I'm going to talk in depth about what you get in this bundle and about the console, if you want a simple and quick opinion then skip down to the PROS/CONS and then the VERDICT towards the bottom!
This is a very well priced bundle. The new RRP for the Xbox One without kinect is £350 (as of June 2014). Yet here you are getting the digital version of Titanfall and the Kinect Sensor all for £20 extra. Naturally you will have to justify whether or not you need the Kinect sensor or not although i would suggest that it's worth it especially for the price this bundle is set at, at the very least you can put it away in a cupboard knowing that you have one should you want to use voice functionality, Skype or indeed for a game further down the road.
So what do you get in the box:
1x wireless controller(batteries included)
4k rated HDMI cable
Power supply (external power brick)
You also get a code for the digital version of Titanfall.
There are various ports on the console, on the back you get: Power, Gigabit Ethernet, 2xUSB 3.0, HDMI in (for connecting a sky box), HDMI out (to the TV), Optical Audio, Kinect Port and a Kensington Security lock. On the left hand side of the console you get another USB 3.0 port and a binding button for syncing a controller to the console although if you have Kinect plugged in that will happen automatically as it detects any controllers turned on in the room. On the front things have been kept as simple as possible with a slot loading bluray drive, a touch capacitive eject button and the Xbox logo which illuminates also doubles as an on/off button. It is only fair to say that the console does take up a larger space than i would like, especially when you factor in the the kinect sensor and external power brick although considering it's all going to be sat under your TV and hardly ever going to be moved i doubt anyone will complain. Many have likened it to a betamax player from the 1980s and it certainly has that kind of a look but believe me when i say it does grow on you and all the industrial looking vents do give it a certain retro style while providing excellent cooling. The two tone look suits this console with half being high gloss black and the other being matt black. Before i start talking about the software, games and day to day usability of this system i will simply say that everything out of the box has a quality look and feel, even the cables they have used feel substantial.
So when you first power the system on it will make some noise and it may take a few minutes to boot up on the TV, this is completely normal and one of the first screens you will see is "it's time to update". Please ensure you have Internet access at this point and the console will walk you through the steps to get connected and begin the initial update. Once its updated it will reboot but this time it will ask you to either create a new Xbox Live account or redeem an existing one (which takes 30 seconds at the most), after this you will be greeted with a video that will showcase everything the console can do in quick succession. After this you will be left at the "home screen" from where everything can be accessed. At this stage i will just let you know that i will talk about Kinect in depth later on in a separate paragraph.
So the "Home" Screen has many options and quick access buttons very much like the Xbox 360 had although you can quite clearly tell the influence Windows 8 has had upon the system. While Windows 8 may not work perfectly on PC (as we all know), on this system it works quite well indeed and has been improved upon over the last couple of weeks/months since the consoles initial launch! There is a lot displayed on this screen but it also has all the information you may want at any given time. Notifications of friends latest achievements or game footage appear in the top left and the current time and controller battery level in the bottom right. At the main screen you have access to everything and you can select certain apps and games to be "pinned" to the home screen for quick and easy access if you don't want to use Kinects voice commands that is. It's all very fast and easier to navigate than it was on launch day thanks to many features and short-cuts being added. The Hard drive in the Xbox One is 500GB and isn't removable but don't worry as it should be more than enough for most people. If you do fill it up then you can use an external HDD to expand the space (something Microsoft have only just allowed). When in operation the console is virtually silent, even when the system has been on for a few hours and I've been gaming non stop it's still hard to notice any noise, in fact the only noise i ever detect is from the disk drive when a movie or game is spinning up for the first time, beyond that it's as quiet as a standard blu-ray player. I do have to be critical at this point and say that All games are required to be installed on the HDD to function, the problem being that it often takes 40+ minutes to install a game and if there are any updates for that particular game then they happen after the game has installed. It took over an hour from when i started to install Call of Duty: Ghosts before i was able to play it. Simply put this is one area Microsoft need to speed the system up.
