Product Xbox One
Specifications Eight-core 1.75GHz AMD custom CPU, 8GB RAM, USB 3.0, HDMI input and output, Ethernet, Kinect and power ports, 500GB flash storage, 33x27x7.8cm
Price From £430
SINCE BEING UNVEILED the Microsoft Xbox One has had a rocky road to release. This was largely down to the firm's initial focus on helping developers, with it boasting initiatives designed to benefit those developing the games. These included always online gaming, to make it easier for developers to push out updates for example, and a somewhat strict licensing policy designed to stop people from playing second hand games, a practice that can diminish developers' profits.
Microsoft has since listened to public opinion and removed the always online functionality and strict licensing policy. While this is sad, as for those with a decent internet connection the cloud elements could potentially have been fantastic, having finally had a go with our shiny new Xbox One we've found that there are still plenty of innovative upgrades to get excited about.
Taking our black Xbox One out of the box, the first thing we noticed is it's big, really big. Measuring 33x27x7.8cm the Xbox One takes up a lot of space in any living room. This isn't helped by the fact that, unlike the Xbox 360, you can't stand it up as a tower but have to lay it flat.
That said, the Xbox One does look awesome. It has a minimalist design in which the only obvious design feature is its split matte and glossy black sides. The minimalist design is helped by the fact that its USB 3.0, HDMI input and output, Ethernet and power ports are neatly hidden on its back side. The design is such that even though the Xbox One is big, it doesn't dominate the room, meaning that other halves less enamoured with gaming won't think it is an ugly eyesore destroying the feng shui of the living room.
Powering up the Xbox One we also found that, despite being larger, its cooling fan is much quieter than the Xbox 360's. Where the Xbox 360 could at times create a cacophony of noise, with its whirring fan often sounding like an incoming hurricane, the Xbox One's fan is as quiet as a mouse.
The Xbox One controller has also been slightly redesigned. Big changes include more sensitive motion controller options and the addition of vibration feedback on its bumper buttons. The force feedback means the controller can offer resistance when playing games. We found this was a novel touch when playing racing game Forza Motorsport 5. Playing the game we found that the Xbox One's bumpers, which are used to accelerate and brake, would give a very fine and immediate response to our actions, becoming harder to press when moving around tight corners or driving on rough terrain.
Outside of this though the Xbox One controller's button layout is largely identical to that of the Xbox 360, featuring two asymmetric analogue sticks, a D-Pad on its left, the standard A, B, X and Y front facing buttons on its right and the usual triggers and bumper buttons on its back and top.