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TOP 500 REVIEWERon November 29, 2013
I got my Xbox One on launch day, so I've had about a while now to play with it and find out what I think about the system. It is an excellent follow-up to the Xbox 360, but not without some minor flaws.

*What I like:*
[+] The dashboard is integrated WAY better than the Xbox 360 and PS3. There is no longer the feeling of "in a game" or "in the dashboard". You are ALWAYS in both. Say you are in the middle of a game but want to spontaneously change a system setting or launch another app etc. Both the 360 and PS3 had some semi-dashboard functionality built into the dashboard/home button, but most everything required you to first exit the game and go to the dashboard (aside from some shortcuts to go straight to a different game). Now, you press the dashboard button and without interrupting your game in any way, you now have access to the full dashboard and settings, etc. There is really no such thing as being required to "quit" a game anymore, which is awesome.

[+] Speed. I always was surprised that through the entire life of the Xbox 360 (including the 360 S and 360 E), there was an unacceptable amount of lag on many core dashboard functions. Something as basic as showing your list of games, or list of gamerpics to change to, or achievement lists, or loading marketplace screens, would often take several seconds of waiting to populate. The Xbox One's startup is acceptably fast, but basic things like loading marketplace content or my list of installed apps, achievements, etc, is very quick. Switching between game and dashboard is no longer the slow annoyance it used to be, but rather is nearly instantaneous.

[+] Dashboard Layout: The Xbox 360 dashboard was too cluttered and poorly organized, in my opinion. There were many different 'sections' to scroll through with LB and RB that made it take longer than necessary to get around. The Xbox One dashboard only has three now, it's much cleaner and simpler. Your pinned games/apps, main section to switch back to currently in-use game/app or browse your other apps, etc, and the third section is for browsing/downloading new games/apps. Very easy to navigate. It's also completely add free. Though at launch, the Xbox 360 had very few ads, and over time Microsoft worked a lot of extra advertising space into the design. So let's keep our fingers crossed that doesn't happen again, especially when you are a subscribing Xbox Live Gold member! I also like the notification and achievement changes. You can earn 0-point achievements in random apps, like for watching videos and such. It's admittedly pretty pointless, but if you don't like the idea of pointless achievements, you can easily ignore their existence.

[+] Built-in game DVR. Very cool feature that removes the need for external recording equipment for anyone interested in that. Even if you don't plan on using this feature, it could still benefit you in the form of more & better guide videos from other people that will likely be swarming onto YouTube.

[+] The controller. Controller design has come a long way since the old Atari joysticks or uncomfortable NES gamepads. I have used Sony's Dual Shock 3, Nintendo's Wii U Pro controller, Xbox 360 controller and Xbox One controller. They are all fantastic. But I must say I always liked the 360 controller the best. The Xbox One controller is simply an improvement upon that one. The only downside to the 360 controller was the mediocre D-pad, which has definitely experienced a massive improvement in the XBO update. They also moved the guide/dashboard button higher, which I like since I used to accidentally hit that when I meant to hit Start/Back. I even like how they redesigned the battery to go inside the controller. It takes slightly longer to swap a battery out, but since I use the USB cable to charge instead of swapping batteries (no Quick Charge Kit yet exists for the One like the 360 has), that doesn't matter at this point. The only thing I don't like is renaming the Start and Back buttons. "Press Menu" sounds way less cool than "Press Start" you're used to on any game's splash screen.

[+] Noise levels and cooling/reliability. Anyone who had a launch Xbox 360 or launch PlayStation 3 (I have both) knows what I'm talking about. Those things were LOUD. Distractingly loud. Even over my high-end surround speakers. The Xbox One's internal fan is very large compared to the launch 360 (google photos if its internals). Large fans can move more air and are not as loud as small fans. This also helps with its reliability, as the Xbox 360's biggest launch issues were overheating problems. Microsoft learned from this and I guarantee that will not be an issue here. I wanted to make sure of this, so I have literally had my Xbox One powered on almost 24 hours a day for the last week since launch day. This is because if it's going to overheat, I want to know now rather than down the line after the warranty is up. And I'm killing two birds with one stone because Killer Instinct has some goals related to how long you are in practice mode, so I leave it idling in practice mode while at work. Yeah, call me crazy. But anyway, so far, it has handled being constantly on for days at a time with not a single issue.

[+] The HDMI-In is definitely a unique feature to the Xbox One that the other consoles can't touch. It's not for everyone; you might not care about it. But it certainly opens up some neat possibilities. Any other HDMI-enabled device you may be interested in using can be switched to and from at a moment's notice. I plugged my PS3 into mine, not for the purpose of gaming (since there is a tiny bit of input lag), but to be able to have a game disc in my XBO and a Blu-ray movie in my PS3 so I can switch without removing the game. I could certainly live without the HDMI input, but since it's there I may as well experiment with some interesting ways to use it.

[+] I obviously can't speak for everyone else, but my Xbox One console, disc drive, controller, and Kinect, all function flawlessly and had absolutely no issues.

*What I don't like:*
[-] Launch line-up. If you are on the fence about buying the console and you're not immediately sure what game(s) to even get for it, you could easily wait it out a while longer. Forza 5 and some of the multi-platform releases are pretty cool (like Need for Speed Rivals), but I'm not sure they're $60 cool. If you are buying the Xbox One now, you're doing it for the novelty of being among the first to have a cutting-edge system. This is true with the PS4 as well. Anybody who swears by any of the launch game is just a fanboy drone. There are a handful of *pretty good* games for both systems, but I see them as more of $30-40 titles. Honestly, I've enjoyed the downloadable Xbox One games the most, such as Killer Instinct, Peggle 2, Halo: Spartan Assault, or the free Kinect Sports trial. A big disappointment is that digital versions of full retail games (like Call of Duty Ghosts) cost MSRP. Until Microsoft shares some of the cost reduction from going all-digital (no marketing, manufacturing, shipping, middle-man retailers, etc), I will ALWAYS buy my games in the form of the retail disc version. A $60 retail game should be $40-50 tops from the Xbox Live Store. It's so backwards that all the retail games are a flat $60 at all times via the Xbox Store, when already Amazon has had various sales that have at some point put them at $39 (Lego Marvel Superheroes) to $49 (almost every launch game). Have some digital sales and permanent price drops and I might actually buy some of them!

