensive bundles (a few games or accessories).
I have had it a few days now and here are my observations. I won’t talk about the specs or fan boyish comparison between current consoles, however the review is based solely on my personal experiences with the unit. Never had an Xbox before or played one before, I took the leap of faith and a departure from Playstation. The kinect feature intrigued me most and being able to skype on a large screen amongst other features made it appealing for me.
First off the Day One edition comes in a black box and a couple of perks thrown in (Day One Achievement – quite pointless really) and ‘DayOne’ acknowledgement printed on the control pad. The overall unit and accessories is well packaged and padded with no room for stuff to slide around inside. The unit is bulky, almost the same size as the first generation PS3 but not as heavy. There seemed to be more room/space to cool the console instead. I’m glad the power supply unit is external, again a measure to ensure the console does not overheat internally and desolder the connections. Aesthetically it won’t be winning prizes but it sure is pretty sturdy.
Initial setup if straightforward and painless but it needed to be updated beforehand which took about 15-20 minutes. It could be quicker but I would assume everyone who has gotten theirs are doing it at the same time. Downloading Forza 5 (about 35gig) took a good couple of hours, probably about 6 hours for me. However it does allow you to play for a bit whilst it is downloading.
The unit is quite quiet, at times I wasn’t even sure if it was running. My Dell workstation sounds like a jet taking off in comparison. The CD/Bluray read is quiet and efficient, without the constant buzz of the disc spinning up and down which is very apparent on the PS3 Slim. It is unfortunate some other Xboxes were experiencing faulty drives but no problem here.
The controller is sturdy and has a nice matte sheen on the surface. It does not flex under pressure and feels well put together. The rumble is trigger independent but sometimes I can’t help imagining the little motors inside rather than how it reacts on screen. My only gripe is the placement of the top left and right buttons (LB & RB), it feels awkward when reaching for it. It feels too high and not within quick reach.
The kinect voice control/command feature surprised me, I did not have much expectations but it recognised almost every command I spewed at it. I would say the success rate of about 8 out of 10 times. I also found after saying ‘xbox’, giving it a slight pause tend to work better to recognise the keywords. However you would need to learn some of the phrases which is easy to remember. Some games make use of the voice feature i.e. Ryse: Son of Rome which require you to shout commands at your troops. It worked flawlessly and I much preferred it particularly in the heat of a battle, the next thing I would want to do is mash more buttons and doing acrobatics with my fingers.
I am not quite sure if the speaking to your console is a gimmick but I find myself using it more and more to get quick access to certain tasks/apps. Sometimes I wished I could command the electronics, lights and heating at home… I feel so lazy but good at the same time. There is a certain satisfaction that it actually responds to you. And yes, the camera recognises who is on screen accurately and quickly too.
The interface and multitasking is snappy without showing any slowdown as it switches between games and apps. I have yet to try out the online features but overall it has been a positive experience. Hopefully there will be a variety of downloadable apps in the store in future. At the moment, there are only a handful useful apps (4oD, Youtube, Upload Studio, Twitch, Machinima, IE etc).
So what do I think so far? I am pleased with the console and I think the foundation has now been laid for more exciting developments in the future. As Microsoft rightly said so, it is just not a ‘gaming console’ and I want it to do more than that. Now if someone will start hacking and finding ways to connect the new Kinect to the PC, it would open up even more possibilities for accurate mocap and 3D scanning.
Here is an unboxing video right after the launch event. I did try but it is difficult to unbox and hold a camera at the same time.