The Xbox One Review: Unifying Your Living Room Experience

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catfishtx

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Good review. Xbox 1 looks like a decent machine, but it provides nothing I don't already have or want. But to be honest, neither does the PS4 since it no longer supports DNLA streaming (A promise of a future update means nothing). Now my youngest son, who uploads YouTube videos of him and his friends playing Minecraft (Yes, I know. Apologies to all) would love the XB1. It is right in his wheelhouse. But maybe that MS's point. Maybe he is their target (He's 11). He is definitely their future and not me.
 

EManU3LXX

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This was one of the best XB1 reviews I've read in the sense that it came from someone who seems like a regular consumer. Most consumers don't care about how powerful it is as long as it works. Thanks alot guys.
 

BloodHK47

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Some people im seeing aren't getting the idea for the xbox one. Its more of the device that you can connect all your other devices into without having to switch. Meaning I watch tv, I have to switch my input for my receiver to DVR because that's where its plugged to. If I want to watch a blu ray movie, I have to change channel input to BD. With this, you can basically stay on one input and access everything its connected to. Very nice to have.
 

andrewnprice

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First off let me say I love your site and your various technically oriented articles. As someone that always does extensive research before making any sort of PC related purchase, your reviews and editorials are always the first I check out. I value your opinion so much in fact that Tom’s Hardware is always my first recommendation to any of my friends that are building PCs for the fir time.

Now with all of that out of the way, as I am sure you can guess, this is where I disagree with one of your points in this article. More specifically the line where you state, “But gaming consoles do not mirror the PC graphics card market. The fastest console doesn't always win, as Sega can attest to.”

While I understand your point, and in general agree with your assertion that the hardware itself is less important than the software that runs on it: I feel this statement is trying too hard to draw parallels between past gaming history, and in general is ignoring the facts and is over generalized.

For starters, the Genesis and Jaguar (which I assume are the systems to which you are referring) both used hardware built around completely different types of chips than their competition. This of course made porting games from one system to another much more difficult to do (this was especially the case with the Jaguar which utilized two separate processors), and comparing hardware specs between systems was like comparing apples to oranges due to the inherent differences in architecture.

Obviously this is not the situation with the new generation of consoles; as they are essentially based on the same core with minor differences in terms of the die size and GPU. So that being the case, comparing system specs becomes more relevant; as these pieces of hardware will have to provide gamers with viable systems for years to come. The fact that the Xbox One already seems limited in what it can do does kind of make you question how it will fare long term in comparison to its Sony Rival.

Also I think it is worth mentioning that the Xbox One when back to a 32 bit based operating system, whereas more than likely the PS4 (which runs some sort of combination of Android and FreeBSD 9.x derivatives) is more than likely to some extent 64 bit. (I should make it clear that I have not read anything that confirms this, and that this is based purely on assumption on my part.) Given that the Jaguar is natively a 64 bit chip, this could also account for some of the performance discrepancies we are seeing between the two systems.
Finally, I also find it curious that Microsoft has the higher priced system that is supposed to offset its cost by offering owners with more entertainment oriented utility, but despite this fact they elected to go with what most seem to consider lower end hardware. Given the amount of multitasking that the Xbox developers intended for users to do with their system, this seems like an odd choice to me; as I would think a higher end graphics card might have an easier time handling the workload derived from all the extra multimedia functionality that is included in the Xbox one.

The fact that Sony has opted to offer better hardware at a lower price point that is more purely focused on gaming seems to me to be a huge advantage going forward. Again, while I do agree with you in terms of software being the biggest factor, and I found your review of the Xbox One overall very well done…. I think that if you are looking at this generation of consoles purely from the view of what type of long term gaming experience will they offer you in return for your investment: you have to consider and compare what type of hardware you are getting as part of that investment.

