When it came time to preorder either the PS4 or The Xbox One I was so conflicted on each system that I skipped out on ordering either one. The initial details for the Xbox One were not good. After being out of gaming for a good long while I returned about 4 years ago and purchased an Xbox 360 but that was just to play GTA IV as a means of keeping me out of trouble during my divorce. I didn’t utilize most of the Xbox systems and didn’t understand why you would purchase an Xbox Live account. All of that was explained to me by my girls’ kid just what the Xbox could do and I was back in the gaming world.
I wanted to like the Xbox One despite what I was reading. I am already familiar with the brand and after reading and hearing about the PS3 network crash I really didn’t want to switch companies and platforms. Once it became apparent that most of the negative details about the Xbox One at its unveiling were changing for the better it was time to get on board and order an Xbox One. So, this is about the Xbox One. This isn’t disparaging to the PS4 or the people who bought one so that is that. This is the last you will read about anything else PlayStation or Sony related.
This is the part where it became obvious I was not going to get an Xbox One without preordering it. It was already unavailable online at every outlet I could think of so the next best option was to camp out at Best Buy or GameStop in order to secure one. Well that sort of thing just isn’t going to fly. I did actually drive by the closest Best Buy after I finished up at the gym and at around 9:30 pm there were already people in line. There was even a tent set up for some reason as it was in the 60’s here in Charlotte and a nice clear night. These sort of attention seeking douchebags are the exact reason I didn’t bother. Yes, I would rather deprive myself the opportunity to grab the console than stomach hanging out with the tent people who will no doubt be talking about how they camped out for the Wii U or the PlayStation Vita or every other system or game launch. It was a mistake not preordering the system and I was not about to make another mistake hanging out in front of Best Buy for 3 hours.
After checking stores and websites ever since the opportunity to grab one of these elusive devices came to me and now I have one in my living room hooked to the surround and the 55” and have been playing around with it ever since. So, here’s my review. It isn’t technical. I am not interested in the hardware and why it operates the way it does. . I am interested in the product as it sits in my entertainment stand currently. This isn’t about the future of the console this is about the last three days I have had it.
When the console arrived I actually met the UPS delivery guy outside the fitness center of my apartment complex. He was a solid dude for bringing it over to me instead of putting it back on the truck and delivering it the next day when I assuredly would not be home. The first thing that stood out, before I even opened the Amazon box was the weight of the package. It was much heavier than I expected. The Xbox 360, which from here will be the 360, was a relatively dense machine but the word heavy wouldn’t come to mind.
After opening the Amazon box to find no packing material whatsoever it was apparent this was a heavy duty machine. Removing the striking Green Xbox One box it was pretty clear they packed this console and accessories pretty solid. The heaviest piece of equipment relative to its size was the overbearing and probably the first piece of equipment to go down in the future power pack. This monster generator is about a foot long and three inches thick. Everything about this power supply screams potential problem. Whereas the 360 power supply was a solid piece of plastic this seems flimsy. Maybe it is better ventilated and thus will not have any issues proving me totally wrong.
A big issue though is that the cord on both the supply and the cord connecting to the Xbox One are too short. It need to be about three feet longer totally but it really should have been about six feet longer in general. On a positive note the supply runs relatively cool on carpet and buried by other types of wires cords. It also runs very quiet making it easy to forget it even exists.
Next out of the box was the Kinect. I purchased the Kinect for the 360 but have used it before so was familiar with what it did and what it was used for. Basically, it was for kids games and there was no real use for it. This Kinect though works as much more on the Xbox One It is much bulkier than the 360 version. It also is much more sensitive and encompassing. The Kinect comes with a much longer and sturdier cord than the power supply. The power supply and the Kinect should have the same length for more opportunity to lay out everything per the demands of the room.
The Kinect has a good amount of range but as this is written I have it sitting on my center channel speaker seeing as how I do not have a shelf to permanently hang it above the television. It seems the speaker sound does inhibit the microphone to a small degree but not enough to render the voice activation useless. This is the strong point of the Kinect so far you can voice control your Xbox One. Instead of grabbing your controller and pressing the home button all you need to do is say Xbox On. The system fires up remarkably fast. You can voice command different apps as well as incorporate the voice recognition during certain games. You can tell the console what you need it to do. It seemed like a gimmick when it was first announced but it really becomes part of the natural way to interface with the machine but more on that later.
Out of the box next came what is no doubt the second most important piece of the package; the newly designed Xbox One controller. It is not so much a new design as it is a streamlined version of the 360 controller.
The excitement of pulling the controller out of the packaging and to feel its utter weightlessness. The memories of throwing Sega Genesis controllers across the dorm room or dropping 360 controller flat to the ground in disgust. This new controller would float like a leaf across my apartment now. How exciting.
The excitement was short-lived though when I realized there was no battery pack inserted in the controller. It must be said the new design of placing the batteries on the underside of the controller balances it out much better than the front heavy 360 controller. Hence the streamlining of the controller. It was also accompanied by the standard Xbox headset. This time though they have made a much sturdier and near permanent connection.
So let’s get the negative about this controller and Xbox One out of the way.
I bought this system in December of 2013. The Xbox One was released in November of 2013. Why the hell is the Xbox One controller designed to use standard AA batteries? The AA Battery was first standardized in 1947 I have no idea what this means but the AA Battery is old. It is old technology and totally useless now with the ability to recharge battery cells at home. So why would a console touting itself as the entertainment and gaming system of the future use technology from around the time people still thought the earth was flat.
It just smells of a money grab. Just like the 360, the Xbox One has a recharge kit available for an extra $25.00. This is the official blurb from the Xbox One site.
Keep the action going with the Xbox One Play and Charge Kit. Recharge while you play or afterwards, even when your Xbox is in standby. The long-lasting rechargeable battery fully charges in under 4 hours. Say goodbye to disposable batteries and having to swap them out in the middle of a game.
Um, there is no reason to say goodbye to disposable batteries in the first place. Microsoft makes it sound like they are doing us all a favor when they are just taking an extra $25.00 on top of the $500.00 you pay for the system. This is a total dick move and absolutely unnecessary. Toss in a rechargeable pack and cord and be done with it. Then sell it separately outside of the console for those who want another controller. Oh, but they do this as well as a new controller will cost you $60.00 for a standard earth is flat model. If you pony up an extra $15.00 you can get a controller and a chargeable pack. Most will chalk it up to business as usual but it really is embarrassing to consider Microsoft touts this product as a system of the future while it comes with standard technology of our great grandparents. But if this is going to be the biggest complaint of the entire system than this is a good thing. -Jeremy