Xbox One vs Xbox 360: Is it worth upgrading to the new generation?
With Christmas just around the corner, it’s definitely a prime time to consider the Xbox One vs Xbox 360 debate.
The Xbox One has been around a year now and in the last 12 months Microsoft has been steadily adding new features to its latest console. That means your looking at the two consoles more on a more even keel now, especially when it comes to media services.
We’ll guide you through some of the key things to consider, before you decide to splash out on a shiny new next gen Xbox..
Xbox One vs Xbox 360 – Design
There’s no getting away from the fact the Xbox One is a considerably bigger beast than the Xbox 360. The Xbox One is a huge monolith, measuring up at 33.3cm wide, 27.4cm deep and 7.9cm tall.
The most recent Xbox 360 is 27cm wide, 26cm deep and 7.5cm tall, which is quite a lot smaller than the Xbox One. Even the original iteration of the Xbox 360 was smaller (if a touch fatter) 30.9cm wide, 25.8cm deep and 8.3cm tall.
Microsoft has made the Xbox One so chunky to give the console enough room to breathe. The smaller Xbox 360 suffered from some major overheating issues, which were partly to blame for the Red Ring of Death problems that cost Microsoft over a billion dollars. There’s no wonder why Microsoft is playing it a bit safe with the Xbox One.
But its size is also to ensure its reliability over a number of years. The Xbox One has been designed to be switched on for its whole anticipated 10-year life cycle.
If you’re into voice command or motion gaming features, you’ll also want to consider the Xbox One Kinect. Originally, it came pre-packaged with the Xbox One console itself, but now you can buy the console cheaper without it.
The Xbox One Kinect is smaller than the original Kinect, measuring up at 6.68cm tall 6.6cm deep 24.9cm wide compared to the original’s 7.62cm tall, 7.62cm deep, 27.9cm wide dimensions.
Of course, the Xbox One Kinect is far more advanced than the original, with better body recognition, wider field of vision for play in smaller spaces and enhanced voice commands. We would say that the Xbox One UI is far easier to navigate with Kinect, as often it can be tricky to find certain options or settings with the Wireless Controller alone.
Xbox One vs Xbox 360 – Noise
Although you might not think noise is an issue when choosing between the Xbox One and Xbox 360, it could be a consideration for those with older generation Xbox 360 consoles.
The Xbox One is nearly silent when it’s running, partly down to its size of course, because the more space the fans have, the less hard they need to work.
You might not notice a huge difference between the latest couple of Xbox 360 models though.
Xbox One vs Xbox 360 – CPU and RAM
The Xbox 360 has a PowerPC-based CPU - it's a triple-core 3.2GHz processor. The Xbox One has an eight-core processor based on the AMD Jaguar chip series.
Does that mean the Xbox One is two and a half times as powerful as the Xbox 360? No, it's more powerful than that as the efficiency of the CPU is much better, not just the clock speed and number of cores.
The increase in RAM is much more marked. The Xbox 360 has 512MB of RAM, the Xbox One has 8GB of RAM.
See also: Best Xbox One Games 2014
Xbox One vs Xbox 360 – Controllers
There isn’t a revolutionary change between the Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers, but Microsoft made some iterative changes that makes the Xbox One Wireless Controller have the edge.
The biggest change is what Microsoft is calling the Impulse Triggers. The Xbox One Controller triggers now pack rumble motors. That makes the Xbox One the ultimate console for racing games, as you’ll feel anything from the subtle gear changes to the hard brakes with the left trigger right in your fingertips. It’s a great addition for shooters too, but when you’ve experienced racing games like Forza Horizon 2 with the Xbox One controller, it will feel fantastic.
The shoulder buttons have also been enlarged slightly, so there’s not that bizarre gap between R1/R2 and L1/L2 as there was on the Xbox 360 controller.
Microsoft has also revamped the D-Pad, making it more clicky, more responsive and altogether better for your old school arcade games.
Sadly, the Xbox One Wireless Controller still runs on AA batteries as standard, with the rechargeable pack available as an optional extra.
See also: Best Games 2014
Xbox One vs Xbox 360 – Games Library
Because the Xbox 360 has been around for nearly a decade, it has a stellar array of games to it’s name. Plus, Microsoft believes its ageing console will be supported by developers for at least another two years yet, so it’s still worth investing in on a games front.
However, as the months roll on you can see the Xbox One’s game resolution and game library getting to be far stronger than its predecessors. You can’t deny that cross-platform games look far better in the 900p/1080p resolution of the Xbox One.
It’s getting to the point that developers like Ubisoft are creating two different games to take advantage of the power of the Xbox One and PS4. Just look at Assassin’s Creed Rogue and Assassin’s Creed Unity.
At launch, the Xbox One didn’t have the strongest of exclusive game line-ups. It had the likes of: Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, Crimson Dragon, Call of Duty: Ghosts, , Capcom's Dead Rising 3, Microsoft Studios' Forza Motorsport 5, Killer instinct and Ryse: Son of Rome. The majority of those were also available on Xbox 360.
But in the year since release, we’ve had some strong Xbox One titles such as Forza Horizon 2, the colourful Sunset Overdrive and Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Plus, you’ve got titles like the aforementioned Assassin’s Creed Unity that is only available on new-gen consoles.
Xbox One vs Xbox 360 – Media Skills
From launch and even before that, the Xbox One has been touted as the all-in-one entertainment console, and over the past twelve months or so, Microsoft has been working hard to fulfil that promise.
Originally, the Xbox 360 was miles ahead in terms of media skills, but the Xbox One has now caught up on all fronts.
The Xbox One app line-up currently looks like this: Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video, BlinkBox Movies, Wuaki.tv, 4oD, Crackle, Demand 5, Eurosport, Machinima, Muzu TV, Now TV, TED, Twitch and YouTube.
Plus, the Xbox One has some other great features including the Xbox Media Player app (currently in preview) for watching content from a USB or external hard drive and Plex.
That means it’s definitely on par with the Xbox One in terms of media services, especially as you can now plug in a USB 3.0 external hard drive of 250GB or above for additional storage on your Xbox One.
However, the Xbox One has a few additional strings to its bow that the Xbox 360 can’t even dream of competing with and that’s the TV services.
Natively, the Xbox One can draw in cable TV feeds from services like Virgin Media or Sky and integrate your TV content within the Xbox One UI. There’s even a rather special EPG called the OneGuide that will let you pause/rewind live TV up to 30 minutes, collate your favourite programmes and even see what shows are trending on Twitter.
Even if you don’t have a cable TV subscription, you can fork out an additional £24.99 for the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner to achieve the same results with Freeview and Freeview HD feeds.
Xbox One vs Xbox 360 – Price
Despite several waves of Xbox One price cuts, the Xbox 360 is still considerably cheaper than it’s successor. You can pick up the low-end 4GB Xbox 360 for around £130, but we’d recommend opting for the more expensive 250GB option for around £170 brand new.
At launch the Xbox One retailed for £429 with a game and the Kinect. Now, you can pick up the Xbox One, Kinect-free with a game for £329 on special occasions, or for a PS4 matching £349.99.
Next, read our Xbox One vs PS4 comparison
Verdict – Which console should you buy?
If you’re on a budget and haven’t already invested the PS3/Xbox 360 generation, the Xbox 360 is still well worth considering.
But, a year into its lifecycle, the Xbox One is proving to be the far better option and now is a great time to upgrade from Xbox 360. It’s the ultimate entertainment console, the controller is vastly superior and the games look better on the Xbox One than its predecessor.
Plus, you're not going to a get a better all-round console at this stage for gaming and for entertainment services.