[-] No backwards compatibility. This would have been an even more important feature now than it was on the Xbox 360. We've now had eight years to build up a game library on our Xbox 360s. Mine is quite large. Not being able to use that collection as a buffer between Xbox One launch, and when all the great XBO exclusives hit, is very disappointing. The original Xbox only had four years to amass its game library, and since it was the first of Microsoft's consoles, there were far less owners with far less games than now exists with the Xbox 360. A lot of the same sentiments apply to the PlayStation 4. Both consoles could have benefited greatly from a backwards compatibility feature, since neither of their game libraries will be very expansive for at least a year or so. It's also disappointing that I need to keep both consoles connected to my TV. When I bought my Wii U (and PS3, Xbox 360, PS2, Wii), I could give a nostalgic farewell to my Wii (and PS2, Xbox, PS1, GameCube) and disconnect them from my AV setup entirely, while still playing all my games.

[-] There are not yet many ways to show the system off to your friends. The games are nowhere close to pushing the graphics to their limit. The cars on Forza 5 are gorgeous. But Call of Duty and any other multiplatform release will disappoint as far as graphical difference between 360/PS3 and One/PS4. But that's expected, and happens with every new generation. I'm sure the games further down the line will be much more graphically impressive (Titanfall, Destiny, Gears of War, Halo, etc).

[-] Two steps forward, one step backwards: There are many features absent from the new generation of consoles that my last gen consoles have. Firstly, playing 3D Blu-ray movies. My old PlayStation 3 had this feature, but neither the PlayStation 4 nor Xbox One's Blu-ray drives can play 3D movies! Why the step backwards? I know both will likely eventually get an update to add this feature, but it is so lame to see features missing that my old consoles have. Another example of this is the Xbox One's hard drive. 500GB is your only option. There are no higher tiers you can buy like they have for the PS3 and 360, and unlike last generation, this hard drive is *not replaceable*. You also can't view how much of that space you've used, like I could on my 360. I know 500GB sounds like a lot, but I guarantee it will get eaten up much faster than last generation, and you have no way to expand it. And unlike on the 360, you can't add a flash drive or hard drive or any type of external storage. Not just for game saves, but you can't even put music or video files on a flash drive to play from your Xbox One. I still have to turn on my PS3 or 360 for this. There are also fewer USB ports than the Xbox 360 had, and I don't think you can ever have too many USB ports. On the front of the 360, 360 S, and 360 E, there were two USB ports. There are *zero* USB ports on the front of the Xbox One, which makes playing with the Play and Charge USB cable connected undesirable. There is one USB port on the left side, but that means if someone trips on a Play and Charge cable when it's plugged in there, it could damage the port or cable much more than if they were on the front. Another feature we used to have that is mysteriously absent is a recent players list. Just finished a game with someone not on your friend list? Good luck sending them an invite, message, or viewing their gamertag in any way; there is no longer a way to see a list of people you just played with. All hope is not lost though, most of these issues can be resolved in a future system software update, if Microsoft chooses. Some of them will require waiting for a console redesign though, such as swappable hard drives and front USB ports.

*What I'm neutral about:*
[*] The Kinect: Luckily, you aren't required to even have this plugged in so it's not a big deal. But you are forced to buy it with your console anyway, so you might as well find out what it has to offer. Unlike the Xbox 360 Kinect, this one does not scan vertically or self-adjust. The initial setup has an on-screen meter to tell you when the Kinect is pivoted to the perfect vertical angle. Kinect's voice commands are *kind of* cool, but I'm still more of a controller person. I prefer to navigate with my fingers than with my body or voice. I'm glad they made the new Kinect look a little bit neater than the 360's Kinect though. It does have a very much improved camera though. Skype calls with the Kinect are awesome (though outside of the novelty & testing factors, I probably won't use Skype that much). When the full version of Kinect Sports Rivals, and other games designed specifically for Kinect are released, I will probably see more of the value it offers. But for now: eh.

[*] The console's physical design: It actually looks very nice to me. But it does have a small amount of boring-ness to it. It's just a big black box, basically. The key will be to keep the glossy part free of scratches and dust. Glossy consoles are notorious for aging much worse than matte consoles. It's also quite a bit bigger than the Xbox 360 redesigns (but on par with the launch Xbox & Xbox 360 sizes). But I do have to say, I am very glad they are taking precautions to avoid the overheating issues of the launch 360s. The giant cooling heatsink/fan inside, and ample ventilation room inside this ominous monolith, will make it much more reliable and less susceptible to failure; an acceptable trade-off in my mind. I'm sure down the line there will be a smaller version of it. But I didn't want to wait 3-4 years to get it.

