Microsoft Corporation
Hardware review

Xbox One X

review by 
Alan Walsh
January 5, 2018
Microsoft Corporation
Hardware review

Xbox One X

review by 
Alan Walsh
January 5, 2018

The World's Most Powerful Console

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 power crown.

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.

The Xbox One X is undeniably a sleek, stylish, and powerful system.

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.

The Xbox One X is sold alongside the Xbox One S, and will be for the foreseeable future.

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.

The Philosophy – Power, Compatibility, Craftmanship

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.

‍The Xbox One X is an impressively-assembled console for its compact size.

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.

The Scorpio Engine is the powerhouse behind the Xbox One X.

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 is compatible with all the Xbox One games and accessories you own already.

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.

Use all the same controllers and accessories you had for Xbox One with Xbox One X.

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 fan.

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.

The Xbox One X is the boldest design we've seen on a console yet from Microsoft.

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 One S.

My first Xbox One X experience was on a 1080p TV, and I could immediately see the difference.

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.

 How Game Developers Take Advantage Of Xbox One X

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.

HDR brings out the true visual depth of games and media, and is one of the most exciting display technologies in recent years, with some titles utilizing it better 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.

‍Forza Motorsport 7 takes full advantage of the hardware and horsepower inside Xbox One X.

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 quality assets.

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 already has a large number of enhanced titles, with even more due in 2018.

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.

Unboxing Xbox One X: System Ports and HDD Storage

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 back of the Xbox One X also features venting for heat dissipation.

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.

Filter Xbox One X Enhanced titles to find games offering 4K, HDR, and other benefits.

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.

With a short and simple setup process, you'll be gaming in no time on Xbox One X.

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.

The Ultimate Xbox One X Racing Experience

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.

Forza Motorsport 7 is the "showcase title" for Xbox One X, and it literally oozes in detail.

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 noticeable improvement.

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 of racing.

The benefits of HDR allows accurate and vibrant colours across cars, tracks, and skies.

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.

Developers Leveraging The Power in Unique Ways

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.

If Forza Motorsport 7 wasn't around, this would be the Xbox One X showcase piece.

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 substantial upgrades.

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.

Once you've moved on from the loot box controversy, you'll realize how incredible Star Wars Battlefront II looks on Xbox One X. It's yet another pure visual treat with stunning assets.

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 latest title.

Destiny 2 receives the full native 4K experience with HDR on Xbox One X.

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.

Need for Speed Payback shines with its increased resolution and detail on Xbox One X.

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 disposal.

F1 2017 is one of my favourite Xbox One X Enhanced titles, resulting in a locked 4K/60fps.

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.

Super Lucky's Tale is a beautiful platformer available on Xbox One and Windows 10.

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.

Remedy has overall done a nice job with Quantum Break on Xbox One X.

Textures 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.

Zoo Tycoon surpringly features 4K resolution and HDR on Xbox One X.

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.

Master Chief Returns in Style with Halo on Xbox One X

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.

Halo 5: Guardians is brought to life in 4K resolution with drastic texture detail improvements.

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 X.

Units and structures in Halo Wars 2 are rendered in pristine detail in 4K on Xbox One X.

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 bump.

Halo 3 in 4K HDR on Xbox One X with vastly improved texture filtering is the result of the console's excellent backwards compatibility implementation. Just staggeringly brilliant.

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.

Xbox One X Games WITH 4K and Performance Choices

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.

Gears of War 4 is another first-party showcase for Xbox One X with dazzling vibrant colours.

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.

Environments, character models, and lighting effects all render in higher quality.

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.

Wide Colour Gamut allows more vibrant colours to be emitted with more precision.

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.

Rise of the Tomb Raider offers an absurd level of detail on Xbox One X.

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's stunning vistas and locations are brought to life on Xbox One X.

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.

Hitman piles on the upgrades for its Xbox One X Enhanced version, literally.

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.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is another unmissable Xbox One X showcase title.

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 possible.

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.

The extra memory bandwidth on offer on Xbox One X allows worlds like this to exist.

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 features.

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.

Project CARS 2 offers a decent improvement on Xbox One X, but leaves more to be desired.

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.

Now is the time to revisit The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. It's incredible.

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.

‍We save the best for last as The Witcher 3 offers a phenomenal upgrade on Xbox One X.

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.

Discover 4K Ultra HD Media on Xbox One X

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.

Planet Earth II is a remarkable 4K HDR experience. Just breathtaking.

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 didn't just give us back our favourite trio. It also took a bold step forward, being the first car show to be filmed and made available in 4K HDR.

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.

The Niagara Falls are just breathtaking. In both reality, and in 4K HDR on The Grand Tour.

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.

Find Even More 4K Media Content, Live TV and Kinect

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.

As time goes on, more and more 4K content is becoming available on Xbox One X.

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.

Whilst no longer an essential accessory, the Kinect works with Xbox One X via an adapter.

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.

4K HDR Game DVR Capture

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.

Screenshots captured on Xbox One X are full PNG files with 4K and HDR enabled.

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.

Xbox One X is by far the most affordable and easiest way of capturing 4K clips and screens.

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.

Livestreaming Effortlessly and Instantly from Mixer

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 without delays.

Co-streaming on Mixer is a real treat, and a strong point for Microsoft's streaming platform.

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 system.

The Xbox One X User Interface – As You Remember It

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.

The Xbox One Dashboard has come a long way since its November 2013 debut.

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 issue.

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.

The Xbox Guide is a Dashboard in itself – offering access to everything the system offers.

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 Ultimate Gaming Console

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.

All-around, Xbox One X delivers realistic, vibrant, and stunningly-detailed experiences.

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.

Xbox One X also future-proofs itself by supporting AMD’s FreeSync HDMI Variable Refresh Rate.

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 X hands in the best experience possible for console gaming.

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.

Microsoft has finally reclaimed the power crown 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 One X.

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.

9
Incredible
The Xbox One X is the best console in the market currently, delivering the most realistic visuals possible with awe-inspiring graphics that simply can’t be found anywhere else in its price range.
Alan Walsh

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.