The Xbox One was revealed to the world last year just prior to E3 and was instantly panned worldwide because of the insane DRM and always online requirements. Thankfully, Microsoft woke up and removed their idiotic DRM and online requirements and the Xbox One was released in the US towards the end of last year.

XboxOne

And now it’s finally our turn to see a retail release of the Xbox One, 11 months late and in an incredibly strong PlayStation region. So should you buy one?

Well Microsoft were kind enough to send over a review unit a few weeks back and I’ve been spending all my spare time going through it with a fine tooth comb.

TV Functionality

X1Interface

Microsoft positioned the Xbox One as the one central media device that you are going to need in your lounge. You connect your DSTV/whatever set top box into the back of the Xbox One and then through the One Guide functionality you can view your television guide, set reminders and even record shows or pause live TV.

Except, well you can’t. Not in South Africa anyway. While I could connect my DSTV to the Xbox One and watch TV, all the extra functionality isn’t enabled via Multichoice so it really does become relatively pointless.

However, what you can still do which is cool is snap your sports show to the side and continue wreaking havoc across the universe in Destiny while still watching the game. It’s something fantastic for those of us who like the slower games like Test Cricket and Curling. But that is also a bit iffy. My DSTV continually stopped sending the picture through the Xbox One and eventually I got irritated enough to just plug the DSTV directly into the TV again.

Speaking about TVs though, the Xbox One has the ability to control your TV from the box, which means you can also control your TV’s volume via voice if you have chosen the Kinect version.

When I first connected it to my D:Sign 32” LCD though, the Xbox One simply couldn’t figure out what I had connected it to. However, when I swapped it out for a brand new Samsung LED TV it didn’t even need to ask me anything, it picked up the TV automatically and setup the voice commands without any hassles.

The fact that my TV now turns off when I say “Xbox Off” is an awesome little gimmick.

The Kinect

Kinect

So we’re moving on from what doesn’t really work well to what no one wants. I can imagine the Microsoft rep crying while reading this.

The Kinect version will cost you an extra R1700 over the base version and will offer you the great voice recognition, which actually picks up my bizarre hybrid UK/ZA accent pretty much every time. It also offers the ability to play Kinect games with the kids like bowling, climbing walls and dancing, the last being something you never want to see me do.

It’s not perfect and it does get the movements wrong still, but it is definitely a massive improvement over the last generation.

And by far the coolest feature enabled by the Kinect is that it will automatically log you in via the camera, so as you walk into the room the Xbox welcomes you and if someone else arrives who it recognises it will log them in instantly as well.

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It’s another little gimmick but for family gaming it really is cool.

But the Kinect is not only a gimmick. Many top end games like FIFA use the Kinect to recognise whether you as a gamer are getting upset and then the referee tells you off… and yeah that’s probably the most idiotic gimmick I’ve ever experienced.

However being more serious, I’ve already reviewed the Xbox Fitness app where the Kinect is indispensible and is amazingly good at monitoring your movements and can apparently even pick up things like your weight shifting and pulse. I saw the weight shifting on the screen but the pulse promise may be a little optimistic.

So should you get the Kinect version? Well yes, if the idea of spending an extra R1700 for a few cool features doesn’t put you off. Or if the wife or mom is helping buy it then the fitness app is likely to be an easy sell for them.

But what about the games?

Games

Well if I started with its gaming ability you would never have read about the TV or Kinect.

When the Xbox One released alongside the PlayStation 4, it became obvious that the Sony powerhouse was, well, more powerful than Microsoft’s new version. However, Microsoft has been working on fixing that and through the miracles of software they have managed to bring it up to speed with the PlayStation 4 and the most recent release, Destiny, is pretty much identical on both platforms.

That’s a good sign of things to come. No one wants a runaway winner in the console wars and now that Microsoft has come to realise gamers only really care about games things are looking good for us.

First up, every single game you play has to be installed onto the Xbox One, which is something both the current gen systems do and I absolutely despise it. I’ve installed around 12 games now and I’m on 83% full on my HDD. This is going to become a proper problem moving forward.

