The world's most powerful console. It's the phrase Microsoft
has touted non-stop over the last 18 months in its marketing campaign for its
new console, codenamed Project Scorpio when it was first revealed – now known
as Xbox One X. The phrase was born over how PS4 outperformed Xbox One in nearly
every third-party game back when both systems originally launch in 2013, and
since then, it’s been an uphill battle for Microsoft to try and reclaim the
With Xbox One X, the company has finally reclaimed the
position where it feels the most comfortable – but is that enough to get consumers
onboard with the 4K and power narrative of the expensive $499 mid-generation
console upgrade? That's the real question Microsoft must answer, and that's
what we'll be exploring in this review.
First and foremost, Xbox One X is for the hardcore gamer and
tech enthusiast. The person who wants the latest and greatest hardware, the
best possible visuals and performance from games, and beefiest specs to go with
it. Xbox One X brings all that to the table – we knew it when Microsoft
unveiled the system with its Project Scorpio codename back at E3 2016, and the
enthusiast gamer has always been at the centre of that vision. If you're not
the kind of person who buys multiple new releases or consoles on launch date,
this system likely isn't for you. If you're also the kind of person who
wouldn't shell out $499 for a console or mid-generation upgrade, this also
isn't for you.
However, if you're a hardcore gamer with a large library of titles in
your collection who plays almost every night and knows what 4K and the specs of
Xbox One X are about – then this console is definitely for you. For those who
find Xbox One X's benefits and price overkill, however, the Xbox One S remains
a fantastic alternative, and there's some excellent bundles and deals leading
into the holiday season and beyond in 2018.
Xbox One S remains a great console with a value proposition
you won’t find with any other system, however, this isn’t a review for the
slimmed down Xbox One console. Instead, this is a review for Xbox One X – the
world’s most powerful console, and with the beefiest specs of any system currently on the
market, it delivers the best visuals and the highest quality assets in console gaming history.
With the Xbox One X, Microsoft has focused on three unique
features – Power, Compatibility, and Craftsmanship. Each of these combines to
create the powerhouse that is the Xbox One X. Let’s talk Power. Xbox One X is 40% more powerful than any other console with the most graphical processing
power to be ever put into a console to-date.
With a 6-Teraflop AMD Radeon-based GPU offering 40
customized compute units and 12GB of GDDR5 RAM that’s capable of delivering 326GB/s
of memory bandwidth, as well as the fastest processor to be ever put into a
console with 8 custom CPU cores from AMD clocked at 2.3GHz and 7 billion
transistors housed on the system’s Scorpio Engine, these are the specs required
to deliver games in native 4K resolution with lifelike detail, enhanced AI, and
smoother gameplay interactions.
With these specs, developers can use higher-quality, more
detailed assets that are typically reserved for high-end gaming PCs. Hair, skin,
clothing, and environments in games look more realistic, sharper, and more
lifelike with stunning levels of detail without degrading performance. This is all delivered in 4K resolution with more than 8 million pixels displayed on screen at once.
Using a new method of power management that was named after
the engineer who created it, the Hovis Method maximizes performance and
minimizes power consumption by ensuring all pieces of silicon used inside each
Xbox One X console are a match, with each being custom tuned to each console’s
voltage. By calibrating every motherboard to the precise processor it is paired
with, the Xbox One X achieves extraordinary efficiency and high clock-speeds.
Every single Scorpio Engine has its own specific power profile, which is a
stark change to the older, and sub-optimal ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach of most
console hardware. Each chip has its own fine-tuned voltage and are optimized so
they are getting what they need to get the job done – resulting in efficient
power and less heat.
However, to offer a mid-generation upgrade, the Xbox One X
needs to be compatible with the games and accessories you already own, and
that’s where Compatibility comes into play. Not only does Xbox One X support
the entire library of Xbox One games, but it also plays each of them better
with improved texture filtering – which makes texture details in the distance
look clearer, faster loading times, and in some cases, improved framerates and
higher resolutions for games with dynamic resolutions and variable framerates. All
of this is done without any additional work needed by the developers.
Xbox One X also supports the entire library of more than 400
backwards compatible Xbox 360 games playable on Xbox One, and some of them like
Halo 3 and Assassin’s Creed have been updated with 4K resolution support and
improved anisotropic filtering, resulting in a much cleaner and sharper image that
allow each game’s art assets to shine.
The Xbox One X even plays a handful of Original Xbox titles
like Crimson Skies and Black, and whilst most of these titles run in a 4:3
aspect ratio (instead of the standard 16:9 found on most HD and 4K content),
the texture filtering and resolution have been given a boost. Finally, Xbox One
X supports all the same accessories as Xbox One, including the same
controllers, steering wheels, hard drives, and even Kinect – though the latter of those requires a standalone adapter, which must be purchased separately.
Then we have Craftmanship – how Microsoft manages to offer
all this raw power and performance in such a simple console design. The answer
is some ridiculously smart engineering and a high-end PC-style liquid-cooling
solution. Xbox One X is the first console to include a Vapor Chamber, which houses
a small amount of water that’s evaporated into steam when the console becomes
too warm, before reverting back into water once it cools down, pushing heat towards
the back of the console and out of it using its near whisper quiet centrifugal
This results in a smooth finish on either the top or side of
the console – depending on which way you look at it – with the large venting so
common on the Xbox One design no longer present. Xbox One X is a powerhouse,
and with all this high-end technology, you’d expect a bigger console, but that
isn’t the case. Not only is Xbox One X the world’s most powerful console, but
Xbox One X is the smallest Xbox ever. It’s almost like a matte black Xbox One
S, and like that system, it features a physical power button, instead of the
original Xbox One’s capacitive touch button. It’s sleek and distinctive design
make it fit into any entertainment centre whilst also making it a standout in the room.
So those are the three principle features of the Xbox One X
philosophy – Power, Compatibility, and Craftsmanship. I’ve been using Xbox One
X for over a month now, and I’ve experienced how all three combines to create
such a unique and elegant system. Games run best on Xbox One X – even if you
have a 1080p display, thanks to default system-level super-sampling technology,
which is something that impressed me far more than I originally anticipated.
Because this applies for all enhanced titles on the system,
it means all owners will benefit by the increased details and level of
crispness on offer by the Xbox One X. It also acts as an effective form of
anti-aliasing to reduce undesirable jaggy effects and pixelated edges in games.
Enhanced texture details, smoother framerates, and richer environments can still
be experienced on 1080p TVs, and it’s a noticeable leap over Xbox One and Xbox
Games play best on Xbox One X because it’s the only console
to support all of the following – 4K video streaming, High Dynamic Range, wide
colour gamut, Dolby Atmos spatial audio, 4K Blu-ray media playback, and of
course, native 4K gaming. All combined with the system’s excellent performance
of games, the Xbox One X is currently the most exciting and comprehensive 4K
device available to-date, whether you have a 1080p display or a 4K HDR TV.
