Xbox One Ultimate Review

Xbox One Ultimate Review header image

Xbox is one of those platforms that continually changes and evolves, so you can always find some new, exciting features that come from it. Thankfully, Xbox One is no different, because the console is constantly adding in software changes and it even has some interesting ideas from a hardware standpoint.

The right thing about Xbox One is that it always feels fresh and rewarding. It manages to offer you a great set of games but at the same time you also receive some interesting features that allow you to further explore the gameplay mechanics and explore everything that the experience has to offer.

In the past few years, Xbox and PlayStation had pretty much the same approach but with the new console, things are a lot different. If you are a fan of Xbox, you will see that they did bring in quite some interesting changes and the great thing is that they continue to offer some really exciting features, which we will cover in more detail later in this review. With that in mind, let’s dive in and see if this console is worth your money or not.

Hardware

The Xbox One does not have the best design, at least in its original version. Instead, it comes with a pretty bulky design, but it does bring in front a very distinct and unique visual experience. It does a very good job at providing you with a portable unit that you can use to play on your TV. It’s pretty light despite the way it looks, but overall you will find yourself rather disappointed just because this is a very large unit.

Another thing I want to mention is that the console came with a Kinect sensor. They wanted to add Kinect as a mandatory tool, but they failed as customers did not use the Kinect at first and Microsoft realized that. Thankfully, the new iterations do not use Kinect nor do they have a Kinect port, but you can get an adapter if you want to use the old unit. It’s definitely an interesting experience and option that you can check out!

Xbox One Hardware

I like the fact that they added an Octacore CPU, this does a very good job at offering lots of value for your money. While the clock is at 1.75 GHz, you still get a great value for your money and I am more than happy with the stuff that they get to deliver here. Could it be better? Absolutely, but even so I believe that they do give a stellar value for your money and in the end you just can’t ask for more.

The memory is 8 GB DDR3, which is pretty good and I believe that most games don’t need more. Since it’s a console, adding 8 GB of memory was a great idea for them as you don’t have to deal with more memory requirements. That works to the advantage of those people that want to keep the costs low, all while enjoying a fun console gaming experience that’s exciting and fun for them.

The initial version of Xbox One had only 500 GB of storage. It may sound like much for a console that plays solely games, but the unit is well beyond that. It also has multimedia capabilities and that obviously means you need a lot more storage space. Thankfully, the latter versions came with 1 or even two TB of storage space, something which is more than ok for people that enjoy using this type of console. You can’t add an SSD which is pretty bad if you compare this to the PS4 where you can do such a thing. But even so, the hard drive is pretty fast and you won’t feel any type of issues or problem when you use it. At the end of the day, this is what matters the most!

The downside is that some games can’t take advantage of these features and, because of that, you will see that the games might run in 720P at times or even in 900P instead of 1080P. This is a bad thing honestly, but it does show that the Xbox One capabilities, at least from a hardware standpoint, are not as good when compared to PlayStation 4. That doesn’t mean you will not be able to play games properly. It just means that sometimes the experience will be upscaled instead of being native. It won’t hurt the gameplay but some of the players will not be able to enjoy this in a proper manner. Not a bad thing, but not an incredibly impressive one either.

Kinect required 10% of the system resources, so using the initial version with Kinect was pretty challenging, but since Kinect was dropped, we can imagine that games might be able to run a little better in the long run. Again, it’s pretty hard to say if that will happen or not, but with the right approach you will see that nothing is impossible.

Xbox One Controller

Another thing to note is that the controllers are pretty impressive. Not only do they bring in front a solid gameplay experience, but they are actually fun to use and they bring in front some neat features. The vibration feature works like a charm and the overall feeling offered by the controller is sturdy and rewarding. It’s a delight to use these controllers and the sheer value that you get from using them is pretty immersive to say the least.

While using the Xbox One controllers, I didn’t find any glitches. Every motion was responsive, each control was accurate and timey. I do believe that this is one of the best and most comfortable controllers. It has a very good grip and it doesn’t fall from your hand even if you have sweaty hands.

There is an Elite option for the Xbox One controller that allows you to further customize your experience. The price of around $150 for the controller alone is a bit too much though, but it does show you that there are many ways you can customize your gameplay experience, even if this might come as an extra purchase.

Overall, the Xbox One hardware is decent, but even at launch it wasn’t the very best on the market. It still has quite a lot to offer and with the new revamps it’s up to par with the latest offerings from other console makers. So, they did a decent job from a hardware standpoint, even though it could have been better. Now let’s see the software side!

Software

Xbox One comes with 3 different operating systems. You have one for the multimedia stuff, one for gaming and one for the extra stuff that needs to be managed by the unit. What you will not however is that the most visible change at least for players will be the user interface. Initially, the console had a Windows 8 tile system that was quite confusing, but now we finally have a Windows 10 experience.

Even if some people hate the idea of using Windows 10, this works very well with the overall experience and it does bring in front some interesting mechanics. It also works very fast.

During my time with the Xbox One, I didn’t have any problem with the software interface. On the contrary, I found it to be extremely easy to use and it did bring in front some interesting options to me. You do have a massive window that dominates the screen and which shows the latest games.

