Xbox One Dashboard
The Xbox One Dashboard is similar to the recently updated Xbox 360. There are three main screens: The left shows stuff you can pin, the middle section is anything you have accessed recently (like a history), and the right is the Game/Music/Video store. The dashboard right now feels somewhat bland, having just a solid black background. We had a similar complaint with the PS4 because there doesn’t appear to be a way to customize it yet. Finding things can be confusing because some of the options feel a little buried.
Multitasking, a new feature, is a little unclear. If you have something going through HDMI pass-through you can play a game, then ‘snap’ TV onto the screen to watch both and play at the same time. I don’t know what combinations can be multitasked. For example, we’re not sure yet if you can multitask Netflix with a game.
We were excited to be able to connect our DISH Network through the Xbox One in order to be able to utilize the picture in picture. We detected a slight difference in visual quality — negative or not, there was a difference. The big negative with pass-through is that you must always have your Xbox One on when utilizing the device passing through. That means in order to watch DISH or use the Wii or whatever is passing through, the Xbox must be on.
The pass-through for DISH worked perfectly, though. It detected the Samsung TV we have (old model) and we were able to adjust the settings. We told it our area code, provider, and it was able to completely control our satellite unit. It could pause, fast forward, and manipulate our DISH just like we can with a remote. The Xbox One utilizes Xbox branded menus for everything if you choose to use your Xbox One instead of a normal remote.
In the end, it doesn’t seem like it’s anything worthwhile enough to make the Xbox One the center of our entire entertainment experience. If the Xbox One could be turned off, we would have kept the pass-through.
The Kinect 2.0 is able to identify both of us quite easily, and log us into our respective Xbox Live Profiles. The head tracking and face tracking was really quite good. There wasn’t an ounce of calibration beyond microphone adjustment.
The voice commands seem…. ‘good’. We can’t say great because we have already had to repeat ourselves twelve dozen times to get them to work. Voice commands can control our DISH TV though — that was pretty cool.
We will do a more formal revue of the Kinect 2.0 when we can experience more games utilizing the features.
Xbox One Controller
The new Xbox controller is heralded by Microsoft as the best controller they’ve ever made. We’re not so sure it’s better than the Xbox 360. The analog sticks feel a little loose and should have more resistance. The bumper buttons are hard to press unless you click them square in the center which is hard for someone with longer fingers. The D-Pad feels very cheap, although when in-game it does perform as they claim: Ultra-responsive. We’re divided on the triggers. Keen loves them, especially when you pull them quickly and feel the impact when they stop; Graev wishes they had more resistance.
Two new buttons are now on the controller: Multi-task and Menu button. We’re not quite certain yet why the typical Start and Select buttons were removed in favor of these new options.
Xbox One Controller vs. DualShock 4 – Who wins?
We will continue to bring you are impressions of the Xbox One and its games this coming week.