Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great console-- at least, it will be someday, May 1, 2014
This review is from: Xbox One Console - Titanfall + Kinect (Video Game)
My opinion about the Xbox One has been nothing short of a roller coaster. When I first heard that Microsoft was announcing the next Xbox console, I of course was stoked. Then there was the DRM disaster and I hated it. Then they lifted it and I loved it again. Next, the hefty price and "inferior" technology (compared to PS4 and PCs anyway) made me rethink my decision to purchase the console. Finally, after they announced the Titanfall bundle (and a $50 temporary price drop which I took advantage of), I decided to go ahead and give this console a shot as Microsoft was clearly really trying to interest gamers to come experience their "next-gen" console. And although I do really like it, more than I thought, there are some SERIOUS issues which are keeping me from loving it.

First off, with this bundle you get:
The Xbox One console
Kinect Sensor
Titanfall game download
Wired Headset
Power Cord + Brick
HDMI cable
A month and a half of Xbox Live (1-month trial plus a 14-day trial)

The Xbox One is bulky and almost awkward looking at first. But the sleek, black design should blend seamlessly into any entertainment system setup. The kinect is also much more bulky than it's predecessor, but is also of much better quality overall. The controller is very nice, but I won't get too much into it. The headset is what you probably would expect- kinda cheap and flimsy but it works. It does feel a little more sturdy than the 360 standard headsets, which is definitely good. I'm very glad an HDMI cable is included and all HDMI devices should start doing this.

Anyway, what really matters is how the console works, or more specifically, how it plays. Setup is fairly simple and the on-screen instructions guide you very easily. If you already have a 360/Live account, the setup will be a breeze. The Home screen (or dashboard) looks a lot like Windows 8, which should be obvious. You have all your necessary tiles laid out in front of you, such as your profile, friends, messages, notifications, what's in the disc drive, and your most recent app(s). To the left, you have your Pins, which work like the 360 did. You can customize this section to display whatever apps you like. To the right of the Home screen is the Store, where you can buy games, movies, music, apps and whatnot. This is all great, but how does it play games?

I currently have both Titanfall and Call of Duty: Ghosts. They both take a large amount of time to install, despite one being a download and one being a disc. After roughly 20-30 minutes, I was able to play. The graphics look good. Not jaw-dropping, but I'm not really expecting that in the beginning of the One's lifespan. Everything seems really fluid, I can connect to games very quickly and there is no choppiness. "Snapping" apps or running the games in the background seems clumsy, but it works if you really want to do it.

What DOESN'T work very well, is how stable the console runs overall. I've had various incidents where my Xbox will return to the home screen mid-game and I'd have to reboot Call of Duty. A number of times when I've tried snapping an app or returning Home during a game, my entire console would "freeze" in the sense that I could see my game still running normally, but the console would not recognize any controller inputs OR voice inputs. I'm forced to either sit and wait for it to unfreeze after about 3-5 minutes, or restart my console. The party and communications system seems VERY wonky right now as well. Joining someone's game only works about 75% of the time, which is not acceptable. I'll usually need various invites from a friend before accepting the invite actually makes me join the game or party. Even when I do join, there seems to be a few instances where none of my friends can hear me, even though my "chat" icon is lighting up. The only way to fix this is to restart the console.

A big complaint I have is that joining games, inviting friends, and sending messages is just extremely tedious and frustrating, when the 360 already did it right. Because there's no "guide", the previous actions all have to be done through the Xbox's home screen. So if you would like to send a direct message, invite, or Party invite to a friend, you must first return to the Home screen, then proceed to the appropriate app. Yes, if you want to send a message in-game, you must switch to a totally separate app to do so. Why can't the message menu interface pop up over the game like the 360 has been doing for years? It feels really sloppy and I hope they fix this soon.

I'm going to be extending this review as I become more accustomed to my One, but my overall verdict is that this console has a lot of potential, but feels very rushed and disorganized. Seeing as there's few to none must-have games right now, it may be a good idea to wait a bit still before buying, unless you come across another good deal.

Update 1: I've now had my Xbox One for a little over 2 weeks and have discovered some more cool features, as well as some more issues.

The Good:
-Big name apps, such as Netflix and Hulu, work and look great, with integrated voice commands
-OneDrive allows you to share files between your Xbox and pretty much any device capable of using OneDrive.
-Face Recognition allows you to sign into your profile without even turning on a controller, even in the dark
-Xbox Music and Xbox Video allow you to stream media from your PC straight to your Xbox
-The Game DVR lets you record exciting moments in any game, which you can then edit or publish later
-External Harddrive support is coming soon, something I don't think the PS4 offers
-Games that are digitally downloaded can be played at anytime, from anywhere on the Xbox without a disc. Just say "Xbox go to [game]"
-The Xbox One is about 20x quieter than the 360.
-It includes Internet Explorer for full screen browsing on your TV. Runs really fluid too.

The Bad:
-The controller does not include a built-in rechargeable battery (Unlike the PS4 and Wii U). My controller went through the 2 included Duracell-brand batteries in about a week and a half of medium-gaming. A rechargeable battery kit has to be purchased for about $25.
-When the voice commands work, they work well. However, that's only about 70% of the time. You'll probably find yourself yelling "Xbox Go Back. No, not SNAP, GO BACK. XBOX GO BACK!"
-Avatars from the 360 are still there, but they aren't. I don't think I've seen my avatar once, except for the one time I went to see what the Avatar App was about.
-As noted in the tiny fine print, the 500GB harddrive is not REALLY 500GB. You'll actually have around 320GB to use for your personal storage. Which brings me to my next point...
-There's no true storage-management system. You can view what's installed on your Xbox, you can see how much space you have left... but that's about it. You can't see how much space an individual app is taking up. You can't copy, paste, or move files. Microsoft claims that it's just part of Xbox's "smart" memory capabilities, or something along those lines.
-When you snap Internet Explorer, maybe to look something up in between game matches or during a movie, it gets very sloppy. The browser is squeezed into a very tall, skinny column on the right hand side of the screen and browsing in it is nothing less than a joke. It's there, but not very well.

