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10 Xbox One Features You Might Not Know About

Illustration for article titled 10 Xbox One Features You Might Not Know About

You know that it plays Halo games. You know it will run Gears of War. And you probably knew that it looks smaller if you stand further away from it. But did you know these other things about Xbox One?

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You can see how much Internet your console uses

Go to Settings —> Network —> Bandwidth Usage and you’ll be able to track how much Internet bandwidth your Xbox One console has used each of the last several months and even how much it’s using at the moment.

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Illustration for article titled 10 Xbox One Features You Might Not Know About

Watch a game in action before you decide to buy it

The Xbox Live store features Twitch livestreams of any game that’s being played at the moment, so you can skip guessing, reading marketing copy or reading a Kotaku review and just watch some gamer play the game you are about to buy.

Play game, don’t save, power off, power on, resume playing

Who needs save points? Not the Xbox One. The system’s suspend-and-resume feature is one of its best tricks, but only brave gamers who shut their console down without saving their game will discover it. Only works if you are using the system’s instant-on power setting, so not an option if you’re looking to use a more energy-efficient mode.

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UPDATE - 1:15pm: Readers tell me this pretty much doesn’t work with games that are using a persistent online connection. I hadn’t experienced that, likely due to which games I play on Xbox One, but I have experienced that issue on PS4’s own recently-added suspend-and-resume feature when I attempt to resume playing an online-open session of Far Cry 4.

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Do not worry about losing save files

Your save files automatically get uploaded to the cloud as you play. If you log into another Xbox One with your Xbox Live account and then start a game that’s on disc or that you own, the system will pull down your save. No manual uploading and downloading of save files necessary (please take note, Sony!). Logging into a new system will also automatically pull in your pinned shortcuts.

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Virtual green screen!

Using the console’s Upload Studio app and a Kinect, you can do more than just edit gameplay clips, talk over them or do picture-in-picture. You can use that Kinect to create a virtual green screen. Like this:

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To do this, just start recording a Kinect-type video in Upload Studio and choose “change effect.”

You can keep an eye on desired Achievements

Not only can you snap a stack of achievements on the right side of your TV screen, but you can then prioritize the ones you want to track. To snap Achievements, either tell the Kinect to “Xbox, snap achievements” or, if you don’t have a Kinect or are shy, just double-tap the Xbox button on the controller and select the Achievement option.

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Illustration for article titled 10 Xbox One Features You Might Not Know About

Then highlight any Achievement, press A and pin that Achievement to the top of the stack. A progress bar showing how close you are to landing that Achievement will fill up as you play.

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Illustration for article titled 10 Xbox One Features You Might Not Know About

Think of the menu button as right-click

Not so much a feature as an epiphany! As Xbox One boss Phil Spencer told me about a year ago, you can get a better handle on what the menu (three-line/hamburger) button on the Xbox One controller will do on the system menu and in various apps if you think of it as using right click on a mouse. This clears up a lot!

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Illustration for article titled 10 Xbox One Features You Might Not Know About

Use your phone as a controller

If you’ve got the Xbox One SmartGlass app on your phone or tablet, you can sync it to your console and then use it as a controller as you swipe through the system menu or apps such as Netflix. No proper controller or Kinect needed.

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Illustration for article titled 10 Xbox One Features You Might Not Know About

Access HBO faster

Some video apps, namely the HBO Go one (maybe others?), let you pin specific shows or movies to your system dashboard. Just hover over, say, the listing for The Wire, right-click to bring up the option to pin and do it. Instant shortcut to a show worth watching.

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Illustration for article titled 10 Xbox One Features You Might Not Know About

Use the Xbox One controller on your PC

You’ll have to plug it in with a micro-USB cord, and you’ll need to download these drivers.

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Know some handy Xbox One tips? Share them below.

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DISCUSSION

thetruthsiren
thetruthsiren

I love having external storage options on my XB1. I have tons of drives sitting around from various PCs and other tinkering, so I have an external SSD for my most played games like Desinty and a few others (it’s noticeably sped up fast travel in Far Cry 4). I have a larger one for less used games, and a massive drive as backups for everything (I backup my install from disc and my digital games). The only thing I keep on the internal drive is my apps, which are small enough to not murder my download cap if I ever have to redownload.

Lovely.

I gave MS so much shit on E3 when they announced all of the multimedia features like voice, TV control, etc, but I use them all and love them. Especially voice control for netflix control while cooking.