All saves from the games you play are automatically uploaded to the servers so if you un-install a game or something corrupts and you need to reinstall it then all your progress will be safe. Console updates happen in the background too, so you can be playing while it updates or even when the system is in Insta-On mode. There are two power settings, fully off "eco mode" or the other "insta-on" where you can press the button on the controller or machine (or say Xbox On if you have Kinect plugged in) and the system will be up and running at the Home screen within 15 seconds. Be aware though that GAME updates do not happen automatically and often you will start to play a game and be told it needs to update, this is another area Microsoft need to address and allow game updates to start automatically especially if i was playing the game recently. In a nutshell the User interface and general Operating system is a joy to use and there are many different apps that you can have including Youtube and Twitch, in case you want to stream live footage directly online. There is an app called "snap mode" which splits the screen 70/30 and allows you to run programs at the same time as gaming, using this you can record game footage, keep up to date with what friends are doing, listen to music via YouTube and a variety of other things (I'll talk about this more when i mention Kinect). There is a studio called "upload studio" where you can edit and crop footage or take screenshots out of video and then upload to Microsoft's Onedrive and from there you can share it to wherever you want like YouTube or Facebook. I'm not going to lie, the system could do with being streamlined and i would like it if Microsoft enabling you to stack videos for uploading or allow it to happen when the console is in sleep mode, sadly as it stands you can only upload one clip at a time and because BT restrict upload speeds on standard broadband to 0.75mb in the UK a simple 20 second clip can take 5 minutes to upload and it says you can't close the app or the upload will stop. Definitely an area that needs addressing!
The Controller is for the most part a big improvement over the Xbox 360, the second you hold it in your hands you realize that it has been ergonomically shaped especially around the back to fit more securely into the palms of your hand. All the screw holes have been removed and joining lines are now away from where your fingers sit meaning it's more comfortable to hold over long periods. The battery compartment has now been made into the controller rather than sticking out like it did on the Xbox 360 one, again this means a better user experience. Now the controller uses 2xAA batteries or you can buy a play and recharge kit that fits into the battery compartment. To be honest either works well although because the controller now uses "wifi direct" it is actually more efficient than the PlayStation 4's controller is, as the latest Wifi Direct technology uses very little power. A brand new pair of Duracell plus batteries (that the controller comes with) should last 30+ hours and that's twice what the Xbox 360 controller lasted, don't forget battery packs may well sound good and be convenient but they don't last as long and on average only last around a year before they lose their charge completely. The triggers have been improved in two ways, firstly they have been shaped to match the position of your finger, making it easier to aim and shoot. Secondly, there are rumble motors in the triggers to provide feedback.. now i've only tried this on Forza 5 (only game at present that uses them) and it didn't really improve the experience, i think it will be best suited to shooting games only. The D-Pad (directional pad) has been dramatically improved compared to its predecessor with it now looking and feeling like it should with the buttons feeling crisp to use and a shorter distance to travel. Back and Start buttons have been replaced with view and menu buttons respectively (essentially they do the same thing as before). A/B/X/Y buttons are now slightly closer together which means your fingers don't have to move as far.
I do have to say I'm not the biggest fan of the bumper buttons (above the triggers) as they wrap around the side of the controller slightly yet can only be pressed in at the back above the triggers (so why wrap them around the side?). I also have to say that although I'm getting use to the thumb-sticks i do think they are on the smaller side and the material may look nice and provide good grip but they are becoming a pain to keep clean thanks to the micro grooves around the perimeter! If you're an Xbox 360 owner this controller may feel slightly alien to you at first but give it time and it'll grow on you. The only things left to say regarding the controller are that there is a Micro USB port in the top in case you use a battery pack so you can charge it but also by using a cable it instantly turns the controller into a wired pad (unlike the wireless 360 controller which still used wireless even when it was plugged in). The Xbox logo doubles as a console and controller on/off button although if you tap it while playing a game, it takes you directly back to the home screen regardless of what you are doing and where you are! At the bottom of the controller is a port where you plug the included chat headset into. The headset does a good job and voice chat sounds clear and has MUTE and volume up/down buttons, it's nothing special but is more than good enough for 95% of players that want a headset to chat to other people.
So onto Kinect. As of June 2014 the Kinect sensor is no longer included with every Xbox One console, it's now an optional extra. I would argue that this bundle is such a good price (work out the cost of each part and you're saving at least £85 based on the cost of buying the game and Kinect separately.
