Device Night Philadelphia: Hands-on with the Elite Controller and the new Xbox One dashboard

Even though Xbox One sales have continually lagged behind that of it’s competitor, it doesn’t mean the interest isn’t there. In our inside look of Microsoft’s Device Night in Philadelphia, we got the opportunity to meet with tons of guests, both retail professionals and fans. Out of all the stations at the event, there was one that certainly takes the prize for being the most crowded (at least for the fans) and it is none other than the Xbox booth.

Microsoft had a demo area where they showed off the new Xbox Dashboard that will be coming to consumers this November, as well as the Elite Wireless Controller which will join Halo 5’s October 27th launch date. From the video, you can see that many of the fans around the demo area continually gave nods of approval as the Microsoft rep went through the list of new dashboard features and capabilities.

The walk-through had strong emphasis on speed. From using the controller bumpers and triggers to quickly switch between menus, or the new guide which featured a consolidation of commonly used menus and functions. Of the fans I spoke too, many were still Xbox 360 loyalists, but said that the new dashboard was a huge an improvement over the previous one which one guest mentioned was “utterly horrible”. Guests, particularly the loyal 360 users, were also in agreement on backwards compatibility being their favorite feature and something that one guest said “convinced [him] immediately”.

After the dashboard walk-through, we got an un-boxing of the Elite Controller (which you can see below). Many of the guests approached the booth with the same question, “Why do I need a $150 a controller?” and many left impressed with the amount of customizability and the overall device quality. One guest in particular said the hands-on had convinced him to preorder the next day, while another called the Elite Controller “the kind of thing you bring to your friend’s house to make them jealous”.

Regarding features of the controller, we were told by the rep that the ‘1-2’ slide switch on the front reflects controller settings actually stored in the controller. So if you actually wanted visit your friend’s house to make them jealous, it’s actually convenient to do so as well. All the more reason we suppose.

The Xbox One console is an area in hardware where Microsoft, despite being in second place, has still done well. It's nice to see Microsoft coming out with new features as well as premium hardware accessories for it's most popular piece of hardware, perhaps taking cues from the premium Surface line of hardware. Regardless, I think Microsoft is headed in the right direction with its console and the fans at the event definitely agreed.

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