Obviously, the most important part comes from the overall user experience and the interesting set of visuals that do make the console a great contender for gamers. I like the fact that they allow you immediate access to the very best game features you might want. It’s not easy to access those on other consoles, but the library is easy to access and you also have the games you play very often on the side. This means you can easily go ahead and play whatever game you want with your friends and the experience will be a very rewarding one.

Xbox One wallpaper

When Xbox One was launched, you used Kinect and voice commands to browse the system, which turned out to be very cumbersome. With the new versions of the OS, you now have a much better and more streamlined experience. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the voice commands were bad, but navigating with the gamepad is easier and more natural.

You have a list of friends and chatting with them is extremely easy. There is also a media player, you have dedicated apps for Netflix and so on, not to mention that you can make purchases on the spot with little to no effort.

It’s also important to note that they added Twitch integration, so streaming your game sessions directly from the console is very intuitive and easy to do. Tracking achievements is also very easy and you do get quite a lot of incredible achievements that you can pursue. You still have the dedicated gamer score and, overall, you will find the experience to be a very fun and exciting one.

The social aspect is great because most consoles want to be social at this point and it’s not a bad idea at all. It could be better and some might not exactly like it, but it’s there and the fact that you can see what achievements were unlocked by your friends or what games they play at this time is rather neat. Is it necessary? No, but it’s definitely one of those things that will be used by some people, so it is indeed one of the most interesting and exciting options that you can have out there.

A game can occupy around 50 GB or more nowadays, so it’s pretty challenging to survive with a 500 GB hard drive if you play more than 8–12 games. However, since the unit supports external hard drives, I wanted to see if they work great. The operating system recognizes those without any issue and overall the experience is solid, fun and a delight to go through. It could be better at times, but overall you do feel that you get value for money either way.

Hardware Revisions

The Xbox One S does come with some very important changes. It made the unit lightweight by removing up to 40% of the entire Xbox One weight. Not only that, but it also removed the Kinect port and it even comes with a bit of a hardware boost, albeit a small one. The unit also brings in a new color, white, which actually suits the experience very well and that’s definitely a delight.

Xbox One S

Aside from that though, you don’t get any major performance boost or anything like that. It’s not a bad thing, the simple fact that the unit weights less and it’s a bit smaller is more than ok for those that did not have an Xbox One. There’s also 4K playback, which is pretty neat.

Microsoft is also preparing a new hardware revision in the form of the Project Scorpio. Although little is known about the unit, we do know that it will have a massive performance boost at least from a graphical and processing standpoint. It’s also set to launch during the holiday season this year. Rumors say that it’s a lot more powerful when compared to the PS4 Pro, but only time will tell if that’s the case or not.

Games

The great thing about Xbox One is that it can play many games and it comes with a very interesting backwards compatibility feature. This is unseen in the console world, because it provides you with the means to play previous Xbox 360 titles that you already own on your Xbox One console.

It’s definitely a great idea and one that does bring in front some interesting benefits. Aside from that, Xbox One also has a Play Anywhere feature that allows you to purchase select games once on Xbox One or Windows 10 and you can play it on either platforms. This is a very cool thing as it provides you with amazing gameplay ideas and wonderful mechanics right off the bat.

Halo 5 Guardians wallpaper

But what games are exactly exclusive to Xbox One, what will make you purchase the console? Well, you have Forza Motorsport 6 and Forza Horizon 3 which are by far some of the best racing games out there. If you are a racing fan, this is surely one of the best experiences you can get out there. They also have Quantum Break (now it’s also on Steam), the Rare Replay collection, Powerstar Golf, as well as Halo 5 Guardians and the Halo Master Chief Collection. Action News Heroes, Ben Hur, Clash, Crimson Dragon, Sunset Overdrive, FRU, Happy Dungeons, GunWorld 2, Grand Prix Rock and Racing, Kyub, Land It, Monkey King Saga as well as Raiden V and Skyling Garden Defense are some of the many exclusives.

As you can imagine, most of these exclusives are downloadable, but many of them are also available on retail too, so it’s a very good purchase if you get to access any of them. The reason is simple, you can play these solely on Xbox One an there’s a lot of fun to be had from that alone. You also have Dead Rising 4 which was released less than 2 months ago, as well as upcoming titles like Halo Wars 2, Crackdown 3, State of Decay 2, Sea of Thieves as well as many others.

The lineup is pretty solid and it will only grow stronger as you continue to get more and more options out there. It really shows that there is a lot of value to be had if you get your own Xbox One and the experience will certainly be a great one.

Conclusion

After testing the Xbox One for many months and trying a wide range of games, I was more than impressed with the unique experience and interesting software that it delivers. The games are also very good, with a top notch gameplay and plenty of value to be had here. It’s safe to say that people who love action and puzzle or casual games will enjoy the Xbox One, I liked using it and I will surely come back for more. It’s a very good platform and the value as a whole is a great one. Should you consider giving this a shot? Yes, it really is one of the best consoles on the market and it does have a wide range of amazing titles.

It’s safe to say that Xbox One did a great job with the initial Xbox One and things got even better with the release of a new console (Xbox One S) and major software improvements. The backwards compatibility feature is amazing and the simple fact that you have Play Anywhere games that you can purchase once and play on both Xbox One and PC is very impressive as well. Xbox One comes with the complete gaming package and I am very happy with what it delivers. You should consider checking it out if you want a solid, quality gaming console with plenty of multimedia features!

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