The Xbox One revisited: Microsoft's console has gotten better with age
In the two and a half years since the Xbox One first came out, it’s become a fundamentally better product, thanks to last year’s Windows 10 update which made the UI faster and easier to use. That said, the console is still saddled with various quirks it’s had since day one.
- Windows 10 makes the console more responsive and easier to navigate
- Most backward-compatible Xbox 360 games run well on Xbox One
- Now costs less than the PlayStation 4
- Kinect voice commands still don’t work reliably
- Navigating the console remains sluggish compared to the PS4
- Still missing features from the Xbox 360 like system-wide game defaults
Engadget is re-reviewing the current generation of game consoles, each of which has benefited from major firmware updates, price drops and an improved selection of games. We're kicking off this series by revisiting the Xbox One. Though we've changed our minds on some things and raised the score to 84, you can still find our original review here, if you're curious to read what we said at launch.
The Xbox One is the product of two different Microsofts. The console debuted in 2013 following a disastrous six-month-long PR campaign that ultimately led to then–Xbox head Don Mattrick leaving the company. Initially Microsoft said that the Xbox One would require an internet connection even for single-player, store-bought games. The company backpedaled on that ahead of the console's release, cobbling together bits of code to ensure that games played at launch. Even then, the Xbox One arrived with a sizable day-one patch.
Months of incremental post-launch updates added Twitch streaming, a controller battery-life indicator, custom wallpapers, party chat and some much-needed UI improvements. The biggest changes, though, have come since Phil Spencer assumed Mattrick's old position. The Kinect sensor is no longer a requirement for the system, nor is Microsoft packaging it with every console sold. Because of that, the Xbox One is now priced lower than its most obvious rival, the PlayStation 4: $299 with an included game and 500GB hard drive. At launch it cost $500 with just the 500GB console, a controller and Kinect in the box.