By 12:30am, I will have had my Xbox One for 48 hours. In that time, I've played quite a bit of Forza and far more Dead Rising 3. I've also tooled around with the console itself. Sampled it's voice controls, have fallen in love with Upload Studio, and downloaded a few apps. This isn't exactly a review, but rather, my impressions of the hardware so far.
UI: The UI of the X1, to me, feels truly next gen. Oddly enough, I don't care for Windows 8 and it's tiled interface but here it feels great. Being able to pin my favorite applications, downloaded content, and even individual websites is excellent. It's fast, responsive, and intuitive once you spend a bit of time with it. They made the right call.
Voice Control: I, like everyone else, wasn't happy with the "forced" inclusion of the Kinect. Now that I have it though, my mind is completely changed. Some people are having a few issues getting the X1 to respond but here's what I did and to great effect:
1. Go into the Kinect setup and troubleshoot it. Choose that the Kinect can't hear you.
2. This will launch the calibration function. Turn your volume up to the point where the setup tells you that it's too loud.
3. Turn your volume down by one notch until the calibration works.
This calibrates the Kinect to hear you even in very loud environments. I have a pretty pronounced southern accent but I'd say the X1 responds to voice commands a good 95% of the time.
Upload Studio: I have been wanting to break into the YouTube scene for a while now. Not because I expect to become a well-known and loved submitter of content, but because I've always thought it would be fun having a place to share my gaming exploits. I've never been able to afford a traditional setup to do this and now I don't need it. Upload Studio is easily one of the best things about the X1. With a simple voice command, the system captures up to five minutes (you can link up to 5 clips together too) of gameplay in 720p at 30fps. From there, it's a simple matter of editing the clip as needed and saving it to SkyDrive where you can then download it to your PC and share it however you'd like. It's inspired me to create a new YouTube channel after so many years of wanting to jump on board.
The Console & Controller: The X1 is large but no bigger than most DVRs. It's also heavy and quite unassuming to look at. It runs pretty much whisper quiet and I haven't noticed any particular heat problems. The controller is fantastic. It feels great in your hands, has a nice weight to it, and looks very slick. Some people don't care for the bumpers but I haven't had any issues with them. I use the broadside of my index fingers to activate them instead of my fingertips. The analog sticks are slightly smaller than the 360 controller but have a much better feel to them.
Snap: It's important to note that I don't run my TV service through the X1. That was never really something I wanted to do. That said, snapping websites and especially Upload Studio is a very handy feature. Stuck on a difficult part that you just can't get through? Snap Internet Explorer and find a walkthrough. I have seen people that love the ability to watch TV and game at the same time and it works very well. It's not something I want to do but for them it's a great benefit.
Welcome to the new generation: Overall, what Microsoft has created here is far more than a game console. They've created a truly unique experience. The X1 can do a whole range of useful and fun functions but, most importantly, the games that I've played so far have been a great time. When you play DR3, you're not thinking "Gee, this would be great if only it were more than 720p". No, you're thinking "Holy balls! I just stuffed a hand grenade into a zombie's mouth and threw him into a horde and blew them all to shit!". I can not wait to get my hands on future releases when developers have had more time to juice the hardware and figure out innovative ways to make use of the Kinect. My friends, this is going to be an amazing generation for gamers. Period.