Firstly, what do you gain from using Kinect. Well you can use it for voice commands to go to a certain app or load a certain game or perform a task. Walking into the room while the console is in Insta-On mode (sleep mode) and say "XBOX,...ON" will instantly turn the whole system on. If you want to record the past 5 minutes of game footage on the fly after seeing something special or doing something awesome, simply say "XBOX,...RECORD THAT". The list goes on of the commands that you can ask it to do and if you're unsure of the options then items on screen highlighted in green can be spoken as a command. The camera works brilliantly for Skype, so you can now enjoy those conversations from the comfort of your sofa in HD quality and the microphone is pretty impressive too at cancelling out TV or background noise. The biggest problem with Kinect is getting it to respond. 90% of the time i don't have a problem and it works, the key is to pause after saying the word "XBOX". After you've waited a second or two then say the command clearly, you don't need to shout but you do need to speak clearly and remember the key is not to speak too fast. One command that i have found 100% effective is the "XBOX,...RECORD THAT" command which records the last 5 minutes of in-game footage (it use to be 30 seconds but they recently changed it). The other thing to remember is that while the console works perfectly fine without Kinect plugged in, the system is no faster without it and certain things such as snap mode and navigating quickly are 10x easier when using Kinect. Recording on the fly for example is not possible without Kinect and many functions such as Skype can't work without it naturally. On balance because of the extra features it brings and the fact it does make navigating around a whole lot easier (when it works) i would say on balance the Kinect sensor is worth having, i'm sure an update is not far off which will enable many of the features to be used without Kinect but until they do I would advise you buy an Xbox One with the Kinect. At this point i want to dispel a myth, Despite what some people are saying, disconnecting the Kinect sensor does not speed up the system, Microsoft themselves have said this. Even when they unlock more of the system power reserved for Kinect later down the road Microsoft have also said that whether or not you have Kinect plugged in will make no difference, on that basis you might as well have it plugged in and use the features on offer!
So down to the game included... Titanfall. For a very detailed and in depth Review of Titanfall i will simply direct you to my review of the game which can be found here: Titanfall (Xbox One). In short, Titanfall is a First person shooter and is solely based Online and has no offline/single player modes whatsoever. It's fast paced and action packed with teamwork being key. You can run around on foot just like in Call of Duty or call in a TITAN and rampage the battlefield. The maps are very well designed and everything looks graphically stunning. The only lasting problem with Titanfall that i'm experiencing aside from the negatives i list in my full review of the game is the server stability which i would call hit and miss at best, often you get lag for a few seconds and with the game being fast paced it's practically a guarantee that you'll be killed immediately. As for a few other games I've tried, they all look beautiful and play very well indeed. Forza 5 in particular looks impressive yet other games such as watchdogs and Tomb Raider never cease to amaze. Anyone that tells you the games look bad or complains that they don't look next gen should be ignored, Titanfall for example is a huge leap ahead on Xbox One compared to the Xbox 360 version and anyone who approaches things with an unbiased view will think the same.
Time for a round up
PROS: The console has come a long way since launch and the User Interface is very fast * Everything feels well made * Console runs very quiet * Built In Blu-ray player * Controller is an overall improvement compared with the xbox 360 one * Games look beautiful * Kinect is well integrated and for the most part works well and makes navigation easier * Background updates to the system * Insta-On setting allows fast access to the system and allows controllers to be charged through the USB ports if you're using a recharge kit * Xbox Live is as good as ever with 2 free games coming each month (starting soon) * Party chat is clearer and voices seem sharper than they did on Xbox 360 * "Snap mode" so you can have two programs running on screen at once e.g. a game and YouTube * Can connect you're Sky TV box and use Kinect to navigate it * Bundle price makes this excellent value * Includes Titanfall so what's not to like.
CONS: They need to allow game updates to automatically download and install in the background as the amount of times i've come online and can't play because of an update in starting to annoy me, if they can do it with system updates why not games? * Upload studio needs to be simplified and allow uploading in the background and stop the duplication of uploaded clips * loading other players profiles seems to take forever * takes way too long to install games on the hard drive * Without Kinect, navigation can be awkward as not everything is easy to locate * Thumb-sticks on the controller are smaller than you expect them to be but you do get use to them.
