Xbox One X Review
Xbox One X
- Most powerful hardware ever in a home console
- Native 4K HDR gaming
- Improved user interface
- 4K Blu-ray drive
- Full Xbox One compatibility
- Sleek design
- Solid selection of enhanced titles
- 1TB HDD fills up fast
- No 4K pass-through over HDMI
- The One S offers HDR and 4K Blu-ray support for less money
- No Dolby Vision
- Games aren’t always 60fps
- Still no VR support
Xbox One X Review – The world’s most powerful console.
Xbox One X unleashes 6 teraflops of graphical processing power, making games perform better than they ever have. Maximize game performance with the speed of 12GB GDDR5 graphics memory, and see every frame with 326 GB/sec memory bandwidth.
Lose yourself in worlds built for true 4K gaming, where action comes to life with 2160p frame buffers and 6 teraflops of graphical processing power. And experience premiere sound that puts you in the center of Spatial Audio.
Experience richer, more luminous colors in games like Forza Motorsport 7 and Crackdown 3.3 With a higher contrast ratio between lights and darks plus Wide Color Gamut, HDR technology brings out the true visual depth of games.
The biggest knock against the Xbox One X is its $500 price. The PS4 Pro launched at $400 last year, and there’s a good chance we’ll see plenty of deals around the holidays. If your friends are on Xbox Live, or you’re a devotee of Microsoft’s first party franchises, then the X makes more sense. If you just want to play third-party titles that come to both platforms, though, the PS4 Pro is clearly the better deal.
If you’re looking to upgrade from an original Xbox One, and you have a new TV, the One X might be more compelling. It’s faster and offers more features than the One S, and more importantly, it’ll last you much longer without needing an upgrade. There’s also plenty of wisdom in simply waiting a while before you buy the One X, especially if you haven’t moved to a 4K TV yet. The new console can make games look better on 1080p sets, since it’ll supersample high-res textures and have more graphical effects, but it’s simply not worth the upgrade since those TVs don’t support HDR.
If price isn’t a huge concern for you, it’s worth considering investing in a gaming PC. A decent one costs between $600 and $800, plus the price of a monitor, but it’ll easily be more powerful than the One X. And you have the added benefit of upgrading components down the line. Now that Microsoft and game publishers are offering most major titles on PC, you won’t be missing out on much by ditching consoles.
Ultimately, the Xbox One X offers some major performance upgrades that gamers will notice — especially if you’re coming from an original Xbox One. But it’s also a bit disappointing since it’s coming a year after the PS4 Pro, and it doesn’t offer VR yet. For Microsoft fans, though, none of that will matter. It’s exactly what the company promised: the fastest game console ever made.
Let’s bring this full circle. At the beginning we stated that there’s a specific kind of gamer who’d appreciate the intricacies and unabashed power of the Xbox One X. By now, we hope, you’ve come to a conclusion one way or another for yourself if you fit into that category. But if not, the simplest question you can ask yourself is: ‘Will I appreciate the extra horsepower?’
If you’re the kind of gamer who stops to look at the scenic vistas in games like Skyrim, The Witcher or Dragon Age, or a streamer who can point out a 4 frame-per-second difference while looking at two videos side by side, the Xbox One X is a worthwhile investment.
That said, if you’re a gamer who just wants a console that plays great-looking games without digging too deep into your pocket books, the Xbox One X is a bit overkill – save some money and buy yourself an Xbox One S … preferably the one with a 2TB hard drive.
The Xbox interface has never been better and the X’s new bitstreaming ability brings it into line with common 4K Blu-ray decks, which can only be a good thing. There’s also a bump in Blu-ray picture quality and its audio abilities are more rounded.
But the Xbox One X isn’t flawless, and its usefulness as a 4K console partly hangs on the will of game developers. However, if you’re all geared up for 4K and want the most capable, all-in-one console currently available, this is it.
side from games, the Xbox One X is also an entertainment center of sorts. The 4K Blu-ray drive will bring you crisp movies with Dolby Atmos and HDR 10 (but no Dolby Vision) support, and it’s an addition the PS4 Pro lacks. Oddly, Microsoft doesn’t offer 4K movies or TV shows in its own store outside the US. You’ll need to mostly rely on a Netflix or Amazon Video subscription to get streaming 4K movies or TV shows, and even the YouTube app doesn’t support 4K. It’s an odd omission given Microsoft’s 4K focus.
Microsoft does have some good third-party apps for entertainment, including Plex, Spotify, Amazon Video, Netflix, HBO Go, and Hulu Plus. You can also use the HDMI-in port to connect up a Chromecast, or watch TV through your cable set-top box with the Xbox’s OneGuide. Microsoft has stepped back from some of its entertainment and TV commitments, but the Xbox One X is still a solid box to watch content alongside playing games.
