At $499 (£449 / AU$649), the Xbox One X is the highly effective premium console Microsoft promised us over a yr and a half in the past. It delivers 4K HDR at 60 frames per second (at the very least on a handful of titles) and, as a result of it’s part of Microsoft’s Xbox Household of Consoles, it doesn’t power you to throw out the video games you already personal for brand spanking new ‘enhanced’ editions.

[Replace: With all of the discuss of CPUs internationally being affected by the brand new Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, you might need thought the Xbox household of consoles is likely to be affected. Fortunately, that is not the case, as Microsoft’s Mike Ybarra has confirmed that the security architecture of the console prevents such issues from occurring.]

Video games you might need performed a yr in the past now look completely beautiful on Xbox One X. Free updates for Rise of the Tomb Raider, Star Wars Battlefront II and Forza Motorsport 7 will assist them look their very best after they arrive within the coming weeks and months, whereas Gears of War 4, Quantum Break and Tremendous Fortunate’s Story have already been handled to the visible improve. 

The video games we talked about above are only a small sliver of those discovered on the Enhanced for Xbox video games record – there are near 200 extra video games slated for updates in 2017 and 2018 alone, not counting the huge amount of unknown titles within the works proper now.

For a have a look at what comes within the field try our unboxing video beneath

Past gaming, the console can also be good for media junkies – there’s 4K Netflix on-board alongside a 4K app for YouTube, Amazon will make its Prime Video app UHD appropriate beginning on November 7 and, when all else fails, there’s a 4K Blu-ray participant constructed into the field. 

Initially the Blu-ray participant had some points with the best way it dealt with black ranges, however fortunately a latest patch seems to have neatly solved the issue

The console additionally helps Dolby Atmos audio, amongst different audio codecs, making video playback sound nearly as good because it appears.

Whereas you may make a robust case for the Xbox One X primarily based on its specs alone, it’s not an open-and-shut case: The X, whereas highly effective and glossy and great, is actually a souped up model of the $279 (£249 / AU$399) Xbox One S

The X can play video games in native 4K whereas the S solely does upscaled 4K, positive, however Xbox One S does upscaled 4K so nicely that you simply won’t even be capable to discover a distinction between the 2. And, even should you may see a small distinction between them, is it sufficient to warrant the $200/£200 hole in value? Actually, no, it doesn’t.

The Xbox One Household of Consoles will play all the identical video games and use the identical interface.

Even should you disregard the One S’s existence, the Xbox One X isn’t bullet-proof. Its 1TB arduous drive would possibly look like sufficient room to retailer your total library however, contemplate the truth that all these new Enhanced for Xbox One X titles use 4K picture belongings, and immediately 1TB would not appear so massive any extra. 

Gears of Conflict four, for instance, takes up 100GB on the Xbox One X. One other flagship Xbox sport, Forza Motorsport 7, will probably be about the identical when it releases its patch. Quantum Break, the Sci-Fi shooter from the studio behind Alan Wake, is available in at an web crippling 178GB. Collectively, three of the Xbox One X’s hottest video games will take up round 40% of your arduous drive area. 

All this isn’t stated to disgrace the Microsoft fan base for its pleasure with the brand new console – in truth, for a sure kind of gamer, the Xbox One X continues to be the best console ever made regardless of its limitations. It’s simply that, for most people, the One X imposes a premium tax on a system that’s solely marginally higher in most methods than the cheaper Xbox One S

So, are you somebody that wants an Xbox One X? Learn on to search out out. 

Design

In case you’ve seen an Xbox One S sooner or later, you need to be capable to image the Xbox One X – if it weren’t for the distinction in shade schemes, the 2 consoles can be almost an identical. 

In case you’ve by no means seen a One S earlier than, the Xbox One X is an oblong field the scale of a giant Blu-ray participant that’s coated with a matte area gray shade. It’s a far cry from the cumbersome VHS player-stylings of the unique Xbox One, and the design solely turns into extra spectacular when you think about what’s underneath the hood.

