Microsoft Xbox One, The Full Review

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Setting up the Xbox One could not be any easier. Microsoft has done a good job with the setup-wizards and the physical connections are as simple as can be, thanks to HDMI. Despite its myriad of capabilities, you can go from a sealed box to a working console in a matter of minutes, not counting the download times that will be necessary to update the console the first time it connects to the web.

Assuming you want to use the Xbox One’s TV pass-thru feature, connecting up the console requires little more than attaching and HDMI cable from the Xbox One’s output to an input on your TV (or receiver) and attaching a second HDMI cable from the output on you cable/set-top box to the HDMI input on the Xbox. You’ll then need to connect power (obviously) and plug-in the Kinect sensor, which uses only a single cable. The only other optional cable to connect would be an Ethernet cable if you want the console hard-wired to your network, otherwise it’s got WiFi if you prefer to use a wireless network connection.

After all of the physical connections are made, simply power up the console and follow the on-screen wizard to create an account or sign-in with an existing Microsoft account and technically you’re ready to go. You can customize your avatar or gamertag photo as well if you so choose, but it’s not a necessity. If you’re using the TV pass-thru, you’ll have to run through another wizard the first time you run the TV app, but it’s quick and easy too. You simply enter your zip code, pick your cable provider, and select your brand of TV, and that’s it. The Xbox will try a few IR codes to make sure the IR blaster is correctly controlling your TV and set-top box and then you're done.

We should point out that he Kinect sensor DOES NOT have to be in line-of-sight with your set-top box for the IR blaster function to work (watch the video on page one to see how our setup was configured). Because the Kinect is powered, it can transmit a much wider and stronger IR signal than a handheld remote control. As such, the reflections throughout the room should allow the Xbox One to control things even when they're not very close to each other. In our setup, we found the IR blaster to work well, though it was a little slow selecting high number channels. Check out the video on page one of this article to see what we mean.

Inside The Xbox One
Inside The Xbox One

Much has been said about the Xbox 360, the thermal issues of early revisions of the console, and the dreaded Red Ring of Death that could crop up as a result. As such, there have been concerns that the much more powerful Xbox One may run hot and loud, but we can say that is absolutely NOT the case. Discs spinning in the Xbox One produce more noise than the system’s cooling fan, and the relatively large heatsink/fan mounted to the custom 8-core AMD APU is more than capable of cooling the chip. Remember, the Xbox One’s APU is based on AMD’s low-power Jaguar core, and it’s clocked at only 1.75GHz (with an 853MHz GPU). Roughly equivalent chips of that type on the PC side fit in thin and light laptops, which would have coolers a fraction of the size of the Xbox One’s thermal solution.

Heat and noise are of no concern on the Xbox One, but to quantify power consumption we whipped out the ol' trusty power meter to see just how much juice the Xbox One would use under various conditions.

We monitored the Xbox One’s power consumption with the device in standby (off, but monitoring the Kinect sensor for the “Xbox On” command), while idling with the Kinect Sensor unplugged and the TV dimmed, while sitting at the dashboard not running any apps, while running a game but sitting idle at the game's main menu, and finally while gaming with Killer Instinct.

As you can see, the Xbox One uses only a single watt of power when sitting in standby. If you want to use the Xbox One’s voice controls to power it up as soon as you walk into a room, you can do so without fear that the device is using a lot of power.

Power shoots way up from there, however. While on, but idle, the Xbox One used 53 watts of power. While sitting at the dashboard with the Kinect enabled, the Xbox One’s power consumption jumped up to 69 watts, while sitting at an in-game menu, it hit 86 watts, and then while actually gaming, power consumption went up to 103 watts. All told, the system is not a power hog, but idle power seems high, even in comparison to a relatively high-end PC. For example, a Haswell-based Core i7-4770K powered rig will idle in the mid-30 watt range, though that's with integrated graphics.  Remember, though, this is power consumption for the Xbox One and the Kinect sensor combined.

We put together the image above to show just how the Xbox One's power consumption translates into heat production. We fired up a game of Ryse: Son of Rome (which is probably the most visually taxing of the system's launch titles) and played the game for about 20 - 25 minutes. While the game was still running, we then used a Mastercool IR Thermometer to sample temperatures from various points around the Xbox One. Room temperature during this test was about 66°F.

As the image shows, the only parts of the Xbox One that heat up significantly are the areas immediately surrounding its APU. The warmest point was directly above the APU, which peaked at 106°F (41.1°C).

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RCone one year ago

Does it play blu-rays?

basroil2 one year ago

By RCone on Nov 20, 2013 "Does it play blu-rays?"

