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Xbox One review: For gamers, yes, but you'll like it too

Jason Cross | Nov. 21, 2013
Microsoft's audacious assault on your living room is delightfully innovative yet unrefined.

I should mention that you can also navigate the Xbox interface by holding up your hands and grabbing, pulling, pushing, and sliding things around, Minority Report—style. This approach is slow and annoying. On rare occasions, the Xbox One thought I was trying to control it with hand-waving gestures when I was just taking a sip of my drink during dinner. It popped up controls and a ghostly hand on the screen, interrupting the TV show. It should have an option to turn all this hand-waving-navigation stuff off, but it doesn't appear to include one.

A dearth of detail
The settings are fairly basic. You have no way to see exactly how much storage all your games and saves and downloadable content are using up. You can press the menu button in your list of games and apps to get the installed size of a single game (and an option to uninstall it), but that doesn't tell you how much space you have left on the 500GB hard drive.

There's just no way to see at a glance which games take up the most space so you can know what's best to delete when you need to make room for something new.

You also can't see, for example, your download rate or time remaining. Notifications tell you when apps were updated, but not necessarily what those updates contain, and notifications don't appear when a system update has taken place.

I imagine that customer demand will force Microsoft to add such features to the Xbox One in the first round of patches.

Social sharing...or lack thereof
Regrettably, the Xbox One doesn't let you share your game videos very easily. You can't stream live to Twitch or Ustream. You have no way to post anything you do to Facebook or Twitter. In fact, in a day and age where TV shows and commercials display hashtags, the complete lack of social integration on Xbox One is conspicuous.

You can save your game clips from Upload Studio (the free app that edits clips you save in Game DVR) to SkyDrive and then do whatever you want with them, from your computer or smartphone. That's a welcome feature, but a lame cop-out considering the absence of any social integration at the system level.

Also, you get no systemwide feature to take high-quality screenshots, which seems like a huge oversight. In this regard, a voice command may be too slow...might I suggest tapping the Menu and View buttons simultaneously?

Quiet, power-efficient, always connected
Microsoft really doesn't want you to turn your Xbox One all the way off. For starters, the console takes an eternity to power on when you do (about 40 seconds or so). From standby mode, the Xbox One is live in less than 15 seconds. My receiver and TV take about that long to turn on, but it's still a little disappointing that the console doesn't wake up more quickly. In the standby state, the Xbox One will download game and system updates and the like, and is virtually silent.

 

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