Most titles enhanced for Xbox One X offer support for 4K
resolution, whilst others take advantage of High Dynamic Range, improved
graphical fidelity, and even improved performance with higher framerate
targets. The range of Xbox One X enhancements vary per title, and some games
take better advantage of the system than others.
It’s up to developers for how they want their game to take
advantage of the new hardware, and what they want that 6-Teraflop GPU to be
used for. Some titles, such as Rise of the Tomb Raider and Gears of War 4, will
offer choices to players on whether they want 4K resolution, improved visuals,
or an increased framerate, whilst others like Forza Motorsport 7 are locked at
4K/60fps with HDR enabled.
Microsoft has updated the packaging of Xbox One titles to
reflect what features they support when played on the newer hardware. These
labels include ‘4K Ultra HD,’ ‘HDR,’ and ‘Xbox One X Enhanced.’ Games differ on
what features they utilize, and whilst some will opt for all three, others may
only have one or two, and it varies by a per game basis. Some aim for native 4K
resolution, whilst others may use checkerboarding or an adaptive resolution to
reach that 2160p goal. These will all include the ‘4K Ultra HD’ branding.
Games that feature the ‘HDR’ logo are straightforward – they’ll utilize High
Dynamic Range for deeper and more vivid colours, whilst ‘Xbox One X Enhanced’
can mean a variety of different scenarios – but the simplest explanation is
that it uses the additional horsepower on offer by the Xbox One X to improve
the experience in some shape or form. This could mean improved texture quality,
an increased resolution, new framerate options, or even support for higher
Developers will choose how to best utilize the advanced
features and hardware of Xbox One X, and so far, more than 130 existing and
upcoming games are already Xbox One X Enhanced, or have been confirmed to take
advantage of the system.
Xbox One X Enhanced titles can be filtered in ‘My Games
& Apps’ so you can easily see which ones take advantage of the new system.
The Xbox Store also contains similar filters too, allowing you to find enhanced
titles, as well as games that support 4K and HDR. 'Xbox One X Enhanced' is also clearly marked on titles in the Xbox Store which take advantage of the new system.
Inside the box, you’ll find the Xbox One X console itself, a
standard Xbox One controller with two AA batteries, a free 14-day trial for
Xbox Live Gold and a 1-month trial for Xbox Game Pass, a six-foot high-speed
HDMI cable – that’s ready for 4K and HDR – as well as the power cord. Like the
Xbox One S, the Xbox One X has an internal power supply, so you don’t need to
worry about the brick! It is heavy though – much heavier than any other Xbox One
console, weighing 8.4 lbs, and it’s very noticeable the first time you take the
system out of the box.
The front of the Xbox One X features a 4K HDR Blu-ray disc
drive, one USB 3.0 port, and a controller pairing button, as well as the built-in
IR blaster, and of course, the physical power button. The ports on the back are
identical to the Xbox One S, and are even in the same position, meaning you can
easily swap over the cables if upgrading from an Xbox One S to an Xbox One X as
all the cables and accessories between both remain compatible with each other. Like Xbox One S, Xbox One X can be placed horizontally, or vertically using the Vertical Stand sold separately. It's not compatible with the Xbox One S stand, however.
For those who aren’t aware, the ports consist of: HDMI out
(to your TV/monitor), HDMI in (from your cable or satellite box for
passthrough), two USB 3.0 ports, IR out, S/PDIF, and Ethernet. The Xbox One X
also has built-in Wi-Fi, so you don’t need to worry about long cabling if your
console is away from your modern or router. I do wish the Xbox One X offered
more USB 3.0 ports, however, as if you own a Kinect and use external hard
drives, you may find yourself needing them as I have on several occasions.
The Xbox One X also packs a 1TB hard drive that’s faster
than standard Xbox One internal hard drives with a 50% increase in bandwidth,
but it’s worth keeping in mind that games with their 4K assets installed are
massive. Take Forza Motorsport 7, for example, which is a whopping 95GB on Xbox
One X, or Middle-earth: Shadow of War, which comes in at 67.4GB with the 4K
assets and the optional 4K cinematics pack installed. Meanwhile, Halo 5:
Guardians is 98.3GB with all updates and 4K assets installed.
Xbox One X will always install the highest-quality assets
when downloading or installing games on the system, and games that receive
patches in the future will be automatically downloaded by the console, so you
always have the best experience possible. This does mean, however, that your 1TB
internal hard drive will fill up fast, so I’d recommend picking up an external
hard drive that’s either 2TB or greater, just to future-proof yourself and
ensure you have enough storage for all those 4K assets.
Xbox One uses a new ‘Intelligent Delivery’ system for
installing games to ensure 4K assets are installed by default on Xbox One X, whilst only installing language data for the setting used on the system. With
several internet providers enforcing monthly download caps, having to uninstall
and reinstall these massive 4K-enabled games is the last thing you want to do.
Whilst the download times and sizes can be monstrous for Xbox One X Enhanced
titles, especially those with dedicated 4K assets that are larger and more
demanding, the result is always worth it, as you’re about to see when we start
talking about games enhanced for Xbox One X.
You can also get a headstart on your Xbox One X by transferring
your existing console settings to an external hard drive, which are then
applied during the setup of your new console. You can also transfer your existing titles with 4K assets
pre-installed from an Xbox One or Xbox One S using network transfer or an
external hard drive. I was surprised by how smooth and convenient this made the
initial setup process, as I was logged into my Xbox One X and ready to jump
into 4K gaming in only a few short minutes once the required system update had downloaded.
For this review, I extensively tested a multitude of Xbox
One X Enhanced titles on both a 1080p display and a 4K HDR TV. These include a
1080p 32-inch Panasonic Viera TV, as well as a 49-inch LG 49UJ651V 4K HDR IPS
display. Obviously, the 4K HDR display was the star of the show, but the Xbox
One X does make your 1080p TV look as good as it possibly can, and that’s
something I really appreciated during my testing as there’s many folks who are
yet to make the leap to a 4K TV. For those who are looking to upgrade to a 4K
display, make sure it supports the ‘HDR 10’ media profile, as Dolby Vision is
not currently supported on Xbox One X.
Let’s start by having a look at Forza Motorsport 7. It was built by
Turn 10 Studios as the “showcase title” for Xbox One X, and it looks stunning
in 4K resolution. You can now appreciate the smaller details on the cars and
track surfaces that you normally wouldn’t notice. From the Alcantara used in
the interior of vehicles to machine scratches on the inside of wheel-wells, or
that candy-apple paintjob where there’s metal flake. The detail is astounding, and the cars – they just sparkle, literally. Just head straight
into Forzavista, and you’ll see reflections from the sunlight that create these
diamond-like sparkles. The detail on Forzavista models is unprecedented, and in
native 4K resolution, they can be truly appreciated across the game’s roster of
more than 700 vehicles.
