Xbox One X Review
When the Xbox One X first arrived, I had mixed feelings and questions running around my head. Was it the beast that we all wanted and expected? Was it something that was just completely over hyped and nothing more than an Xbox One S Version 2.0? Either way, I was like a little boy at Christmas when the package arrived and couldn’t wait to open it.
The first thing you notice is how heavy this new console is. I looked at it thinking, this is as small as the S version, but is surprisingly heavy. This is due to the intelligent design and the amazing hardware that’s inside this inconspicuous box.
The basic setup of the Xbox One X is straight-forward. If your previous console was the S version all the ports and wires are the same on the X. There is no power supply taking up space as everything is internal with the X.
When you first turn on the console you are greeted with a high-quality start up screen of the Scorpio engine. Done in the same way as what was shown at E3 during their trailer. It’s only a start-up screen I know but found it a nice touch. The dashboard layout is the same as the other Xbox One consoles, with the only difference being that it scales up to a 4K resolution on the Xbox One X. It would be nice to have the dashboard/home screen in true native 4K resolution. Thankfully, it’s not where you will be spending most your time. It’s all about the unbelievable gaming that is at your disposal.
The Xbox One X is the latest offering from Microsoft and it shows that they are taking gaming seriously. With the Xbox One X and the services that Microsoft is offering like Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Play Anywhere and Mixer you can see that the future is looking brighter than ever for Xbox gamers.
To say that the Xbox One X is a beast, a powerhouse or even the ultimate gaming machine is a bit of an understatement. I believe that’s just a cheapened way of how to explain what Microsoft has offered us. The Xbox One X not only gives us true 4K UHD gaming at our fingertips, we get much more bang for our money. What you get is a machine that is 100% compatible with all Xbox One games (including Backwards Compatible Xbox 360 and OG Xbox titles) and all the hardware peripherals that are out today. It’s the most powerful games console that we have in our homes today. But is that enough?
The Xbox One X offers a huge leap in horsepower compared to the other consoles on the market today. With this added horsepower the X can offer a range of 4K gaming from dynamic resolution to a true 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) experience, while adding in HDR (High Dynamic Range) plus running at a full 60fps. Does the X reach its full potential at all times when gaming? The short answer is no. This, like other gaming consoles and PCs is due to how certain games have been developed and how complex a game is.
Some games will run at a lower resolution like 1080p so as to achieve a faster frame rate of 60fps. Others will run at a true 4K image while maintaining a standard console frame rate of 30fps. Every game you try out on your Xbox One X will offer a far better experience when you compare it to the base mode of the Xbox One. You can enjoy better load times, higher quality images and more. This is more evident on titles that have been given the “Enhanced” treatment by developers.
Microsoft can explain why the Xbox One X has around 40% more power than any other console. This is due to the GPU that can deliver 6 Teraflops of power with a memory bandwidth of around 326 GB/ps. This comes with a custom 8-Core CPU which clocks in at 2.3 Ghz.
Now this is all a bit nerdy to most gamers as all they care about is what the box can do in front of their eyes. So basically, all you need to know is that the Xbox One X is your powerhouse of choice, a monster! What Microsoft are claiming about its performance aren’t just accurate, they are probably being a little bit too modest. The system can do possibly more than they are stating. To get a better picture of this, I would say we wait about a year into it’s cycle to see what the machine can truly do.
This is even more evident from the videos we have seen and the breakdown videos from Digital Foundry. They have been extremely thorough in their breakdowns to explain what improvements have been made in each game, plus explaining what can be done or could be done, as well as the limitations of the X. There are also plenty of YouTube videos out there showing the Xbox One X side-by-side with an Xbox One S which really shows off how much an improvement the X has over the base consoles and S version.
Graphically, games look amazing when playing them on my 50” Samsung 4K UHD TV and I have even had a chance to test it on my Samsung 32” LED TV too. Playing games like Star Wars: Battlefront II and Assassins Creed: Origins blew me away with the Xbox One X. Playing Battlefront II the game is as shiny as chrome. The amount of detail you notice when running and shooting on maps like Endor or Naboo is amazing. It’s crazy beautiful and I was not expecting THIS much improvement in the games that I played. The environments are more detailed with greater draw distances and being able to see the world around you at a greater distance than before. The worlds you play in are rich, colourful and vibrant.
None more so evident than when you are playing Assassin’s Creed: Origins. This is a game that can truly show off the power of the Xbox One X, it’s as if the game was designed for it. The world is massive and probably one of the biggest I have had the pleasure to play in. Everything seems to breath with life as you walk, run and gallop through Egypt as Bayek in Ubisoft’s latest game. It’s not just the newest games with the enhanced graphics 4K assets that get a boost on Xbox One X, games like Halo 3 sees a sizeable increase in graphics and sound, it almost feels like a brand-new title.