*Xbox One vs. PlayStation 4 vs. Wii U*:
It's hard to really compare these in a fair way, because I think all three of them were built for a slightly different audience, and for different purposes. But everyone wants them to be compared anyway, so here I go. So far, I have gotten more mileage out of my Wii U than anything else. But this is simply because Nintendo has had an extra year to come out with some pretty good first-party titles. Its large touch-screen controller is another gimmick as the motion controllers were on the Wii, but many games do manage to use it in a very good way. I would put the Wii U's game library in 1st place compared to the other two consoles, which both have pretty mediocre launch libraries. But again, Wii U had the head start, and in a few years I'm sure all three consoles will have a plethora of great games to choose from. On the other hand, the Wii U gets last place in terms of power/graphics. Most of the games I play are cartooney Nintendo games, so graphical prowess honestly doesn't matter that much. But I have never and will never buy a first-person shooter or multi-platform release on the Wii U, because in those games, awesome graphics can really improve the experience. And the Wii U simply can't compare to the PS4/Xbox One in terms of raw power. Price-wise, obviously the Xbox One gets last place since it costs the most. The PS4 is the most true-to-form gaming console of the three. Hardcore gamers may not find much enjoyment in Nintendo's family-friendly Mario-type games, and the Xbox One was clearly developed with the hope of taking over your cable box and being a big media center instead of just a gaming console. The PS4, like the PS3, has a lot of media capabilities and video streaming apps and so forth, but it was primarily developed primarily to play games. I do have to say, I really like the new controllers on all 3 systems. I would personally give the Xbox One's controller the title of "best", but the Dual Shock 3 and Wii U Pro controllers are also both very good. Nintendo basically copied the Xbox controller on that (other than right thumbstick placement) which is probably why I like it so much. All three consoles are great, honestly. But I don't think you can say one is the best or worst, as they all have very different strengths and weaknesses. I usually just end up getting every console so I don't have to worry about engaging in fanboy "which is better" arguments. But if I could only afford one, I would probably buy the Xbox One due to its *FUTURE* game library (huge Halo fan), and also because, of the three, it easily has the best online multiplayer experience. But if I could only have one console right this second, it would be the Wii U since as of right now, it has the most games worth playing.

*The Bottom Line*:
The Xbox One is a great console with great potential, but as with most launch consoles, the games just aren't quite there to back it up, YET. If you are waiting to get an Xbox One because you're unsure of the game library, you are probably justified in continuing to wait. I honestly just got it because I knew for sure I would eventually get it anyway when Halo 5 comes out. But it the price is holding you back, you may have to wait YEARS for this to become affordable. So if you are okay waiting that long, great. But otherwise you might as well get it now so you can actually use it while you wait for the game library to improve. If you are on the fence over the console because of the 360's launch reliability, I would honestly not let that hold you back on this one since Microsoft learned a very painful & expensive lesson from that, and designed a much more reliable console this time around. Chances are, there won't be any price cuts on it for at least a couple years, and the price cuts aren't usually anything significant until around 4-5 years after launch. So if you have the patience (I didn't), definitely wait. But since I am 98.4% sure the price will still be $499 when Halo 5 comes out, I figured I may as well get it now along with the extra pre-order perks.

A solid system; I definitely do not regret my purchase. 4.5 stars.

Update 2013.12.07:
I've developed a few more thoughts after a couple extra weeks of use. First of all, I got my Killer Instinct milestone of 6000 minutes in Practice Mode complete. For this, I just loaded Practice Mode and literally left my Xbox One powered on for 6000 minutes straight. If you do the math, that is 100 hours or more than 4 straight days. And not just powered on at the Dashboard or a menu, but in a game where it is constantly displaying animated 3D models and doing millions of calculations per second. My point is, that's a pretty good amount of consecutive time to push the console. A launch 360 would probably have red-ringed from doing that, and it would also power the fans so loud you wouldn't be able to hear anything else in the room. The Xbox One stays ultra quiet and ultra cool. Success.

However, I've become less fond of the way achievements are set up. Simply, it takes a long time to scroll through and read what all the achievements are for a game. Each achievement has a hi-res image associated with it, and instead of a large grid of small icons you can quickly glance over and read descriptions for like the 360 had, you have only a few achievements on the screen at a time, and it is quite slow to scroll through, have it download the images and descriptions, and read them all. I hope they improve this experience in future dashboard versions.

One good/bad/neutral (depending on how you look at it) finding is how to invite a friend to a game. It took both me and my friend quite some time to figure out how to even invite each other into a multiplayer game. Coming from the Xbox 360, it is not intuitive at all. There is no "Invite Friend" option. You have to be in the same Xbox Live party, then start a private game, then it automatically tells the other person in the party that a game is ready, and they can choose to join it at that point. It was kind of annoying at first, but hopefully once you understand how it works, it may be quicker than the old way of doing it.

Update 2013.12.29:
I've ran into a few more very minor disappointments relating to features the Xbox One doesn't have that the PS3/360 did have. You can read about this under the "Two steps forward, one step backwards" paragraph.

Update 2014.01.06:
My initial impression of the Kinect was mixed, but after you get over the awkwardness of talking to your Xbox, you can really get some good use out of it. I think game-wise, the best way (for now) to see what the Kinect can offer are the full body motion games like the free Xbox Fitness app, and Dance Central 2014. You can even just view what the Kinect sees by looking for the "What else does Kinect see?" option in your settings menu. It's really cool to see the infrared view, distance-metered view, along with the standard HD view. But for me, the best use of the Kinect, is to no longer need to search for the controller in the dark when watching a movie. "Xbox Pause" and "Xbox Play" commands have gotten a lot of use!

Update 2014.02.25:
As I predicted, Microsoft has addressed many of the shortcomings I mentioned through their February and upcoming March system updates. They have added the should-have-been-included-from-the-start feature to manage your hard drive's contents and see how much free space is available. They added a controller battery level monitor icon on the dashboard. March's update will be improving party chat and adding a recent players list that I mentioned was a last-gen feature mysteriously absent from this console. However, I am still (im)patiently waiting on 3D Blu-ray support, and USB storage support, among other nitpicks listed in my original review. Hopefully Microsoft keeps listening to user feedback. The updates thus far are promising, but they still have some work to do.