Once the games are installed the load times are pretty awesome but what you’ll very quickly notice is that the graphics are a huge improvement over the Xbox 360 and being in the first year of the Xbox One you can already tell we are going to have a fantastic couple of years in our future.

If you are holding back because you aren’t sure whether the new generation is worth jumping into then stop holding back, I hate having to go back to the PS3 or Xbox 360 after immersing myself in the Xbox One experience.

The Xbox One is launching locally with a solid back catalogue already including Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, Dead Rising, Battlefield, Ryse and many more. And with Sunset Overdrive coming soon and the next Call of Duty bringing some Xbox exclusives it really is a good time to get into Xbox gaming.

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The Controller

Controller

One of the best parts about the Xbox 360 was that controller. The Xbox 360 had easily the best gaming controller that had ever existed and the engineers at Redmond knew they would have to do something special to beat that.

And do something special they did. The Xbox One controller has evolved the Xbox 360 controller in every good way and hasn’t put a step wrong. The majority of the changes are small upgrades to the feel of the controller with the biggest new invention being the haptic feedback triggers.

The triggers give some force feedback in certain games which is something Forza uses in a decent way but is something I really hope developers put some extra love into as the generation moves forward.

I’m a massive fan of the PlayStation 4 controller and even said previously that it is one of the better controllers I’ve ever used. The Xbox One controller blitzed it though, I’m in love with this thing.

Online Services

The Xbox One online services continue to expand with great multiplayer match making, Xbox Music, Xbox Video (which is cheaper than iTunes) and a ton of applications that can be installed such as YouTube and Netflix.

But you still need to pay for the online gaming portion. Comparing Xbox’s offering to the absolutely incredible PSN+ it does feel like you are getting less than you expect for your money.

Installing Netflix, Hulu and YouTube on your Xbox One while utilising Xbox Video will easily give you enough non-gaming entertainment to keep you happy for years to come.

Trying to nutshell it

System

So the TV functionality works but can be iffy, the Kinect is far superior to the earlier version but it is unfortunately still under utilised and the Microsoft u-turn on it being mandatory will likely lead to fewer developers using it.

However, the games are excellent and easily on a par with the PS4 games (the latest games) and the controller is simply the best controller of the current, and any previous generations.

Just yesterday the R500 price difference between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 would have made me recommend the Xbox One over the PS4, however the PS4 price cut now negates that. With both of them being solid gaming machines and each offering unique multimedia applications, there really is very little between them now.

I don’t think there are enough games out to justify owning both consoles right now. So if you are already a lucky owner of a PlayStation 4 then you may want to hold off until the exclusives start rolling out and make a decision then.

However, if you were waiting for the Xbox One to release locally before making your decision you really are now at a cross roads. You won’t be disappointed with either but for me the controller has me leaning towards the Xbox One side. I also feel the Xbox One boasts the better exclusives list with Sunset Overdrive, Halo Guardians and Quantum Break at the moment.

Last Updated: September 22, 2014

Xbox One
Summary
One thing is absolutely sure though, the Xbox One is no longer the weaker cousin to the black beast from the East and if you get one for Christmas you are going to be ecstatic. Microsoft has pulled together a fantastic gaming platform for this generation
Rad

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

  • ReaperOfSquirrels

    Awesome review Gavin.

    My thoughts between the two. I’m actually still on the fence about which console is better… but I think it really comes down to the exclusives when people are choosing which to go for, and more people seem to favor the PlayStation ones. Then again, you get those people that have more money than they know what to do with and go out and get both consoles (which I wish I could do).

    Also the Xbox controller is so much better than the PS one… having played with the Xbone and PS4 controllers previously, I’d go Xbone just for that controller.

