CNET First Look
Microsoft Xbox One hands-onThe Xbox One boasts great graphics and some interesting yet imperfect home theater and entertainment ambitions, but it's probably wise to wait and see how the platform matures before making a purchase.
Hey, everyone. I'm Jeff Bakalar for CNET.com and today I'm taking a look at the Xbox One. It's a little bigger than the PlayStation 4 and it's not as pretty looking. But nevertheless, it only comes in one version like the PS4 and that's the 500-gigabyte model for $500, which is a $100 more than the PlayStation 4. So what are you getting for that extra money? Well, you get the new version of Kinect, which allows you to control your Xbox with your voice and motion gestures. You can use your Kinect to control your cable or satellite TV box and because it has an HDMI in and out, it can pass through your TV signal and let you watch TV and play games at the same time. Okay. So how does all of that work? Well, not really perfectly at all. First, Kinect can't do much with using your DVR. So if you record a lot of shows on the fly, you'll need to keep your original remote handy. Sometimes Kinect won't even hear you and other times it has no idea what you're saying. All right, so here is the Xbox One in our living room demo environment. I just wanna show you how sometimes Kinect won't work when it's trying to change your TV channels. "Xbox, watch HGTV." It's throwing on HD net. Now when it works, it's pretty cool. It's nice, but it's just not that reliable. You'll probably wound up using your cable or satellite box more often than not. Okay, so the games. Xbox One games look great and they look a lot like PlayStation 4 games. There's an 8 Core CPU and a custom graphics chip inside as well and it's got 5 gigabytes of DDR3 RAM. All right, now here is the Xbox One controller. It's not as big of a change compared to what Sony did with the DualShock 4 and it's not actually as comfortable as it was to grip the original Xbox 360 controller. Now the start and back buttons are now called the View and Menu buttons and they also move the guide button up to the top and that's now called the Home button. Up front there's actually IR ports that communicate with Kinect and can actually log you in using your face and which controller you're holding. Now the best probable improvement of the new Xbox controller is the D-pad. The D-pad is kind of awesome now. It doesn't sit on that disk and, you know, it isn't really prone to all those accidental inputs that the original Xbox 360 suffer from. The Xbox One menu system isn't as simple as it might appear on the surface. There's too many confusing sections and a lot of times you don't really know where you've ended up within the menu system. The best way I can describe it is kind of like menu inception because you'll start somewhere and then you're not sure how you got there and when you back out to the home screen you don't know how to get back. It all take a lot of time for you to get used to unfortunately, more so than any video game operating system I've ever come across. Now, the social and sharing elements on the Xbox One are not as flashed out as they are on the PS4. Right now you can only record video and upload the video using a built-in app called the upload app. It's also kinda disappointing that Xbox Live Gold is still required to do even the most basic features on Xbox One. The same feature is that are free to do on a PlayStation 4. Now, get this. You still need Xbox Live Gold to do things like stream NetFlix, use some of the game DVR features and even use Skype. So here you are paying a hundred dollars more than a PS4 and you're pretty much have to be a Gold member to enjoy a lot of the luxuries. Now make sure you check out our entire review to see which console is right for you. I'm gonna be updating it as a lot of new features go live. There's a lot more playing for both of these systems. Now, just like the PS4, it's probably wise to wait to purchase an Xbox One until they are more compelling games and software to make it worth your while. That's gonna do it for me. This has been the Xbox One. For CNET.com, I'm Jeff Bakalar.