VERDICT: The Xbox One has got better and better ever since it's initial launch back in November 2013, For £369.99 this bundle offers great value including the biggest game to reach the console so far in Titanfall. It's a great time to be a gamer and if you're new to gaming and want the next generation experience then this may be the way to go, it's certainly a great upgrade if you have an Xbox 360 at the moment and the games coming over the next few months look very impressive. An excellent package and contains virtually everything you need to get started!
on 18 March 2014
Right, I've been an xbox 360 and ps3 owner for the last generation and although overall I preferred the 360, I came into this generation with an open mind.
After waiting over 2 months since the xbox one and ps4 launched, I've been doing my research!
I've played both consoles round a friends and both are impressive in their own ways, both perform really well and look stunning (despite some slower frame rates on some xbox one 3rd party titles which is barely distinguishable)
I decided in the end to get an xbox one for the following reasons;
- I prefer Xbox live and that's where most of my online friends reside (plus I have a large gamerscore I can carry over)
- I love the new kinect, the voice commands work really well 99% of the time and it really adds that feeling of the future in terms of walking into the lounge and saying "Xbox ON" and the xbox AND the tv both turn on together. Also being able to snap tv on the side of the screen while you wait for a game to install or download is genius
- the games so far are great, not perfect but great. It's a better game line up than the ps4 currently with forza 5 being the graphical standout. I personally prefer the xbox exclusives (although i do love uncharted and the last of us on play station) I'm really excited about the new Halo and gears of war.
- I've always preferred the xbox controller, and the xbox one pad is an improvement on the already brilliant 360 one. It'd nicer to hold, has a smaller battery compartment and the rumble motors in the triggers which add some really immersive moments while cornering on forza or firing a gun in Dead rising 3.
- yes it costs a little more than ps4 but the kinect is where that extra cost comes from and is well worth the extra money.
- you can also link your digi box/ sky box through the xbox so that you don't need to switch channels just say "Xbox watch tv" and it instantly pauses your game and switches to tv. (And vice versa)
- Also, if you like shooters (call of duty, battlefield et al) then Titanfall is a breath of fresh air, it's incredible. You'll never want to play another FPS where you can't wall run or jump on top of massive robots!
The ps4 is marginally more powerful on paper, however in the grand scheme of things it shouldn't make a difference the long run.
At the end of the day there will always be people who prefer one over the other, but after doing a lot of research, I personally preferred the xbox experience. There's no right or wrong answer, it's all down to taste.
One day I' might get a ps4 too, but right now the xbox is a better system for my needs.
Whichever one you choose, you won't be disappointed! :)
on 9 April 2014
Having bought a PS4 when it was released, I can now compare the 2 next gens consoles and tell you which is better.
I had a problem with my Xbox One from Amazon, as it never arrived, but they sorted it out quickly for me.
I'll make this quick, as I know there is already a million reviews online.
The biggest issue with the PS4 for me was the very limiting media capabilities. I always used PS3 media server and played music and my own videos files everyday using it. I was gutted when the PS4 did none of those things. It is very limited in what it can actually do. It plays games, and will play things like Netflix, that is it.
Xbox one does alot more, the quality of the kinect camera is incredible, you can see its value just by feeling the weight of the kinect unit and the size of the lens! It impressed me anyway (an A/V geek). I don't think people have yet realized the potential of the kinect and I was one of those people who said "who needs a stupid camera". Well I'm glad I have it now!
What disappointed me about the Xbox one is that it also cannot play media files over a LAN. So annoying. The TV feature is nice, but at the moment doesn't really support any of the UK cable services, I have a tivo box and it cannot control it. Yet.
As gaming machines, they are pretty much equal. I don't think anyone would be able to tell the difference between actual games. (Yes I know the PS4 is technically a better device).
Xbox One has Titanfall at the moment though (which is superb).
As a living room device for the family, Xbox one edges it, and is more impressive with its features.
But if you can, just buy both, then they don't have to compete!
on 12 April 2014
I waited for Titanfall before buying an Xbox one, as I still enjoy the 360. I've had it a few weeks now and this review includes the bundle with Titanfall.
Neither the PS4 or the Xbox One are that stylish, but the Xbox One has to be the most boring console to look at. However the design has been done to try and stop the high failure rates of new consoles. There is another external power pack, which although a nuisance, helps to reduce heat build up in the console. There is a large fan in the top as well which helps to cool the inside, while helping to give the ugly shape. The upside of this though is it is fairly quiet for a console and can hardly be heard when watching movies.
