Microsoft’s next gen gaming console the Xbox One is called more than just a gaming console. It can handle live TV, you can access the internet and a lot more. Let’s see what all this $500 box has to offer.
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Unsurprisingly it’s a box. The Xbox is a large rectangular with visual charms. Though it is huge, overwhelmingly huge, Microsoft has used a retro look to style the Xbox. It’s not a PlayStation 4 though. It’s a no looker. It’s divided into quadrants with a mix of black plastic, glossy plastic, and matte, black plastic. As the previous sentence can tell you, it looks plastic in all angles. It also is a dirt magnet because of the gloss in some parts of the console. The looks aren’t the important part, it’s the features.
So it has an 8GB RAM, 500 GB HDD and a 1.75 GHz AMD 8 core APU. An entire One’s roof is taken up by a slotted vent which helps it to cool the chip and other components of the console which works really well. It’s capable of giving the console a very quiet operation. A Blu-ray/DVD drive is in the front left and the touch-sensitive power button is on the front right. One of the 3 USB 3.0 ports are placed on the left and rest of the array of ports including rest of the 2 USB 3.0, a Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI-out and in, a Kinect USB and one for optical audio.
The Xbox 360’s gamepad when launched was the standard that was followed by everyone. It was a console plus PC compatible device which was loved by all. Due to its popularity and status, Microsoft didn’t want to do drastic changes to the gamepad. Thus there are no changes in the new gamepad, only fine refinements which makes the awesome 360 gamepad, a blockbuster.
It has the same basic setup: dual thumb sticks along with a d-pad, offset, four buttons, 2 middle buttons and the Xbox home button, the front edge has the 2 buttons and the 2 triggers. The former start/back keys are changed to Menu and View buttons which is changed both in the UI and in the games for tasks like pulling up the maps and options. The rubberized thumb sticks are now sharply angled surrounded by a circular rim coated with a textures rubber for grip. Microsoft has done some improvements to the rear triggers, they are now called “Impulse Triggers” and would vibrate at specific areas of the gamepad for specific actions. It can’t be explained more, but has to be felt.
Also everyone would love the quieter buttons. Battery life is very nice and it’s impressive that only 2 AAs would power all of the above. It would carry on for weeks. Microsoft could have included a rechargeable battery inside it. Though keeping the price low is a good trade-off.
Its UI which is termed as a dashboard is inspired by the Microsoft’s very own Windows 8. It shows an array of tiles which would contain the maximum of the features and it is easily navigable even though windows 8 was primarily a touchscreen based UI. The Store contains quick links for various categories including games, movies/TV, music and applications. Thus you can pin some album from Xbox music which would direct you to it directly from the dashboard.
The Xbox has given this refreshing idea of voice controlling your console. You can say “Xbox On!” and your console would switch on giving you a god-like feeling which may become silly if you aren’t saying it properly. The voice commands will help you to jump from one application to the other seamlessly. You can have 4 apps running continuously with a game being one of them. Through the native HDMI port at the back, you will be able to have the Live-TV and watch your favorite shows. Or use the HULU plus application for doing the same.
A lot of games have been launched recently including the Forza Motorsport 5 which uses all of the hardware prowess that it possesses to give an almost lifelike graphics, the average Dead Rising 3, Ryse: Son of Rome which may not be one of the most graphic intensive but a more engaging and impressive games, crimson dragon and Killer Instinct among others coming through later this year.
It may not be the perfect console that Microsoft hoped it’d be. Its sheer power and horsepower is enough to run the most graphic intensive games ever produced. Its other features like Live TV among others make it a versatile black box that is a total entertainer.