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Xbox One tips, tricks and secret features

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Xbox One
Xbox One

The Xbox One is a console anyone can use. However, there are loads of little hidden extras and secret features you might have missed so far.

Here are our Xbox One tips and tricks, to help you uncoverall those extras and make the most of your new console.

Install the Xbox One Blu-ray player app to watch Blu-ray discs
In order to play Blu-rays on a new Xbox One, you need to install an update. As long as you’re connected to the internet, the console will prompt you to download the update when you insert a Blu-ray disc.

However, you can also install it manually – useful if you’re planning on taking the Xbox One somewhere where you’ll be without internet. Go to the Store from the main menu, then head to the apps section. Type in ‘Blu’ or ‘blu-ray’ in the search bar to find the app. Then simply select it to install.

Xbox One Fitness
Xbox One FitnessA mysteriously hidden part of the Xbox ecosystem is Xbox Fitness. It’s an app that any Xbox Live Gold subscribers can use for free. However, it’s not that easy to find on the Xbox One store. Try searching for Xbox Fitness using the Bing search and you’ll root it out, though.

Xbox Fitness gives you workouts to perform, which you can tailor to your own needs. There are lots of different training types too, each available to download for free as long as you’re signed up for Live Gold.

It uses the Kinect sensor to monitor your pulse too, giving a two-way interactivity. It's surprisingly good.

What is SmartGlass, how to I get it?

SmartGlass is one of the most poorly-explained parts of the Xbox world. It’s the Xbox companion app, available for phones and tablets. It was originally only available for Windows phones, but you can now download it for iPhones and Android phones too.

There are separate apps for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, so if you already have SmartGlass, make sure you give the Xbox One version a download. Its most basic functions just let you check out your achievements and so on, but if you use it while connected to the same network as your console, you can use your phone or tablet as a ‘second screen’.

The most useful function is as a keyboard. You can use your phone or tablet’s touchscreen to type in URLs in the Xbox One’s browser, making it far, far more enjoyable to use. You can also load apps using your phone, and setup a load of ‘favourite’ apps on your phone to make using your Xbox even quicker.

How to get cheap Xbox Live credit and Xbox Live Gold
Xbox LiveThe Xbox Live Gold subcriptions for the Xbox One are the same as those used with the Xbox 360. So if you already have one on the old console, it’ll carry over to the Xbox One.

Occasionally Microsoft offers sales where you can get pretty cheap Xbox Live subscriptions. However, most of the time you’re better off buying a redeemable code online. CDKeys offers 12-month subscriptions for £26.29 at the time of writing, down from the recommended price of £39.99. There are a few other sites like CDKeys on the web, but it is generally the cheapest of the lot. ‘Like’ them on Facebook and they’ll send you a 5 per cent off code too.

Getting money of Xbox Live credit is a bit trickier, but once again CDKeys offers a quid or two off vouchers.

Using Xbox One Snap
Xbox Snap is one of the neatest new features of the Xbox One. It’s the console’s multitasking feature, and it lets you open up another app on the side of the screen while playing a game.

Things you can open up include Xbox Music, the Internet Explorer browser, the video player and the Xbox Party chat interface. It’s a handy extra that’ll stop you having to open up your laptop should you get stuck in a game.

To use Snap, you can either say ‘Xbox, snap’ while you’re playing to bring up the Snap menu or go to the menu by pressing the Home button and then select the Snap tile. This brings up the Snap menu too.

How to change your Xbox One avatar
Your avatar is the little character than represents you within the Xbox Live ecosystem. You had better make sure you like how he/she looks.

To customise your Xbox One avatar, go to the Home menu then select My Games and Apps. Now select Avatars > Customise > My Style. Here you’ll be able to choose what your avatar looks like.

Xbox One Kinect commands
Unless you’re clued up, Kinect can seem a bit of a mystery. However, there is a fairly concrete list of commands it will understand. Here are the main ones (each needs to be prefixed by ‘xbox’ for the command to be understood) –

  • Go Home – head to the home menu
  • On, turn off – power toggle
  • Snap, unsnap – switches the Snap feature on and off
  • Bing – Perform a web search
  • Sign in – Signs in when on a sign-in page
  • Use a code – lets you redeem a code or scan a QR code
  • Play – play a video
  • Next song, previous song – easy voice commands when listening to music
  • Mute, unmute – silence your Xbox One
  • Volume up, volume down – control the volume of your console
  • Invite (insert name) – invites a selected contact to play or chat

Next, check out of round-up of the best Xbox One games

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