    • Admiral Chief 0

      Agreed, I had the Fawr controller hands-on a while ago, and it really feels uber cheap

  • Xcalibersa

    Most comments in the week coming up

    • 1whiteguy

      Click bait

  • Admiral Chief 0

    Don’t ask me why, but I think the Eierdoos is the “cooler” of the two new consoles

    • ReaperOfSquirrels

      Why? XD

      • Admiral Chief 0

        I dunno, maybe because it is the underdog

        • ReaperOfSquirrels

          I seriously like both consoles, but the real factor that’s pulling me to the PS4 is the amount of friends that have it.

          • *Inserts obligatory ‘You have friends?’ jibe *RUNS

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            I’m his friend! On Steam. :/

          • Are you? REALLY?! Are you?!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Yes, played Warframe. I HAD HIS BACK!

          • I’m sure you and pet OvG did…

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            I’m completely reliable in a co-op game. It’s the others that are a problem… for other people.

          • ReaperOfSquirrels

            Apparently I do… strangely enough.

          • Weanerdog

            You are his friend on Facebook.

        • Hammersteyn

          Then you must love the WIIU

          • Admiral Chief 0

            I loved that video where the WiiU was shot with a .50cal (I think)

          • Hammersteyn

            hahaha

  • OVGrounded new game+++

    Too late.
    The expensive PS4 library has been growing nicely during your absence.
    Sorry XBOX, I jumped ship but I still use my 360 to charge my E-Cig.

    Runs.

    • ReaperOfSquirrels

      No you won’t… Rince has it.

    • HAHAHAHAH!

      • OVGrounded new game+++

        O.K. I must be honest. Why the fcuk the Ps4 cannot play music, MP4, MP3, VLC files is beyond me.

        • Yeah. that is a real killer man. They keep rolling out updates for things like themes that no one fucking wants.

          • OVGrounded new game+++

            I think, this is my theory. They do not want you filling up the HD with your own non-SONY stuff when they could be making more money from one downloading shit from the SONY store. So they make sure the addicted hoarder has space.

            On-line shopping. Its like crack to some.

          • Yeah. That may be the case. They keep sidestepping the questions, wonder if they will do a 180 😛

          • OVGrounded new game+++

            Everybody does 180s when they get too big for their boots. Next gen, Microsoft will be large and in-charge. Its the usual cycle.

          • Xcalibersa

            And Sega’s turn

          • OVGrounded new game+++

            They could have run with Bayonetta 2.

        • Marc O Polo

          i agree in theory it should be able to but i must admit i’ve never used my PS3 or xbox360 to play music so i really wont miss it

    • Norm (@e3zype3zy)

      HAHA!

    • Hammersteyn

      Expensive or extensive?

      • Treezle

        both! Games are flippin expensive lately…

  • Gavin tell us a bit about the music playing? Can you play a tune while playing like the Xbox360? Sony need to sort their shit out with this.

  • Xcalibersa

    Not really a review, more of an advert

    • Hey! Gavin has to pay the lawyer’s fees somehow! 😛

      • Xcalibersa

        lol

    • Brady miaau

      How so? Seems in line with other reviews I have read.

      an Advert would not criticise like he did, but gloss over the “bad” bits.

      • Xcalibersa

        “However, the games are excellent and easily on a par with the PS4 games (the latest games) ” and using destiny as the example. The game is locked at xx fps. Not really a good measure.

        Plus other stuff mentioned. Not really a good review. Seemed bias.

        • Fair comment, I don’t do the indepth technical reviews mainly because I honestly don’t care.

          I played a ton of games on the PS4 and Xbox One and to me they both performed great.

          • Brady miaau

            As I see it. I do not care. Is it fun?

  • Norm (@e3zype3zy)

    Great review.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Cool. I always thought it was a decent piece of tech, it was just their retarded launch debacle which damaged it so much. So it all boils down to the games, which is how it should be.

  • OVGrounded new game+++

    For the people in this 1st 3rd world country. The people who do not have Internet, move around allot…
    Does the XBOX ONE require a MANDATORY day one activation to play your videogames off-line?

    The PS4 games worked just fine in the out of box console with NO internet.

