What better to start my E3 2016 posts with than what is probably the most major “ready to go” product announcement this year: the new, slimline Xbox One.
I make no effort to hide that I am an Xbox fan now. Oddly, it was the Xbox One that made me want to try Microsoft’s hardware, after a decade of avoiding it. I bought a 360 on the cheap because I had the option, then, just a year ago, bought an Xbox One, and have enjoyed it quite well.
Of course, the original Xbox One is huge. Well, about what would be expected from such a console, but people like smaller packages, so, eh. The point is, I actually liked the design, but naturally I wondered what the inevitable hardware revision would look like. Now, we know, and it’s beautiful.
First things first, it’s white. Not black, white. I prefer my consoles dark, or gray, but, this works. What I don’t know is if it’s a soft glossy finish (like the original Xbox One) or if it has a more “durable” finish (like the PSP had) as I hate how the soft glossy plastics being used these days scratches so easily.
Otherwise, the console is 40% smaller than the original box, and contains an internal power supply, something we haven’t seen in a Microsoft console since the original Xbox from 2001. I have some misgivings about that, since if a PSU fails you can’t just buy a new one, but let’s presume it won’t fail on you – how often does that happen, anyway, honestly?
Connection wise, it looks to have the same HDMI in, HDMI out, and 3 USB 3.0 ports, with 1 of these on the front now, rather than the side, and physical buttons instead of the capacitiive touch sensors (to stop accidental console shutdowns, etc) which, eh, that works. I can go either way on buttons. To use a Kinect with the Xbox One S, you will need a USB adapter – the S does not have a dedicated Kinect port, which is fine with me.
As for hard drive capacity, it looks like the new console will come with up to 2TB of space, which is 4 times the base model Xbox One 500GB hard drive capacity. Granted, adding a 1TB external hard drive to my Xbox One has given me enough capacity for whatever I might want to play at any given time, and an ability to keep games on my console for “when I feel like it” playing. Still, having all that storage available will be great for most anyone, since games are getting larger and larger each year, with update after update.
The new Xbox One S will also feature 4K Blu-ray support, and 4K video output. Now, of course, this only applies to movies (there are no 4K Xbox one games) so for those with 4K televisions, this console might prove to be a viable purchase for Blu-ray playback as well as gaming, much as how the Playstation 3 was a viable Blu-Ray player back in 2006, when they were still relatively new, and expensive. Get the most bang for your buck, right?
The controllers have been slightly upgraded as well, with Bluetooth support for PC gaming, better grips, and other minor tweaks mentioned. I’ll have to hold one to get a better feel (no pun intended) for what these improvements actually are, but it sounds good – making the controller the best it can be is always a plus.
Funny thing, as I write this, there was a rumor the console wouldn’t come with a controller. Uh, what sense does that make? Not only do the photos on the official site show it with one, as did the E3 show room model, but why would a console not come with a controller! Some people are just, well, special.
Anyway, what’s my verdict?
The new Xbox One S just look beautiful. Granted, it is just a new build of the same console, but for someone who doesn’t have an Xbox One and wants one, why not? This is the better version to buy, by far. I still enjoy my original model Xbox One, but if I have the chance to get a new model, then I will.