*Disclaimer: An Xbox One X and Games were provided by Microsoft for the purposes of this review. You can view our review policy here.
Since its initial reveal as Project Scorpio, Xbox One X has been called the most powerful console ever made. After spending around 37 hours of game time over the past few days, I can say that those claims are justified. Xbox One X is definitely the most powerful console ever made, but does that mean that it’s the best console out there? Let’s dive in and talk about the Xbox One X experience.
Microsoft wasn’t joking when the company said that Xbox One X is the most powerful console ever made. While seeing is believing, the specifications speak for themselves. Take a look at what’s under the Xbox One X’s hood.
- GPU – Custom GPU @ 1.172 GHz, 40 CUs, 6 Teraflops
- CPU – Custom CPU @ 2.3 GHz, 8 Cores
- Console Dimensions – 30cm x 24cm x 6cm
- Console Weight – 8.4 Pounds
- Memory – 12 GB GDDR5
- Internal Hard drive – 1TB
- Optical Disk Drive – 4K UHD Blu-Ray
- PSU – 245W
In comparison, Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro only has 4.2 teraflops, 2.1GHz, 8 Cores, 8GB GDDR5, and lacks a 4K UHD Blu-Ray drive. The actual box is smooth and appealing with its black matte frame. It’s small, and the fact that there’s so much internally, including a power brick, the overall package is impressive. Bundled with the console is the following:
- Xbox One X console
- Xbox One controller
- Two AA Batteries
- HDMI Cable
- 1 Month of Xbox Game Pass
- 14 Day Xbox Live Gold Trial
My only complaint with the contents in the box is that the controller still relies on AA batteries. In a console market where Sony and Nintendo both use rechargeable controllers, it’s frustrating to have to swap batteries every few hours. Throughout my time with the Xbox One X, I went through multiple battery changes.
Booting up a console for the first time is often frustrating, tedious, and takes a lot of time to settle in. While there is a day-one update that new console owners will have to download, Microsoft made it easier to make the transition. If you have an external hard-drive, all you need to do is plug in the external to the Xbox One S, turn on the “Settings Back Up” option, enable “Network Transfer” and then plug in the external hard-drive to your brand new Xbox One X. After doing this, connect your external hard-drive to the Xbox One X, turn the console on, and then wait for the day one update to apply. Doing this will ensure that everything transfers over the One X. If you want to get the most out of your games from the get-go, download the Xbox One X enhanced patches before making the transfer. This will allow you to play your games in the best possible way right off the bat.
Games, Performance, and UI
As stated earlier in the review, the Xbox One X is the world’s most powerful console. As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding. Almost immediately, Xbox One X impressed me with its fast UI and stunning visuals. I played a handful of games during my time with the console, including Super Lucky’s Tales, Killer Instinct, Halo 5: Guardians, ReCore: Definitive Edition, Gears of War 4, Call of Duty WW2, Rush: A Disney Pixar Adventure, Disneyland Adventures, Assassin’s Creed: Origins, and Forza Motorsport 7. Most of these games had an Xbox One X enhanced patch (ReCore and Call of Duty: World War 2 patches weren’t available at the time of reviewing the console), and for the most part, you can tell just how much games benefit from the patch.
Forza Motorsport 7 is going to be the flagship game to demonstrate what Xbox One X is truly capable of. Turn 10’s latest installment in the long-running racing series looks stellar on Xbox One X. Through the power of the Xbox One Enhanced patch, Forza Motorsport 7 runs at a crisp 60 frames per second and native 4K. I played the game with HDR 10 and without HDR at all, and the difference is staggering. With High Dynamic Range, the sky is vibrant, the cars are detailed to perfection and the effects on the race tracks and astonishing to look at. In the Dubai City Circuit track, a sandstorm blurred my vision during a race. I actually crashed because I was caught off guard by the effect. In another race, the skies opened up, and torrential rain poured all over the track. Near the end of that particular race, there was a stunning moment where lightning struck. The second when the lightning was visible on the screen, the sky effects were incredible. It was the single greatest moment I’ve ever witnessed on screen. Playing without HDR, Forza Motorsport 7 looks fine, but with the feature, I started to understand why Microsoft has been pushing HDR since the console’s reveal.