The Ugly:
-Freezing. Why does my Xbox freeze so often? Microsoft touted the 8GB of ram and octa-core processor, yet going Home while my game loads causes the console to lockup for a full minute or two?? Still unacceptable and needs to be addressed asap.
-Lagging and hesitation. When the Xbox doesn't freeze, it still might drag. Again, while playing a game and switching to another app, it seems to take ages to load, and then when it does, navigating is all choppy. If my Xbox can't handle going to Settings with a game running in the background, then clearly the "multi-tasking features" were rushed and not ready for use.
-All games MUST be installed, regardless if it is disc-based or digitally downloaded. I can see why they did this, for the quicker load times and ability to run them in the background, but with a 320GB harddrive and 20GB+ game sizes, this is just screaming to be criticized. I own just 2 games, and have had my Xbox for just over 2 weeks. My One is indicating that my harddrive is already 20% filled! 1/5 of the harddrive, in 15 days. Can I only have roughly 10 games before I must either delete some or buy an external harddrive? And if I want to download movies and music... forget about it.
-Joining friends is such a pain!! Accepting invites NEVER seems to work from the Home screen. I must already have the game up and running for it to work. And if I miss the invite, I must RETURN to the home screen, go to notifications, find the invite, and then launch it. When I don't get an invite, it's even worse. When I want to join a friend's Call of Duty or Titanfall match, I must first be in the game (because it seems to stutter if it's not already running), then I must go Home, go to Friends, find my friend, wait for their details to load, go to Join, then select Join Game. Then, the game will take full screen and the join process will initiate. Absolutely ridiculous.

I still like my One. Being able to turn on my Xbox, start up Netflix, watch a movie, Pause it, Play it, Fast forward, then turn it off afterwards without ever picking up a controller is awesome. Recording awesome game moments with just a quick voice command is super cool. Face recognition is really nifty. But as I stated, there still is a TON of work that needs to be done. Hopefully Microsoft can get their act together and realize this console is essentially not finished and lacking features their previous console has had. I still stand by my statement as of now, that you should wait before picking up an Xbox One.

Update 2: (5/8/14) I have now had my Xbox One for 3 full weeks and have had much more time to play around with all the features. I want to start off this update by saying that while my complaints are still valid and the problems are still occurring, it seems that a majority of them are caused by Call of Duty: Ghosts. The freezing, lagging, random restarting, and voice issues MOSTLY happen with Ghosts, though they have occasionally occurred while playing Titanfall. That being said, I should probably hold Infinity Ward/Activision accountable for the issues. HOWEVER... seeing how Ghosts was a Xbox One launch title AND heavily advertised as being a "true next-gen Call of Duty", these problems are NOT excusable, especially when you're a AAA company and the game has been out for 7 MONTHS. Not to mention that Call of Duty seems closer and closer to becoming an Xbox exclusive with each iteration. Anyway...

I'm not going to reiterate the same problems I've already stated, but I haven't really found a way to improve any of them. Some new issues I'm discovering are:
-Random, EXTREMELY VAGUE errors. Seriously. When a video won't load and I get "We're not sure what happened." or disconnected from a game with a "Something went wron" message and NOTHING ELSE, it's just adding insult to injury. I actually thought the error message was a joke at first. It seems really unprofessional and they don't even give you a simple troubleshooting tip such as "Try restarting your console" or "The servers may be under maintenance".
-Streaming videos/music to the Xbox are still there, but it's a downgrade. Instead of going to the Videos or Music section of the Xbox, choosing my PC, then selecting the video (what the 360 did) I must go to my PC (which for many people may be in a different room) right click the video, select "Play to: Xbox One", then head back to my TV to make sure the stream is working. Which, in many cases, I just get an "unexpected error has occurred" message and I have to keep re-trying the stream until it hopefully works. Meanwhile, my 360 continues to play files flawlessly.
-Kind of building off the previous issue, playing your own music in-game is still here, but ALSO downgraded. Remember how I said EVERYTHING is now an app? Well, if you wanna listen to your songs during a game, you MUST snap the Xbox Music app and KEEP IT SNAPPED during your game. Really Microsoft? THIS is next-gen?
-Voice commands seem to be... degrading. Maybe this is an isolated case for me, but I now find myself repeating commands MUCH more than when I first tried my One.

As far as positive things go... I don't want to sound like a miserable old man and say nothing but criticism but... I haven't really discovered anything new that I like in the past week. There is a new update on the horizon that is supposedly audio-focused that may improve my gripes about communication and parties, so maybe that will give me some new positive things to talk about. Oh, there is something neat that Microsoft did. You can set your Xbox One to be your "home console". Basically, if you have an Xbox Live Gold membership on a profile that's on your home console, EVERY other profile on that console can share some of the Gold benefits. This includes apps like Hulu and Netflix (which shouldn't require a membership in the first place but I digress) Skype calling, DLC, and yes.. multiplayer gaming. This is something that's actually a GREAT step in the right direction. Since the One is being advertised as the all-in-one entertainment console and targeted toward living-room gaming, it only makes sense to give the whole family Gold benefits with one membership. Hopefully we see more pro-consumer additions like this in the future.
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