The detail in the engine bay and interior is remarkable. It
even highlights the imperfections, as well as the perfections. That’s how good
it looks. Even mid-race, you’ll see lights inside the cockpit shine through the
back windows of your car, even in third-person view. Depending on the lighting,
the reflections on the windshield can even be made out when racing at 200mph.
That’s the level of detail that can be shown with 4K and the Xbox One X. It
feels so real. It also benefits community-made liveries, too, which render at a
higher detail level than ever before. They're not perfectly detailed, and there’s
still some blurriness when you get up very close to the car, but it’s still a
Then you hit the track, astonished by the beautiful sky
above you, and amazed by the level of depth in the clouds and sun. The colours
are so vibrant, they literally pop – especially when experienced in HDR. Those
deep blue skies have never looked so rich, and the dynamic effect created by
sunrise and sunset has never looked so beautiful before in a track racer. The
sun literally breaks through those clouds mid-race, and it’s spectacular. Those
awe-inspiring evening skies on tracks like Rio de Janerio and Sonoma Raceway
over sunset are always a delightful surprise. Flying down the Mulsanne Straight
on Le Mans during a massive thunderstorm as the headlights pop on and shine brightly onto the wet track from your 2017 Porsche 911 RSR race car, with rain pounding on the windscreen
and the wipers in your face as you notice level of detail found in those
droplets. It’s dramatic, it’s violent, and it authentically captures the spirit
The Xbox One X also allows Forza Motorsport 7 to push out
its draw distance, increase texture detail, and use photogrammetry to build the
materials seen in the game and to map out real-life environments. Forza
Motorsport 7 delivers the ultimate Xbox One X racing experience, as it’s one of
the few titles that runs in native 4K resolution – no checkerboarding, no
dynamic scaling – at 60fps with HDR. This is the most realistic and beautiful
Forza yet, and the best way to experience it on console is on the Xbox One X.
That doesn’t mean the standard Xbox One version of Forza
Motorsport 7 is bad, however. It still looks beautiful, feels incredible, and
is quite the step-up over its predecessor, especially when you consider the
effects created by dynamic skies and weather conditions. The Xbox One S also
benefits from HDR, so you’ll get that extra level of depth and realism from the
colours if you’re on that console in 1080p resolution.
But on Xbox One X, that
level of detail is fleshed out to the max, and even if you don’t have a 4K TV,
you’ll benefit from the increased visual fidelity, thanks to super-sampling.
Overall, if you’re thinking of making the upgrade, Forza Motorsport 7 is simply
an unmissable title for this system.
It’s not just racing games that benefit from the sheer
horsepower offered by the Xbox One X. Forza is always a wonderful showcase for
Microsoft’s hardware, but there’s tons of other games out there that are also eye-meltingly good on Xbox One X. Take Assassin’s Creed Origins, for example.
The recreation of Ancient Egypt has been beautifully done by Ubisoft, but when
you take it up to 4K resolution – which is dynamic, so the game will adaptively
scale based on how much is happening on screen at once – the level of detail
gets pushed out that you notice the breakdown of sand in the desert, the
formation of dunes, and the gorgeous vistas enhanced by the incredible lighting
of the sky, made even more real with HDR.
Forza Motorsport 7 is the visual showcase title for Xbox One
X, but Assassin’s Creed Origins is a close runner-up, using its own rendering
techniques to construct the best possible visual experience ever seen before in
an open-world Ubisoft title. It makes me only more excited to see how the likes
of Far Cry 5 and The Crew 2 will look on the system. Ubisoft has also updated
For Honor and Ghost Recon Wildlands for the console, and both titles offer
For Honor boasts a 4K output with improved graphical
features for water reflections, shadow resolution, and increased texture
filtering, as well as dynamic reflections and an increased field-of-view.
Meanwhile, Ghost Recon Wildlands employs improved draw distances, better
terrain representation, an increased resolution and full support for HDR. It's an impressive upgrade.
Star Wars Battlefront II is another one, a game which looks
impressive across all systems. The adventures of Iden Versio shine on Xbox One
X with a crisp, clear native 4K image on Xbox One X that scales between 4K and
1800p. From the lush environments to the eye-watering particle details, it’s a
vast improvement above the 1440p output on Sony’s rival machine – the
PlayStation 4 Pro, and being one of the best-looking games currently in the
market, it’s best experienced on Microsoft’s console, the Xbox One X, where a
buttery-smooth 60fps and HDR output further enhance the overall experience.
Destiny 2 is another visual showcase on Xbox One X, and
despite it being marketed for PS4 like Star Wars Battlefront II, it opts for a
native 4K presentation on Microsoft’s machine, and utilizes HDR. This is quite
in contrast to the PlayStation 4 Pro version, where the game runs with the
console’s usual checkerboarded 4K resolution, as well as an adaptive scaler
that decreases pixel count when the machine is stressed. It’s not a surprise to
say that the best way to experience Destiny 2 on consoles in terms of visual
fidelity is in 4K on Xbox One X, but wherever you do play it, it remains a
visual treat. Bungie have class art design, and it once again shines in their
Call of Duty: WWII has also been enhanced by Activision and
Sledgehammer Games for the Xbox One X, and whilst it delivers a 4K HDR
experience, it wasn’t the most impressive one either. Given the tone and
setting of the game, the colours are quite dull and more down to earth in
respect of the World War II era. In terms of detail, it’s there, but it’s not a
massive upgrade either. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare has been updated with 4K
resolution support, and being a game that already had incredible visuals and
artwork, it’s no surprise that it shines when played on the Xbox One X.
Infinity Ward scores a bonus point for also updating their game a year after
launch, even after the release of the newest entry in the series.
Another EA title in the form of Need for Speed Payback takes advantage of the Xbox One X, but this time with an adaptive, checkerboarded 4K resolution
and enhanced texture details. Whilst there’s no HDR, and the framerate is
capped at 30fps, there’s a lot to appreciate about Ghost Games’ efforts on the
new hardware. Need for Speed Payback looks incredible on Xbox One X, and the
open-world feels vibrant and exciting to drive through. The level of detail
found on vehicles is pushed to the max, and to a degree, reminds me of the
Forzavista models in Forza Motorsport 7. It’s hard to argue with the visual
feats achieved by Need for Speed Payback, even it does mean having to deal with
some obtrusive visual pop-in effects in the distance when racing or exploring
its vast open-world.
