Just what should you get if you're looking to buy an Xbox One? This is our full buyers guide.
As of August 2, 2016 we're in the position of having more than one Xbox One to consider, not just how much storage or which pretty paint job you're going to spring for.
The buying decision is therefore now more difficult. Should you drop the extra on an Xbox One S when there are still other, perhaps cheaper options to spend your money on?
Hopefully that's where we can help. This is our Xbox One buyers guide.
The Xbox One S
The new addition to the Xbox family is the one that'll be marketed the most going forward. the Xbox One S is the one Microsoft wants you to buy, and the one the retailers will want to sell you. Initially, at least, the 2TB edition will be all you can get, but there will be a 1TB and 500GB model following soon after.
The Xbox One S is 40% smaller than the existing Xbox One and while there are no internal upgrades in a sense of 'better' games and graphics, there are some important bits and pieces that make it stand out as a whole.
The first is 4K video output. The Xbox One S is the first console to output at native 4K resolution, though it's limited to video content. Games can be upscaled from 1080p, but true 4K gaming isn't set to arrive until Project Scorpio in late 2017.
With that you also get to watch 4K UHD Blu-Ray discs. The Xbox One S is about the cheapest 4K Blu-Ray player on the market, which in itself is remarkable. It's also got an IR blaster for easier remote control of other AV components.
The Xbox One S can be used vertically, which is new over the existing model, and the enormous power brick is no more — Microsoft managed to get it inside the console this time. The controller has also been refreshed, with an amended design featuring rear grippy parts and Bluetooth for use with non-Xbox things more easily.
While this is all great stuff the Xbox One S is also more expensive, especially in its 2TB form. You'll also have to factor in a Kinect adapter, which can only be had for free if you already own one and you're upgrading your console. Otherwise it's another $40 on top if you want one.
There's little doubt the Xbox One S is worth its asking price, if even just to be a 4K Blu-Ray player. Throw in a games console with that and you've got one hell of a package.
The 'old' Xbox One
The 'old' Xbox One is large, it's less attractive and has less features than the sleek upgraded model. But that doesn't mean it's bad, after all, it's served us pretty well for long enough now. It's also going to cost a bit less than the Xbox One S, which could be the clincher for some.
You still get a Blu Ray drive for all the high-definition movies you could want, the same exact software and games experience and you can even get it in white if the color is important.
You're 'limited' to 1080p output for video on this console and you can't use it vertically. You also have to account for the enormous power brick you have to find a home for, too. The original version of the Xbox One has also come in many bundles, some including Kinect, some including games. You can pick up either a 500GB or a 1TB storage size.
One that stands out is the Elite bundle, which includes a hybrid hard drive inside at 1TB, but more so bundles the incredible Xbox Elite Controller, an expensive item on its own.
With the One S announcement the original Xbox One enjoyed some deal pricing almost immediately and that's not likely to stop. It might become an inventory clearing event at some point, but if you're looking for the cheapest way to get into Xbox One, a 500GB black console is the way to do it.
There are a few special edition consoles floating around that have been tied in with some popular games. Prior to the Sony deal with Activision, Microsoft was in tight for Call of Duty and the first 1TB console was an Advanced Warfare special. You're unlikely to find any of these new, but as folks trade in for an Xbox One S you might pick one up used.
Microsoft also has a couple of special consoles for first party exclusive titles. There's a fetching Halo 5: Guardians edition with a snazzy silver and blue paint job with a matching controller. There's also a blue Forza Motorsport 6 edition with matching controller that makes the noise of a car starting up when you turn the console on.
Again, these aren't necessarily going to be the easiest things to find new, but you might luck on to a decent pre-owned option as folks trade up to the Xbox One S. Like the COD console, both have the 1TB storage option.
The first special edition Xbox One S is due in October 2016 to coincide with the launch of Gears of War 4.
Which console should you buy?
Only you can make that decision, but we can make some handy recommendations.
- If you're keen on 4K video, the Xbox One S is your only option. But it's also about the cheapest 4K UHD Blu-Ray player on the market right now with the added bonus of being a games console.
- If space is at a premium you'll be happier going for the Xbox One S, too. You can stand it vertically, it's a heap smaller and doesn't have a gigantic external power supply to also house.
- If you want to spend as little as possible, go for the original console. There's nothing wrong with it, even if it lacks some of the features of the One S.
- If you fancy getting an Elite Controller as well, the Elite bundle might be the most cost effective way of getting both.
Now you've decided to buy an Xbox One, the decision making process doesn't necessarily end. What about accessorizing your new console? The Xbox One has a host of additional bits of hardware available to it that can improve your personal experience. Hard drives, controllers, the Kinect, there's some cool stuff to look at.
The Kinect isn't available bundled with the Xbox One S, and to use one you'll need an adapter. This is free to current owners who are upgrading, but everyone else will need to pay $40 as well as the price of a Kinect. Microsoft sells them new, but they're a lot more expensive than it's probably worth paying right now. Check out places you can find a pre-owned one, you'll save a whole chunk of change on it.
If you're buying a 500GB console we'd highly recommend investing in an external hard drive. Xbox One games are getting bigger and bigger, especially with all the DLC available. Halo 5: Guardians will take up approaching 90GB which is a big chunk of any internal storage. The Xbox One can utilize multiple USB 3.0 hard drives (so long as they're at least 256GB), and if you shop around you'll always find a deal somewhere. With drives readily available in 4TB sizes, too, this is an easy way to make sure you don't have to worry about deleting games to make room for new ones.
Check out our full guide on using USB hard drives with the Xbox One for everything you need to know.
There's also a world beyond the controller that comes in the box. If you want a 'pro' level experience, three big players have something worth your attention. Microsoft has its Elite Controller, a beefed up version of the regular controller with customizable layouts, trigger stops, replacement sticks and rear paddles. Razer has its Wildcat, another customizable controller but this one isn't wireless, which could put some off. Then there's the Scuf Infinity 1, based on the standard Xbox One controller, Scuf will customize to your own desires, add paddles, grips and more.
Our pick would be the Elite Controller if you were going for one of these. It's competitively priced, well built and offers the important features that a pro controller would be looking for.
There are far too many games in the Xbox One Store to go through in one post. But if you're looking for something new to play then check out the links below where we'll hopefully be able to help you on your way.
Hopefully this helps you in your decision making, but if you've got any tips to share with prospective buyers be sure to drop them in the comments below!