Xbox One X Review: A Worthy Upgrade?

Microsoft’s latest entry to the console entertainment space is here. The Xbox One X is dubbed the most powerful console currently available with support for 4K Gaming and ultra-hd home entertainment. After spending a week with the Xbox One X, I dive into the console to discover whether it’s worth upgrading to.


The Design

The Xbox One X takes cues from it’s predecessor the Xbox One S with it’s smaller form factor and cleaner design. Compared to the original Xbox One design, the new Xbox One X looks moderately better removing that boxy VCR look from your home entertainment setup into a smaller neat minimalist box.

Smaller things that were overlooked in the original Xbox One like the external power brick is now built-in like the Xbox One S. One of the most annoying design flaw I’ve found in the original Xbox One was the gloss look which slowly accumulated scratches is now replaced with a smooth matte finish. Overall, the improvements of the console design can be seen in the Xbox One X – almost an evolution of design from the start. 

On the rear, the Xbox One X has the exact same ports and you won’t find anything different here from it’s predecessors. The two HDMI are still there (HDMI in and out) for your TV pass-through (which I’ve never used at all in the past) remains, the two USB 3.0 ports for extended storage or charging, ethernet port and optical out. Out of the box, it’s pretty much ready to roll with an included HDMI cable.

Performance

While buzzwords such as 4K and HDR has been thrown around with gaming recently especially with this console, you shouldn’t treat it as the Xbox Two. It’s called Xbox One X for a reason and that’s because it’s just a vastly improved version of the original Xbox One. The first I tested was the latest Call of Duty: WW2 which I could compare it to the original Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game. The Xbox One X loads considerably faster compared to the Xbox One/PS4 and visually looks amazing on 4K boasting sharper graphics and runs on a smoother framerate.

To really take advantage of this console, you will need an 4K HDR compatible TV and it’s another hefty upgrade if you don’t have one already. While the Xbox One X can run on high-definition 1080P, you truly need to start gaming in 4K HDR to really justify an upgrade to this console. If you’re running an 1080p setup, you will still experience faster load times and performance but for that crispy 4K visual – you definitely want to upgrade.

The other noticeable thing with running titles on the Xbox One X is that the console runs super quiet. Fan noise has been an issue with consoles and has been noticeable as graphics/titles get better and the console is struggling to keep up throttling over. The Xbox One X is silent and I’ve tested this console in long duration sessions to see how it handles and was amazed at how quiet it is.

For home entertainment users, the Xbox One X is the only console in the market that supports 4K Blu-Ray playback and the review unit includes a copy of Planet Earth for us to try out. This is a step above the PlayStation 4 Pro which was surprisingly missing this component because the ‘market is not viable’ – however with the entry price of 4K being relatively cheap these days, the Xbox One X delivers a true home entertainment box. The console also supports streaming of 4K with apps like Netflix.

Software

The Xbox One X comes with the newer dashboard which should be available to all Xbox One owners from now. The UI is vastly faster than the old on the Xbox One X, jumping between panels quickly and in-and-out titles improving multitasking. The problem of the clunky UI still remains however and still took me time to get used to. It’s not perfect but it’s getting better.

With our review unit, the console comes with a vast number of titles to try out. To take advantage of the console, titles will be marked as ‘Xbox One X Enhanced games’ so consumers will know which game will feature 4K/HDR. While Microsoft promised a lot more titles to be ‘enhanced’ – only a handful was pre-launch such as Call of Duty: WW2 and Gears of War 4. Strangely, most of their flagship only available on Xbox One titles were not enhanced but should be from launch day today. You can check out the list of ‘Xbox One X Enhanced’ titles here that are currently ready or in-development.

The Xbox One X still works with your current library of titles, so if you’re upgrading from the original Xbox One – you won’t have to buy new versions of the game. If you already own titles that are Xbox One X Enhanced then you won’t need to buy another version of the game – you will just need to download a hefty patch to update it to take advantage of the console. This works similarly like the PS4 Pro so as a current user of the Xbox One, you won’t have to fork out more to start your library of games.

Before You Buy

As mentioned before, the Xbox One X is not a revolution but serves more of a mid-generation upgrade. The original Xbox One is still a current generation console but for those looking to take advantage of their 4K setup then this might be the upgrade for you. While you can still use the Xbox One X on a 1080P setup, the extra costs doesn’t really justify upgrading to this console yet – possibly down the track. If you have a 4K HDR enabled TV and want the best console gaming experience available on the market then the Xbox One X is definitely up your alley. The Xbox One X is the most powerful console currently available and it also delivers on the home entertainment front with it’s 4K Blu-ray playback which sits above Sony’s offering.


The Xbox One X was provided by Microsoft for review purposes. You can buy the Xbox One X console for $649.95 AUD RRP