Microsoft Xbox One Review

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There’s a lot to like about the Xbox One, coupled with some glaring problems in functionality.

I’m a long time Xbox fan, but early announcements about features like no backwards compatibility, always on internet, requiring Kinect had me skeptical, and a lack of solid game choices all kept me from buying the game. Thankfully, Microsoft heard the public outcry about these features so now the Xbox only has to be connected to the internet when you set it up and to update games, the Kinect is not necessary hardware, and they’ve added backwards compatibility for Xbox 360 games giving a vital boost to the playable game library. Knowing all of this, I still waited until fall of 2015 to buy the console, as I knew they’d be doing the large software update then, adding on backwards compatibility, as well as releasing Halo 5 and Star Wars Battlefront. So I bought the refurbished Xbox One through Amazon, because saving $40-80 to get the same thing seemed like a no brainer. The Xbox is working as it should for the most part, though it’s had some recurrent network issues, as well as issues with the cable connection, and CPU speed.

Console

The Xbox One is a bit underwhelming, considering how powerful and comprehensive it was touted to be. The Xbox One takes an average of 93 seconds just to start up. This is exponentially longer than the average 7 seconds that the previous Xbox 360 had. You can opt to have the console stay in Instant-On Mode, where it will not power off but go to sleep when not in use, though this uses 15 watts of power, which is nearly half of the console’s annual energy usage. For some, this price is worth the added convenience, but I again come back to the idea that the next generation of gaming should be more energy efficient than it’s previous generation, not 2-3 times less efficient. I shouldn’t have to sacrifice speed to reduce the large amount of power the console draws, whether on or in standby mode.
The price is starting to come down a bit, but it’s still overpriced for what the console offers. The Kinect usability has largely been a bust. Many of the much anticipated games have turned out to be busts, being shallow versions of their former selves. Updating and downloading anything takes longer than it should given the size of the download and internet speeds. Comparing the consoles side by side, I also noticed apps like Netflix take longer to start up than the Xbox 360. However, the user interface is a bit better in my opinion than on the Xbox 360, I like that the games are played on a dedicated server (no more lag because some kid in India is hosting), and the energy saver mode is a step in the right direction for a console that uses about 15 watts of power in standby mode. All in all, I was really just expecting more out of this console.

en-intl-pdp-microsoft-xboxone-console-only-refurbished-5cm-00001-rm2Controller

The Xbox One has a good number of accessories, but still leaves some room for improvement. The most notable is a lack of Microsoft wireless headset. Being tethered to a cord is a pain, and definitely feels like a step back in terms of hardware. However, this is made up for by the step forward the controller has made. Comparing the Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers with their rechargeable battery packs in, the Xbox One controller is noticeably lighter. The controller is also a bit more responsive in the buttons and thumbsticks, the button clicking is more solid, and the thumbsticks are designed better with a more durable grip. Additionally, I like that they added a 3.5mm jack to the new controllers so you can plug in any headphones to it, and I like that the controller charges via micro-usb charger, which is the most accessible and cheapest charge cable you can buy. These are the cables just about every phone except iPhones use to charge with.

Games

Now that it’s been two years since launch, the Xbox One is starting to build up a worthwhile collection of games. Personally, it was Halo 5 and Battlefront coming out that got me to buy the Xbox One. There’s a few games for everyone though. Xbox doesn’t have as many exclusive games as the PS4, nor is it as kid-friendly as the WiiU, but it has some of the best exclusive titles and is an all around great console for gamers. Plus, with the long awaited update to bring backwards compatibility, the gaming library is expanded to include many of the well known Xbox 360 games.

Issues

I’ve had numerous networking issues with the Xbox One, but they all seem to stem from my Xbox trying to auto assign its MAC address for the router and picking a MAC address that’s already in use. To fix this issue, you have to go into network settings, advanced settings, and manually assign the MAC, IP, and DNS addresses for the Xbox One to ones that are not in use. I got onto my router’s webpage and looked to see what MAC addresses my devices were using, and picked one for my Xbox that was 10 digits off (for the last set of numbers) from the last one in use. *NOTE* that the Xbox One seems to like to change this setting back to auto at it’s own discretion. Perhaps this happens when network settings are changed or when it changes from a wired to a wireless connection, but it’s happened twice now for me to have to manually reassign the addresses. Another helpful tip that might help with a closed NAT (along with the above guide) is to go into multiplayer network check on the network settings and when that search starts, press and hold the LT, RT, LB, and RB buttons until the check is complete. If done correctly it will display network statistics instead of just saying that your multiplayer connection is good like it normally will. This does something to help open the NAT on your Xbox. Unfortunately, the Xbox seems to like to decide on its own to switch back to an Auto IP address and give itself networking issues. You won’t be aware it’s done this until you start getting lag again and get frustrated enough to check your settings. Considering how advanced and modern this console is supposed to be, it’s frustrating that it has as many network and lag issues as it does. Though considering it’s running Windows, I’m not at all surprised.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design
Features
Ecosystem
Controller
Performance
Value
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