    • Good point. Gavin failed to mention that.

      • My one had a mandatory day one update… not sure the retail versions have the same problem..

        will try find out

    • Tauriq Moosa

      I installed and played everything offline initially. However, you will more than likely need to be connected the first time you use the console to download updates. You can’t use the machine at all until you’ve downloaded the update.

  • So the Xbone gets a RAD so that when E3 or Gamescom comes up xbox will look kindly at sponsoring the trip trolololol

    • Xcalibersa

      Correct.

  • Jedi Consular Kromas

    Is this what they mean when they say “We are going green” ? 😛

  • cookiemonster

    Yeah I too want to know, do we need to be connected to have this tech work?

    • no, there is a day one patch but after that you can plan online

  • Brady miaau

    Microsoft as a company are an enigma to me.

    I have a lot of IT exp in various fields. MS Exchange server, year 2000, was seriously a cut above anything else out there. I used GroupWise and LotusNotes and it was just streets ahead. Then they had their file server, SMB protocol and It was so slow I seriously considered getting some Solaris boxes to act as File Servers for the domain, but keep Exchange. One good, one bad. How?

    Windows phone 8 is a technical masterpiece, from my own exp and from reading in depth articles on the net. It does a lot with minimum hardware. But it is not in wide spread use. There is a bad perception of the company, which I believe is well deserved. They have made more “bad” products than good ,for my money, over the years, but some of their “good” products are very, very, very good. Excel anyone?

    As to this console, I strongly suspect it is technically well done. I have looked into the PS4 is more powerful issue and essentially dismissed it as not being relevant to me and my purposes with the Xbox One. I will get one, with a kinect, sometime between now and middle next year. I can see this adding value to my home, multimedia system and DVD player, all in one.

    BUT the Xbox One, like some of their other products, seems to lack appeal and comes across as dry and boring.

  • But on a honest note : Ive had both since launch and PS4 over powers Xbone and Xbone over powers Ps4 in certain areas , i would say Xbone might lose here in SA because of the launch time , If the 2 were launched in SA at the same time there would be still competition here but almost a year after the PS4 launch Xbone will still remain the baby in the Current Gen wars in SA.

    The other bugger-up is because of the launch delay gaming shops are not going to make a hefty profit on the current games list available for Xbone, You can buy the game now digitally and it would cost less than if you had to buy it from BT or Look and Listen ect , so that puts them at a disadvantage as well which doesn’t do justice

  • Labey-Kun

    Have been waiting so long for the Xbox One to arrive in SA, Fighting off the temptations on buying the PS4, my patients has rewarded me.

    • Hammersteyn

      Patience level = Jedi

    • Xcalibersa

      with?

  • MakeItLegal

    cant freaking wait to use this controller with fifa 15 , just cant wait !

    again R6000 is too much considering how “dated the system is ” and the price of games , i have 25 games in my steam library ( cost less than $60 for the whole lot ) besides my other games (AC series , BF4 , far cry etc etc )

    for me , being trapped in an eco sytem and being forced to rebuy stuff ( controllers , games ) is what puts me off

    • Gareth L (That eXCheez Guy)

      That’s nothing. Try using a Mac.

      • MakeItLegal

        lol !!! thats funny

  • MakeItLegal

    so dstv have done NOTHING about talking to MS , to get their dstv to work with the thing ? its like VODACOM’s 2007 prices for 2014 (data prices R2 a mb out of bundle) people are seriously missing out on co-branding opps

    i can see the dstv ad now “dont have an explorer but have a bone ? we got u covered baby ” but no shitty south African companies cant see past next week

    DSTV wake the F up , this is great opp for u …twats

    • Xcalibersa

      How is it so? DSTv have enough software issues and no one is going to get DSTv just to watch it on the bone.

      • MakeItLegal

        how so ? i am south african , who has dstv , do i get the bone or the ps4 for my kids ? oh i see the bone and dstv play nice , and record my shows ? no brainer

        • Xcalibersa

          How so again. How does dstv profit of this to invest money into making software?