Gears of War 4 is another game that looks phenomenal on Xbox One X. Unlike other games available at the moment, The Coalition is giving players the ability to choose how to play the game. You can play with improved visuals or better performance. If players choose visuals, Gears of War 4 will run at 4K/30FPS. Visually, it looks fantastic with the 4K output. The sharp black colors on the screen really make the visuals pop. I played the section where J.D. and crew were fighting enemies outside of Marcus Fenix’s estate. The dark visuals were surprisingly vibrant and fascinating to look at. After 20 minutes with the visual preference, I replayed the same scene using the performance option. For players that choose performance, you’ll play the game at 1080p/60FPS. Out of both options, I will always select performance. The difference between both styles is instantly noticeable. The 1080p still looks stunning with the power of HDR, but the real draw here is the 60 frames per second in Campaign and Horde modes. The action is much more fluid in performance mode, making the action crisper, more intense, and surprisingly more engaging. I tried going back to the visual preference afterwards, and I found it difficult to play because of the framerate.
Super Lucky’s Tale shows a different side of the Xbox One X. Through the Xbox One X enhanced patch, Playful’s platforming adventure benefits from a better framerate. I tried it briefly on the Xbox One S, and the framerate was staggering at times. While there are still a few issues on Xbox One X, the patch helps make Super Lucky’s Tale a more fluid experience. Super Lucky’s Tales isn’t going to wow console owners, but as a whole, the titular Fox’s adventure will be a decent distraction for a few hours.
Killer Instinct runs at 4K/60FPS on Xbox One X. Since the game’s launch alongside the original Xbox One, it has been a smooth, and fluid looking game. Fans of the popular fighter will be happy to know that the visual quality is now improved and it only amplifies the stellar experience that Iron Galaxy continues to support for fans.
Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Origins is one of the best looking games on Xbox One X. This is evident from the first moment you’re able to walk around the open world. Bayek’s character model is incredibly detailed, and the environments are jaw-dropping. The skies feature stunningly bright blues while you can clearly see the moss along stone walkways. Arrows in his quiver offer more detail and the mountains in the distance are awe-inducing. Instead of progressing with the story, I often found myself just walking through the environments, looking at each and everything that I could. Ubisoft Montreal created one of the best looking games available at the moment. While Assassin’s Creed Origins is a fantastic experience (from the amount of time I put into the game), sometimes its just nice to appreciate the scenery, which is often unnoticed when playing through massive video games.
The Xbox One X also improves on load times. While I noticed that games were starting up faster than usual, I decided to take two games in particular (with notoriously long load times) to test out. For those who normally play Halo video games, it’s no secret that missions take a long time to load. I was attempting to unlock an achievement in Halo 5: Guardians, so I chose the mission Evacuation and booted up stopwatch on my iPhone. To my surprise, the mission was fully loaded in 15.53 seconds. Another mission, called Alliance, took 5.80 seconds to load before the deploying in… notification popped up on screen. I then launched ReCore, a game that had load times of upwards to 3-4 minutes when it originally launched. From the time I clicked on my save file to the moment I took control of Joule, I waited approximately 20 seconds for the game to load.
With great power, comes large patches. The cost of having Xbox One X enhanced video games means that your hard-drive will need more space to improve some of your favorite video games. Unfortunately, the Xbox One X only comes with a 1TB hard-drive worth of space. This poses a problem because some of the games (with the Xbox One X enhanced patch) are quite large. Let’s take a look at some install sizes below.