The F1 2017 upgrade on Xbox One X is one which impressed me
a lot. I saw it running in native 4K resolution at E3, but since then, the
developer opted for a checkerboarding approach instead, but the difference
isn’t very noticeable. That’s because Codemasters has enhanced the entire
visual experience, and F1 2017 looks incredible on Xbox One X. Gone is the
irritating screen-tear issues – which were present on the Xbox One X build I
played at E3.
Instead, we’re greeted with a smooth 60fps gameplay
experience in 4K resolution. Not just that, but we also have it presented in
HDR, and the cars – especially those classic ones like the Ferrari F2002 and
the 2006 Renault R26, they feel so detailed and are a pleasure to drive in this
staggering visual experience. F1 2017 in 4K HDR on Xbox One X really surprised
me, and the work Codemasters has done since I first saw it at E3 has shown what’s
possible when a developer really takes advantage of the tools at their
Available for free from the Xbox Store, the ‘Insects: An
Xbox One X Enhanced Experience’ technical demo shows a ladybird moving between
various plants and leaves in a repeated cycle. It was designed as a demo to
highlight the power of Xbox One X and showcase the benefits of 4K resolution
and HDR to developers, but Microsoft has made this tool available for free to
consumers. If you want to fine-tune your TVs colour accuracy or setup HDR so it
works best on your display, this nifty little tool allows you to do just that.
You can also toggle 4K, HDR, and Spatial Audio (Dolby Atmos) on/off during
playback so you can see the difference for yourself. Insects also be used to
highlight the super-sampling benefits of 4K resolution on a 1080p display, and
you can also change the colour of the ladybird’s shell, the flowers, and the
time-of-day between day and night. Awesome.
Super Lucky’s Tale arrived as a launch title on Xbox One X
from Microsoft Studios and Playful Corp. It was supposed to be complimented
by Crackdown 3, before it was pushed back into 2018. Super Lucky’s Tale is a
delightful little platformer, and whilst it may not showcase the full
horsepower of the Xbox One X, we do have a family-friendly title that can be
enjoyed by people of all ages. It runs in native 4K resolution on the console,
and from my testing, has no performance dips or visual glitches. It also runs
in 60fps, versus the 1080p 30fps output on standard Xbox One hardware,
resulting in a much smoother presentation and crisper image on the Xbox One X.
The result on Xbox One X is excellent, and with its affordable price point,
it’s highly worth checking it out, especially if you want a more relaxing
platformer that gets the brain thinking but doesn’t require too much
concentration – as sometimes the puzzles can be challenging, but not overly
difficult. It also features easy, adaptable controls and the overall gameplay
mechanics work well to deliver a fun-filled adventure where the colours and
visuals literally pop on Microsoft’s latest system. Lucky is also a lovable
mascot, and despite the game’s cartoonish art-style, his fur and detail still
shine on Xbox One X, and the level of detail all-around is excellent, whether playing on a
4K TV or 1080p display.
Quantum Break uses a temporal reconstruction technique that
uses the previous frames in a buffer to create an end result to exceed the
quality of native resolution alone. This and multi-sampling enabled a clean
image on standard Xbox One hardware – where it ran in 720p resolution. Xbox One X offers a 4x resolution boost at 1440p, which is a
great improvement and results in a much cleaner image over its base Xbox One
counterpart, though one that isn’t as sharp as native 4K resolution.
are also improved quite a lot here, and with a beefy setup required to run it
optimally on PC without hitches, the Xbox One X gives us the best version of
Quantum Break to date. Unfortunately, there are some visual glitches and
unwanted artefacts which appear during gameplay, and this is something we hope
Remedy will address in a future update.
Some other titles that have been upgraded for Xbox One X
include Killer Instinct – which already ran at 60fps, but now runs in native 4K
resolution for a sharp picture. FIFA 18 also achieves a native 4K resolution,
as does Madden NFL 18 and NHL 18, as well as recent family-friendly re-releases
from Microsoft Studios. Disneyland Adventures, Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure,
and Zoo Tycoon: Ultimate Animal Collection all support 4K and HDR, with each
featuring vibrant colours and sharp details.
The first two titles were originally built for the Kinect on
Xbox 360, whilst the latter of the bunch was an Xbox One launch title in 2013.
None of them are graphically demanding or push the limits of the technology
inside the Xbox One X, but they do offer a glimpse into how family-friendly and
cartoonish-style titles can look when updated with 4K and HDR. All of them can
be played with either Kinect for Xbox One or the controller, but of the trio,
Zoo Tycoon would definitely be the highlight, allowing players to build their
own zoo in both solo and online play, and it benefits the most from the
resolution bump on the new hardware.
Loading times on Xbox One X have also been improved across
the board, with most titles shaving off a few seconds in comparison to when
played on the standard Xbox One. Grand Theft Auto V showed the biggest
improvement over my testing with the game taking about 16 seconds to load into
Story Mode. Online times vary massively based on the connection to Rockstar
Game Services, but for other titles that require a lot of assets to load in,
such as The Witcher 3, Forza Horizon 3, and Forza Motorsport 7, the Xbox One X
will offer a noticeable improvement all-around.
343 Industries have also been hard at work on Xbox One X
enhancements, with their latest flagship title, Halo 5: Guardians, having been
updated to take advantage of the system, as well as Halo Wars 2, and the Xbox
360 classic Halo 3. Let’s talk about Halo 5: Guardians, which ran at a dynamic
resolution on Xbox One and scaled between 900p and 1080p with reduced texture
filtering, which often looked blurry. It was the price fans paid for the
benefit that was 60fps. It was a big visual trade-off in many ways, but even in
saying that, Halo 5: Guardians was the most beautiful and technically
impressive entry in the series yet.
On Xbox One X, however, the vision that 343 Industries had
for Halo 5: Guardians comes to life with a native 4K resolution, enhanced
texture details, and of course, greatly increased anisotropic filtering. The
blurriness found in the original release is gone, and instead we’re left with
the most beautiful and polished version of Halo 5: Guardians yet. The campaign
worlds themselves shine with their level of detail and astounding environments as you
explore the worlds of Meridian – as Spartan Locke and Fireteam Osiris, and
Genesis – as Master Chief and Blue Team. The level design and artwork are really
something special in this game, and even if you weren’t a fan of the
conflicting storyline, it’s still worth revisiting on Microsoft’s new machine.
Halo Wars 2 also receives an upgrade to native 4K
resolution, and this surprisingly benefits the overall experience in a strategy
game, allowing you to see far more highly-detailed assets on-screen. Whether
it’s your units, the enemy, or the environment itself, having the boost to 4K
can be a game-changer, especially if you’re a diehard Halo Wars 2 fan. The
experience is even better with its HDR implementation and improved colour
accuracy, resulting in the best real-time strategy game to be found on Xbox One
Then we have Halo 3 – an Xbox 360 classic from Bungie that
dates back to 2007. It celebrated its ten-year anniversary recently, and it’s
no surprise that fans were both shocked and delighted to hear about it’s
resolution and texture upgrade on Xbox One X. Indeed, the classic that used to
run at sub-par HD with a native resolution of 640p on Xbox 360 has seen a
massive 9x resolution increase to a native 1920p – ten years since its original
release. That’s a 20% resolution dip from native 4K, but it’s still a drastic
difference in comparison to when played on Xbox 360.