          • MakeItLegal

            well , when people are playing bone and watching tv same time , they still get to through their overly loud adverts down your throat

            win win

          • Xcalibersa

            Sure,

          • MakeItLegal

            i am studying marketing , and it seems a huge missed opp for dstv to not have seen this comming … then again bee does wonders for telkom , eskom etc etc real lack of foresight here

          • Brady miaau

            I agree with you there

          • MakeItLegal

            thank u , just a huge opp thats missed , maybe they play catch up , most likely not

          • Xcalibersa

            Get a grip and study something real

          • MakeItLegal

            like ?

          • Brady miaau

            Seriously? Differences are important and all that

        • Brady miaau

          Does it record your DSTV shows? Not so sure about that

          • MakeItLegal

            i am pretty sure i read it does record or atleast let u know when the show is coming up

          • Brady miaau

            Like Media Centre, if you bother to install on computer, and run DSTV through that. That might be nice. I do not have a PVR system, nor do I want to buy one. Waste money, I feel. But if it can be Xbox or PS$, then is a great bonus

          • MakeItLegal

            my point is that dstv lack forsight and should of planned this better

      • MakeItLegal

        more to the point , dstv and ms could run adverts together , both get exposure , and its another selling point in a sony dominated territory

        • Xcalibersa

          Again, No one is going to get DSTv just to run it through. It does not benefit them. They have a complete monopoly

          • MakeItLegal

            the point is if they work in tandem , then the decsion to purchase becomes easier , if i still had craptv , i would lean towards the bone simply because of integration , but that ship has sailed

  • L337J1MB0B

    So according to you the X1 has the better lineup of exclusives, and then you mentioned 3 as of yet unreleased titles to support this view? Is there a time travel feature on the X1 which I wasn’t aware of?

    • Xcalibersa

      Money talks

    • When we are about to drop R6k on a console I’m looking at the next 12-18 months at least

      • L337J1MB0B

        If I’m reading a review about a new costly R6k console which I’m considering buying, then I want to know about what I can expect from it now if I were to buy it, not the possibility of some games which are coming out next year which may possibly be good. What if Sunset Overdrive, new Halo, and Quantum Break end up being pants? I don’t really understand how one can factor in future release titles into a review of a console. The word review means to look at something retrospectively. Sure, if there are some good looking titles coming up, it may be worth a mention, but you’ve listed it as one of the 2 reasons why you think the X1 is the better option at the moment.

        • Brady miaau

          Rationalisation of the purchase?

  • Great Review! Loved that you were non-biased in your review

  • L337J1MB0B

    No DSTV channel integration huh.. not much has changed then, South Africans remain second rate citizens to MS. I thought the whole point of delaying the thing by a year was to ensure the it could get properly localized in each country.

  • Trebzz

    Glad you guys didn’t put a score towards it as it’s difficult to do that with consoles and so on. I wish I could gets XOne right now but sadly it’s gonna have to wait and to those getting it tomorrow enjoy it.

    • Yeah we avoid scores for hardware, it’s virtually impossible to do.

  • Ricardo Harvey

    QUESTION: How does the XboxOne UI feel compared to ps4? Coming from a xbox360 I find the ps4 UI ridiculously slow and cumbersome.

    • Honestly I’ve always found the PS UI to be clunky.. the new Xbox One UI is very much like Windows 8.

      It works but it’s not my favourite.

  • crizz1066

    Interesting review, thou with M$ pulling the China launch till end of the year, the rumour being its because of low numbers again like Japan. So to avoid another embarrassment they pulled it. If the rumours not true, why are M$ being so quite??? This make the X1 look like an even worse machine so are people really at the cross roads??? News about the new COD shows that PS4 will be higher res again. Showing that the X1 is still weaker cousin of the beast from the east.

