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Review – Xbox One Sunset Overdrive Special Edition white console

Last year when the Xbox One launched, you could get it in any color you wanted – as long as it was black. But select Microsoft staff members received a white console with the words " I made this" emblazoned on both the system and the controller. The gamers among us who aren't fixated on black electronics (boring!) looked on with much envy.

This week, white Xbox One consoles finally became available to the masses (sans Kinect) as part of the limited edition Sunset Overdrive bundle. Ringing up at $400 ($350 next week), the bundle includes a white console and controller, black headset, and a download code for the Day One Edition of Sunset Overdrive. I anxiously waited outside of my local BestBuy so that I could snag a white console the minute the store opened. Read on for our impossibly detailed review and unboxing video of the highly sought after Xbox One bundle!

Big blue box

Part of the fun of a well-done hardware bundle or tie-in is the special packaging. If the box looks just like a regular box with a palette swapped item or a sticker stuck over it, that's just a letdown. Microsoft went all-out with a genuinely nice box for the limited edition Titanfall controller earlier this year, and they've done just as fine a job on the Sunset Overdrive console box.

The white console's box is mostly bright blue with a smattering of orange and other bright colors. One of the two main sides focuses on the white console itself, with a protagonist character, an enemy, and some clouds surrounding the periphery. The other side is just pure Sunset Overdrive, with both a male and female protagonist and a bunch of monsters on display.

The game's art in general leans a tad towards cynically in-your-face, but it still makes for a much more exciting box than the regular console gets.

The console itself

Externally, the Sunset Overdrive console is identical to the original black Xbox One that we reviewed last year. Still, it's fun to analyze the new console with a fine tooth comb and analyze the aesthetic choices involved in its design.

Let's start at the top then. The top of the console consists of two primary areas. On the left side, the plastic has a glossy finish. An engraved Xbox logo sits at the bottom left corner of this area, towards the front edge of the system.

The entire right side of the system's top hosts a gigantic vent made from matte white plastic. When viewed from an angle, you can detect a large, dark circular area within the vent which is where the heat actually leaves the inside of the system. It stands out a lot more than on the all-black console.

The front of this Xbox One has matte white plastic on the left, glossy plastic on the right. It makes sort of a checkerboard pattern when you look at both the front and top at the same time – the glossy and matte parts alternate instead of continuing uninterrupted from the top to the front.

On the left side of the console face lies the Blu-ray drive slot. The area surrounding the slot and the Eject button on the right side of the slot are colored in chrome. The right side of the face is blank except for the capacitive power button. Capacitive buttons are technologically impressive, but functionally worse since they're far too easy to press by mistake.

The power button is shaped like the "X" part of the Xbox logo. When powered off, the logo has a metallic chrome color. Turn it on and the chrome lights up white, just like on the black console. But the white light on white plastic here creates a unique effect which I find very cool.

The left side of the console has white plastic around its edges, but the majority of it is covered by black vents. You'll find the system's primary USB 3.0 port near the front of the side, along with the chrome controller Sync button (which connects to the drive slot area).

The system's right side has a large black vent too, but it only covers the bottom half of that side instead of the entire area. These black on white portions surely save Microsoft a little money (since they can be shared between the regular Xbox One and the white model), but they also add some attractive contrast with the largely white console surface.

Surprisingly, the white Xbox One's rear has no black portions at all. The vent that runs above the various input and output ports is white, just like the area surrounding the ports. The ports themselves are all black, but nobody expected otherwise.

Controller and headset

The white Xbox One controller is a thing of beauty. The front and sides of the controller are made of textured matte white plastic, providing excellent grip without attracting unnecessary fingerprints. The black analog sticks, d-pad, and face buttons stand out nicely on the controller face.

The top portion of the controller comes in glossy black plastic and houses the chrome Home button and black bumpers and triggers. The glossiness isn't bad there because you handle those areas less than the main body of the controller, not that bumpers and triggers really need to be glossy. The middle area on the back of the controller (including the battery compartment) is matte black plastic.

The black portions of the controller should be expected since the white Titanfall controller had the same black touches. I wouldn't mind seeing a controller without the black areas someday, but for now Microsoft chooses to use them to give the white controller that welcome contrast. It matches the console (with its black sides) nicely.

The only way to get the white controller at present is with the Sunset Overdrive console. Microsoft will likely sell this controller on its own someday, but not this year.

Meanwhile, the pack-in headset comes in black – with just a touch of green around the earpiece. You'd get the exact same headset with the black Xbox One. White would have been nice, but these headsets aren't exactly made to last forever. You'll likely have to replace yours when the thin cord wears out someday anyway.

