Shoppers are planning to buy the Xbox One this week at midnight release parties and investigating the Xbox One as a holiday gift for kids or themselves. With the Xbox One release date just days away, here’s what you need to know before you buy the Xbox One.
This new Xbox is the first new models since 2005 when the Xbox 360 arrived. There are various versions of the Xbox 360 on the market, but this is a completely new console that will very likely be the Xbox for the next five to ten years.
With the Xbox One reviews in and retailers preparing to hand off the console to gamers early Thursday morning we know more about the Xbox One and are sharing what we think you should know before you buy. This won’t likely change your mind about an Xbox One pre-order, but it will help you be prepared for the Xbox One release date when it arrives later this week.
If you own an old HDTV, you may need to upgrade for the Xbox One and if you want Xbox One accessories you may be waiting until 2014 for a wide selection.
Control the Xbox One With Voice
The Xbox One comes with Kinect 2.0 in the box and it is the center of Voice control on the new Xbox. Users can turn the Xbox One on with their voice and control various apps and actions of the Xbox One.
Unfortunately according the Kotaku Xbox One review voice control is not 100%, and it’s not quite enough to replace a remote for everyday use.
“After a couple weeks of testing in a couple of different rooms, I’d say the Xbox One’s Kinect works about… 80-85% of the time. Not a terrible percentage, but not enough to call consistent, either. The camera mishears me frequently enough to be annoying. Each time I have to repeat myself—”Xbox. Xbox. Xbox go to Skype“—I’m that much closer to just ditching it and picking up the controller.”
Microsoft is known for tweaking and delivering updates to the Xbox , so there is hope that this will become easier to use over time.
It’s Designed to be Your Entertainment Center
The Xbox One includes a HDMI In connection which can connect to a cable box, Xbox 360, or even a PlayStation 4. This lets you use the Xbox One Guide to see your TV shows and use the Kinect voice commands to change channels to a specific channel.
The new Kinect 2.0 can even turn the TV on thanks to the Kinect’s IR blaster which will bounce TV controls to your set and to a cable box or satellite receiver. Unlike the PS4, you can use a remote control to control the Xbox One.
Xbox One Component Cables Aren’t Available
If you own a HDTV that does not support HDMI, you will need to buy a new HDTV to use the Xbox One. This may sound like a non-issue to some gamers, but one of the Gotta Be Mobile staff owns a HDTV that did not come with HDMI connectivity and he must upgrade to use the Xbox One at all.
There are HDMI to Component cables sold on eBay and other places, but with HDMI copy protection it will not likely work on the Xbox One. If you need to upgrade to a new HDTV, there is a Walmart Black Friday 2013 HDTV deal that starts Friday morning at 8 AM in stores.
All Games Install, and External Storage Not Supported Yet
When you put game in the Xbox One it will install to the hard drive taking up roughly 30 to 40GB of space. You can play some games while the installation is taking place, but others will require you to wait for the initial install.
There is no real storage management, so it’s not clear how much storage is available on the 500GB hard drive out of the box. Microsoft says it will automatically manage the storage, but isn’t clear on how that will happen. There is no way to replace the hard drive like you can on a PS4, and external drives are not supported yet.
You’re Buying the Xbox One for a Decade,
One of the many complaints we see in Xbox One reviews are a lack of great Xbox One games at release or games that don’t look $500 better than an Xbox 360 version. The Xbox One release game lineup is arguably pretty good, and some of the games launching on multiple platforms may not look a lot better, but there is something to remember.
Unlike iPhones and iPads there won’t be a new Xbox One next year or the year after. As developers have more time, games will start to look better. You may want to wait to buy an Xbox One until there are games you want to play, but it’s a good idea to approach this as a purchase for the next five to ten years, and to keep in mind that games will get better and software updates will bring fixes and features.
Xbox One Controller is New, But Familiar
The Xbox One controller is redesigned slightly for the Xbox One, but overall it keeps what users like from the Xbox 360 controller and adds a new vibration to the triggers and a new headphone port that Microsoft says will deliver better sounding audio.
The controller uses AA batteries and you can buy a extra $25 Play and Charge Kit which includes a rechargeable battery and a 9 foot micro USB cable. Gamers can connect up to eight controllers to an Xbox One. The controller does not output all game audio to a headset like the PS4 controller.
Take Your DashBoard and Games to a Friends
When you go to a friend’s to play on their Xbox One you can sign in with your ID and you’ll have access to you Xbox One Dashboard and also access to your games.
The catch is that the games will only come over if they are purchased digitally, but on the upside this includes big name games like Call of Duty: Ghosts, Need for Speed Rivals and other big name titles. Of course they will need to download, so it could take a little time depending on your connection.
Streaming Apps Require a Xbox Live Subscription
You can watch your live TV without paying for Xbox Live, but if you want to use Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, ESPN, Hulu Plus, Redbox and others you will need to pay up for Xbox Live.
The PS4 includes entertainment apps free, but Microsoft really wants users to join Xbox Live, which also unlocks online multiplayer games. Sony is charging for multiplayer now, but we wish Microsoft would include the use of these apps free fo r users who want to make the Xbox One their entertainment hub.
Multitasking, Web Browsing and More
The Xbox One will let gamers run multiple apps on the screen at once, including a playing a game like Forza 5 while seeing what’s happening with your friends or using Internet Explorer to search for Game guides and more.
If you want, you can also watch TV while playing a game, for the ultimate multitasking experience on the Xbox One. There is an Internet Explorer browser as well for full screen browsing and a collection of other apps like Skype and Xbox Music to access from the dashboard.
Xbox One Accessories Will Take Time
The first round of Xbox One accessories from third parties will take a while to arrive. Turtle Beach Xbox One headphones won’t land until February 2014 and Mad Catz Pro Racing Wheel is similarly on hold until February 2014.
Users can plug a headset in to the Optical out port of the Xbox One to use the headset for game audio, but any chat connections will not work. There is also a report from Kotaku that the Xbox One optical out does not support Dolby 5.1 audio, so some headsets may be limited to Stereo.