(And for the record, before I get flamed for being a PS4 Fanboy: the last console I owned was a Dreamcast, and the PC is my platform of choice for gaming. So basically I don’t have a dog in this race, and my viewpoint is based purely on my own personal objective opinion.)
 

falchard

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I will just say it. I don't like the controller. I have always hated Xbox controllers. Considering this one uses double A batteries instead of a rechargeable battery pack is just an inconvenience to me. Plus it builds upon one of the worst controllers I have used from a modern console. I have used better NES controllers than the Xbox controller.
I think there are a couple exciting things about the Xbox one. The living room experience it can offer within a dedicated space for it can be quite good. However, from my experience the typical Console user does not have a dedicated space.
 

superflykicks03

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This is basically what people have been doing with HTPCs for years (games via steam, cable tuner with widows media center, and all movies ripped to HDD, and of course access to netflix, social media, etc), but with more bells and whistles, unified software, and not a nightmare to set up.
 

superflykicks03

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This is basically what people have been doing with HTPCs for years (games via steam, cable tuner with widows media center, and all movies ripped to HDD, and of course access to netflix, social media, etc), but with more bells and whistles, unified software, and not a nightmare to set up.
 

tuanies

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Not referring to the Genesis or Jaguar. Take for example the Sega Saturn and Sony Playstation 1, the Saturn had games that looked better, technically more powerful but Sega lost badly. The Genesis and SNES era was a tossup. The Sega Master was more powerful than the NES but lost in the US, but won in Europe. The Dreamcast games looked better than the PS2 but Sega bowed out and gave up on hardware. The Game Gear was also way more powerful than the Gameboy too. The Neo Geo was the most powerful of all.

Game consoles are a totally different market, and its very intriguing how things play out. Its more of a software, value and brand loyalty segment more than anything. Yes, we will draw a lot of comparisons to PC hardware because its very similar and academically the SoCs are quite interesting. Its also our job to evaluate it at a hardware level, but we can't predict how things will play out. However, I will say Sony right out the gate has the power and price advantage.
 

Marcus52

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Absolutely agree, it IS hard to compare the two consoles. Personally, I'm a big fan of Kinect and see its potential (as does Apple, if the rumors are true). That being said, MS has made a console more gimped that the PS4, which in my opinion doesn't quite get where I think this "next-gen" should be, either. Much better than the previous iterations? Absolutely. Stack up against a $600-700 PC? The PS4 and Xbone come in at the bottom end of the spectrum, and if you are buying a computer (which most people have bought or will buy anyway) AND a console, is more expensive ($500 for computer + $400 for console = $900). Also, there are the connection fees you have to pay to play the respective services (Playstation or Xbox Live) to play online. Steam is free, and comes with a library of free games. Steam isn't the only way of the ways you can connect with other friends on their computers, either.

Computer gaming is moving on to 2560x1440 screens and 120Hz as standards. Then, there is G-sync, which according to the best game devs in the business, is a real game-changer and will even allow people without $700 graphics cards to have a much better experience. Consoles? PS4 and Xbone can do 1920x1080 @ 60FPS, but can't or don't in all games. We're taslking 30FPS, we're talking 720p, we're even talking 720p @ 30 FPS.

Screw that.
 

coolronz

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After having to have an XBOX live subscription to even use Netflix on my Xbox360, I'm pretty sure the XBone will be the same.. no thank you.... M$ is notorious for bleeding the population dry....
 

back_by_demand

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Didn't stop 70 million people getting an Xbox though, must be ok with paying
 

Ragnar-Kon

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Having to pay for a Xbox Live account to watch Netflix is irrelevant to 90%+ of users... because they need to purchase Xbox Live or PSN account anyway to play games online.

Anyway, great review. I'm torn as I really don't see the value of paying an extra $100 for some extra software & Kinect. Automatic sign in is cool and all, but it isn't $100 extra cool. So I was leaning toward PS4.

At the same time I prefer the Xbox exclusives and the Xbox controller (yay replaceable batteries!). The HTPC aspects of it are cool too since I don't have an HTPC. But not really a game changer for me, if I needed an HTPC I would have one already.

OR I could just skip this generation of consoles like I did with the last two generations, and stick with my PC.

Difficult choices indeed.
 

tuanies

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I picked up both (need to do a PS4 review and follow up on the Xbox One). So far the PS4 exclusives do nothing for me, not a fan of Kill Zone and Knack got pretty bad reviews. I played the Knack demo at Best Buy and found it dull and boring. But there is something beautiful about how Sony engineered the hardware and kept it so small. The EyeToy Camera with Playroom is amusing for a bit, my 2 year old loves kicking the robots but it doesn't have much use yet.

The limitations of the OS on the PS4 are quite annoying at the moment, but the Remote Play is awesome.

On the Xbox One, Forza 5 is beautfiul. They've improved the lighting effects and every car and track is just stunning. My sister in law and her boyfriend spent most of yesterday and today making a zoo in Zoo Tycoon. The hardware of the Xbox One, on just aesthetics and engineering disapoint me. I understand they wanted maximum cooling to not have another Xbox 360 debacle, but there is way too much wasted space that could've been used to make a much smaller console, even if they could shave 1/4 the height off of it.