What’s even more impressive is that you can use your
original Xbox 360 disc for Halo 3 and still receive these benefits thanks to
how the Xbox 360 Emulator works on Xbox One X. Halo 3 also receives maxed out
anisotropic filtering, allowing more detail to be always present on screen, and
sharper, crisper environments as a result.
As the icing on the cake, Halo 3 also supports HDR. The Xbox One
Backwards Compatibility team have created the most immersive version of Halo 3
yet with realistic colours, vastly improved details, and a massive resolution
The only downside to Halo 3 on Xbox One is the fact it runs
in 30fps – which is half the refresh rate of the version of the game included
in Halo: The Master Chief Collection. In this version, you’re greeted to Halo 3
in 1080p resolution at 60fps. The difference in framerate does make the
gameplay far smoother here as a result, but thankfully 343 Industries have
confirmed plans for an Xbox One X Enhanced update for Halo: The Master Chief
Collection with 4K resolution support. Not only that, but the team also plans
to finally tackle the server and online issues that plagued this title when it
first released in 2014. It’ll be interesting to see whether HDR is offered or
not, as found on the Xbox 360 version of Halo 3 when played on Xbox One X.
Whilst Microsoft touted Forza Motorsport 7 to highlight the
power of Xbox One X, there’s another first-party title from 2016 that showcases
the benefits of the console when applied to a shooter. The Coalition have done
a fantastic job with its Gears of War 4 upgrade for Xbox One X, where players
are offered a choice in their gameplay experience. For those who want a full-fat
4K experience in the Campaign and Horde modes, they can have it with art assets
and texture details maxed out. There’s also the option to enjoy Gears of War 4
with enhanced visuals and improved textures with a framerate bump to 60fps at
1080p instead of the resolution boost.
The Online Versus mode in Gears of War 4 always ran at 60fps,
albeit at a lower 900p resolution. In both rendering modes on offer for Xbox
One X owners, Versus runs at a rock-solid 4K 60FPS with adaptive resolution
scaling to always maintain performance over visual fidelity. Whilst I expected
to opt for the 60fps mode in Gears of War 4, I was taken by surprise by how
good the 4K mode looks and how visually stunning it is during gameplay. Gears of War 4 was already an impressive game on Xbox One
S, but this is a massive step-up.
The first thing you’ll notice is the enhanced character
textures, showing more detail on facial features, hair animation, and the character’s clothes and armour. Draw distances have also been enhanced,
resulting in a higher fidelity picture and a crisper world to discover, not to
mention the improved reflections, which now have a higher definition reflection
of your character, whether it's in a mirror-like reflection of water or the
muddied colour reflective nature of metal.
Typically, Gears of War 4 uses pre-defined shadows to
reflect the shadows casted by objects in the world. Xbox One X offers dynamic
shadows that react to true lighting conditions and the movement of objects. For
example, trees blowing in the wind cast an accurate moving shadow on the ground
to bring the world of Sera to life. Then finally, the enhanced light shafts
provide true-to-life beams of sunlight in the world with staggering lighting
affects that peek through the gaps in the canopy of trees above you, or in
sunset conditions peeking through buildings and statues.
The overall result is one that’s simply breathtaking, and gives us the most gorgeous shooter on Microsoft’s latest console. Gears of War 4 is one
staggering Xbox One X experience, and even in 1080p it's immense with
a 4K super-sampled image that delivers a vastly noticeable upgrade over base
hardware – which proved to be my first Xbox One X experience, and I was really
surprised. Those on a 4K display however are in a for a real treat with HDR
support, providing increased contrast between the lights and darks in the game
with deep black levels that pull you into the scene. Without it, the colours
often appear slightly washed out and muted in comparison.
With support for Wide Colour Gamut across all its assets,
Gears of War 4 has never looked better – and there’s nothing greater to show it
off than those awesome windflares with Dolby Atmos for the most immersive audio
experience to back it. The pinpoint accuracy of this new audio technology is hard put it in words as it's something you have to experience in person to truly get a grasp of it, but after hearing it in action with Gears of War 4 back at E3, I was truly blown away. Similarly, after experiencing the Xbox One X Gears of War 4
upgrades on both a 1080p and 4K display, it’s safe to say that whichever screen
you’re playing on, you’re in for a real game-changer.
Rise of the Tomb Raider also offers unique gameplay modes to
tailor the experience to how you like it. Whether it’s 4K resolution, improved
performance, or enriched visuals, the Rise of the Tomb Raider upgrade is yet
another impressive showcase for Xbox One X. I’ve tried all three modes, and
whilst the improved framerate adds a level of fluidity we don’t typically come to expect
from this type of game on console, there can be some noticeable dips in
performance, so you’re not getting a completely solid 60fps.
The 4K mode offers a welcomed boost in resolution, though I
found the enriched visuals mode to be the most impressive of the bunch. It
really brings out the texture detail to life with vastly improved foliage
details and a richer world to discover overall. The environments you discover
literally pop in this mode. I’d say if you’re on a 1080p display, this is by
far the best mode of the bunch, unless you crave the extra performance. On a 4K
display, the enriched visuals or improved resolution modes will both do your
screen justice. It all comes down to personal preference at the end of the day,
and Square Enix have given players three impressive modes overall, all
of which are a welcomed improvement over the base Xbox One hardware experience.
The technical enhancements for Rise of the Tomb Raider are
vast, with the headlining visual features including improved volumetric lights
and reflections, enhanced foliage, upgraded polygonal detail, improved
anti-aliasing, and amplified texture detail. The result is an immersive and
realistic gameplay experience, and one in which Lara Croft has never looked
better. There’s also HDR support for more vibrant and accurate colours, as well
as spatial audio with Dolby Atmos.
Rise of the Tomb Raider started its journey in 2015 on Xbox
One, so it’s fitting to see it end on Xbox One X after numerous releases of the
game on PC, PS4, and PS4 Pro. Overall, this is the most complete and
technically accomplished version of Rise of the Tomb Raider yet, and both the
base game and all the post-launch Season Pass content is available to
experience in the higher-fidelity on offer by Microsoft’s latest console. If
you haven’t experienced this one yet, or you’re eager to revisit it, you can’t
go wrong with Rise of the Tomb Raider, which looks incredible across the board,
even if you don’t have a 4K TV yet.
