Last year, Microsoft announced two new versions of the existing Xbox One game console: the Xbox One S and the Xbox One X. Both game consoles are not only much more compact (up to forty percent), but also have more to offer in comparison with the first Xbox One. For all differences between the three versions you can go to our article about the different game consoles. In this article, we focus on the Xbox One X, which is marketed by Microsoft as the ‘most powerful game console ever made’.
Xbox One X – design
When Microsoft unveiled the original Xbox One game console, the company received a lot of criticism. Not only about the idea that this would be an always-online device without a disc tray (games could only be purchased digitally), but also because the Kinect camera had to be purchased as standard (which was in the same box) and because of the extensive size. The Xbox One itself did not only take up a lot of space in many a TV cabinet or on a desk, there was also a large plug-in block.
Moreover, it was also the case that the button with which you can wirelessly connect the controller to the console on the left, which is difficult to reach from the moment you have installed the Xbox One in a cabinet. With the launch of the Xbox One S, last year, Microsoft has already made a lot of money. The buttons are more accessible, the design has improved considerably and the format too. And with the release of the Xbox One X, Microsoft continues that trend by making the console a little thinner, but also a bit deeper.
The result is a very nice and slim console, which always looks elegant: whether you place it horizontally or vertically. The buttons are also more accessible this time and are now all at the front. You can also see them better. The button for linking wireless controllers is now just below the Xbox logo, while the button for spitting out a disc is on the left side. The device is finished with a beautiful, matte black color. If you have the Project Scorpio Edition, that color will turn into a shade of gray.
It is really an improvement compared to the first Xbox One. That device was more like an old-fashioned video recorder than a game console and was therefore constantly mocked. But even if you put the One X next to the PlayStation 4 Pro, you do not understand how the designers of Sony could have realized such a monster. Personally, I have been playing with pleasure on my PS4 Pro for months, but I put it safely in a locker. Those three layers and that slanting principle are different, but do not really exude something beautiful.
Xbox One X – the hardware
Fortunately, you do not buy a console for its looks, but it is nicely included when that premium or high-end radiates. After all, you spend a lot of money on it. With a price of 499 euros, the Xbox One X this time – in the new battle for the high-end console – is not the cheapest option. When both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 came on the market, the PS4 was one hundred euros cheaper than the Xbox One and that Microsoft was expensive – to the point where Sony did not even understand why the PS4 so well sold.
For this higher price you get this time at Microsoft no hardware through your throat pushed where you would not do anything (many gamers took the Kinect camera at the time for granted). This time you only get hardware for the experience to lift up. The One X has eight processor cores that are clocked at 2.3 GHz and compared to the first Xbox One, this should yield a performance improvement of thirty percent (twenty percent compared to the Xbox One S). That is still a difference with four years ago.
The GPU is 4.6 times more powerful than the one in the Xbox One. The Xbox One X is capable of transmitting six teraflops. A higher number of teraflops means that a computer or console can quickly display better and more beautiful images. If it becomes more technical, it is equal to the computing power of the device. The higher the computing power, the more polygons (where a game consists of) a computer per second can display. Six teraflops in this case means that six trillion polygons per second can be displayed.
In addition, the most powerful console at the moment has no less than 12 GB of memory. In comparison with the Xbox One and Xbox One S, that’s 4 GB more. That memory is also of the caliber ddr5, and that means that in this case it is a faster type of memory than in the older models that have ddr3. For all consoles, 3 GB is reserved for managing the operating system, so games on the Xbox One X have access to as much as 9 GB of RAM.
And the more memory there is, the more assets (parts of video games) can be loaded. This makes it possible, for example, to generate content in 4k. In terms of input and output, the Xbox One X can be compared to Xbox One S: there are as many ports available and this also means that you have to do without a dedicated Kinect port. Very simply, it means that when you choose an Xbox One X, regardless of which console you come up with, you can observe an increase in graphics and performance.
Xbox One X – in use
And you notice that increase right from the first moment. Once you have started and set up the console, you can quickly explore the menu. Microsoft has in recent months ensured that the system moves much faster and smoother and with more computing power under the hood the speed of the software also increases. However, some things have not increased in speed, such as loading the dashboard. This is because a lot of content is downloaded and updated via the internet.
There are also games that load faster. But that depends on a number of things: developers can make updates that improve games (Xbox One X enhanced), but when this does not happen, that is not a disaster. Since the Xbox One X has more memory and a faster and more powerful processor, games are generally loaded faster. Later in this review we will go deeper into the possibilities for the video games; but enhancement or not, you will improve on it anyway.
The controller that comes with the package has also been slightly improved. However, these are minor adjustments, adjustments that you may not (possibly) notice at first. For example, in the new controller there is support for bluetooth, for example. So you can also use it on a PC (useful for Xbox Play Anywhere titles). It is also the case that new controllers have a standard headphone connection and are a lot lighter than their predecessors. Which controller you use on which console: everything just keeps working together.