100% compatibility with non-3D titles. 3D might be supported later, but regular blurays are perfectly watchable on the device!

marco c one year ago

Yes. From the top of page 2, "The front of the Xbox One is simplistic and utilitarian. It’s completely flat, with a matte finish on the left and a glossy finish on the right. The left side houses the console’s slot-loading Blu-ray drive—which will also play standard DVDs, but not 3D Blu-Ray movies."

GRobertson one year ago

Great review. Cant wait to get mine on Friday!

GRobertson one year ago


RCone one year ago


RCone one year ago

Oops, even though it will play Blu-rays it won't play 3D Blu-rays. A serious omission.

JoshMullins one year ago

so I've been thinking since the Xbox One is not backwards compatible would it be possible through the HDMI input for the tv to hook the your 360 up through that? Albeit it would not be true backwards compatibility it might work though for those of us who have a plethora of 360 games we have yet to finish and/or start and still want the dual functionality to watch Netflix or youtube alongside the game. I do realize you would then not be able to hook up your cable or satallite box to the Xbox One but mine doesn't have an HDMI output and the tv thing doesn't really interest me anyhow. Of course Microsoft may have already foresaw people trying to this and put stop gap measures in place to keep it from happening which is most likely the case. If I've thought of then somebody else must have thought it as well

marco c one year ago

@Josh - You could technically plug in whatever you like into the HDMI input on the Xbox One, and when you switch to that input, whatever is being displayed will be shown on screen. That's really no different than simply plugging the Xbox 360 into a different input on your television and just switching to it though.

RWilliams one year ago

Sometimes, I wish I weren't such a PC snob, because a lot of what the Xbox One brings to the table looks quite nice. I just can't get over the poor graphics and poor performance capabilities in general (again, I'm a PC snob), and appreciate too much the unparalleled flexibility of the PC. Back when the X360 and PS3 launched (both of which I purchased at launch), I didn't feel like the PC was vastly superior at the time. This time around, the delta is enormous. But - so is the power draw, to be fair.

That all said, I am jealous of those who will be playing Forza and Killer Instinct. And while I am not sure I'd put it to much use personally, the new Kinect is unbelievable - Microsoft -really- did nice work there.

"The new consoles may be getting the lion’s share of buzz as of late, but rest assured their arrival is a good thing for the PC."

It's a little unfortunate that it takes a new console generation to make this happen, but I'll take it. Oh, and once the Xbox One gamepad becomes available for the PC, I'm picking that bad boy up. Yet another benefit for PC gamers.

Fantastic look, Marco.

marco c one year ago

@Rob - I think you should let go of the idea of "poor performance" and "poor graphics". In all honestly, I'm a PC snob as well, but I was genuinely impressed with the responsiveness of the console itself, just tooling around the OS and running apps. As for the graphics, I've got my test rig with a pair of GTX 780 Tis connected to 4K display right next to me, and I was still slack-jawed at how a couple of the games looked on the Xbox One. Of course, those were the two games that are still under embargo. Forza and Ryse look awesome. If you play those games as they're supposed to be played (large screen HDTV, sitting a few feet away, there is no way you won't be impressed. The facial animation is Ryse may be the best I've ever seen. And the models in Forza are as good as they get. Yes, you can get up close and nit pick the aliasing or texture quality in spots, but if you just sit in and play, like most poeple will, they're awesome. I can't wait for the weekend so I veg out with Ryse...

Manduh one year ago

This almost makes me want to get one! Excellent review. I'm just not sure I'm going to upgrade yet. We have two 360s and if one gets the xbone the other will want it too lol... that's a lot of $$$ Maybe I'll start an xbone money jar :)

RyanBerry one year ago

Neither system supports 3D Blu-Ray, but considering how poorly the 3D home market ended up, I think it was more a choice than an omission.

KDaniels one year ago

What happens when your Skype partner says "Xbox Off"? Hehehe...

Dave_HH one year ago

Ha! I should have tried that! I wonder... :)

KDaniels one year ago

Waaay cool... I'm a pc guy but I like what I see.

Dave_HH one year ago

We'll be adding an in-game screenshots gallery soon, so watch this space! :)

Sevags one year ago

Man absolutely no one cares about 3D!!! No one! People are avoiding buying 3D TV's those who have them (like me) didn't buy it for 3D capabilities we simply didn't have a choice it is included, many who own one don't own glasses for it unless they were included, and no one is buying 3D content. The gaming community said no to 3D long and are headed more in the direction of VR headsets. Yet people are complaining and saying ridiculous things like "serious omission" for the sole reason of putting down the console. Come up with a better excuse to complain guys because you yourselves don't actually give a flying... Pig... About 3D.

