The secret's out.
The Xbox One is a multimedia monster. It’s home to music, films, TV, apps and of course – my personal favourite – video games.
But you probably knew all of that already (or at least I hope you did). I’m here to tell you about the little things you may have missed, the nuances that you were completely unaware of, and the stuff you probably take for granted.
10. Kinect Can Control Your TV and Home Cinema
No one likes remotes. They play hide and seek, eat up batteries like there’s no tomorrow and always fall into the wrong hands (you know what I mean). So wouldn’t it be great if we could potentially get rid of them once and for all? Well, with the Xbox One, you can.
Kinect can talk to your TV and home cinema system as if by magic.
Kinect has an infrared blaster that can talk to your TV and home cinema system as if by magic. Using the much maligned but surprisingly functional voice commands, you can adjust the volume, change TV channels and even set the Xbox One to turn your devices on or off without picking up a single remote.
Remote, your days are numbered.
9. Xbox One Supports Up To 8 Controllers
Ever heard of the phrase “the more the merrier?” Well someone at Microsoft has – and they took the phrase to heart.
While very few games support it (the indie game IDARB being the only one that comes to mind), the Xbox One has the potential for 8-player, competitive couch gaming.
It’s unlikely that developers will ever get behind the idea of 8-player multiplayer support, but its good to know Microsoft hasn’t abandoned the proposition of playing games with friends, face-to-face.
8. The Impulse Triggers are Awesome
While the Xbox One controller may look rather familiar at first glance, it’s a different beast once you have it in your hands – specifically when you pull the trigger(s).[yt_video id=”T4FV2wfDVeY”][/yt_video]
Impulse Triggers are the Xbox One controller’s biggest innovation, providing fabulous feedback directly to your index fingers. You can feel your tyres locking up in Forza Motorsport 5 or the kickback of a shotgun in Sunset Overdrive. It adds an unexpected extra dimension to games, but the only problem is that developers aren’t utilising them enough.
7. Achievement Totals are Tracked
Achievements – love ‘em or hate ‘em – are here to stay. But luckily they’re more achievable than ever… If that makes sense.
You had no idea how close (or how far away) you were from an achievement.
One of the worst things about the Xbox 360 were the achievements that required you to gain hundreds of kills, or any achievement that was specifically tracked either by a number, time or activity. You had no idea how close (or how far away) you were from that one achievement you so desperately wanted. But that’s a thing of the past on Xbox One.
You can now see a percentage of how close you are to unlocking each achievement. There’s also time-based and community challenges to spice up the competition.
6. Kinect Can Help Save Your Controller’s Battery
Almost every device needs charging: your phone, toothbrush, maybe even your new watch. Hell, it’s only a matter of time before we’ll have to plug our cars into a wall socket, too.
But charging is a slow, laborious and downright annoying process. And it’s even worse when you have batteries with a finite amount of power to worry about. Think about it: every time you put the controller down to watch a film, or pop to the kitchen to make a sandwich, you’re essentially wasting precious, precious battery. At least you would be, if it wasn’t for Kinect.
The Xbox One controller has infrared LEDs built-in that communicate with Microsoft’s clever camera. Kinect can determine whether the controller is being used and saves battery by turning it off quicker than a rudimentary power-off timer.
5. You Won’t Miss A Beat With Matchmaking Alerts
Playing online has become a fundamental draw for gamers looking to test their skills against human opponents across the globe. But how can that experience be improved?
Xbox Live has a fantastic infrastructure, and with the addition of Microsoft’s Azure servers online play has probably never been smoother. However, one feature which was previously overlooked was matchmaking, and how to make that process more intuitive.
On Xbox One, you don’t have to stare aimlessly at lobby screens as the timer slowly ticks down. You can watch TV, surf the web and when the game is ready to start you’ll be conveniently alerted. It’s simple, effective and incredibly useful.[yt_video id=”Ti6UwRitOZU”][/yt_video]
4. The Xbox One has an Ambient Light Sensor
Before you sit down and watch a movie, there’s two things you need to do: tell everyone to shut up and turn off the lights.
While the incessant rustling of sweet wrappers and people munching on popcorn is enough to drive anyone to madness, one thing you can guarantee is that pitch black darkness makes any movie better. It’s a scientific fact… I think.
Unfortunately, the Xbox One has not one, not two, but three offensively bright Xbox One logos that rudely appear once you turn the console on. That’s advertising for you!
Thankfully, the obnoxious trio of lights won’t spoil your nightly solitude as Kinect has an ambient light sensor that detects the brightness of your room and automatically dims the offending spotlights depending on the lighting conditions.
Cinema night, consider yourself saved.
3. You Can Choose Between 2.5 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi
In 2014, the internet is everything. If you’re stuck with pitiful download speeds then your life is quite frankly incomplete.
One way you can improve your
life internet is by using the best wi-fi signal possible, and one that isn’t used by nearly every device under the sun. Of course, I’m talking about 5 GHz wi-fi.
Xbox One let’s you choose which wi-fi frequency you’d prefer.
5 GHz wi-fi trumps its more commonly used counterpart, 2.5 GHz, in almost every area imaginable. Your connection will be stronger, with less interference from the world around you. 2.5 GHz gives you better range, granted, but you’ll get fewer disconnects and an increased download capacity on the superior 5 GHz frequency.
Unlike its closest competitor, Xbox One let’s you choose which wi-fi frequency you’d prefer – how’s that for generosity?
2. Snap is More Useful Than You Think
Snap has become more useful than ever on Xbox One, and its actually pretty neat.
For example, you know the football’s about to start but you really want to finish off that final race: “Xbox, snap TV.” You’re struggling to beat a really difficult achievement and need to see someone grab it first hand: “Xbox, snap YouTube.” Can’t be bothered to stop playing and listen to everything your grandma in Australia has to say: “Xbox, snap Skype.” Want to find out all about that rash that’s been bugging you for days? “Xbox, snap Internet Explorer.” You get the idea.
Basically, Snap keeps you gaming, for longer, and that’s fine with me.
1. Suspend and Resume is a Game Changer
How often does your gaming session get interrupted?… Sometimes? All of the time? Never?
If you answered yes to any of the above then you’ll love the Xbox One’s suspend and resume feature – a function that lets you pick up exactly where you left off.
You’ll be amazed to find everything just how you left it.
If you’re watching a film, playing a game or even using an app, you can rest easy knowing that nothing will be lost when you turn off your Xbox One. You’ll be amazed to find everything just how you left it the next time you sign-in, as long as you have your console set to instant-on mode.
Thanks to suspend and resume, you’ll never have to sit through the opening credits of a video game ever again.
Always Getting Better
So there you have it, 10 Xbox One features you probably didn’t know about. Of course there’s been plenty of new functionality added to the console thanks to the monthly system updates, but for me, these are the ones that I definitely didn’t realise were there and continue to overlook.
Which Xbox One features do you love? Let us know in the comments below.