One thing to note: buy an external drive for the Xbox One X. I ran out of space on the 1TB drive of the Xbox One X with around 14 games installed and 20 apps. Most Xbox One games are around 40GB or 50GB in size, but I’ve noticed the Enhanced for Xbox One X games are significantly bigger. Gears of War 4 and Halo 5 are at least 100GB, and Titanfall 2 is around 70GB. If you don’t have a particularly fast internet connection you’ll also be waiting hours to download these games.
I’ve not had enough time to test all of the enhancements to the Xbox One X games, simply because they haven’t gone live at the time of this review. That said, the ones I’ve experienced haven’t blown me away enough to warrant the upgrade over my Xbox One S. I switched back to the One S, and I did notice that certain games weren’t as smooth and certainly didn’t look as good, but I soon adjusted.
Likewise, when I returned to the Xbox One X it felt a lot like my Xbox One S. The jump from 1080p to 4K isn’t as profound as SD to HD, and I found it hard to always notice the difference at the distance from my TV. Maybe that will change once more enhanced games are available, but I don’t think most people will be able to notice a big difference just yet. Games will need to be tweaked and fully optimized for the Xbox One X hardware, and you already get the benefits of HDR on the Xbox One S.
That said, the X does offer the best graphics currently possible on a console. If you don’t care about Sony’s exclusives then the Xbox One X will be the best console to play all the cross-platform games coming out. If you already have a large stack of Xbox One games and you’re using the original console, this is going to be a nice upgrade if you own a 4K TV.
For anyone else, this probably isn’t the console for you. Sony really has some impressive exclusives on the way, and it’s hard for Microsoft to counter this despite its great job on the hardware. Microsoft promised the best hardware, and it delivered — but that’s nothing without games.
The Xbox One X is a very impressive collection of hardware crammed into a sleek case. It runs cool and quiet as it delivers performance a step above any of its console competitors. It’s hard to believe Microsoft exclusives like Gears of War 4 can look so good and run so smoothly on a box that costs less than half of what you’d pay for a high-end gaming PC. Plus, it caters to home theater enthusiasts with 4K UHD Blu-ray playback and Atmos sound. Though much of the Xbox One X’s impact depends on developer support and the quality of your display, it delivers exactly what was promised: the most powerful console you can buy right now, by a significant margin, with plenty of potential left to tap.
The Xbox One X is a technically impressive game console. It can render some games in 4K, some with high dynamic range graphics, and some with both, or with other graphical enhancements the original Xbox One and the Xbox One S simply can’t do. It’s also a fully functional Ultra HD Blu-ray player that supports HDR10 video playback (though the Xbox One S has the same trick, and is just over half the price). Its power and media features put it past the PS4 Pro as a 4K game console and media hub, but it shares some similar technical limitations for playing games, particularly the need to develop or update each individual title to take advantage of the new hardware.
Without a patch to take advantage of the Xbox One X, you won’t notice much improvement. And if a game has been patched, the system might still not be able to render it at 4K, or require you to choose between the higher resolution and better frame rate. It doesn’t really compete with a gaming PC’s potential to push all the boundaries of performance, but it also doesn’t have the four-digit price of a gaming PC. As it stands, the Xbox One X really is the world’s most powerful game console, even if it still stands in the shadow of PC hardware.
If you have a 4K, HDR-capable TV and the Xbox One has lots of games you like, the Xbox One X is a worthy upgrade. It can take advantage of your TV in ways the One and One S can’t, and has media playback features the PS4 Pro lacks. If you haven’t made the jump to 4K yet, the supersampling feature of the XBox One X isn’t really worth the nearly doubled price tag compared with the Xbox One S. As with all game consoles, make sure there are games you want to play before you buy. All the hardware performance in the world can’t make up for a library that holds little interest for you.
The Xbox One X is the best console for playing popular multi-platform games. While the $500 price is hard to accept, the hardware is impressive enough to make it feel like money well spent.
However, when we look at the gamers most likely to buy it — players who already own a game console — it becomes a tougher sell. There are no Xbox One X exclusive games, and the console’s greatest strength is connected to an expensive peripheral – a 4K television.
While we can absolutely recommend the Xbox One X over the $400 PS4 Pro on a hardware level, the PlayStation 4 platform offers a much larger number of exclusives, including some of our favorite games of the year. By contrast, Microsoft’s first-party software output seems to have declined in recent years.
Ultimately, the Xbox One X presents an interesting wrinkle for serious gamers. Would you rather buy the console with the greatest games, or the console that helps great games play their best? It’s a choice that console gamers have never had to make.
If you’re still rocking an original Xbox One, it’s fair to say you might be due an upgrade, if just for better, cooler, less noisy performance. But your choice is still between the Xbox One S (around £230) and the £450 One X. That’s an awful lot of extra cash to pay, even if performance is more consistent and the overall picture is sharper.
For me, the One X is a more compelling purchase than the One S – it’s the very latest in console hardware and the guarantee of smooth performance and some stonking visuals is mightily tempting. But the very fact that I can continue to recommend the One S is a testament to Microsoft’s new, generation-less gaming strategy. You’re not going to miss out on any games if you don’t have the money to upgrade, and that’s something we can surely all get on board with.