Xbox One SmartGlass is a gaming app that turns your phone or tablet into a remote control for you Xbox One. The app also serves as a companion for games, allowing you to access special content or perform certain actions within the Xbox One game you're currently playing.
There is a separate Xbox 360 SmartGlass app for those still rocking the older console.
What does Xbox One SmartGlass do?
Xbox One SmartGlass is a versatile app, and there are a number of different uses for it. One of its main functions is as a remote control for your console. The app gives you a full screen trackpad that can be used to swipe through menus on the Xbox One, allowing you to navigate the menu and control your applications, media and set top box.
There are three buttons assigned to Xbox One SmartGlass in remote control mode. The best part of the remote control function is that you can use it to input text on the Xbox One, which is much less fiddly than using the console controller.
The other interesting thing about Xbox One SmartGlass is that it allows you to enrich your gaming experience with SmartGlass companions. Using the app you can access new content around the game, view your progress, and interact with the game as you play.
More and more Xbox One games are supporting SmartGlass, and the quality of the content and functionality is improving.
There's an argument that fiddling around on your phone or tablet while your playing again is an unwanted distraction, and that SmartGlass companions are little more than a gimmick. This is true to some extend, but there are some games in which it genuinely enhances the gameplay, and I've often found it particularly fun to use when playing single-player games with friends.
Is it easy to use?
The setup of Xbox One SmartGlass is fairly straightforward. You just need to make sure that your Xbox and Windows Phone device are using the same WiFi network and the app should detect the console when you start it up. If not, it's possible to program in the IP address in the app and it should find the console. Once connected, generally there is little lag between the devices.
The user interface of Xbox One SmartGlass is striaghtforward enough to use, and comes with some features for optimizing your Xbox interface, such as pinning content and apps to your 'My pins' section.
Xbox One SmartGlass is a handy and innovative app that can enhance games and improve the way you use your console. It's not for everyone though, and its usefulness depends largely on the SmartGlass support within the games you play.