So part one covered the outside pieces of the Xbox One but I purposely saved part 2 just for the console itself. So if you read all of the first installment and came back for round two your patience is going to be rewarded here.
Straight out of the box it is clear the Xbox One is supposed to look much more sophisticated than its predecessor. It is all black with some high gloss definition. It screams maturity when compared with the plastic look of the 360. 360 looks like a Hanna Barbera cartoon compared to the Xbox One’s Pixar feature. This is a general complaint though; on the front of the Xbox One is a sticker proclaiming that it is HDMI compatible. This isn’t necessarily Microsoft’s fault since every piece of electronic equipment you purchase now has a sticker on it touting the same shit that is on the box it comes in. Is it supposed to be reassuring to the purchaser that the box, the salesman, a website and the back of the equipment isn’t fibbing? How about saving a few cents and getting rid of this idiotic practice.
As I said in the first installment the box for the Xbox One was pretty heavy for a piece of electronics. It wasn’t on par with a receiver or a DLP television but it bears repeating. Once the console peripherals were out of the box the console still came out on the heavy side. At first it seemed like it was way larger than the 360. So, since I had to rearrange the equipment on the stand it seemed like a ripe time to compare the two.
The Xbox One is wider than the 360 but the actual depth was comparable. It was also clear form comparing the two that the Xbox One was clearly heavier. I suppose a system of the future has to weight more since it is being sold as a system that does more. One obvious issue with the console though is there is no defined area for ventilation. The 360 had a very clear area on the back of the system for air dispersal but the Xbox One concealed it nicely. It is worked in to the design as to not stand out but then it is in the back of the unit so who cares?
It may keep out dust better this way but it is an electronic device after all. It is bound to happen. It brings up a cleaning issue as well. If it accumulates too much dust and whatever else will a standard canned air product be able to spruce things up? Also, after all of the overheating issues with the 360 not seeing clear air ducts and a fan is rather concerning. It is basically an immediate red flag to start saving up for a replacement console.
It was now time to set this thing up and get to discovering just what this thing can do. One trend that I am absolutely in favor of and one that was continued with the Xbox One is that it came with a HDMI cable. Anyone else remember when these things used to cost upward of $80.00 for a 6 foot HDMI? Wow, 2010 seems so far in the past. It seems to be a small gesture but imagine how awful it would have been to pen the box, unpack everything only to find there is no HDMI and not have an extra one around the living quarters? So kudos to Microsoft for including it and making sure you can play this straight out of the box.
Set up was a snap. If you have basic comprehension skills the set up should take all of five minutes. You take the plugs wires and cables that appear to match and place them in the outlets that appear to match. If this is too difficult then you really don’t need to own or operate one of these.
The only issue I came across was the placement of the Kinect. It sat on top of my television snugly but seeing how everything, Kinect included, will be expensive to replace and my proclivity to stumble around drunk it didn’t seem a wise choice. So it rests on top of the center channel of my surround system until I can purchase a shelf and over it to a better position.
It was clear that the Xbox One was powered up and ready to go as the Kinect sensor light, disguised as the Xbox Emblem glowed white and there was a faint hint of red coming from the sensor. I decided to turn the system on the old fashion way and used the controller. Much to my surprise the console fired up immediately. Of course it did so and went directly to an update screen. This was pretty annoying. After all this time to finally get the console and get moving there was a crumby update. Now the update was a relatively small size but it did seem to take quite a while. It could have been my internet connection seeing as how I have Time Warner cable but I have the system hard wired. It seemed to take much too long much, too long for a hard wired connection to download the update.
After the update finished downloading the update the console restarted as it said it would and then the setup begins. I got the usual questions for time zone, name and all that hooka. One difference is that I had to sign in with my Microsoft ID instead of my Xbox Live account and gamertag. After all of the password and names and emails are entered the home screen showed up immediately and everything was available. I mean immediately. Unlike the 360 which took a decent amount of time to fire up and eventually get in to the home screen, the Xbox One was near immediate. This is absolutely impressive. It continues to impress every time I turn the system on, but by voice activation now.
One advantage of using your Microsoft account is that everything is saved. Once the Xbox One was up and running it automatically signed me in to whatever app I had downloaded either on the 360 or on Windows 8. Microsoft has seamlessly integrated their platforms. You don’t have to log in to each app if you have it somewhere saved or at one time built in their network. It is a great feature to have if you are lazy or if you have so many different log-ins and passwords.
The menu is a bit different this time around and the features on the console are abundant. One of the features that has been so present in the advertising is the voice recognition software through the Kinect. At first I was skeptical and a bit reluctant to use it since the original plan for the Kinect was that it was always going to be turned on and reading if someone was there to turn the system on. Microsoft dumped that idea but the microphone still works. After a quick set up in the, surprise, settings menu the Kinect works as a wonderful voice controller. Through the Kinect you can tell it to bring up apps, play games, pause music videos and even your game. It is pretty damn sweet. All you have to do is say Xbox and then follow it with a phrase that it recognizes. As a help here are some commands it does not recognize.
- Xbox, eat my balls.
- Xbox, go fuck yourself.
- Xbox, bring me the head of a fat girl.
- Xbox, eat a bag of dicks.
- Xbox, my beer is empty. (Yes this isn’t a command but whatever)
- Xbox, Ohio State and Clemson are hilariously overrated. (Again, not a command)
- Xbox, kill the Jews.
- Xbox, Itunes.
- Xbox, bring me the head of Bill Gates.
- Xbox, cure pancreatic cancer.
Setting up the Kinect for voice is pretty easy but the real treat is setting up the visual element. The Kinect will actually recognize you, the person and associate it with you gamertag. This seems pretty useless but when you return to the console it will recognize you on site and automatically log in to your Xbox Live account if you do not have it set to automatically keep you signed in. It is a handy gimmick to have if you have multiple accounts or users for the machine.
The really incredible part of the Xbox One console so far has been the speed. When pulling from one app to the other or snapping in between apps or multitasking between apps and games there is little to no wait. The machine was made for multitasking and, ugh here it comes, how the future of communication and entertainment is going to play out. If you look at any sort of news organizations programming the screens are jammed with information on every corner and barrier of the screen. The Xbox One allows the user to recreate this at their own will. It be a visual feast or as simplistic as a Bob Ross painting. It all depends on the user.
Next up in part three I will highlight some of the negatives of the system along with more positives and a slight game review. So stop back tomorrow. -Jeremy
Filed under: Jeremy's Blog, Video Game Reviews | Tagged: Bill Gates, Bob Ross, DLP, Hanna Barbera, HDMI, Itunes, Kinect, Microsoft, Pixar, Time Warner Cable, Windows 8, Xbox 360, Xbox Live, Xbox One |