Xbox One Early Impressions: A Technological Marvel


The embargo has just lifted on the Xbox One, and that means sites across the net get to finally share their thoughts about the console, including yours truly.

Although I've spent a reasonable amount of time with the Xbox One, I'm not ready to cast a final verdict on it. Our review should be published in a few days. For now I'd like to go over some of my early impressions to give you an idea of what it's like to own one for a few days.

  • Big? Yes. Heavy? Not really. Ugly? Not even close. It looks much better than in the pictures.
  • The power brick looks nice, but why does a next-gen console need one?
  • The Xbox OS is remarkably good. Apps and interface elements are presented very neatly. Navigation is slick.
  • Yes, you can change the color of the UI. There are many colors to choose from. I chose blue.
  • Snap is useful and allows for quick multitasking while doing anything, not just gaming. Think of it as a gaming PC with two monitors.
  • Pins allow you to place quick shortcuts to your favorite apps and games.
  • The new Kinect camera is a beast. Quite literally, too. It's huge! 
  • Not only is the Kinect's image quality impressive, but it tracks unlike I've ever seen before. It can recognize minute finger movements and detect you when you walk into the room. Every. Single. Time.
  • Scanning codes (games, Xbox Live cards) is super convenient.
  • Hand gestures are a cumbersome but cool way of interacting with the OS.
  • Voice controls are very refined. After a day or two of practice I'm able to navigate any menu without pressing a single button, with a near 0% failure rate.
  • The OS is also feature-rich, which is overwhelming for the first couple hours. There's definitely a learning curve.
  • The new Xbox controller is the best controller ever made. Not only is it extremely ergonomic, its joysticks grip like a champion.
  • Oh, and the new rumble added to the shoulder buttons makes games feel more alive.
  • It isn't perfect, though. The d-pad is a big improvement over the Xbox 360's controller, but worse than the PS3's and PS4's.
  • The delay of Twitch streaming will be sorely missed.
  • Skype's integration is a big deal. Chatting with friends is a breeze.
  • The launch lineup is arguably the best in history when you take account the variety and quality. There's no blockbuster, though.
  • Get used to using Internet Explorer. This browser is worth your time.
  • Even when not playing games, the Xbox One is fun to use. It's also easy to impress family and friends with.
  • Ryse: Son of Rome is a strong argument that the console's hardware is nothing to scoff at.

If you'd like to learn more about the Xbox One, or ask us a question about the console and/or our experience, hit us up on our Facebook page. We'll be responding to questions all week.

We'll be playing through games such as Dead Rising 3, Forza 5, and Ryse: Son of Rome heading toward the end of this week. Stay tuned for our full review on the hardware, controller, and game library.