Update 2014.03.08:
This may be the final helpful tip I have on this review: The new Titanfall Xbox One bundle is the same thing for the same price, but includes a full download of Titanfall, so you should probably plan on purchasing that one instead of this. Enjoy!
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Original Review Posted May 2015: We've had our Xbox One and Kinect just shy of a year and since we just had our first experience with the Microsoft Xbox One's Warranty I thought it was the perfect time to leave a review and share my thoughts.

I like to wait until I've had a new piece of technology for a significant amount of time before leaving a review. You need to let the honeymoon period wear off and allow enough time to pass to reveal any bugs, flaws or defects. Fortunately we're pretty happy with Xbox One and the overall experience this far. I take writing reviews seriously and hopefully this one provides some insight for what is a pretty big purchase decision for most people. Enough intro. . . on with the review!

Here's a break down of the good and bad experiences we've had with the Xbox One over the course of the past 11 and a half months. (I'm a single dad so "We" consists of a father and teen son who spend a LOT of time with the Xbox One every week)

PROS:
- This version includes the Xbox One, the Kinect, one controller and a very basic chat headset.

- Installation is pretty straight forward even with the lack of a detailed instruction manual. The Xbox really does a good job of walking you through the process on its own.

- Quiet and Fast. Everything seems to run much more quietly and faster than on our Xbox 360 Slim.

- Boots very quickly unless you do a full reboot which takes a bit longer

- Integration with Windows and smart devices via Smart Glass app is nice

- One Xbox Live Gold account can now be shared via multiple users on one console/family (Unlike the Xbox 360)

- Kinect provides some very cool voice command capability. Controlling volume, recording game play moments and more with short voice commands is very cool and typically smoother than trying to do the same thing with the controller.

- The kinect also allows sign in via facial recognition and provides for gesture controls. (Two features we briefly played with but don't typically use)

-Connect most/many USB external hard drives to increase your storage space quickly and easily. (You'll need it!) No more restrictions on USB external drives or "Microsoft only" storage devices!

-The controller feels very similar to the Xbox 360 controller so there is a pretty seamless transition with little adjustment necessary in game play between the two consoles. If you've been playing one console more than the other for a significant period of time it feels "weird" to use the other controller for a few minutes at first but you rapidly forget about it.

-Being able to integrate your Xbox One with your Cable/Satellite TV is pretty sweet. (Too bad the Xbox One has to be on to watch TV . . . you can't just pass the signal through with the device off like you could in the old coaxial analog days.

- Watch DVD and Blu-ray movies using your Xbox One

-Our Kinect Sensor died just prior to the warranty period expiring. (More details in the "CONS" section below). We quickly realized how much we used the voice commands such as "Xbox Record That" or changing the volume while playing multiplayer games. It's so much easier to say "Xbox Volume Up" than it is to grab the remote etc. The bad sensor wasn't fun but Microsoft support was very easy to work with and we experienced no issues with getting a replacement refurbished certified Kinect under warranty. We shipped our bad sensor in and they shipped out a replacement sensor within two business days. Standard shipping was free both ways and we were able to open the claim and handle the entire process quickly online. We could even track the shipment of the replacement kinect with FedEx so we know exactly when we'd be back in the game. The broken Kinect stinks but the warranty and service were great! I was worried we'd receive a scratched up Kinect or something but it looked brand new.

The good outweigh the bad for us, but it's not all roses with the Xbox One. Let's take a look at what we haven't been so happy with over the past year.

*************

CONS:
- That 500 GB Hard fills up very quickly. 500 GB sounds like a lot but when you consider the fact that many games are weighing in at 40+ GB that free space fills very quickly. We made it about 7 months before we had to start deleting games and apps and ultimately just gave up and purchased a 1.0 TB Toshiba USB 3.0 Portable Hard drive. That's not the end of the world but for the price tag and the file size of most popular games these things really should come with a minimum 1 TB hard drive from the factory.

- Only One Controller: Nothing new here but needing to purchase another controller to play split screen and 2 player games always rubbed us the wrong way. It's still a tough pill to swallow when you're shelling out $500 or so.

- Random freezing of the Xbox and some games sometimes requires a full reboot to clear up. Not the end of the world but a little aggravating.

- New connections for the Xbox One chat headset means you'll need to either purchase a new gaming headset or an adapter to make your older Xbox 360 compatible chat headset work.

- Some games require mandatory updates that are often huge file sizes before you can even play the game. This isn't a big deal if you have a fast internet connection but if you're still crawling along with a slower DSL or cable internet connection the long download times can be frustrating. Fortunately it seems most games will let you play while the rest of the game or update downloads. This makes downloading many gigabytes a little more bearable. That being said we've still encountered a few scenarios where we buy/rent a new game on disc and come home on release day only to discover you need to download a hefty update . . . or discover we need to download half the game itself before we can even start playing. Don't even ask how frustrating it was when the first two games we played were Dead Rising 3 and Titanfall. ;). Fortunately since then we've encountered less demanding updates/downloads and a faster internet connection. This has decreased the desire to take a hammer to the Xbox One by about 95%!

- The ability to plug in your digital cable box to the Xbox One and control it with your controller or voice/gestures via the Kinect is cool, but it obviously requires you to have the Xbox One on whenever you want to watch TV. In other words you can't turn off the Xbox and just let the signal pass through to the TV. If you hook up cable TV to your Xbox you'll be stuck with turning on/leaving on the Xbox to watch TV through it all the time. While MS and others assure us the Xbox One can handle this we can't help but wonder if being on all the time shortens the Xbox One's lifespan. Maybe it's because our Kinect couldn't make it a year.