The graphics are an improvement on the last generation as you would expect. The only game I have played on both the Xbox One and PS4 is FIFA. Both have better textures than the previous generation and it is great seeing the crowd animation. I didn't see any noticeable difference in the PS4 and Xbox graphics. However, I've never seen them running side by side and if the PS4 is running at high resolution there may be a difference. If you want high end graphics though, you would be better of buying a high end PC.
The controller is similar to the excellent 360 pad. There are a few improvements but they are only minor and if isn't broke don't fix it. The new PS4 pad is a vast improvement on the PS3 pad. The gap between the pads has narrowed considerably this generation. In my opinion, the Xbox One pad is still better, but the PS4 pad would not put me off buying the console like the terrible PS3 pad did.
The Kinect works well and logs you in through facial recognition. In FIFA you can makes substitutions and change formations using voice commands, although it does struggle to recognise certain players names and you end up doing it old style through the menus. Having said that I don't think it needed to be integral and has resulted in the relative high price of the console. There may be greater plans for it in the future though.
Titanfall comes with the console and the score is based on the game as well. I have been a little disappointed with the game. Don't get me wrong, it isn't a bad game, but it does have the feel of a launch title. There is no single player mode, it is an online campaign only. The controls take a bit of getting used to. The trouble is you can't get used to them while playing single player as you are thrown straight in to multiplayer after a very short tutorial. The matches are not set up using ranking either so you can struggle getting killed time and time again while still learning the game. I can imagine some people will love this game and will play it a lot. It is more original than all the new CODs which come out and a good change for FPS. It probably gives a good indication how good Titanfall 2 will be as well. However, if you are just going to play occasionally you might struggle. It is also comes on a download code only. It took overnight to download, as not everyone can get superfast broadband, so I had to wait to play it. If you don't like the game you can't trade it in either. A good game, but it is no killer App.
A note to fan boys as well on both sides of the Xbox, PS debate. I would like both consoles to be a success. Competition forces companies to try harder.
Overall I have been pleased with the console. It is not perfect but new consoles never are and their capabilities are built on over time. If you buy an Xbox One you will enjoy it.
on 17 March 2014
Brilliant console, Took some time to set up but not a problem, very straightforward. Has a lot of features that I suspect will only get better with time. The system is very quiet and looks very good, not as big as some reviews say especially if its only going to stay in one place under the TV. Overall very happy with this purchase.
on 30 April 2014
This is a great console, no question. Have owned a PS4 since Christmas (thanks to my wonderful missus:)) and that's great too but I always knew I would feel the draw of the Xbox one impossible to ignore at some point or other and with the recent release of Titanfall together with the price drop, that time has come!
Firstly the XB1.... I had convinced myself I didn't want or need a camera but I must say I am impressed with both the kinect camera and the voice controls. The camera is really good, even in my 'not huge' lounge (I live in an end terrace) and the voice commands work 95% of the time. The controller is great, just as the 360s is (possibly my most favourite controller ever). I'm in two minds which controller I prefer more between the XB1 and the PS4 as the PS4s is excellent too - much improved from the PS3s. I had my freesat box plugged in the HDMI in on the XB1 but as the Xbox TV guide isn't up and running over here at the moment, I've since unplugged it as it doesn't have that functionality as yet that makes it worthwhile messing with my setup. Obviously the guide will be introduced in future with an update so I'll plug it back in again at that point.
As for Titanfall..... I'm not a huge fan of online shooters as basically, I'm not very good at them but Titanfall is great fun and I'm having a complete blast playing it. As not all the opponents are human (there are AI controlled folk on yours and the enemies side), I actually get myself a fair few kills each round and so still manage to level up quite quickly, and don't seem to die quite so much as in COD type games either :) There's no single player campaign as you probably already know but most COD / FPS type games have only had a short and lacklustre SP / offline mode in recent years anyway so no great loss there. The online modes on offer here are more than enough to keep anyone busy and more importantly, entertained.
It's clear that Microsoft have gone for a more 'entertainment hub' type machine, which being a gamer, kind of put me off at the outset, but as I say, I am very impressed. Some people bang on about the number of pixels on the screen and it is true that the PS4 is more powerful, but the games still look great on the XB1 and much improved over the 360. The only two games I have for the XB1 so far are Titanfall (obviously) and Forza 5 and they both look great to me. Neither the PS4 or XB1 have a killer game as yet (although I believe the XB1 has the better games at the moment overall), this situation will clearly change in the future and to me anyway, just as last gen - the only way to go this gen is to get both consoles...that way you don't miss out on any 'must have' exclusives.