Hitman offers two modes on Xbox One X – the ‘High Quality’
mode at native 4K 30FPS with improved shadow detail, and the ‘High Framerate’
mode, which targets 60fps at 1440p. Both modes are impressive, offering
high-resolution textures and increased filtering quality, and they really show
off the vastly detailed environments of the worlds in Hitman.
Of course, super-sampling is also a highlight here, and
1080p owners are in for a treat with the 60fps experience and improved texture
quality with a super-sampled 1440p image rendered on-screen. 4K TV owners,
meanwhile, can experience the game’s absurd level of incidental detail and
beauty in native Ultra HD. There’s also a neat implementation of HDR used here,
which allows for a greater range of exposure on screen, making select scenes
look even better.
Middle-earth: Shadow of War from Warner Bros. has two
distinct modes on Xbox One X. The first is no surprise – a native 4K resolution
mode with dynamic scaling to increase on-screen detail. This mode offers
improved textures, and fans who want cinematics to be played in 4K resolution
can also download the optional 4K cinematics pack at 28GB! There’s also a
‘Favour Quality’ mode, which not only increases texture detail with the
high-quality assets, but it also increases draw distances, improves shadow
quality and lighting, adds more vegetation in select scenes, enhances ambient
occlusion, increases the polygon count, and bumps up texture filtering.
That’s a lot of graphical enhancements in one mode, and it
makes Middle-earth: Shadow of War another visual showcase for Microsoft’s Xbox
One X. Of course, super-sampling handles playback on 1080p TVs, and scales back
the image to native resolution whilst keeping much of the detail and improved
textures. Both options deliver better textures than PS4 Pro, regardless of
which you choose, with the ‘Favour Quality’ mode offering the best assets
On top of these modes, the Xbox One X also includes a
dynamic resolution toggle that can be deployed on either pre-set. Keeping this
disabled will see the game stick to native 1980p, whilst a 2160p is achieved
from the 4K mode. Those who care about the fluidity of gameplay and would
rather avoid framerate drops can enable the dynamic resolution mode to ensure
the gameplay remains consistent and smooth.
With the additional 4GB of GDDR5 memory on Xbox One X,
developers can load in larger chunks of their open-worlds at once, increasing
texture quality and art asset quality across the board, and this is something
Middle-earth: Shadow of War takes full advantage of on the new console.
Textures across the overall experience are far more detailed on Xbox One X, and the draw
distance is drastically increased when playing on the ‘Favour Quality’ mode.
Whilst both the resolution and quality modes are excellent implementations, the
latter here is the most impressive, and it looks fantastic across both 4K and
1080p displays thanks to its high-resolution count and ultra-quality graphical
Project CARS 2 has also been updated for Xbox One X, but
this game’s upgrades take a different approach than most other titles. There’s
three separate and distinct modes in this one, with the first being
resolution. This targets the highest pixel counts of all three modes, aiming
for a dynamic resolution between 1440p to 1620p on Xbox One X. The enhanced
visuals option increases detail level considerably, as well as trackside
details, shadow quality, and distant objects. The same resolution figures can
be found, but it skews lower to 1440p during gameplay.
There’s also a performance mode in this one, which aims for a locked 60fps with a variable resolution that settles around the 1080p mark.
Project CARS 2 typically struggles to maintain a 60fps lock with a full grid of
cars on the track or if the weather conditions are too demanding, resulting in
plenty of screen-tear and frame-rate dips. The performance mode alleviates many
of these issues. Whilst none of the modes on offer hit anywhere near 4K
resolution at all – which is a stark contrast when compared to Forza Motorsport
7, which locks at 4K/60FPS with HDR – they do greatly improve the game over the experience on base Xbox One hardware, and provide a nice upgrade over PS4 Pro, even it's more on the niche side of the equation.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is undeniably one of my favourite
titles to receive the Xbox One X Enhanced treatment. Developer CD Projekt Red
has delivered two distinct modes for players to enjoy, as well as enhanced graphical
details and HDR support. The ‘4K Mode’ delivers the game in a native 4K
resolution – or super-sampled on a non-4K display – with stable 30fps gameplay. From testing, it doesn’t drop
at all, but it does use a dynamic resolution scaler to scale between 1800p and 2160p
when a lot is happening on-screen.
The ‘Performance Mode,’ meanwhile targets 60fps gameplay,
but it isn’t rock-solid. It tends to vary between 35fps and 60fps, depending on
the location you’re in and how much is happening on-screen. However, there are still
plenty of occasions where the game delivers a smooth 60fps experience, with the
dynamic resolution scaler here adjusting between 1080p and 4K resolution. For
the most part, you’ll experience a resolution slightly above 1080p, delivering
a super crisp image for 1080p TV owners with the smoothest gameplay possible.
Both modes also enable HDR support, and The Witcher 3 has
one of the best implementations of it yet. The colours look vastly improved and
fleshed out when compared to SDR, and the sun can literally blind you if you
look directly at it. This also leads to dramatic sunsets and sunrises, where an
orange hue literally capsules the entire open-world. It’s absolutely beautiful
to experience, and it looks so real in HDR. Even the dull and dreary rainy
skies have this sparkle to them you wouldn’t normally expect. It’s a real showcase for the display technology,
and it’s also my favourite implementation of HDR yet.
The Witcher 3 on Xbox One X also offers improvements to ambient
occlusion and texture filtering, as well as enhanced shadow quality. The game
has never looked so crisp or clear before, and it shows the amount of effort CD
Projekt Red has put into their Xbox One X enhancements. This is by far one of
the best patches the system has had as of reviewing, and it just shows how
passionate some developers are about the hardware by giving fans the choice of
either native 4K resolution or 60fps.
The Xbox One X isn’t just the best 4K console experience out
there, but also an excellent entertainment hub for 4K media viewing. Like the
Xbox One S, the Xbox One X includes a 4K Blu-ray player, allowing you to
experience the full visual fidelity of 4K HDR Blu-rays without the need of
buying an external player. This is a big selling point for the Xbox One S and
Xbox One X for entertainment enthusiasts, as neither the PS4 nor PS4 Pro offer
this capability. 4K Blu-rays will always offer the best visual experience at
the highest possible bitrate, and show off the best of your 4K display.
You don’t even need a 4K TV to watch them though, but it’s
obviously required if you want to have the best experience. 4K Blu-rays may be
more expensive than standard 1080p movies, but they often come bundled with a
standard Blu-ray disc, unseen extras, and a digital copy to enjoy on multiple
devices, making them a worthy purchase should you have a capable setup. Planet
Earth II, the nature documentary narrated by the legendary David Attenborough,
was included with our Xbox One X review kits, and it shows off the very best of
4K. It looks beautiful, and it’s even in HDR, allowing for the best possible
colours and visual experience all-around.
