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    Review: Xbox One S (Gears of War 4 Limited Edition)



    There’s always been a divide between console gamers. Either you have a PlayStation or an Xbox. Yes, there are Nintendo consoles, but Sony and Microsoft have always been the two biggest competitors. I opted for the PlayStation 4 back in 2013 even when most of my friends had bought Xboxes; I was dedicated to Sony. About four years later I caved in and finally bought an Xbox One.



    I took the box home, which was surprisingly light, and opened it up and was rather confused at first. I had seen other launch day Xbox Ones at my friends’ houses and this looked nothing like it. It was smaller, sleeker, and didn’t include that horrendous power box included with the earlier models. Then I realized I had purchased the Xbox One S, the updated version released in the August of 2016. This console is elegant; sporting a very modern design that fit’s comfortably on a desk or underneath a TV. It’s also quite small, making it easy to transport around. Overall, the Xbox One S is an extremely well built console; its sturdy and portable, two things that I believe are essential.


    Software and UI

    The Xbox One runs on windows 10 as a base and anyone who has used the operating system will be familiar with its tile based home screen; presenting apps and games to you as little squares laid all over the screen. The games do not run on windows 10, but instead run on another operating system using the x86 architecture used on the original Xbox. This allows resources to be allocated to a specific function of the console, creating better performance. I’m not a big fan of the UI, I have windows 10 installed on my PC and I never use the home menu on it. Sometimes when moving through apps or especially when typing with the digital keyboard there is noticeable lag, leading to many mistypes or launching the wrong application on accident. The tiles often create a clutter, which can be very unappealing and frankly, ugly. The option to create your own backgrounds and change colors is a great feature, something desperately missing from the PlayStation 4. The Xbox One S can also play games at 4K (Ultra HD) resolution on TVs that support it. This is a great feature, unfortunately the Xbox One S upscales from a 1080p (HD) resolution to a 4K resolution. What this means is that the image is stretched to fit 4K. This still looks better than native 1080p, but it can cause issues with frame rates. It does have HDR, which extends the range of both contrast and color, creating a very nice looking image despite it still running at a native 1080p resolution.



    Out of the box the console comes with 500gb of storage, 138gb are used by the operating system itself. If this memory seems a bit small there are 1TB models and consumers have the ability to plug in external hard drives to expand their memory. Inside there is an AMD “Jaguar” APU, the same processing unit within the PS4. This APU has eight cores with a clock speed of 1.76 GHz, way below processors found inside high-end computers like an Intel i7, which clocks at 4.0GHz. All this tech talk might sound boring but it all boils down to this, while the Xbox might seem a lot weaker than a custom gaming PC, the Xbox is designed to do one thing: play games. It’s games run fine and look great. If you’re looking for a way to experience current gen games by just putting in a disc and playing (after downloading updates of course) then the Xbox is a good option.



    The Xbox One S is a great console: it’s sturdy, sleek, and powerful. This home system is great for anyone looking for a way to enjoy a different form of entertainment. The UI is a bit clunky and cluttered, but it’s selection of exclusive games, 4K, and HDR create a great experience. 



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