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Xbox One: The specifications – Kinect 2.0, new controller, new hardware

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Microsoft’s new Xbox One is real, and there’s currently a lot of information to take in. There’s a new console with new hardware inside, new software, a new controller and a new Kinect accessory that is vital to the entire operation. Whether you’re an Xbox fanatic who wants the low-down or a PlayStation fan who needs to read up on the details in order to argue why the PS4 is better, here’s what you need to know.

New Console, new Hardware

The console has been updated hugely – There’s now 8GB of RAM inside, although Microsoft didn’t clarify at the launch event whether that’s going to be PS4-matching GDDR5. There’s a 500GB hard drive for all those apps, game demos and stored game clips, which Microsoft was keen to promote – the console is like a DVR!

There’s also HDMI in and out, USB 3.0 ports, Wi-Fi Direct and at long last, a Blu-ray drive. The console is powered by an 8 core CPU, but Microsoft didn’t give us any finer details on that at the event. The HDMI connection allows for pass-through, meaning that you can connect your cable box to the console, then the console to your TV. This is what allows you to say “Xbox, watch TV” and have the console immediately flick to live TV no matter what you’re in the middle of.

The rear of the console hosts two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI in and out, Ethernet, optical audio out, power, IR out and a connection for Kinect 2.0.

Kinect 2.0

Kinect is vital to the operation of the Xbox One, with Microsoft hailing it as the “binding power” between the console, Xbox SmartGlass and the new controller. It features an updated Full HD 1080p camera with a wider angle, 30fps colour, new microphone arrays and a technology Microsoft is calling Time of Flight. TOF allows Kinect to be one of the most accurate motion sensing devices in the world – Microsoft calls it “rocket science stuff”.

Kinect will now be able to detect as you put more weight onto one leg, wiggle your fingers, twist your wrist and even read your heartbeat. Games will be more responsive to your finer movements, so you won’t be making huge and obvious motions in order to get the game to understand what you’re doing. There’s also even better voice recognition with natural speech understanding – now you can say things like “Xbox on” to turn on your console, or “Xbox, watch TV” to immediately flick to live TV.

New Controller

Microsoft took the Xbox 360 controller and tweaked everything to make it better. There are over 40 new design innovations which include textured analog sticks for better grip, shoulder buttons with programable feedback, a precision D pad and more. The battery is now integrated, which should mean the controller charges conductively – we’re yet to confirm that though. Wi-Fi direct provides the connectivity between the controller and the console, which should mean a better battery life, longer range and a more reliable connection. The controller looks really slick, too.