Almost the perfect console

The Sunset Overdrive Special Edition Xbox One is a wonderful package. You get a unique system and controller, plus a download code for one of this year's hottest Xbox One exclusives – a $60 value. Oh, and two weeks of Xbox Live Gold.

The white system has just two drawbacks. One: it doesn't include a Kinect. You can buy a Kinect to go along with it, but it will be black instead of white. That makes perfect business sense given the low demand for Kinect among gamers. It also helps keep the price of the system down to $400 or less as opposed to $500, which means more systems sold.

Less justifiable is the system's internal 500 GB hard drive. The silver Call of Duty console that comes out next week will feature a 1 TB hard drive, offering twice the built-in storage space (at a higher price of $500). That larger hard drive size really should be the default in this day of mandatory installations and downloadable games.

The Xbox One supports external hard drives of course, and I love the extra space my 4 TB external gives me. But Microsoft's choice to cheap out on a 500 GB hard drive will surely lead to some gamers reducing or avoiding purchases when they run low on space instead of buying an external drive. Better to give consumers more room to spend, even if it costs a few more bucks during the manufacturing process.

Still, when faced with the choice of the Sunset Overdrive and Call of Duty consoles, I chose the former. The sleek white console is simply much prettier to me than the overly busy design of the Call of Duty system. I also find Sunset Overdrive a more compelling pack in game than Call of Duty Advanced Warfare, but I'm still interested in both games.

If you're simply looking for a new Xbox One system this year, the white console is an easy pick over a console with no game. Beyond that, you'll probably want to weigh your desire for the games included with the other bundles. Our reviewer Jonathan loved Sunset Overdrive, and that's a game you can't play on Playstation 4 or PC.

Just keep in mind that this bundle is selling out online and might not be available for too much longer. Better to get it while the getting's good!