- Assassin’s Creed: Origins – 42.8 GB
- FIFA 18 – 45.8 GB
- Forza Motorsport 7 – 95 GB
- Gears Of War 4 – 103.3 GB
- Halo 5: Guardians – 107 GB
- Halo Wars 2 – 43.7 GB
- Madden 18 – 43 GB
- Quantum Break – 178.1 GB (including game and episode packs)
Adding those games together equals 658.7 GB. After initially booting up the Xbox One, the internal memory only contains 775.3 GB. Eight games with Xbox One X enhanced patched almost took up the entire internal hard-drive. I have an 8TB Seagate hub, so I have enough space to install many games, but what about people who don’t have an external hard-drive? Those people will have to pick and choose the games that they install. It’s a shame; the Xbox One X is a powerful machine. It’s time-consuming to install/download games, so having to uninstall certain games to make room for others is a tedious task. The console would’ve benefited from having a 2TB hard-drive. This is my least favorite aspect of the whole console.
One of the biggest draws for modern gaming consoles is the fact that players can record clips of their favorite games. On the Xbox One, you could record up to 5 minutes of gameplay. With Xbox One X, players can capture 2 minutes of gameplay in 4K footage. When you share it on Xbox Live, the clips will be shown at 1080p. The upside is that if you have an external device, you can transfer the footage to your PC and edit the original clip you recording in native 4K. While it’s great that there’s an option to record clips in 4K, I wish that Microsoft added an option to record for longer periods of time.
The Movie Theater Experience
While many people use various apps on Xbox One for entertainment purposes, the Xbox One X wonderfully blends game and entertainment experiences. For review purposes, Microsoft provided us with a 4K copy of Planet Earth 2. As the first film I watched on the console, I was completely blown away by what was on screen. The mountains were crisp, the jungles featured vibrant greens, the animals were incredibly detailed, and I was in awe of how beautiful nature is. I went back to those discs a few times over the past few days and became enthralled by the power of 4K Blu-Rays.
After Planet Earth 2, I watched part of Baby Driver and Spider-Man Homecoming (both from my personal library) and couldn’t believe how stunning the picture quality looked. To fully understand the power of the Xbox One X and 4K Blu-Ray discs, I turned off HDR during the films to see the difference in picture quality. I always say that seeing is believing. Those with 4K TVs and those who are planning on getting an Xbox One X should check out films on the console. The results are unbelievable.
Conclusion: The Future Is Here
Over the past few years, 4K and High Dynamic Range have been the talk in the industry. Now that these features are available to the public, the results are astonishing. Some people say that graphics aren’t everything, but they definitely enhance the experience. I purchased a 4K TV with HDR specifically for the Xbox One X and that is a decision I don’t regret making. The first time I booted Forza Motorsport 7 up on the Xbox One X, my mind was blown. My eyes couldn’t believe what was on screen and the responsive gameplay made for a satisfying experience.
The Xbox One X is a powerful device, but one of the best things about the console is that it makes video games better. Not just visually, but also performance wise. For games like Super Lucky’s Tale, the Xbox One X makes the game run smoother. On the Xbox One S, there are some issues, but through the power of the One X, those issues are few and far between. It’s been great to see what developers have been able to do with the resources given to them and I only expect the console’s capabilities to get better over time.
Players without a 4K TV can definitely benefit from having an Xbox One X. Users on a TV that displays 1080p images will be able to utilize Supersampling. This improves environments, textures, framerates, and loading times. Those who choose to get an Xbox One X without a 4K TV can still enjoy the console, but to get the most out of your money, having a 4K TV is the best route to take. At $499, the Xbox One X’s price is steep for those who don’t have access to a 4K TV.
The Xbox One X is the most powerful console on the market. As someone who has a high-end gaming PC, the console can often rival that machine. Microsoft has released this mid-generation console at a time when power and performance are being prioritized. Despite being classified as a mid-generation console, stunning looking video games like Forza Motorsport 7, Assassin’s Creed: Origins, and Gears Of War 4 have me convinced that the Xbox One X exceeds a mid-generation upgrade. Despite the fact that the earlier iterations of the Xbox One can play the same games as the One X, the jaw-dropping visuals and stellar performance upgrades make gaming on the Xbox One X the definitive console to play video games on.
Even though I have some issues with the console (install sizes and Game DVR issues), there’s nothing quite like the Xbox One X on the market right now. To quote the Xbox 360 tagline; when it comes to the Xbox One X, it’s time to “jump in.”