Another point with regard to controllers: Microsoft still does not provide a standard USB cable with which you can connect the controller to your console. Sony does, so you can use and charge the controllers wired. The Xbox controller does not have a standard battery, so the cable is probably not included. Until you buy a set with USB cable and battery you are dependent on (rechargeable) batteries and that is somewhat less relaxed. Also no headset is included.
Furthermore, it is very striking when the Xbox One X changes to images in high dynamic range. When you start a game that supports this image technology, then for a moment there will only be black image, after which it is clear that the console is in hdr mode. The same applies to when you want to view a created screenshot in hdr. You can open such an image and manually select hdr. Here, too, the image becomes black, but then you see the difference enormously. Below we will deal a little more with those differences.
Xbox One X – 4k media
You can view media in 4k quality in three different ways. This can be done by means of a UHD disc in the form of a film or series. That’s something the PlayStation 4 Pro can not do, because that game console – no matter how beautiful and powerful – does not have a UHD player and the Xbox One X does. The One X could therefore also function as the UHD Blu-ray player in the house. You can also view 4k content via video streaming services, such as Netflix, YouTube or Amazon Prime Video, and of course via a hard disk or USB stick.
Microsoft uses the new Xbox as a multimedia device. With this, the company has an advantage in the competition with Sony, which mainly focuses on streaming content. And where Sony is also mainly dependent on content from third parties, Microsoft is now too. The American company itself does not have a video streaming service where 4k content can be viewed. So you have to do it with the available content through the aforementioned channels – but the UHD Blu-ray player is a welcome addition.
We assume that when you get an Xbox One X, you also have a television with support for 4k and hdr. If that is the case, check whether you have correctly set up the console and connected to the correct HDMI connection. In any case, the images look unparalleled and are incredibly cool, smooth and dynamic. And thanks to the support for hdr, also very colorful.
Xbox One X – the games
Whether you have a 4k TV or not, your games will improve anyway. The Xbox One X uses super-sampling for non-4k TVs and can therefore present older games much smoother. Here developers do not even have to release an update. In practice, you notice that games load faster than before and may have a more stable frame rate (provided the engine of the game, the base, allows). But you only get the bottom out of the can if you have a really good 4k television above the Xbox.
There are already a lot of titles (about one hundred forty at the time of writing) that in one way or another use the power of the Xbox One X. Some games run in sixty frames per second, there is hdr support or the resolution is increased – while a handful of games present all of the above, such as Forza Motorsport 7. Especially Forza Motorsport 7 shows what the new Xbox has in house. Race games have never looked so good on a game console. Ever.
But just as with the PlayStation 4 Pro, here too, developers must take time and effort to justify your purchase. If only Microsoft releases games with all kinds of improvements, trust comes at your expense: it will take two or three years before Microsoft launches an exclusive title on the market. You are therefore dependent on third parties, such as Ubisoft. That publisher also provided Assassin’s Creed Origins with Enhanced updates.
We played the game for a while on the old Xbox One and immediately started up after the One X came in. And man, man, man, what a difference. There is a lot of detail that almost falls away in the graphical performance of the original Xbox One. The images also run much smoother thanks to a much higher frame rate and it is striking that the colors are incredibly deep and mottled, thanks to the support for high dynamic range. And the loading times have also improved: they are a fraction shorter than before.
And so we can name a number of titles. The animations in Cuphead were unrivaled, but now they run smoothly across the screen. Gears of War 4 has a lot more ambience due to the higher resolution and support for 4k. Also Shadow of War and Rise of the Tomb Raider got their own updates. It is too much to mention at the moment and that is a big difference compared to the titles that really used the hardware during the release of the PS4 Pro.
Xbox One X – conclusion
Whether you look at the hardware or the games, it is true what Microsoft says: the Xbox One X is the most powerful console of the moment. The device has a lot to offer. In this article we have talked about the qualities of the Xbox One X and have gone beyond the other possibilities for convenience. You can also play Xbox 360 and Xbox games on your Xbox One X, just like you can on the normal Xbox One. It has become a game console that does not shy away from many things.
Whether you want to play games in 4k or hdr (or both) or if you want access to a higher or more stable frame rate (or both), you can best go for an Xbox One X at the moment. You can not only play the most modern games, you also get access to a wide range of games from the past and you can use the game computer as part of your home cinema system, thanks to the UHD Blu-ray player. Games have not looked so nice before: multiplatform games (which are also available on PS4) look very enchanting.
That said, you are still handed over to the gods when it comes to content, but that is a problem for every (new) console. As with the PS4 Pro, developers have to make the effort to make games that support all kinds of extra things. But unlike Sony, Microsoft does have an attractive list of games that offer support for the Xbox One X in one way or another. You already have a choice of games that have appeared for the Xbox One, but also some for the Xbox 360.
On paper, the Xbox One X is better than the PlayStation 4 Pro on all levels, except for one thing. The console is plagued by the same problem as the regular Xbox One: Microsoft now publishes few exclusive titles. Forza we know now, we would like to see more reasons (games) come to get such an Xbox in the house. But if things are going well, they are working hard now. Until that time you have enough games that you can bet on, which already warrant the purchase of this powerful game console.