Ranking the 5 Best New Features of the Xbox One
The Xbox One has been out in the wild for a few weeks now, and for the most part gamers who purchased one are happy with it. It’s had a few isolated issues here and there, but overall, for the masses, it’s a functional piece of next-gen gaming hardware.
Microsoft added many new features to its latest gaming console that help to set it apart from its big brother, the Xbox 360. Five in particular truly stand out as bragging worthy, so let’s take at look at them to see how they stack up against each other. Head on down below to find out which new Xbox One feature is the best, or maybe the most useful for gamers.
Microsoft made it clear that the Xbox One is an all-in-one entertainment system, and the inclusion of an HDMI-in port for your TV’s cable box is proof of its claim. Hooking up your cable/SAT box allows you to watch TV on your Xbox One in either full screen mode, or as a snapped app alongside another open app or video game. The Xbox One will even pull in your box’s guide and transform it into the OneGuide, which allows you to navigate channels on your TV with your voice or controller.
Gamers that have limited TVs, or small gaming spaces will benefit the most from the Xbox One TV app, but if you’re like me and already have a side mounted HDTV in your game cave, then this feature becomes rather irrelevant. It’s still a great new feature of the Xbox One though, and based on my friends list it seems as if most everyone on there now watches TV through the Xbox One, so maybe MS had the right idea after all?
4. Kinect Voice Navigation
Microsoft has been trying to get gamers to embrace the kinect since its inception, but up until now the device has been rather useless. Thanks to the improvements in the latest kinect hardware the motion/voice controller is finally starting to show its merits on the Xbox One. If you setup your environment correctly when you first plugin your Xbox One and kinect, then you should have minimal issues with the device hearing your commands.
The kinect can now be used to execute nearly every function that the Xbox One offers. If you want to turn the console on you can say, “Xbox, on.” If you want to navigate the UI all you have to say is, “Xbox, select, command name.” There are many other commands and most are quite useful, but the two best have to be the commands to turn the hardware on and off.
If you want to feel futuristic the Xbox One’s kinect voice controls is about as close as you’re going to get for now.
The Xbox One’s snap feature is highly useful for gamers that like to multitask. With a simple button press or voice command, you can carve out a sliver of your TV’s screen on the right hand side to display other apps in while you continue to game, or do something else in the main window. If you want to watch TV while you game it can be done with Snap. If you want to use an app like the Game DVR, or NFL app while playing a game or watching TV, you can do so with Snap. You can even monitor your activity feed to see what your gamer friends are up to, and if you need to conquer any of their recent accomplishments.
Snap really becomes useful when you use it with a video game and the Game DVR app. While playing a game you can snap the Game DVR to the right side of your screen to give you greater control over the content you’re recording. From there you can even launch into Upload Studio to tweak your capture and share it. Again, if you need to always be doing more than one thing at a time, the Xbox One’s Snap feature will be right up your alley.
2. Game DVR
In this day and age sharing your gaming exploits with the world is commonplace. The Xbox One makes this hobby even easier now thanks to its built in Game DVR app. While playing a game this feature is always recording up to 5-minutes of gameplay, which can be from past gameplay, or current. You can even have it take a quick 30-second recording by saying, “Xbox, record that,” so you’ll never miss out on sharing one of your more amazing gaming feats ever again.
What makes the Game DVR even more useful is the inclusion of the Upload Studio app. This app allows you to take your DVR clips and edit them for sharing on the Xbox One, or your SkyDrive account. The app is minimalistic, but still allows you to do picture-in-picture records with the kinect camera, voice-overs, and even a bit of styling thanks to a few built-in themes. Once your clip is on SkyDrive you can then share it with the rest of the world via YouTube, or other video oriented sites. The fact that all of this is built into the Xbox One is what makes it such a stand out feature.
1. QR Code Scanning
I’ll admit that I may be trolling my own editorial with this number one pick, but I truly do appreciate the ability to scan codes into the Xbox One with the kinect camera. Inputting a 25-digit code became one of the most dreaded experiences on the Xbox 360, especially if you pre-ordered a game to secure a plethora of bonuses that all needed to be unlocked with individual codes. When you get a brand new game that you’ve been dying to play the last thing you want to do is wait for the game to install, and then have to manually enter in a bunch of unlock codes. It also didn’t help that the keyboard to input the codes was arranged in a way that took way too much time to enter text if you didn’t have a keypad attachment.
With the Xbox One’s QR code scanning ability this nightmarish practice should come to an end. I jumped for joy the first time I said, “Xbox, use code,” and it brought up a camera and scanned my code in milliseconds. The process was so simple that I didn’t believe it to be real life at first. Gone was the tedious process of carefully entering 25 random digits with the hunt and peck keyboard method that you’re forced to use while manually entering codes. The whole process was a dream come true for this mildly lazy and impatient gamer, so much so that when I get a code that I have to manually enter now I half consider giving it away. Luckily you can hack a QR code out of the text codes, so most codes can indeed be transformed into scannable ones.
This feature’s greatness will only truly be realized if both publishers and retailers get behind it, so here’s to hoping that the archaic method for inputting video game codes is on its way to an early grave.
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