- Our Kinect just up and died one day without warning. A message suddenly popped up on screen to connect our Kinect and that was the end of it. We spent the next half a day trying every tutorial on the web and running through every troubleshooting suggestion Xbox support gave us to remedy the situation. No amount of unplugging, rebooting and reconnecting would make our Kinect power on again. We gave up and after learning we still had a few weeks before our standard warranty was up. We contacted Xbox support for a replacement. We sent our defective Kinect to Microsoft and they immediately sent a functioning/refurbished replacement out.

- We've experienced some weird issues with the Xbox not recognizing game discs right away when we put them in. For example, we'll be playing Forza Horizon and we'll decide to play Advanced Warfare. We exit out of Forza and then put in the Advanced Warfare disc. Sometimes the Xbox doesn't recognize the disc has been inserted. We'll then go to games/apps and select Advanced Warfare. It will pop up with a message that if we own the game we should insert the disc now. Duh. It's already in there! Sometimes ejecting the disc and putting it back fixes things. Many times it doesn't. The solution is a bit of a shot in the dark. This happens with a spotless clean disc so I'm confident it's not a dirty disc. Sometimes ejecting and reinserting the disc works. Sometimes rebooting the Xbox works. Sometimes putting the previous game's disc back in (or another game) waiting for it to be read and then swapping back to the intended game's disc works. We never know if it's going to act up or what will fix it. In Microsoft's defense I've done nothing to research solutions for this issue on my own. It doesn't happen often and when it does I simply just keep messing with things until it resolves.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Overall we love our Xbox One and have dealt with the minor bugs and annoyances we've encountered. Other than minor annoyances our two main complaints are the 500GB hard drive is just too small and the Kinect seems to have some quality control issues. Based on our experience and related research, the earlier versions of the Kinect sensor for the Xbox One seem to have issues with reliability. However, the one year warranty protects you and allows you to obtain a no cost replacement quickly and with little effort. (It sure beats plunking down another $150 to replace it out of pocket!) Should you be out of warranty Microsoft can offer repair or replacement on a defective connect at less than the cost of a new replacement.

We've put countless hours on our Xbox One and it's been an enjoyable experience for the most part. If you've been on the fence regarding the Xbox One I'd advise you to go ahead and make the purchase. My only piece of advice would be to purchase one of the newer versions with a larger 1TB hard drive if there isn't much difference in price. Otherwise plan on purchasing an external or portable USB hard drive within the first year. The other solution would be to resign yourself to deleting games you don't play often and reinstalling them later should you choose to play them.

.
.
Update 2/27/2015:
Just wanted to check in with another update on the Xbox one. (The full original review is posted above.) The replacement Kinect we received under warranty about 8-9 months ago is still working just fine. Not much has changed except for the fact that the storage capacity (or lack thereof) becomes ever more apparent the longer you own it.

In my opinion with the size of today's games they shouldn't even sell this thing with less than a full Terabyte of storage anymore. Over the past year alone game file sizes have gotten HUGE! 40-50 GB games with huge updates are the norm now and I'm sure things will continue to balloon. We've now got the Xbox One's 500 GB hardrive and a Toshiba 1TB External hard drive nearly full. We'll probably be upgrading yet again to a bigger external storage drive. If you're going to pay for external storage for this thing 1TB should be the minimum you consider. If your budget allows for 2TB or more I say go for it.

The good news is you can swap out multiple USB storage drives and/or use a USB hub with external USB drives attached. That seems sort of silly based on the price of the console. Swapping out the internal hard drive for a larger capacity drive is possible, but it isn't the easiest thing in the world. It also requires you to open your console and void your warranty. I haven't taken that route YET but it becomes more and more tempting as we keep running out of storage. I'd rather stuff a huge internal drive in it and be done. I guess the next best option is to get the biggest external hard drive my budget can accommodate and life with the solution.

The weird issue with discs not being recognized at first continues. The Xbox often refuses to identify a game disc. You can take the disc out, clean it so it is like new and it still won't recognize it. There are times when a disc has to be removed and reinserted many times. There are also times when the drive makes a horrible grinding noise when a disc is first inserted. Other times everything works fine without issue.

Thoughts on the Controller:
The original Xbox One controller just hasn't held up all that great. After some use I find them very noisy. I can't remember if they sounded like that when new but our controllers now have an annoying and cheap "clicky clack" sound. I think part of this is due to the design. The analog sticks (or at least the left analog stick) actually hits the controller shell. This is probably where a lot of the sound comes from. I'll try to get pictures when I think of it but it has actually chipped away and caused some jagged areas of plastic where the controller shell opening surrounds the stick. Again, I can't remember if this was a design flaw from new or if the controller has simply worn a bit and become sloppy. Never had this happen with even more prolonged use and abuse on our old Xbox 360 controllers.

Our second controller gets less use and has been having a weird problem lately where the right analog stick slowly drifts up. It's annoying and causes your character to sloooowly look up in first person games. I haven't updated the controller software to see if it helps but I doubt it will. Seems more likely to be a mechanical problem with the stick itself.

Overall the additional issues haven't soured my opinions too much. I don't think these issues warrant a full star reduction in my original 4 star rating.
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on September 12, 2014
I expected my PS4 to be my main console. I thought my Xbox One would serve as a back-up for exclusives only- things like Halo and Crackdown. I was wrong.

I love my PS4 and all. I hated the initial Microsoft announcement about the DRM, no disk sharing, online requirements, Kinect requirements, etc. And I purposely did not support Microsoft because of this. (In the end, I purchased a used Xbox One because I was still annoyed they even tried that garbage).

But this Xbox One console is fantastic. The 360 was my "main" console last generation and for good reasons: games, online connectivity, achievements, friends online, easy voice chat, parties, etc. In a way, I'm used to Microsoft. This one delivers much the way the 360 did, if you get past the initial garbage I talked about.

