Got (or giving) an Xbox One for Christmas? Here’s all you need.

It’s Christmas time, and lucky you — you’ve scored an Xbox One (or better yet, you’re giving one to a loved one)! Congratulations! For those new to the Xbox One family, which consists of the original console, Xbox One S or Xbox One X, we’ve got you covered.

(And a reminder to those giving the console as a gift: it’s not a bad idea to open the console and set it up before hand, installing all updates prior to repackaging it, wrapping it and putting it under the tree!)

The console

There are now three types of Xbox One consoles available now: the standard model, the 4K-upscaling Xbox One S and the native 4K-capable Xbox One X.

For reference, here’s the Xbox One.

You’re unlikely to have a Kinect camera peripheral, a once-mandatory but now optional device. If you’ve got one, plug it in! You’ll be able to issue voice commands with it. You’ll also be able to use it to play motion-controlled titles.

If you don’t have a Kinect, you’re still able to issue voice commands to the console provided you’ve got a Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa device.

Next, the Xbox One S is a step up, 40% smaller and with 4K upscaling and HDR support (though you’ll need a TV that also supports this). The S is the console seen below; it also comes with an enhanced, Bluetooth capable, controller.

Finally, meet the new powerhouse — the Xbox One X (seen at the very top of this page). This new console outputs in native 4K with HDR support and is roughly the same size and weight as the Xbox One S. While you’ll benefit the most from a TV that supports 4K and HDR, those with standard 1080p televisions can take advantage of the X’s supersampling.

In short, we really like the Xbox One X.

Microsoft also offers the premium Xbox One Elite controller, complete with interchangeable joysticks, d-pad and rear paddles. It’s a must-have simply due to its pleasing weight and functionality.

Since we had all consoles in the Xbox One family together at one place and time, you might as well check out our family photo, below.

Interface and console-specific features

The easiest way to get around is to hit the Xbox button, otherwise known as the Guide button, on your controller, than accessing items like My Games and Apps and your pinned items and groups from there.

To get the most of your console, you’ll need to connect it to internet and sign-up for a Microsoft Account. Doing so will give you access to the Microsoft Store (and its games and apps) and other goodies like Achievements and cloud saves. Signing up for an account provides you with an Xbox Live Silver account, but you can upgrade to an Xbox Live Gold account for multiplayer access as well as the Games with Gold program, which offers free games each month.

Popular apps include Netflix, Stan, Disney+ and many more. You can also stream television and movies from Microsoft’s in-built Films & TV service.


The Xbox One plays Xbox One discs and digital games as well as select Xbox 360 and original Xbox backwards compatible titles.

Microsoft has also recently launched the Xbox Play Anywhere program, which lets gamers play the same title on Xbox One and Windows PC with one singular purchase.

As previously stated, Xbox Live Gold Access comes with free games each month; this month’s offerings include Toy Story 3 and Jurassic World: Evolution, while next month’s titles feature Tekken 6 and Batman: The Telltale Series.

Users can also take advantage of two different subscription programs on Xbox One. First is Microsoft’s own Xbox Game Pass, offering a library of over 100 titles on both Xbox One and Windows PC. Second is EA Access, a similar subscription-based offering that provides EA specific titles on Xbox One.

Finally, here are links to the biggest Xbox One exclusive titles of 2018 and 2019:

Additional reading

Enjoy your new console!

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About the author

Steve Wright

Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist for the past ten years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.