I have even tested games that have yet to receive any “Enhanced” upgrades and they run much better than the base models. Games like Neverwinter which can at times suffer from framerate issues, popping and long loading times seem to run silky smooth on the Xbox One X. I have also noticed a huge decrease in load times in games like GTA V. Loading times no longer feel like an eternity and the wait is almost half of that compared to the Xbox One.
I played PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on the Xbox One X and compared it to playing it on my PC. It runs smoother and there is not much to complain about the frame rate either. I was expecting a few issues going into my first time playing the game. While at times you can notice a drop-in frames, but this is normal for a title that is still in Preview. Hopefully with more optimisation and updates the game will be a much smoother experience overall. Plus the game won’t receive any 4K asset updates until after the game has fully launched. I will be looking forward to seeing the game in all its 4K glory.
Now some of you may wonder if it’s still a viable purchase if you don’t have a 4K TV. Well first of all the Xbox One X is a 4K gaming machine that works the best alongside a 4K/HDR TV. You will get all the benefits along with it. It will give you the superior 4K gaming experiences you are looking for, for years to come. Done deal! If you already own a 4K/HDR TV and you own the S version of the Xbox console, you could wait until the price drops. For me it’s still a done deal, but this is due to me being one of the hardcore gamers in the Xbox Community. If you are not I would advise you to wait until the price drops a little.
If you have a 1080p TV, is it still worth grabbing up the Xbox One X? This is where its down to personal choice again. I would probably advise no. Yes, the Xbox One X does do Supersampling, which is where it takes a 4K image and down samples it to a 1080p image, while keeping all those lovely textures etc… You will still see a deference in the quality, but again, with owning the S version of the Xbox, it’s down to personal choice. As I feel a 4K/HDR TV would be a better investment at this time to better utilise your Xbox One S and in time when you feel the price of the X version suits your budget, then grab it as soon as you can.
One of the most impressive things you will notice about the Xbox One X is it’s quiet as a church mouse, and at times you wouldn’t think the console was on. I have gone through probably 8-10 hours of non-stop gaming without ever hearing a loud fan noise emitting from the console, which does happen from time to time on my old Xbox One. Another thing to notice is that whether you have it placed horizontally or vertically the console doesn’t seem to suffer from any overheating. This is thanks to how the consoles fans deals with heat. It takes in air from the side of the console and pushes it out through the back of it using the Xbox One X’s custom vapor chamber and fan system.
[Techy-part] What makes this system so unique is that it places the motherboard at the top and the cooling system below. As the system is runs, the heat literally sinks into the vapor chamber which fills with water. A vacuum sucks up that hot water and uses it to power the radiator fins, and a centrifugal fan pulls air through the console to keep everything, including the power supply cool.
With everything that’s inside the Xbox One X and how it runs so smoothly, its also pleasing to see that the design of the console is much the same as the S version, with the same ports on the back and being almost identical in size. It’s also nice to be able to lay it flat or stand it on its side without the need for a stand (a stand came free with the Project Scorpio edition), but you can buy an optional stand if you are unsure about having the X standing upright.
It’s safe to say that I am extremely happy with the Xbox One X and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the developers can do with it over the next year or two. As amazing as this piece of kit is, there are a few things that I wish was looked into more closely. First up, the controller, while I love the S versions of the controllers, I was hoping for a controller much like the Elite controller that’s out today. Now, while I am not expecting them to bundle such a high-end controller with every Xbox One X, they should have maybe had a higher quality controller built for the X, a middle ground between the S versions and the Elite versions.
I also think that they should have bundled in a headset with it, now that Microsoft has decided to kill of the Kinect. Secondly the amount of storage that comes with the console and since its not consumer replaceable, you would feel like a 2TB would be more a standard due to the increase in install sizes with the 4K assets etc.. I know we can use our own USB 3.0 external hard drives, but you would think this was something they could have added.
Lastly, now this is something I feel a delay in the consoles production COULD or MIGHT have helped it. The CPU, I always wondered what would happen if they postponed the production by a few months or so. Could they have produced a better CPU? Would it be that much expensive to have a faster/powerful CPU in the console? If this was a possibility, it would have made the console a lot more of a beast, meaning we could get more games hitting that magical 4K/60fps standard, or would it? Hopefully in the next leap of technology we see from Microsoft, we may see something EVEN MORE amazing…
The future is definitely looking good for Xbox Gamers and it’s about time, as with the initial release of the Xbox One, I felt that we had a missed opportunity, but thankfully with the Xbox One X, we finally get the console we always wanted.