There’s also a range of 4K streaming services available on
Xbox One S and Xbox One X, including Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and YouTube.
All of which are impressive in their own regard, though Netflix can be quite
pricey as the benefit of 4K streaming is an extra charge. Amazon doesn’t charge
a premium for the extra quality, and offers 4K HDR across it’s line-up of
original programming, including The Grand Tour. It’s the new automotive show
from former Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May,
and it sees them tour world famous destinations across a series of
beautifully-shot films as they drive the world’s most impressive supercars and take each other on in various challenges across the globe.
The Grand Tour is the first show I've experienced in 4K Ultra
HD, and not only is a pure technical showcase of 4K and High Dynamic Range, but
it’s also one of the best shows out there. You wouldn’t go wrong using The
Grand Tour to show off the capabilities of your new 4K TV to your mates,
because it simply looks stunning. This extends across the whole show. From the
tent scenes between films that show the trio better then ever before – as if
they’re in the room with you – to the incredibly shot reviews and films that
showcase the beauty of the outside world.
From the mountainous regions of Switzerland to stunning scenery
in France and Canada, as well as beloved circuits like Mugello in Italy, The
Grand Tour takes you on a globe-trotting journey that shows the benefits of 4K
Ultra HD and is one of the many 4K HDR options available to enjoy on Xbox One S
and Xbox One X. HDR also makes the skies and dense regions in the show look
spectacular, with landscape shots really showcasing levels of clarity, depth,
and crispness. The Grand Tour in 4K offers everything we already know and love
about the trio – cars, sarcasm, adventure, crashes, reviews, challenges, and
exotic locations, except now, it’s in crystal clear quality.
Overall, it’s a wonderfully shot show that feels cinematic,
and as you watch it, you can tell the production values for this one is high.
The trio have never looked better, and the cars just shine when viewed in 4K
HDR, especially with the gorgeous backdrops and exotic filming locations used
in each episode. With Amazon offering free trials and discounted monthly rates
for its Prime Video streaming service worldwide, there’s no excuse for missing
out on this pure technical showpiece for what 4K Ultra HD and HDR is all about.
The Grand Tour is simply unmissable.
Microsoft’s own video store also offers select movies in 4K
HDR in the United States and Canada, including The Fate of The Furious, Wonder
Woman, Cars 3, and Atomic Blonde. These cost about $25 for the 4K version – a
$10 premium over 1080p HD for most supported films, and you can only watch in
4K HDR on Xbox One X and Xbox One S. This is contrast to Apple’s approach on
iTunes, where the 4K and HDR benefits are included in the HD bundle and are not
an extra premium charge. 4K content on iTunes is also available in far more
countries globally than on Microsoft’s Movies & TV service, including Europe.
Unfortunately, this service isn’t available on Xbox One.
Another option to consume media on Xbox One X is through the
HDMI In port on the system, allowing users to connect their cable or satellite
box to the console and control it via the built-in IR blaster. This port uses
the older HDMI 1.4 standard – not HDMI 2.0 as used on 4K devices. This means
the passthrough signal from your cable or satellite box can only be 1080p
resolution, which means if you so happen to have a modern box which supports
4K, you won’t be able to take advantage of its full quality using this method.
The HDMI In functionality was a big selling point for the original Xbox One,
but it’s a feature that appears to have been left dormant in recent times with
little to no new features since the console’s first release.
All Xbox One accessories will work on Xbox One X, so the
Xbox One TV Tuner for free-to-air channels and Kinect will work on the newer
system, however, the latter requires an expensive, standalone adapter as the
Xbox One S and Xbox One X have both ditched the proprietary Kinect port. That’s
an additional premium on top of the console for those who own Kinect and want
to use it with the Xbox One X, but don’t have the now-required Kinect Adapter. It’s
a nifty accessory to have, but it’s no longer a necessity – the dashboard is
fully operable using the controller, and there haven’t been any new features
that take advantage of the sensor in recent years as it’s now a discontinued
product. The Kinect Adapter itself is also discontinued, and unfortunately, hard to track down, with some third-party listings selling it for extraordinarily high prices.
With Kinect, you can easily browse content and streaming
services using your voice, sign-in to your Xbox Live account via facial
recognition, change channels on your cable box or adjust your TV’s volume,
easily record game clips and screenshots, and you play a handful of
controller-free titles – including Xbox One X Enhanced games like Disneyland
Adventures, Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure, and Zoo Tycoon: Ultimate Animal
Collection. The still-impressive “Xbox On” command still works as before, and
like the Xbox One, the Xbox One X can be the centre of your entertainment
setup. Kinect also supports the newer ‘Cortana’ commands as well, but these
tend to be slower than the "Xbox" commands, and overall, less reliable.
The Xbox One X also features the latest AMD media block
integrated into the hardware. This means Game DVR has received a significant
upgrade to 4K60fps using the next-gen HEVC codec. You can even capture content
in full HDR and store it onto an external hard drive for editing on your PC. It’s
impressive no doubt, and a significant upgrade above the PS4 Pro’s 1080p
capture option. The Xbox One X Game DVR also allows you to take and share
screenshots in full 4K resolution with high-quality PNG files and even JXR
files for HDR. These images come out truly stunning, and many of the
screenshots in this review have been captured directly in 4K from Xbox One X.
The Xbox One X also does a good job at maintaining file
sizes for 4K capture. Game DVR supports up to 60 minutes of capture at once if
saving to an external hard drive – and a file of this length is typically 8GB
in size. That isn’t bad at all, and the quality of these clips is excellent,
especially when you consider the absurd file sizes required for 4K capture cards,
though these do record gameplay at a much higher bitrate, but that doesn’t make
the Xbox One X capture look anyways less impressive in real-world use.
In fact, I’ve been using the built-in Game DVR on Xbox One X
to record both 1080p and 4K gameplay to use in YouTube videos, and the result
has been excellent. Having the ability to choose what resolution I want to
capture in from a system level with the option of HDR makes the Xbox One X’s
Game DVR a nifty tool that’s very simple to use. The Game DVR allows users to
record in 720p, 1080p, or 4K UHD, with options for SDR and HDR available.
You can also save clips to either your internal or external
hard drive. If you opt for the former, clips can only be a few minutes in
length – especially if recording in 4K, but you can share them onto Xbox Live
or OneDrive. Clips will be uploaded in 1080p on Xbox Live, however screenshots
maintain their full 4K HDR quality, whilst OneDrive uploads also support 4K HDR.
Personally, I’ve taken the external hard drive approach, which allows both
1080p or 4K capture with HDR at up to 60 minutes in length. This allows you to
easily export clips to your PC for video editing, whilst screenshots can be
easily shared online in 4K.
