Xbox One review

The Xbox One is getting better with every firmware update

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The Xbox One wants to be the one system that handles all the entertainment in your living room. Movies, music and, of course, games, it's set up to do it all.

From streaming apps to cable integration to Microsoft's own services, the Xbox One certainly seems equipped to do it all. We're just glad Microsoft bit the bullet and put a 3D-enabled Blu-Ray drive in its system. The Xbox One also plays CDs, something the PlayStation 4 currently doesn't do. Still, can the Xbox One really handle the potentially backbreaking load of the living room?

Xbox One review

OneGuide and HDMI-in

The Xbox One can integrate external feeds thanks to an HDMI-in port. But unlike America, where this means an impressive integration of software and hardware, in Australia it simply becomes like switching your TV to another input.

Ultimately, OneGuide only works as a Freeview EPG and a navigation option for streaming apps. The OneGuide menu is accurate, but not fast. Scrolling quickly often gives you an empty menu that needs a few seconds before the listings pop in. If you only watch a few channels, the OneGuide's favorite list will serve you well, and if you're just want a "best of" option, Microsoft will start offering a curated list of content called "What's On."

Using Kinect commands with the OneGuide can also be a headache. While it easily understands page up or page down, telling it to go to specific channels can be rather inaccurate. It often tripped over all the different acronyms that make up station names, and sometimes struggled with something as simple as Comedy Central.

The Xbox One is also hit or miss with 5.1 sound integration. There's some extra configuration you have to work through, and while we were able to get it running, others have reported that it degrades sound quality, or just doesn't work at all. That part of the service is marked as in beta, so Microsoft is working on it.

Xbox One review

Lastly, while that HDMI-in is meant for TV, you can use it for anything with an HDMI port. Before you get too excited, we should tell you that it's slightly too laggy for gaming. Forget about playing Killzone: Shadow Fall or Super Mario 3D World via the Xbox One, it's a much better experience plugged directly into your TV.

Streaming apps

When consoles aren't playing games they're often streaming movies, either through Netflix, TenPlay or SBS On Demand. While it's still waiting on some key apps, the Xbox One wrangles that functionality by letting you search for programming across all your services, as well as your cable.

Xbox One review

This runs through the Bing search function. Either by typing or talking to Bing, you can ask it for, say, Breaking Bad. The search results show you all the places where you can see the sad saga of Walter White (which isn't the best example, as Stan has the streaming rights in Australia and Stan doesn't have an Xbox One app. Yet.)

For Australians, there are more apps missing than are present. While the Telstra TV has come out of the gate with a united streaming platform, on the Xbox One after two years you only get Netflix, SBS On Demand, Yahoo!7 Plus 7, TenPlay, Foxtel Play and Quickflix.

There are other quite a few global options, like Crunchyroll and Crackle, to name a few, but for Australians the lack of Stan and ABC iview means the PS4 definitely has the streaming edge here.

What about users who have their own media collection? The Xbox 360 offered users numerous services to stream movies and music from a local server to their system, but until now Xbox One gamers were forced into using the proprietary Microsoft media player app. Plex, a service similar to XBMC, will be the next generation of media center apps - and it's available only on the Xbox One starting in October.(Editor's note: We'll update this review once we've set up our own media server and tested the software.)

Xbox One review


Tech Specs

Product TypeGaming Console
Hard Drive Capacity500 GB
Processor ManufacturerAMD
Graphics Controller ManufacturerATI
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeBlu-ray Disc Player
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Product FamilyXbox One
Gaming Controller ConnectivityWireless
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
Brand NameMicrosoft
Input Device TypeGame Pad
Processor CoreOcta-core (8 Core)
Graphics Controller ModelRadeon
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Graphics Processor Speed853 MHz
Online NetworkXbox LIVE
ManufacturerMicrosoft Corporation
Product NameXbox One Gaming Console
Processor Speed1.60 GHz
Processor TypeJaguar
Product LineXbox One
Manufacturer Part NumberXBOXONE
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Be amazed.

Welcome to a new generation of games and entertainment. Where games push the boundaries of realism. And television obeys your every command. Where listening to music while playing a game is a snap. And you can jump from TV to movies to music to a game in an instant. Where your experience is custom tailored to you. And the entertainment you love is all in one place. Welcome to the all-in-one, Xbox One.