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Xbox One S Review

December 21, 2016

First of all, add my Gamertag. It’s kskaps. Got it? Great!

As of my birthday on December 17th, I’ve been the proud owner of an Xbox One S.

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Before this, I played an Xbox 360 that I bought in 2012.

To give you some background: I’m the worst techie in the sense that I have a very strong sense of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”. When I bought my 360, it had been out for a while already, and even then I only justified it because I had an upcoming surgery that had a recovery time of 2 weeks. It was actually right before Halo 4 came out, and because I couldn’t leave my bed/house, one of my good friends brought one back from the midnight release for me, which was super awesome. I digress. The point is, I don’t rush out to buy the latest gadget, even if I think it looks amazing. I’ll happily replay old games, my friends all make fun of me because I have a tower instead of a laptop, the only reason I have an iPad is because it was a gift… you get the picture.

I didn’t look at any blogs before writing this because I didn’t want to sound like anyone else. If you want specs and pro reviews, by all means, check out some other reviews. You can even see how it’s different from the Xbox One, or how it compares to the PS4. I’m a ride-or-die Xbox girl, so I don’t have eyes for anyone else. If you’ve ever been in love, you know how I feel.

Likes:

  • Small, sleek looking. Thinner is better. *Zoolander Blue Steel face*
  • The Xbox button (middle of your controller, got a X on it, can’t miss it). You press this and instead of a dialog box/lightbox/modal, you’re taken back to your dash with your current game/app paused yet visible in the interface. Feels more modern.
  • No power brick, which was very clunky and felt antiquated. It’s shocking that even the Xbox One had the power brick.
  • Controllers. Not too big, not too small, rounded enough to be comfortable in your hands. Not too many buttons. Exact same, minus colour/texture, to the Xbox One, meaning there’s no weird difference there.
  • New gamerpics. There were about four choices in the 360. Now, you can choose between Halo pics, that dude from Guardians of the Galaxy/Jurassic Park, or some random pop art looking stuff.
  • Customizable profile colors. Mine’s grey, but you could do blue, or purple, or red… whatever you fancy. No custom colours (Hex codes etc), but the list is alright.
  • Better resolution/display… so I hear. My TV was a Boxing Day purchase and its frame rate is worse than most millennials’ credit scores, but these games look really good.
  • Quick power on/off.

Dislikes:

  • Holes/perforations on the machine. To me it looks like they probably help with cooling, and are sort of modern/hip looking. I don’t hate it, but I predict that the design will age poorly. Kind of reminds me of a golf ball or an athletic shoe.
  • The UI is awful… nothing is intuitive! It’s hard for me to find things, and I’d label myself as a “tech savvy” person. There’s also no option for a light theme, which (to me) doesn’t make sense with a white console. In a perfect world you’d be able to choose whether the machine and the UI are light or dark.
  • No Spotify (Spotify has an exclusivity contract with Playstation). In March, I wrote a blog post about streaming music at work and it was pretty obvious that Spotify is my fave. I have a robust as heck music taste (made evident when I crushed the entire itgroove team at Music Trivia). Access to great playlists and a breadth of artists – whether big-time or indie – means a lot to me. So if I want to listen to music through the console, I have to use Groove Music? I’m sorry, but I have honestly never heard of anyone using Groove Music. I’ll try the 30 day trial, and I’ll even write a blog post about it… could be a hidden gem. They better have that local band I like, though.
  • Vertical stands are only included with the highest-storage models. Those stands are $30 (Canadian). They probably cost 0.00002 cents to make, so I think Microsoft should really consider including them with their consoles.
  • Nothing about the OOTB (read: no purchases) avatars has been updated! Even the clothes are the same from the Xbox 360. They look so dated. The female “skinny jeans” are flared jeans! Update them, or kill them.

On the roster:

  • Halo Master Chief Collection
    • Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I absolutely LOVE the Halo franchise. Even the loading screen gives me shivers. In my eyes, they can do no wrong. I love the story line. I love playing Halo CE: Anniversary Edition and switching back and forth between the graphics, re-living waves of nostalgia while asking myself, “Was it really that bad? But it looked SO COOL back then!”. It’s also fascinating how Cortana has gotten way more sexy over the years. She’s like the Kim Kardashian of gaming! One time on Twitter, I joked that Microsoft should manufacture Cortana mudflap decals. It didn’t go over well…
  • Halo 5: Guardians
    • At this point I haven’t started a campaign, but I’m going to soon. I’m so excited. I just need to warm up (with the previous Halos) first!
  • Rocket League
    • My little brother plays this a lot on his PS4 and it looks super fun. The only sport I like is hockey, but this seems pretty legit.
  • Stardew Valley
    • Think of The Legend of Zelda, Mixed-Up Mother Goose, and Farmville all rolled up into one game.
  • All dem old games from my Xbox 360
    • I have a CD case full of games like Fallout 3 and Assassin’s Creed that I will never tire of.
    • Fable 3 can go home. There was so much potential for the franchise, and it’s sad to see it fail.

What’s next?

  • Going to look into getting a camera/mic setup so I can do the live streaming thing.
  • Building the game library.
  • Giving Groove Music a chance.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the Xbox One S. Of course, there are improvements that can be made, but they’re minor. For a fast, high-def machine that allows me to browse the internet, use apps and most importantly play games, I’m pretty thrilled.

Do you have any specs, facts, or opinions I haven’t taken into consideration here? Leave me a comment below!

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Karin Skapski

Bruce Smith

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