The graphics are great. Netflix looks much better on this than the 360. Titanfall, Madden, and all other cross-gen games look better. Next-gen exclusives like Forza 5 show how great the system really is. It's beautiful. It's not the leap we had last gen, but it's not really about that anymore.

The dashboard isn't as great, however. It feels cluttered. I can't press the Xbox button and see my friends and achievements without minimizing the game. But they're working on that.

The Kinect isn't necessary. I don't video chat or use the hand gestures much, but it's still cool. The only downside is I have a projector and it faces away from me so I use it only for voice chat. It's nice not having a microphone plugged in at all times when you feel like saying something to someone. However, your profile only logs in automatically when it reads your face unlike the 360, which you could set to log in to your account automatically.

The controller is great. I thought the PS4 controller was good, but this is much better. Even better than the 360, which is universally accepted as a great controller. The sticks are easier to grip and more precise. It fits better in your hand. The Xbox button is now located more north on the controller to avoid accidental pressings.

In terms of value, I find it to be great. One: deals with Gold. Titanfall was on sale for $25. Good deal. EA access allows you to play Madden 25, Fifa 14, Battlefield 4, and Need for Speed Rivals for only $5 a month. I'm not going to push EA Access on you, but I bought this console a month ago and have not purchased a game yet because of this great deal.

And, of course, games. Sure, the library is currently lacking and it may for some time. However, Halo Collection, new sports games, Call of Duty, Crackdown, and future Gears of War games will be coming. Expect a lot of exclusives in the future.

I love my new Xbox.

However, in terms of value, I find this to be amazing.
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on June 10, 2014
*** Key: ✔-Positive ✖-Negative ⓘ-Informational/Neutral ***

Admittedly, I sat there at E3 2013 watching Microsoft and Sony's press conferences thinking Sony had it in the bag. But since buying both consoles at launch, I barely turn on my PS4. The Xbox One is superb.

Experience:
✔ Beautiful, bright, and well-organized dashboard provides for an extremely pleasant experience every time you turn it on
✔ Seamless transition between gaming, apps (Hulu, Netflix, etc.), and cable TV changes the way you consume entertainment
✔ The voice commands have improved dramatically since launch. And trust me, it seems gimmicky at first... but you'll really appreciate the ability to turn the console on/off, raise/lower the volume, and switch between Hulu/Netflix/TV/Games when you lay down and realize you left the remote on the other side of the room.
✔ Graphics are beautiful; I can't tell the difference between Xbox One and PS4, but maybe I'm just not as perceptive as others
✔ Xbox live still feels like a much more cohesive and vibrant community than PSN, even in this next generation

Controller:
✔ Feels even better than the already great Xbox 360 controller
✔ Battery lasts a long time, especially when you use a play and charge kit
✖ I own 4 controllers. 2 of them feel like the seams on the side are offset the slightest bit... As if they just don't come together as well as they should.

Games:
ⓘ Realistically, most blockbuster games nowadays are released on both xbox and playstation. The meaningful differences come with console exclusives, which are a matter of preference. I will say though that I am very excited for Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Halo 5.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon November 23, 2013
This is better than I had expected. I picked up the Day One edition, but since that won't be sold anymore outright, seems pointless to review on that one since they're identical other than the words on the controller and the code for the achievement. I'd rather the review is useful on the one people will be buying moving forward.

Well packaged. MS is finally picking up some from Apple in how well they design the packaging and how they fit things into smaller spaces, like they did with the Surface.

There was a 500MB or so update to run as soon as it was hooked up, which I did at work before I got this home.

The initial setup was easy. Since I have a gold Live account, I just told it who I was and away it went. The only thing that threw me off was I had been used to the extra layer of security on the 360 so I had my "app password" all set to set this up, but apparently they did the security on the Xbox One so that if you're like me and have two level security enabled on your Live account, this doesn't need the app password but can use the actual Live account password, it just needed me to put in the additional verification code it texted to my phone.

I got it home, and since I'm keeping my other Xboxes, I found a spot for this in my cabinet. I have ATT Uverse, so I ran the Uverse box to the input here, and this to the receiver I use as my HDMI switcher as well as sound.

I had spent time the past week trying to find things in google searches about whether or not it would use the HDMI to command the cable box or if I'd need some IR blaster, but hadn't found anything. Fortunately, it's all HDMI.

You specify your TV type, and it tests to make sure it can control it if the TV supports that via HDMI. Same with a receiver and the cable box - it will try different controls until it succeeds and you say "Yep that worked." Then it's set.

The unit is nice and quiet. I have five Xboxes in the house, although I'm giving the oldest one away since I don't need more than three 360's for what we use them for here. The one I'm giving away is the original one from 2006, still running, never had a red ring of death, but sounds like an F-14 taking off from a carrier. The Elite was quieter, the Slim quieter still, and last month I bought a new 360 E so I'd have a 360 still in warranty for a while since we need to keep one for all the games we have. I thought that one was nice and quiet, but the XB One is even more silent. It's so nice to NOT have all that fan noise even at idle.

The Kinect is pretty amazing. I've enjoyed the first generation one since its release with my now 10 year old son, and thought they did an amazing job with that, but this one just blows it away. I like that I have Live accounts for both my son and I, and if I'm in the room when I turn on the xbox, it recognizes me and signs me in automatically (and you can enable/disable this feature BTW). If he's the one it sees, it signs him in. I tested with both of us there, and wanted to see if it would offer which one to sign in, but it simply signed us both in. Impressive.

Voice control - it's surprisingly effective for everything, my only irritation is with the guide. That's where I dinged a star off of it. Telling it who my provider was, my zip code, and it gave me a guide. But I'm not a fan of the guide, it takes up way too much room, leaving you with a very narrow window of things to view as far as channel lineups. I am looking to try to see if I can collapse it some, but so far I've had no luck. But I'm expecting there will be several revamps over the next few months with updates and patches since this is all new release.

