The Xbox one: As Microsoft and Sony do battle for your backing, the Xbox one is put under the spotlight

Xbox One Console

The Xbox one is the newest release by the team over at Microsoft, more powerful than the Xbox 360 it promises to deliver an all in one multimedia experience in your living room, as well as play the hottest new titles from game developers across the world. The only fair thing would be to find a competitor's product to compare it to and see how it faired; after approximately one second of thought, Sony's Playstation 4 was decided to be an ideal sparring partner for Microsoft's new machine.

The Xbox one

The Xbox one itself is quite a large console, about 11 by 13 inches, making it the largest of the next gen consoles. It comes with quite a large power pack too, making it slightly reminiscent of the original Xbox which could be used as a riot shield in a pinch. It also comes with a Kinect camera system that can track your movements, recognise your face and your facial expressions.

It has an HDMI out to your TV and more interestingly an HDMI in so you can plug your TV box into the Xbox one and it will be able to play TV while you use it. It has two USB 3.0 ports on the back as well as an Ethernet port and a lock port if you want to keep it secure.

The controller is much like with the 360 and has a familiar feel. Widely regarded as the most comfortable controller out there Microsoft has focused on small changes that make for a better experience. Some small size changes have been made to the buttons and now the triggers themselves rumble, which does make a difference.

More Money, More Problems

The Xbox one is a bit of a puzzle money wise, it costs approximately one kinect more than a PS4, however it does in fact come with a kinect, where the PS4 doesn't come with its flagship camera. You are of course offered the choice with the PS4 which in my book scores it some points, but the Xbox one is designed with kinect features in mind, to sell one without one would be selling only half a product. If this were simply a contest of price point however, it would still be cheaper to buy a PS4 and camera, than to buy an xbox one - marginally.

What's under the shell?

In terms of raw processing power the xbox one has the edge over its competitors, with an 8 core AMD jaguar APU processor it clocks in at 1.75GHz. The PS4 also has an 8 core AMD processor and has a marginally slower clock speed of 1.6GHz. The xbox one wins too when it comes to the GPU processing speed with another marginal speed victory over PS4 having a clock speed of 854MHz to their 800.

Unfortunately though the Xbox one loses out on GCN architecture units, a relatively new technology from AMD I think of them as steroids for a GPU. A GCN unit will have on board compute units that help the GPU along and make the most out of all power provided to it. The xbox one on the face of it has plenty, 8 GCN units, but it is blown away by the PS4's 12. This means that graphically the PS4 is superior, if developers can take advantage of it.

There is worse news when we look under the Xbox ones sleek black finish, it is running DDR3 system memory which has since been surpassed by DDR4, which was then itself pulled up by DDR5 RAM. No prizes for guessing what the PS4 has under its hood and although the Xbox one does have more SRAM to its name the bandwidth difference between the two machines in total is significant (and the Xbox one has a more demanding OS).

Realistically though this doesn't affect the playability of the games being developed right now moreover it could do in the future, if developers want to take advantage of the PS4's extra speed and if Microsoft don't come up with an innovative solution later down the line.

A Gentle Giant

It is then hard to say conclusively if the Xbox one is the one to beat or not, it does have superior functionality over its rivals with the kinect and multimedia features and is very easy to use but it could fall behind sooner than other consoles and carries a higher price tag with that risk. It would seem the Xbox one is the right choice if you want the features it provides. If you want something that just plays games, you might be better going for a different console.