However, the Xbox One Game DVR isn’t perfect. Whilst the new
HEVC codec is far superior to H.264, there can be incompatibilities with some
editing software, such as Vegas Pro. Before importing your clips, you’ll need
to covert them to H.264 using another program, which is a lengthy process and a
nuisance overall. That only applies to 4K capture though, as 1080p uses the older,
more common codec instead. An option for 4K capture with H.264 (MPEG-4) would be appreciated for users who have issues loading in HEVC files into unsupported editing software.
Another issue that would often crop up is Game DVR clips
failing to save when you stop recording. This issue occurred frequently at
launch, especially when switching between apps during capture. However, recent
updates appear to have rectified the issue as I haven’t seen it pop up in a
while. The biggest issue with Game DVR, however, is that 4K capture is only
available to those who have a 4K TV. Despite the Xbox One X’s brilliant
super-sampling efforts, the capture is limited to 1080p when playing on a 1080p
display. An oddity, if I do say so.
Mixer is built-in to both Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, and is both
the easiest and most convenient method of streaming today. Anyone can broadcast gameplay
in 1080p resolution, and livestreams can be viewed by other Xbox Live members, from
any web browser, or on iOS and Android. Mixer’s sub-second latency also allows instantaneous
livestreams without any delay, allowing for real-time chat and interactivity
Xbox Live members can also co-stream to Mixer, allowing up
to four streamers to combine their streams into a single viewing experience –
showing each streamer’s unique perspective on one shared Mixer page with a centralized
chat. If you want to broadcast multiple perspectives of a race in Forza
Motorsport 7 or showcase different player strategies in Call of Duty: WWII,
this is a great way of doing so – and it’s free, and built into every Xbox One
The Xbox One X uses the very same dashboard as the Xbox One
and Xbox One S. It’s identical, and the speed between all three is about the
same, with the Xbox One X often feeling slightly faster to navigate. One of my
biggest gripes with the Xbox One X comes down to how sluggish the user
interface can sometimes feel, however.
Whilst this is the best iteration of the Xbox One Dashboard
yet in terms of speed and accessing the content that matters most, it can still
have those periods of slow down where it will lock up, freeze, or just cause
the whole system to feel ‘laggy’ for a few moments. It’s an issue that occurs
across the entire Xbox One family as it is software-related and not a hardware
Sometimes, the console can also shut down when the backend
operating system crashes, but thankfully, this isn’t a frequent issue at all.
If you’re downloading or updating games in the background, it can take some
time for games or apps to move beyond their splash screen when navigating the
system. When it does cooperate, however, it works great. For example, in the most recent
update, Microsoft increased the number of Pins you can have saved – up to 40 – which allows
easy shortcuts to all your favourite content.
Finding the games and apps you own is easy, the dashboard
can be customized with new ‘Content Blocks’ that highlight content from your
favourite games, friends, and clubs, whilst the Xbox Store and entertainment
features of the console are easy to find and navigate. The Xbox Guide is also
an incredible shortcut to everything your Xbox One X has to offer. Hopefully
Microsoft continues to optimize the Xbox One user interface and push for even
more speed and reliability in future updates.
The 4K Game DVR on Xbox One X is just another feature that
shows who exactly Microsoft had in mind when building Xbox One X – the hardcore
gamer and fans who want the best gameplay experiences. Whilst the 4K media
features are highly welcomed – and a necessity for a console of such a premium
price tag – it’s the games that is where Xbox One X is designed to shine. You can
enjoy 4K streaming media and 4K Blu-rays with HDR experiences on the much
cheaper Xbox One S, but it’s the true 4K gaming experiences that can only be
found on Xbox One X.
Games like Forza Motorsport 7, Gears of War 4, Halo 5:
Guardians, Assassin’s Creed Origins, Call of Duty: WWII, and so on, simply play
and look best on Xbox One X. There’s no argument about it, especially in terms
of the console space. Microsoft has crafted one powerhouse of a machine, and
one that will last gamers and enthusiasts for years to come. It’s also one of
the most exciting consoles ever thanks to its core principles of Power,
Compatibility, and Craftsmanship.
Because Xbox One X isn’t a new console generation, we don’t
have to leave our old games or friends behind when upgrading to the new
hardware, and that in itself shows a bright and exciting future for console
gaming, where our games, friends, and experiences follow us, regardless of the
device we’re playing on. The Xbox One X is one excellent piece of kit, and sets
a new goal for console design and hardware. It’s the smallest Xbox ever
released. It’s also the most powerful console, and Microsoft touted that in
their marketing for good reason – because it is, and it does deliver the best
version of console games.
Without a doubt, the Xbox One X is the best console in the
market currently, but it’s also the most expensive. At $500 – which is £450 in
the UK and €500 in Europe, it’s no doubt a pricey machine. But it also comes
packed with the specs and hardware needed for 4K gameplay experiences, and the
Xbox One X makes native 4K gameplay far more accessible to both hardware fans
and casual everyday gamers.
Whichever category you do fall into, you’re sure to love the
Xbox One X, but if 4K and texture detail isn’t a concern, then you’ll most
likely be just as happy with the much cheaper Xbox One S, which always has
great deals and bundles available. Both are great systems, and they offer
access to the same incredible games line-up with the best in-class Xbox Live
service. Not to mention the 4K video streaming options from Amazon and Netflix, as well as the 4K Blu-ray Drive.
The Xbox One S also boasts those 4K media features, meaning it also makes
a fantastic 4K HDR Blu-ray and streaming device. But if you’re eager for the
best quality assets, higher performance in games, and much crisper picture
quality, then the Xbox One X is the best console out there for you, and has proven to be even a worthy upgrade over Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro.
The Xbox One X does exactly what Microsoft promised it would
do – deliver the best versions of console games today, and offer gamers the
ability to play in 4K resolution and HDR with better performance options. This
is the console that puts Microsoft back on top of the power table, and it’ll
deliver the most bang for your buck out of all consoles currently available.
Games look best on Xbox One X, they play best on Xbox One X, and benefits of 4K
HDR really shine with Xbox One X.
This is the ultimate console on the market, with the best
specs, the highest-quality visuals, and the best performance. If you’re looking
for the greatest home console ever made to-date, then look no further than Xbox
Disclosure: Microsoft sent us an Xbox One X Review Kit ahead
of launch, including the console with 20 enhanced titles, numerous membership
codes for Xbox Live, Xbox Game Pass, EA Access, Netflix, and so on, as well as
the Planet Earth II 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray for the purpose of this review and all
of our Xbox One X hands-on coverage.
Alan is the co-founder and co-owner of FullThrottle Media. As someone who enjoys spending all his free time playing video games, he delivers the latest in news stories, reviews, and feature articles to the website, as well as videos on his YouTube channel and livestreams over on Mixer.