Overall, Xbox One has the launch titles I really want to play. The PS4 is a great viable alternative to PC for BF4, NFS and Assassin's Creed. In the long run, I see the PS4 catering more to the core gamer audience that places more importance on games than digital media stuff and the Xbox tries to cater to the digital media group that wants gaming.

The way I see this "next-generation" is we have Nintendo with the family-friendly WiiU (loving Super Mario 3D World right now), Microsoft with the Xbox One and Kinect to cater to the family friendly crowd while still having more mature titles, and Sony for the hardcore gamer crowd that loves mature titles, JRPGs.

Either way, they're all excellent in their own ways. I love all three - the WiiU lets me enjoy multiplayer with my wife and my daughters can watch, the Xbox One has Forza and my wife loves Kinect and the PS4 has remote play, so I can play games before bed :D.
 

tuanies

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It fits perfectly in the spot that used to be occupied by VCR's in entertainment centers :)
 

bin1127

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I'm really concerned about all the new metrics the kinect is picking up. It's already bad if someone hacks your system and control your camera, but if someone has your facial recognition information that seems a lot more dangerous.
 

16bit

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What could hackers do with your heart rate or facial measurements that would be more harmful than with a normal camera?
 

ubercake

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The Xbox One is a great gaming machine as well as everything else. I have my cable box running through it. Because of the HDMI pass-thru, it also offers more options with lower-cost surround sound units, because you only need one HDMI connection now for cable or satellite TV, blu-ray and gaming system.

There is so much capability with this system. I'm not sure how people justify saying the GPU is more powerful on the PS4? They both essentially use 8-core AMD APUs. There is no discrete GPU on either. The Xbox has a higher clock speed and a lot more cache memory (faster type of memory) than the PS4 while the PS4 uses faster RAM memory (slower type of memory) than the Xbox One.

I watch TV through the Xbox One now. I have my logitech harmony remote setup to control the Xbox One.

I played a few games of NBA 2K14. Pretty awesome calling plays and player substitutions using voice commands.

For that matter, the whole interface is navigable through voice commands.

I played through single-player RYSE and some multi-player so far. Very cool game and a period not really approached before in a third-person fighting/adventure game.

You can pause a game anywhere. Everyone in your house can play a game and save their own game. You can record game clips.

Also, don't think you have to be gouged by prices on Ebay for the games because they don't have them at the store. You can download any of the games that are out from the Xbox store. The consoles, on the other hand, are hard to come by now.

I have to admit, I was a little worried because of all of the issues with the 360 release over a decade ago, but after getting the Xbox One set up and running, I'm no longer worried and extremely impressed. Also, it's quiet. You barely hear anything while gaming, watching a movies or doing anything else on this console. It's only audible when you put your ear right next to it. It's also actually smaller than my former Samsung blu-ray player.

It's just a great console all the way around.
 

tuanies

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The PS4 uses a Pitcairn-based GPU, which was once AMD's mainstream/enthusiast price point and identical to the AMD Radeon HD 7800 series but with 18 Compute units instead of 20. The Xbox One uses a entry-level Bonaire, which makes up the Radeon HD 7790 and has 12 Compute units. The Xbox One also dedicates some power for Kinect usage too so games do not have full access to those 12 Compute units.

They both might use AMD APUs, but they are both very customized and share nothing beyond the 8-core Jaguar microarchitecture.

With that said, the Xbox One OS is smoother, runs better and doesn't suffer as many hiccups as the PS4.
 

ubercake

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I haven't played it that much yet. I've been focusing more on my awesome gladiator skills (ha!) over on Ryse. I know what you're saying though.

I guess if I knew the Heat had some advantage like that and my opponent chose the Heat, I'd play them Heat v Heat. That's about as even as it gets.
 

ubercake

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This is correct. I no longer have to do any switching and can run games, TV and Blu-ray.

Now I just say 'Xbox play gametitle' or 'Xbox watch TV' and it switches. The voice commands take about 30 minutes to get used to, but once you know the commands, the switching between apps is pretty cool. You can also say things like 'Xbox Watch ESPN' and it changes the channel. It prioritizes and will automatically go to the HD version of the channel if available. Of course, you can use the controller for all of this (I also have my Harmony remote set up to control the Xbox One), but if you don't have to, why?
 
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