Xbox One SmartGlass explored: Smartphone console control

SmartGlass is the Xbox's companion app, linking up with your console and bringing some of the experience to your smartphone or tablet. SmartGlass was first announced at E3 2012 and made its debut on the Xbox 360.

SmartGlass for Xbox One is a separate app to the one you'll have for Xbox 360, so you'll have to download the new app (Android, iOS and Windows Phone links below) and hook it up to your new console.

SmartGlass will let you do a range of things. If you've read our Xbox One review, you'll know that you can talk to the console, use gestures, or use your controller. But SmartGlass also lets you navigate your console from your smartphone.

READ: Xbox One review

Once your Xbox One is connected - which takes a few seconds, in our experience - you'll get a home page in SmartGlass that looks a little like the Home tab of your Xbox One: it has a current tile up top, then recent and featured tiles, reflecting what you've been up to on your console.

Click on a tile and it will bring up information on that app, with the option to launch it on the Xbox One. It's nice and fast to respond too. Previously, SmartGlass would send your request out into the cloud and back to your console; now it just interacts directly, so it's much more responsive.

There's a controller option where you can swipe with two fingers to move the dashboard and flip over into your Pins or the Store, or a single finger swipe to move you through lists. Then you can click on the buttons to make selections and so on.

There are some clever options included for some apps, like Xbox Music for example, allowing you to open music in Snap and then control playback.

We also like the searching option, that will show you content, for example movies you can watch. Cleverly, we've found that Netflix is integrated, so if you search for House of Cards, you're given the option of Xbox Video or Netflix. Content from other apps also appears - Lovefilm for example - but as we're still pre-launch, we're still to see how wide the app integration will be.

SmartGlass will also work as a companion app for some games - as we've seen previously on the Xbox 360. In Dead Rising 3, for example, you can use SmartGlass to turn your phone into an in-game phone for contacting characters. Sadly, it's not actually live yet, but following launch it should bring an extra dimension to your game.

READ: Dead Rising 3 review

You'll be able to keep track of your Xbox Live friends and achievements, and you'll be able to Pin content through your phone that will appear on your console. We're looking forward to see what SmartGlass brings in the future - Microsoft has said that the app could be used as a controller for games, as long as the experience is right.

The app is free and can be downloaded via the links below.



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