My Harmony Touch remote works great with it, Logitech made sure they had the Xbox One as a device on launch day.

Since I use multiple devices for my things, I don't just use the "xbox on" or "xbox off" to turn it on and off, but it's been spot on for my testing, it never fails to turn on or off via voice. Navigating the menus with voice is just great, making things quick and easy to get to. Watching TV could use a few more commands though, such as "channel up" and such.

The controller is nice, feels great. I always preferred the Xbox controller to the other consoles I have, and this one is a nice next version of it - comfortable, positive feeling on the buttons and triggers, not heavy.

In the settings, there's a Kinect setting where you can click "what does Kinect see" and it changes through different view options. The night vision is amazingly effective in a dark room. I was impressed.

The only game I have so far is Battlefield 4, and it's a thing of beauty.

This does support surround sound for your cable box, but it's disabled by default, and turning it on under the settings it shows as "beta", since apparently they had a couple bugs with a couple specific cable boxes, but it works well for me with Uverse so far.

I like the interface, easy to navigate and while some people think it's more cluttered, I actually think it's the opposite. There's less things there to get at on the top level, which makes it more pleasant to navigate.

The Kinect doesn't move at all like the old version did, and the cable is MUCH thicker. Keep that in mind when you're figuring out where to place it. For now I have it in front of my TV, and I've preordered an "above the TV mount" for it so it'll be up there next to the 360's Kinect and out of the way.

Other than my dissatisfaction with the TV Guide and navigation of the guide with voice, I can't find anything at all that I felt disappointed about with this new system. Blu Ray playing software was a free download from the store, and there's apparently a service for XB Live members to stream videos for free, something along the lines of what I get from Amazon with my Prime membership (which also ties in well here).

I'm so fed up listening to the fan boys of each side argue about the PS4 vs. the XB One. I have a PS3 but I have it for only two games, Little Big Planet and Infamous. Everything else, I've always preferred to play on the Xbox or Wii, or now the Wii U. I'm not worried about which has higher specs, since if someone REALLY is concerned about that, they'd be building their own high end gaming PC anyway that would blow both of these out of the water. PS4 has some things better, but the XB One has some things that are better for me as well. Both have their place, and hopefully both keep forcing the other to innovate. The complaint about the Xbox being $100 more is offset when you get the camera setup for the PS4 and puts it right back at the same price anyway, so I don't care that the PS 4 cost less, because you GET less. I'd expect to pay more when I get more.

All told, this is just an amazing piece of technology. I don't know if I'm going to leave the Uverse running through it or not, since I don't know how important it is that I control that via voice. I don't watch that much TV, and most of what I watch I record and timeshift to watch later anyway, either for me or for my 10 year old.

But in every respect, this is a solid hit. Worth the money to me.
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on December 6, 2013
I ordered this on 12/3 and it arrived today 12/6. I was expecting to see the green box standard retail version but I was surprised to see the black day one version! It's for our son's Christmas present so we'll have to wait to see how he likes it. Five stars because its the day one version. Purchased the extended warranty for peace of mind in case there is a different red ring of death...
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on November 23, 2013
I'll start by saying that Xbox One is a console that has a lot of potential, and little of it is ready yet. I bought the standard edition on release night. I also bought Call of Duty Ghosts to go with it. I'll break my review down a little bit to talk about the good and bad things that I have noticed so far:

Kinect:

My first impression is that it is much larger than the original Kinect. The picture quality seems on par with my Samsung Smart TV camera, although it's nice that I can be much closer to the TV and still be seen. At first it wouldn't work with any games (for gestures). I had to go into the configuration settings several times before it finally pointed out that it couldn't identify my floor (I have very dark carpet). It allowed me to adjust where my floor was (by raising and lowering a virtual floor image) and then it worked. Movement is working ok at this point. Voice control is very hit and miss. I usually have to speak commands at least twice to get it to respond to my voice (and I speak and enunciate very clearly, and I don't have any sort of accent). It does not understand my wife at all no matter what. It's also pretty buggy as far as recognizing the people that are in the room. It will usually sign me in, and it sometimes will recognize my three-year-old daughter, but it never recognizes my wife. I always have to manually sign her in if we are switching profiles. My last gripe is that there is really no way to currently mount the new Kinect on top of the TV set as it's pictured in most advertisements. There is no official peripheral from Microsoft, and the only potential solution that may work is coming from PDP and is not yet released. I had to actually use tape to hold it on top of the TV (didn't want it below the TV because my kids would get at it).

Controller:

The new controller is also a little bit disappointing. It connects and responds just fine. It feels a little smaller in my hands than the 360 controller did. It definitely feels cheaper as well. The plastic that makes up the body of the controller is noticeably thinner and feels much less substantial. I'm pretty sure that it wouldn't take much to completely break it if someone accidentally stepped on it or dropped it on a hard floor (which I've done with my 360 controller with no adverse affects). The sticks themselves are noticeably smaller and have much less surface area than on the 360. I do like that there is more grip on the top of the stick, but I don't like that only half of my thumb fits on it when I'm using it (I have average sized medium hands). The sticks were much more comfortable on my 360 controller. The D-Pad is definitely more responsive, but has a loud annoying click when you press the buttons (which is intentional according to a recent developer video). I'd rather have a quiet controller, but this is my personal preference. Other than that, it works as expected.