  • Uberutang

    Once they release a wireless xbone for pc controller I will get that. (just the controller)

    • MakeItLegal

      it baffles me that the 360 revicer i have for pc wont work with the one controller ? makes no sense right , dont really want cables everywhere while i game

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    Apparently the xboner controller is better than the PS4 controller, but guys… that still means the xboner controller is attached to an xboner… ugh!

  • DrKiller

    You mentioned “installing Netflix/Hulu”…

    Can you do that? I remember late last year Microsoft changed something weird that could detect that we are not in UK as our account suggests so I was unable to install apps meant for only UK etc.

    Also, I’m assuming Unotelly or some sort of DNS is still required?

    • Yeah I use Unotelly, can’t speak highly enough of their services..

      Watching Netflix while typing this actually

      • DrKiller

        I hate you.. I’ll be really honest… You can watch Netflix at 16:26 in the afternoon, while I am forced to listen to “offline” music at the same time 🙁 I wish I could carry my own internet to work every day

        Thanks for the info though 🙂

  • Brian Murphy

    “One thing is absolutely sure though, the Xbox One is no longer the weaker cousin to the black beast from the East.”

    Going by the specs, that’s false. It is a weaker machine. May be fun, but there’s no reason to lie about it GAvin.

    • It’s not all about specs though, the iPhone is faster than the Galaxy but the Galaxy has higher specs… the PS3 was more powerful than the Xbox 360 but didn’t show it for YEARS…

      • Xcalibersa

        http://www.videogamer.com/xboxone/lords_of_the_fallen/news/lords_of_the_fallen_is_900p_on_xbox_one_1080p_on_ps4.html

        A new game showing that there is no difference in the consoles like you say.

        900p – xbox
        1080p – ps

      • Brian Murphy

        That’s nice…let me know when those two analogies start to bear _any_ resemblance to this generation, ala, XB1 games on par or outperforming their PS4 counterparts. It’s an inept analogy, because there are no resemblances. From the hardware, to the ease of programming, to the sales, to the consumer feedback there are literally none.

        You can’t just take the last generation as a consistent measure of the present. When you do, you end up with faulty conclusions. Look at VGChartz, as a prime example. Their name has plummeted this gen due to hugely flawed numbers (they’re doing better of late). But why? Because they were basing their predictions, in part, off of last gens numbers.

  • Sageville

    Nice review Gavvypoo!

  • 1whiteguy

    Who reviews something almost a year later….!?!

    • Brady miaau

      Someone who knows MS only release the product today in the market the review was written in?

  • Karl Roomaney

    Let the gamers unite in a new world of gaming 😀

  • The S1im Reaper

    I love how you talk so much crap about the DRM policies when this will be the standard for all platforms in a few years. But lets all keep pretending like this is some diabolical plot created by Microsoft

    • Hey just because it’s being forced on us doesn’t mean we have to like it

    • Brian Murphy

      Whether created by Microsoft or not, it’s a narrative they first attempted to introduce this gen, for home consoles, and are continuing to do so now in China (yes, the XB1 will have serious layers of DRM in China). Yes, I know, China piracy r bad. Guess what, they’re going to do it anyway. If the PS3 is anything to go by, no matter what Microsoft (or Sony) or any developer does to curb this, won’t work.

      Much like the music and movie industry, the games industry is consistently behind the times with regards to copyright protection, and they have no hope of ever curtailing it.

  • fred

    Sounds like a good console , but Uncharted and Bloodborne would still have me rather pick up the other option if I had to choose. They had to price it better at this stage to have more folk jumping in.

  • Lardus-Resident Perve

    As developers get better using the console, the quality of the games will improve. But the same should go for PS4 eventually. Time will tell. Controller is a big plus for the XBone, and all the non-gaming software/utility is miles ahead of the PS4. Still in two minds at this moment.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    My thoughts on the Boner: It’s kind of like Grace Mugabe’s PhD. In the long run, no one really cares – except for a few die-hards who reallly.. really… really want another xbox.

  • Karl Roomaney

    When budget allows me to I will have one

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