In short - just buy it :)
on 19 March 2014
I'm loving the Xbox one so far, voice commands work surprisingly well, game graphic a big step up from the 360, still discovering new things it can do three days into use. Kinect scanned a code for Xbox live before I knew what was happening the free extra month was added to my live account, it was amazeballs to the max. It doesn't feel finished yet though, it lacks polish. Menu needs work, installing games takes too long, graphics will improve I'm certain as they did with previous generation machines. I am very happy with this purchase games and machine both great but both need a little bit of work, a little bit extra, when updates come and titanfall 2 comes out with more customization and a better campaign, then the promise if both will have been reached.
on 30 August 2014
You cant go wrong with the Xbox One - I'm a 40yr old kid and loving every minute I get to chill on this. The kinect is surprisingly good too - imaging is great and recognises users automatically. voice controls are great too - even when not playing games, I've got the tv routed through the box which lets you change tv volume, channels & turn off/on by voice control only. gaming is as good as expected too.
on 28 March 2014
I have been undecided about which of the new consoles to buy for a few weeks and finally came to the conclusion that the Xbox One was the right choice for me, and I am completely satisfied that I made the correct choice.
Scanning through the reviews on here you are going to find a lot of comments regarding GPUs, frameframes, resolutions etc but let me assure you that 95% of these people are simply regurgitating a load of stuff that they have read on a range of gaming websites. I’d bet good money that if you stuck the Xbox one version of a game in front of these people almost all of them wouldn’t be able to tell you which version they were seeing. I have watched a range of ‘graphic comparison’ videos and I couldn’t see any difference whatsoever between the cross platform games. Maybe its my eyes or my age (I’m 30) but I just don’t see it.
Anyway, the console. It’s fantastic. Yes, it’s a large unit but its very well made, feels very sturdy and well built and I personally think the design is pretty smart. I’d say the PS4 looks better but hey, there you go.
The control pad is excellent and definitely better than the 360 while remaining familiar. Battery life with a play and charge kit is brilliant.
The Kinect is absolutely amazing. I never use the control pad when navigating the system now. I just talk to it and 99% of the time it works brilliantly. Even my missus loves it. Using the voice commands during FIFA to make substitutions never fails to amaze me and its only going to get better.
The game sharing and video recording is also brilliant. It needs a little work but just saving my best moments on the machine and showing friends my clips via my Android phone is great. Twitch is a very cool piece of software.
The games I have Titanfall, FIFA and Ryse are all excellent. Graphics are amazing and clearly far advanced beyond the 360/PS3 and again, these will only improve with time.
A few cons with the system at the moment – Limited apps right now some there’s some key figures missing such as iPlayer and SkyGo. There’s not a large amount of games right now but there’s certainly a good few to keep you occupied. I haven’t actually tried a Blu-ray disc on it yet but apparently there are some playback issues.
Overall, Xbox One is a wonderful console full of amazing potential and ideas for the future. I would recommend it to anyone. Truth is, the PS4 is also a fantastic console and I wouldn’t blame anyone for going for that instead. My advice, go for what you want and enjoy what it has to offer. All I can guarantee is that the Xbox One won’t leave you disappointed.
on 12 January 2015
Before anyone thinks I am some "fanboy" please let me state that I own the 360 the PS3 and the wiiU aswell has the ps4 and the Xbox1 and with that out of the way I have to say I lean more towards the xbox1 than the ps4 my biggest reason being material, yes in my opinion has it stands the Xbox 1 has better material than the ps4 killer instinct although not really good value for money is by far the best fighting game I've played and its really the only game that keeps me glued to the system more or less all the other games are multi platform. Now everyone knows this that tech wise the ps4 is superior to the Xbox1 imagine my surprise when most of the multi platform titles end up looking better on the Xbox1 than ps4. In my opinion I prefer the Xbox1 controller over the ps4 reason being it's comfortable the rechargeable battery last much much longer the rumble triggers. I would say it's a great system and I prefer this over ps4 and like me if you are in two minds over which one to get I would point you towards the Xbox1