Performance:

I'd have to say at this point that I'm really not getting a "next-gen" vibe from this console. Yes, the interface is different, but they could have done this with an update to the existing 360. They used a standard 5400 RPM hard drive inside, so loading times are just as long as they were on the 360. It switches Apps quickly, but then has to sit and load each one for a decent amount of time. It would have cost them about the same amount of money to put a 60 GB SSD in the console and then allow you to buy an external HD of your choice for larger games. This would have made the whole console a lot more responsive and would have felt a lot better. The only games that I've been able to play so far are Call of Duty Ghosts, Kinect Sports, and Killer Instinct. Call of Duty Ghosts looks identical to it's 360 counterpart. There is nothing that looks graphically better about it. I've seen other reviews that confirm that I am not the only one that feels this way about this particular game. In the same vein, Kinect Sports and Killer Instinct also look like they could run at the same quality on an existing Xbox 360. I am very much aware of the hardware that is inside of this console (I built a computer for a friend earlier this year that had similar components), so I have an idea of what it could potentially do. I also remember the first launch titles for the Xbox 360 and how bad they looked. I know that games will begin to look better on Xbox One as developers learn to get the most from the new hardware, however they haven't done much with it yet. And I also realize that I have not had a chance to test any of the other titles for the new console. I'll talk about that next.

Content:

This is the real subject that is upsetting me about the Xbox One. There is hardly any content to really jump into with this console. Yes, there are around 15 launch games, 90% of which will set you back at least $65. If you're a normal hard-working family man like me, there is no way that you can buy more than one or two of them in addition to the console's $500 price tag. They could have easily offset this problem in two ways. One is that they could have released some $10-$15 arcade titles to go with the console on launch day. There are zero arcade/indie type games on the Xbox One. There isn't even a section for them on the dashboard or in the store. Even Sony at least threw a couple of these in the mix with the new PS4. So it's really just crazy expensive games or nothing at this moment. It's a little bit hard to swallow after enjoying the pricing on Steam and on my iOS devices for the last few years. The second fix could have been with releasing a few demos of the new games to help get people excited about the potential better graphics and game diversity. There are ZERO demos on the Xbox One. In addition to the lack of content to play, there are only a small selection of Apps to try out on the console. We're talking about 30% of what is currently on the Xbox 360. This I don't understand at all. I realize that it takes a little bit of effort to build these Apps, but why weren't they here for Launch day? We're seeing that developers can make huge games in time for launch, but that other developers can't build a simple App? Essential Apps like HBO Go are nowhere to be found (although they are advertised as coming at some point). So instead of the Xbox One becoming the center of my entertainment experience, I constantly have to switch back to another device to enjoy content that should be on the Xbox One. What this basically boils down to is that I am mostly left twiddling my thumbs without much to do on my new console (and that's after a $600 investment to get a game and the system).

TV: TV is actually working ok. It was very easy to get the Xbox One to recognize my Samsung Smart TV and my Directv HD DVR receiver. I can easily pull up the guide and switch between content. You cannot currently control anything that has to do with DVR content, which I hope will be enhanced at some point.

Bottom Line:

The Bottom Line is that this console was clearly rushed out before it was ready. There is very little content, and essential content is not there. There are no little inexpensive games to fill the gaps. There are no demos to get a better idea of what this console can really do. The Kinect has yet to prove that its vastly superior to the original Kinect, and the controller feels a bit like a step back compared to the 360 controller.

With all of that said, these are mostly launch-window sorts of gripes. There is obviously more content coming, and hopefully some of it won't set me back $65 per purchase. I am also sure that some of these short-comings will be fixed with future updates. My review is mostly based on the lack of things to do with my new beauty and I'm sure that I'll be much happier with it in 6 months when I can do more with it.
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on September 21, 2014
Love it!
I really enjoy it for the multi-media stuff. The game are good and the price was worth it. Don't want kinect? Well, I don't know why, that is what sold it for me. I was a Play Station guy before this and probably won't go back.

In my opinion Xbox did it right.
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on November 27, 2015
I have had this thing for a few months now and I've only tried to play at about six or seven times. It is so frustrating and I end up turning it off every time because all it does is update. We never actually get to play because of all the updating it does it is ridiculous it is constantly restarting and updating. I tried calling Xbox and got nowhere their customer service is awful. I hate this thing and would not recommend to anyone.
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on March 14, 2015
This is the far superior next gen console and here is 15 reasons why:

1 The chat headset you get is a very nice headset and yes it is kinda annoying that you have to get adapters to use different ones but it is nice to get one at all.

2 The kinect is a nice touch and is unplugable which is something a lot of people have ask about you don't need it but why don't you just buy one without it if you don't want it

3 The amount of customization you can have right down to the tile transparency

4 The different styles of consoles you can get like advanced warfare and Titanfall and white

5 The amount of controllers you can have at once up to 18

6 The screen shots and clips which means you can document all your awesome game plays

7 The game DVR lets you recored up to 5 minutes and you can upload strait to YouTube

8 Smart glass app with store and clips and achievements and friends

9 The multimedia apps like Netflix and Hulu and Amazon video and Skype

10 The party's are much clearer and easier to access

11 The snap feature lets you do so much like listen to music while gaming or read live twitch comments

12 Yes, You read right you can live twitch stream and soon you will be able to live stream YouTube and all windows 10 devices

13 Cross platform gaming between Pc and Xbox one

14 The amount of exclusives that you can have like Sunset overdrive and Titanfall

15 The unlimited friends list

Let's keep going to 20

16 The multiple accounts that you can have and can be signed into using the kinect face and voice recognition

17 The sleek design of the console and controller

18 The ability to digitally pre order games up to a month before realease date

19 The digital upgrade deal where certain games and DLC like Cod aw and Minecraft and GTA which is if you buy the game digitally you can get it for next gen for free as well as DLC and STATS

20 The discount deal where if you have the game but can't upgrade for free you can get a extreme discount like Minecraft and state of decay

Over all this is amazing while there are downsides I still give it a 10
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