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

55 Comments
  • Fine tooth comb. Not fine tune.
  • Youre right
  • Correct. Sheesh.
  • Thanks for the catch. Fixed.
  • Which will have better resale value in a year or so? Regular black or this?
  • Black.
  • Noooo, white will retain a higher value due to scarcity.
  • White, since they'll be less of them.
  • A great unboxing by the big man EASTX
  • I think it looks class, definitely reminds me of a Stromtrooper!
  • So what's the best external hard drive to use with the Xbox One?
  • Wondering the same...
  • I'm using a mini portable Seagate 2tb usb3 drive that's completely bus powered. Works great and is about the size of a phone.
  • I recommend the Touro S 1TB USB3 drive. The main selling point is the 7200 RPM hard drive which is faster than the 5600 RPM drive that is inside the Xbox One. This was one of the only portable drives I could find running at 7200 RPM. I've set it as my default drive and moved the games I am currently playing onto it. I just bought one last week and it works great. It comes in 4 different colors too if your in to that sort of thing. Newegg.com is selling this drive for $69.99.
  • I use the Western Digital MyBook 4 TB hard drive and it has been great. Cost $135 when I bought it.
  • I have the Samsung D3 4TB drive. It is not portable, but has 7200rpm and is routinely on sale for $115 on newegg, amazon, or buy.com.  I almost regret not getting a portable drive though, as I soon will be getting a second xbox one for another room. It would have been very convenient just to unplug the drive and move it freely between consoles when I wanted. If you need this mobility, get a portable one. Otherwise, if you are just going to hide the drive in your entertainment center permanently, get the cheaper non-portable ones. I will be good hopefully until atleast 2018 with my 4TB. I dont buy too too many games and tend to delete game I know for certain I will never play. It is awesome to have no discs!
  • Still able to change the hard drive with a ssd ?
  • Still? You never could.
  • It's actually called "Cirrus White." Very nice looking but too bad we're not getting the Halo bundle. (As far as we know, anyway.)
  • Maybe they're waiting for halo 5 ;)
  • Looks whiter.
  • That thing is hot.
  • Err.. ok. Enjoy. :)
  • Man, I want a white one, just because I love the color White...and it's sleak/classy looking. Yep, day one here, so No need at this point. Maybe when the modding scene comes in, they will have white shell picese for the console and I can upgrade mine. I really wish MS re-thought their 500gb option, crap, I have had my system less than a year and I am at 95% full. This means I have to remove games or buy a external drive. I am really thinking about pulling my system apart when the warranty is up and installing a 2-4tb (largest I can affordably buy). Getting a black Kinect is fine over a white one, MOST tvs are black or a dark color, this would stand out like a sore thumb in a living room and have a major impact on the WAF and that is big (Wife Acceptance factor). Man, I really want to play Sunset Overdrive, but, sad to say I have to wait (budget).....Pluck !!!
  • Why go through the risk and hassle of replacing the internal hard drive instead of just plugging in an external? If you do the former, you literally waste an entire 500GB of hard drive space instead of adding to it (i.e. replacing a 500GB HD with a 2TB one gives you 2TB of space, but plugging in an external drive gives you 2.5TB of space and allows you to easily "bring your Xbox One games and apps elsewhere" by simply carrying your external hard drive around.
  • Man i want that white one bad. But i still don't see a compelling enough reason to upgrade from the 360. :( $350 just to be able to talk to my TV doesn't seem worthwhile, plus this doesn't have kinnect, so there goes the one reason i want one besides that white looks good! Much better than the 360 white which i always thought looked weird.
  • how about all those games thatt do not release on last gen anymore. starting next year, very few will come to old-gen anymore. Take Dying Light for example, they caneceled their old-gen versions, and that's just the beginning. Also games look much nicer now
  • You CAN'T replace the included drive with a higher capacity or solid state model.  MS 'bless' the drive just like they did with the 360 within the drives firmware (or something) so non-blessed drives simply won't work. I much prefer Sony's approach, letting you stick in a larger or faster than stock 5400rpm drive is easy, especially now with 2Tb 2.5" drives easily available. I've bought 3 digital download games and have several disk-based ones (that still need to be completely installed to the XBO's internal drive) and I've chewed up more than half the capacity.  Hopefully some third party will have figured out how to modify stock drives so I can upgrade the internal storage. I really don't want to use an external drive to play content from, more cables, more hassle.
  • There is a warranty-voiding method of switching the internal drive out with a different drive. External drives are different than user-replaceable internal drives, and do require an extra power outlet, but they are still a great solution and easier to install than replacing a drive wuld be.
  • I would still get the AW bundle over this, but agreed that this would be a more enjoyable game
  • Will get mine tomorrow. Just wish there would be a white Kinect as well.
  • I'm really enjoying my white X1 and sunset overdrive is a fun game once you get the hang of it. The 2 drawbacks that Paul mentions are personal preferences really. 1. I'm hard pressed to find a reason for me to be missing Kinect. I grab the controller and turn the console on, navigate to my game and play. What else is there? 2. I don't plan on playing a whole lot of games so 500 gb seems to be fine for me. Ironically everything else in my entertainment center is black (tv, soundbar, sub & TiVo) so the console stands out but I definitely recommend it to those who don't have one yet !
  • I didn't think I would ever use Kinect either. But I underestimated my laziness! Or just its convenience. You can power it on with Kinect and pretty much navigate everything with it, so if you can't find your controller or you've just sat down and your controller is our of arms reach, you can just say Xbox on and go from there. Obv if you're going to play a game you'll need to get up anyway but you can do that while doing other things. If you have your hands full and you want to pause a video on YouTube, you can do that. If you can't find your controller to pause a video or turn the Xbox off, you can use voice. If the phone rings and your controller is off, are you guna wait a good 5 seconds to turn on your controller and then do what you want to do? When you could just tell the Xbox to do it. Xbox record that is super convenient too. It just depends how lazy you want to be really. Then at night or once you're done using Xbox, all you have to say is xbox off, yes, and that's it, no need to press buttons (because that's too much effort and time consuming...). It is a gimmick, but it makes life a little easier, and im all for that.