MichaelHollar one year ago

Quick question, how does the pass through work with the cablebox's DVR system, and I'm guessing you still needed a remote for volume and such.

marco c one year ago

It's really just an HDMI pass-thru, so your set-top box's DVR system will function exactly as it did before. You'll still need to use your existing remote, etc.

marco c one year ago

Added some more video and screenshots here:

Dave_HH one year ago

If you like this review, Tweet and share it out for our buddy Marco. He worked hard on it! :)

marco c one year ago

Just added some hard temperature data to the power page as well...

XSikxDaclown one year ago

thanks for the review. I am wondering how the xbox one will work with my comcast one platform. And the kinnect and microsoft one wont have any capabilities to integrate with the tv itself such as volume and power ? I am thinking no. Also this might not be in the ballpark but what about people that have xbox360s as well. say you just set up your xbox one played some forza gained achievements. Now you also still want to play your xbox 360 games. So you launch gta and gain an achievement. will this automatically work between the two ? or will you have to download your gamertags everytime you switch between the two systems.

marco c one year ago

One you're logged in on either system, your achievements should be saved...

As for the TV / Set Top box control, the Xbox One CAN control power an volume. Since the Kinect acts like a big IR blaster, it offers many of the basic functions of a universal remote control.

XSikxDaclown one year ago

okay thanks.   it would be a bonus if it can  change inputs as well.  so i can run cable box into  the hdmi in.  then run xbox 360 into hdmi 1 on tv  and ps4 into hdmi 2

RicoFrost one year ago

Nice review :) i cant wait to get mine tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!

omegadraco one year ago

Sounds sweet. Would like to replace me PS3 with one of these.

reeltrouble one year ago

Nice review Marco. As someone who also appears to use an htpc, I'm curious as to your impressions about the differences between having a dedicated htpc with some type of cablecard and trying to use the xbone for media purposes. In particular I guess my gripe as someone who uses an HDHomerun Prime and an htpc, the xbone doesn't look like it would let me get rid of anything (ie - cable box, dvr, htpc....).

The reason why I ask is that it seems like Microsoft is staking a lot on the media capabilities of the xbone as opposed to it's gaming capabilities. While it looks like the xbone is a capable gaming system, it seems strange to me that Microsoft isn't marketing the xbone as a great standalone console and instead is selling it as some type of entertainment appliance.

BTW - Please tell me I wasn't the only one who was laughing at the PS4 ad that was playing on ESPN during the review (about 9:30 I think).

Dave_HH one year ago

I'll let Marco respond to the HTPC question RT, but you're not the only one that noticed that commercial spot. Our Youtube audience picked up on it as well! :-D The funny thing is, neither Marco or I picked up on it during production of the video demo. Too funny that it just sneaked past us, otherwise we might have edited it out. ;)

chondro one year ago

may have stated in the article but

which version of HDMI does it have?

also, specs says ddr3 I thought It had ddr5 or is that just my bad memory

marco c one year ago

DDR3 + eSRAM cache in Xbox One, GDDR5 in the PS4. And it's HDMI 1.4.

sevags one year ago

Agreed Marco great job! Really reads like an honest review both from a techy's view and a gamers side. Felt very unbiased when none of the other reviews out there on the next gen consoles are; everyone else seemed to choose a side before they even tried the systems. I've been sending out this link to my friends and all the students in my school :)

RicoFrost one year ago

I have been playing RYSE and wow what a game... LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!! it looks so impressive and the combat in it is fantastic. I am really enjoying this game.

marco c one year ago

Nice! As a PC guy, now playing Ryse on the Xbox One, would you agree that the graphics look impressive? And animations are among the best you've seen? Crytek obviously put a lot of effort into that game.

RicoFrost one year ago

Indeed i would, Im running a PC with i7 2700k @ 4.6GHZ with a GTX 780 and RYSE looks so dam good that i would have to say its one of the best gaming graphics I've seen. I am greatly impressed with the graphic, gameplay and storyline of RYSE. The surrounding foliage look realistic, I have stopped a number of times just to look around, LOL i even called my wife to have a look because i was that impressed with it.

The crytek engine is just fantastic, it really is most impressive. Im running the xbox one on a Samsung 58" full HD plasma and it rums smooth. No skips, not stutters, no pauses,no slow downs.

With the xbox 360 in GTA 5 for example, in the background you would seen heavy jagged edges, with Xbox one its almost none existent.

marco c one year ago

OK, it's not my mind playing tricks on me. :)

RicoFrost one year ago

No it really is good, I've been telling everyone about it. I even invited my nephew over to have a game and loved it also.

iJOHNO one year ago

After a few weeks of the release, XBOX1 has been more popular amongst people than anything. Or... Microsoft just made a very limited amount since it's been sold out everywhere I go & PS4 are not.

AlfredDaher 8 months ago

my favorite console it is an xbox and has blu-ray. it works great the only problem i have is that the voice control isn't as fluent as they showed at the release and there aren't very many games for it currently.

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