This is it, the most powerful gaming console ever made.
It’s built to embrace all kinds of content you can throw at it. Better still, it’ll power through 4K HDR content with pace that even the likes of the PS4 Pro can’t match. For all its brute force, there really is no match at the moment.
Given all its six-teraflops of processing power, is it all the love your lounge will ever need? Obviously we’ve sacrificed sleep and slaved through long nights to bring you the answer. It’s a hard job but someone’s gotta do it. Try explaining that to our moms though…
Design: a mean machine
Before you go dreaming of dating the Xbox One X, let’s get a few a things out the way. No matter how much you may love this console, there’s absolutely no need to bag one without the prerequisite of a 4K display. All its brawn is meant to push pixels fast so if you go any lower than 4K, you’ve got way more power reserved than what’s really worth your investment.
However, if you’ve already checked the 4K TV box, many treats await. While it isn’t the prettiest pony in the shed, it does manage to cram UHD goodness into a body that’s more compact than the One S. At 3.8kg, it’s hefty too, but only cause of all the tech it’s laden with.
There’s no beating around the bush though. Cosmetically, it’s a black box. Between the two, the PS4 Pro is the better looking option. But, the One X packs an assortment of much needed connections: 2x HDMI, 3x USB, plus Ethernet and digital audio ports - and you’ll be using an identically specced controller too.
Is it still the best controller in the game? Hell yeah. It sits just right in the hands with buttons all perfectly spaced out yet well within reach. The only problem with it is that unlike Sony’s DualShock 4, it’s not rechargeable via microUSB; you’ll need to swap in a new pair of AA batteries every month or so instead.
4k performance: beast mode
Grab a fork cause we’re about to serve you all the tasty specs on the One X. It’s got 2.3GHz processor cores paired with a six-teraflop graphics processor and 12GB of GDDR5 RAM. What’s that like in the real world? We fired up our copy of Forza Motorsport 7. All in the name of science of course.
Chew on this: 4K visuals at 60 frames per second mated to HDR goodness. The results are downright dreamy. Like ‘most stunning game you’ve ever seen’-level dreamy, with incredible rain-soaked tracks, amazing moving scenery and realistic vehicle models. The magic lies in titles truly enhanced for the One X’s prowess.
That also means titles that aren’t enhanced don’t quite do justice to the One X’s superior skills. In fact, we’ve had both the One X and PS4 Pro plugged into the same display and back-to-back gaming on both consoles reveal no radical difference in results with certain titles. Microsoft assures us that isn’t a worry since a ton of enhanced titles are incoming.
Games: 4k, backwards compatibility and exclusives
The biggest differentiator in the world of consoles has always been exclusives. Must plays from days of the Xbox 360 such as Halo and Gears of War haven’t quite been replaced in the Xbox One era. You do get crackers like Cuphead and Forza Horizon 3 but what’s that compared to say Breath of the Wild or Uncharted 4?
Question is, what do you lay down your money on? Enhanced exclusives that look like a dream on the One X or camp Sony’s less mesmeric but oft superior titles? Between the two battlers, Sony possesses real system sellers in its kitty. But the battle isn’t over yet. The Xbox packs one huge plus over its adversary: backwards compatibility.
This means a vast and growing list of almost 400 classics from the Xbox 360 and original Xbox are available to play on the One X with no fuss at all. Fancy revisiting Red Dead Redemption, Portal 2 or Psychonauts? All you need to do is dig out that old disc from the attic or download the game from the Xbox Store.
Uhd blu-ray: blockbuster boom
Consoles don’t always get lounge access for just being gods of gaming. Their skills as media moguls are tested just as much and in that department, the One X is a force to reckon with thanks to its Ultra HD Blu-ray drive and support for 4K streaming across Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Oh, and it supports Dolby Atmos for truly immersive surround sound, too.
Plonk in a disc of Planet Earth and you’ll know immediately what the fuss is all about. A sharper, clearer picture awaits. Things on the apps side are just as sorted. You don’t quite miss out on much that your Sony counterparts possess. So you should be able to feed your streaming fix without a worry.
Interface: newly streamlined
Not that we’re one to dwell on a console’s interface much, but it does help to be able to navigate without niggles. On the One X, the addition of a Start Menu-like sidebar makes skipping straight into a recently played game or app a far quicker process. You just press your controller’s home button and away you go. Job done.
The Xbox Store doesn’t possess the best layout in the business while the Settings menu seems fiddly as well. But it all works and improves much upon its predecessors. Having installed a Day One update the whole process took me about five minutes from start to finish, which isn’t bad at all.
Xbox One X Verdict
After trailing behind its rivals for a long time, Microsoft’s finally brought forth a gaming console with the ultimate tag: the world’s most powerful gaming console. There really is no arguing with the One X’s capabilities and its rightful reward is the title of ‘king of consoles’. But it’s a title that comes with its own set of trade-offs.
As dreamy as certain enhanced titles may be, they come with no guarantee of a steady flow of future games. As on today, it still can’t boast of the best exclusives in the game either. That claim still lies firm in the grip of Sony. Most importantly, you’re not getting half of what you pay for without a 4K telly to match.
But, with the right hardware and your acceptance of its roster of titles both enhanced or otherwise, this is the console to claim for true gaming glory.