The Xbox One is Microsoft’s first new gaming console in eight years. It’s a quality piece of hardware but it’s also noteworthy because Microsoft is using it to make a statement.
Video game consoles are no longer just gaming consoles. They’re computers for your living room.
Hardware: The Xbox hardware is big … even by next-generation console standards. It’s bigger than a cable box and Blu-ray player, but thankfully smaller than an AV Receiver.
Controller: The Xbox One controller isn’t radically changed from the Xbox 360’s, but there are enough changes to warrant calling it the best Xbox controller yet.
Graphics/Performance: Are the graphics improved over last generation? Yes. But is that improvement as immediately noticeable? Not necessarily.
UI/Apps: Last year’s update to the Xbox 360 adopted some of the design from Windows 8 and Windows Phone. The Xbox One interface is now fully assimilated into that world: it is all about brightly-colored tiles.
OneGuide: In addition to delivering entertainment via apps, the Xbox One also allows itself to be a conduit for your cable TV. By plugging your set-top box into the Xbox, you can access normal TV without having to switch inputs. You can also control the essential functions of your TV, cable box or other components such as volume and changing channels.
Voice Commands: Speaking of voice commands, one of the biggest selling points of the Xbox One is that you can tell it do whatever you want instead of using a remote or a game controller.
Kinect: The Kinect hardware is definitely better, but it’s still hard to say what that means for the experience on Xbox.
Verdict: The Xbox has some kinks to work out with its system software, voice recognition and Kinect camera. It will also take a while for the truly great games to arrive.