  • With my X1 now being in my living room, my controller is never more than a few inches away, and since I'm treating it as a glorified 360 (my tv isn't going thru it yet) those capabilities aren't that useful or attractive to me. I'm never too lazy to just reach for the controller, especially since whenever I reach for it I have the intention to play games.
  • Not that voice commands are a huge deal, but it's pretty convenient being able to turn on or off the Xbox One as you enter or exit the room, when you wouldn't be holding the controller. Or launch things, pause things, etc.
  • I understand that, what I'm saying is my intention is to always play a game so there's really no time when I won't be holding the controller.
  • You won't be holding the controller when you walk into the room or leave it, unless you just carry it around everywhere in your home. That's what I was talking about.
  • The Kinect came with the Xbox so didn't have to make the choice and add up reasons for and against. I'm glad I've got it though. I'm currently abroad and didn't have room in my suitcase for the Kinect, but I do miss it. I dont need it, everything's fine I can do everything with the controller, but it is nicer to be able to snap things quicker with a simple voice command. Feels more immersive having power control, pause play functions for videos, and general navigation. Also the sign in feature with your face speeds things up too. Basically, with the Kinect, it does actually...seem faster lol. Sorry for the bad joke
  • " I'm hard pressed to find a reason for me to be missing Kinect. I grab the controller and turn the console on, navigate to my game and play. What else is there?" 1. Amazing motion- and voice-controlled games like Fantasia, Dark Dreams Don't Die, Dance Central Spotlight, Kinect Sports Rivals, Xbox Fitness, and Just Dance. 2. Complementary motion- and voice- integration into traditional games (recording original character animations and dialouge in Project Spark, navigating via voice in Forza Horizon 2, peekign around corners in Tomb Raider, shouting out battle commands in Ryse, luring in zombies in Dead Rising 3, etc.) 3. Skype in 1080p with auto-digital zoom 4. Voice and gesture commands ("Xbox, go to Sunset Overdrive", "Xbox, record that", "Xbox, pause", "Xbox, volume down"). 5. auto-sign in with facial recognition (in the dark!), showing your custom dasbhoard 6. IR blasting on your Xbox, TV, and cable box from afar 7. streaming to Twitch with a video inset or editing game play clips with a video inset Some more things too, but I'll stop there. To me, the Kinect is well worth the extra $100, and I wish more people felt the same.
  • Yeah, i still have no idea why people think the Kinect is useless. I use it all the time on my 360, if only just to say Xbox, Pause. Xbox, Play when wathcing Netlfix or HBO etc. I find myself all the time wanting to say pause to the TV when i'm not using the 360 and that is the only major reason i want a Xbone, but $450 just to be lazier is just not in my cards right now. Plus, I want to see more DVR intergration before i say "Ok, now i HAVE to have it." We just don't watch much live TV anymore, that is to say AT ALL anymore.
  • 1. I don't play motion games. Haven't since Wii Sports Resort.
    2. Those gimmicks aren't integral to the game so I'm not really missing anything.
    3. I don't Skype
    4. Voice and gesture is nice but the controller can do all of that anyway and that's what I'm used to from the 360.
    5. I have auto sign in to my account set since no one else will be using it.
    6. I have a tv remote for that plus they sell the ir receiver if I was pressed for it
    7. I don't stream.
    For me personally, this is a gaming platform so none of the extra stuff really matters to me. I've been partying and getting around menus just fine without out so I really still don't see the point. I think the people who are like me are just here to turn on the X1, play a few games and turn it off. That's why some of us don't see it as useful.
  • 1. Motion-controlled games have come a long way since Wii Sports. Perhaps you would like some of them now. Personally, I enjoy the variety. 2. They're not "gimmicks"; they add to the realism of the game. Some of them even improve navigation issues, such as Anna in Forza Horizon 2, which allows me to quickly move on to new races instead of fumbling through clumsy menus. 3. You should. Your parents would like to hear from you every now and then. You can even put them in snap mode while you still play the game (just put a blanket over your hands so they don't see the controller). 4. A controller cannot do all of those things (e.g. "Xbox, volume down" / "volume up" / "mute" / "unmute", etc.). 5. That's a security issue. Be careful. 6. No other device besides Kinect can blast on your Xbox One, TV, and settop box. Anything else is just added steps. 7. You can also use it for recording clips too--doesn't have to be just streaming. If you truly aren't interested in all of that, then that's fine: don't get a Kinect and enjoy your Xbox One. Personally, I could not imagine losing all of those features. I'll never buy another non-Kinect console ever again.
  • I worry that the white color would clash with my living room setup because a lot of my electronics and furniture are black.
  • I won this console at the Sunset Overdrive Launch party at the Microsoft Store. I can confirm that it is indeed awesome.
  • Mr. evath confirms for us that winning is indeed awesome.
  • Congratulations! That must feel great.
  • Xbox should double the sales till the year end.
  • Its actually a really nice looking device in white, i still prefer my black though =)
  • I've been waiting for the white version. Time to finally get an Xbox One. I've had Forza 5 Collectors edition sitting around for a year, waiting for a console. :p
  • The guy doing the unboxing is hilarious, at 4:20 in the video, "Open up baby, show us what you got" hahaha
  • In my house, this thing would be yellow within six months. Once they release a 1TB w/Kinect and game I actually care about, I'll re-enter the XBOX ONE ecosystem.
  • Maybe smoke outside to protect your things? ;)
  • White console is sexy, but prefer the black controller too.
  • wow is that thing sexy Paul. I hope you can get WCentral to pay for these, if you review them. That is the best. I like the look of white, but I just dont think I want it on my entertainment stand. I am in the market for a second Xbox One, but I think I will just get the Kinectless black console... I need to talk to some people at Microsoft. Stupid Call of Duty consoles are getting very old. Give us some better ones.   Personally, I hope they release an Elder Scrolls VI or Fallout 4 console when those games come out. I would buy those in a heart beat. But honestly, who loves CoD enough to buy a console specifically for the game? Those players are usually to drunk or high to care what console they have.  
  • One half-off-topic question. Can I use a external SSD HD for games, demos and etc.?