Tech Test: Xbox One Elite Bundle

Microsoft goes top of the line this holiday with the new Xbox Elite Bundle.

The Xbox team isn’t messing around this year. They spent all summer dishing details on huge exclusive fall titles like Halo 5 and Rise of the Tomb Raider. Xbox will also add free backward compatibility with many old 360 titles. They’re now showing off the hardware to let you get at all that gaming goodness and their Elite Bundle is the creme de la creme of the offerings.

The Elite Bundle makes two major changes to the standard Xbox One that’s been available since launch. First, it doubles the hard drive space from 500GB to 1TB, a huge upgrade especially for those who prefer to download their games and are forced to choose which games get cut from the roster to save that precious hard drive space. It’s not any old hard drive either. The Elite Bundle integrates a solid-state hybrid disk meaning quicker load times and better efficiency when playing games from the hard drive. Those with big 360 collections will want to play close attention here since backward compatibility will also mean downloading digital copies of the classic Xbox games included in the BC push and those are likely to take up about 8 gigs a pop.

Secondly, the Elite Bundle includes the new Elite controller. Aimed specifically at the most hardcore gamers, interchangeable d-pads, hair triggers and a wide variety of fine-tuning customizations are a huge upgrade to the existing Xbox One controllers. These new additions are for those who are simply not satisfied with the existing controller or want an edge over their opponents. The Elite controller is retailing for $150 by itself in October, and we were pleasantly surprised to see its build quality and ruggedness very nearly justifying its sky-high-for-a-controller price.

All in all, the $500 price tag of the Elite Bundle makes it the most expensive Xbox you can buy. But it also zooms you up to speed with day-one buyers who have had to piece their setup together in the two years that the Xbox One has been on the market by buying custom controllers and external hard drives a la carte. Most importantly, you don’t have to waste any money on a Kinect unit in this bundle since nobody seems to care to use the damn thing anymore.

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