Four years since the launch of the Xbox One, Microsoft has launched their most powerful console (and technically the world’s most powerful console), jumping headfirst into 4K gaming.
The Xbox One X is going head to head against the PS4 Pro but at a higher price, which begs the question; is it worth the extra €100?
The console itself is a very nice piece of hardware and in stark contrast to the original Xbox One which I was upgrading from, the size difference is crazy, it’s even slightly smaller than the Xbox One S.
The capacitive touch power button on the front has been replaced by a physical button, and there’s now a USB port on the front of the console and two at the back. Also at the back are HDMI in and out and the power connection, and like with the One S, there’s no Kinect port to be found.
The controller is the same great shape but with a textured back, a built in headphone jack and a textured back which makes it easier to grip.
After a slightly slow set up, due to day one updates and patches, I downloaded my games on to the new console without any problems, apart from the 1TB hard drive size which is already close to bursting.
On that note, if you’re getting a One X for your family/children for Christmas, you may want to open it up and pre-download the updates and maybe a game or two now, to avoid an impatient kid on Christmas morning.
Overall it’s small, easy on the eyes and should fit in your home entertainment unit quite nicely, but inside the console is of course where the main power lies and where Microsoft wants to draw the most attention to.
It’s a pretty beefy machine and the marketing jargon holds true, it is the most powerful console ever made (so far of course), and the ability to play 4K Blu-rays and games is a big step up from the One S for example, which only supports 4K video.
The One X is aiming for full, native 4K and 60 FPS while on the PS4 Pro, some games run at 30fps in 4K, while others manage full 60fps performance at full, native 4K. The rest are a mixture of games that render at sub-4K and use clever upscaling techniques to appear 4K, or only run at 30fps/4K.
Every single Xbox One game will run better on a One X though, regardless of if they’ve been given the special work to do so. Gears of War 4 for example is over a year old now, but Microsoft has put in extra work to make sure it’ll run in full 4K, while any other game which hasn’t had that work will still look better than on a One or One S.
Certain games on the One X also gives you the option to change graphical settings. Gears of War 4 gives you the choice of visuals mode or performance mode, the former will run the game at 30FPS but output 4K visuals, while the latter will run the game at a stable 60FPS at a 1080p resolution.
The PS4 Pro hides all of these options away from you, making the One X feel sort of like a baby gaming PC, giving you slightly more control than console players will be used to, but obviously not as much as PC gamers are.
The One X also gives you wide colour gamut and high dynamic range lighting along with HDR support, meaning again, all games will look better, not just the poster children in the ad campaign.
The UI is the recently released Fall Update and looks the same across all three Xbox One consoles, but the slight lag I felt on my ageing launch day Xbox One is not present on the One X, which is thanks to the 12GB of RAM it has inside.
This large amount of memory also helps with resuming the game you’ve got suspended. Turning on your console and jumping right back to where you were without any loading is still impressive as it was in 2013, only now it’s slightly faster.
Microsoft are boasting of over 150 titles which either are now or soon will be specially optimised to run better on the Xbox One X, but even apart from these titles, with every other title looking better on the One X, there’s a massive back catalogue of One and 360 games to choose from.
In the Games and Apps section of the console there is a separate filter to only show Xbox One X Enhanced games, which is handy and lets you make sure you're getting the most out of your new console.
You could build a PC which blows the One X out of the water, but it would cost more overall, and it’s hard to deny that although the One X is pricey, it’s still the cheapest and easiest way to jump practically hassle free into 4K gaming.
The PS4 Pro is technically less powerful but it’s only by a small margin, and ultimately it comes down to which games you want to play. Cross platform games like Destiny 2, FIFA 18 and Call of Duty: WW2 will look great on either console, but if you want to play Uncharted or The Last of Us, no amount of horsepower will sway you to the Xbox One X.
Of course, the One X has Gears of War, Forza and Halo, all of which look absolutely stunning on the new console. Ultimately, if you want to play 4K console games, it comes down to the exclusive titles and whether or not you’re willing to pay that extra €100 for the One X.
But know that if you do, with the Xbox One X you’re getting a sleek, powerful and futureproof 4K console with a huge selection of stunningly gorgeous games.
The Xbox One X was reviewed using a review console supplied by Microsoft.