The noticeable variations right here between Microsoft’s final console and its newest one (should you may even discover them) are the colour change from the white sheen of the Xbox One S to the area gray of Xbox One X, and the shifting of the disc tray from the top-left aspect of the console’s face to sitting discreetly decrease down the entrance. 

These modifications are aesthetic, nevertheless, and neither add nor take away any performance from the system … which isn’t a nasty factor contemplating how well-equipped the Xbox One S was. 

A small shift within the location of the disc drive is the most important design distinction between the X and the S.

The aforementioned disc tray not solely performs Xbox One video games, however 4K Blu-rays as nicely. This would possibly sound form of mundane should you’re not completely up-to-date on what 4K Blu-rays are, however contemplating that Microsoft’s 4K consoles is the one ones available on the market with that capacity, you possibly can perceive why it’s value mentioning.

Around the again the similarities to the One S proceed. From left to proper you’ve acquired an influence connector, HDMI out, HDMI in, two USB ports, an IR out, an Optical Audio port and an Ethernet port. To the shock of nobody, the console won’t see the return of the unique Xbox One’s Kinect port – should you haven’t heard, Kinect (Microsoft’s motion-sensing digicam) is officially dead, and Microsoft has even stopped selling the adaptors that allowed it to work on trendy consoles. 

Controller-wise the brand new machine is packing a brand new darker gamepad which, for all intents and functions, is precisely the identical mechanically because the one which presently ships with the Xbox One S. You’ll be able to’t repair what is not damaged, apparently. 

If controllers are a bit too imprecise in your liking, Xbox One X will help keyboard and mouse controls someday within the close to future. It is not the primary console to take action (that award goes to the Dreamcast), however the function will probably be welcomed by avid gamers preferring this extra correct and responsive management scheme. 

specs

In case you’re seeking to see the true variations between the Xbox One X and each different console that’s come earlier than it, all you’d have to do is open the lid. 

The console comes geared up with an eight-core CPU clocked at 2.3GHz, alongside 12GB of GDDR5 RAM. It contains a GPU clocked at 1172MHz leaving the console with 6 teraflops of graphical computing energy. It’s a reasonably in depth providing, and one that ought to assist usher in a brand new period of 4K HDR gaming in the lounge. 

However earlier than you soar on the PC Gamer boards to inform them how consoles have lastly surpassed PCs by way of worth efficiency, simply know that in contrast to a video card’s devoted VRAM, the Xbox One X’s 12GB of RAM is cut up in between the system and the GPU, i.e. you would not be evaluating apples to apples. 

On the CPU aspect of issues, the Xbox One X is operating a customized chip with eight Jaguar CPU cores clocked at 2.3GHz. That’s a 76% improve in comparison with the CPU inside the unique Xbox One and Xbox One S, however in all probability solely places it within the ballpark of a current-gen Intel Core i3 processor (Keep in mind, nevertheless, that these numbers don’t translate to PCs very nicely).

The X’s rear ports are an identical to these on the Xbox One S.

The extra necessary comparability for the Xbox One X, and the one Microsoft would slightly you deal with, is to the PS4 Professional. Sony’s system is a reasonably competent competitor – its GPU has 36 compute models at 911Mhz that work in tandem with a 2.1GHz CPU and 8GB of GDDR5 reminiscence. That reminiscence runs right into a little bit of a bottleneck on the buffer, which is restricted to 218GB/s, but it surely nonetheless places out round four Tflops of efficiency. Level, Microsoft.

The place the One X falters is on its arduous drive – a small 1TB drive that comes commonplace in each system. It’s additionally non-negotiable: the one configuration Microsoft plans on promoting for the vacations is a 1TB system. 

This wouldn’t be such an enormous sticking level if we knew Microsoft wasn’t able to putting in bigger arduous drives in its techniques, however the existence of the 2TB Xbox One S proves that it’s certainly attainable and Microsoft willingly selected to not embrace one right here.  

Sport efficiency and library

After all, what’s the end-goal of all this further horsepower if not a greater gaming expertise? Fortunately right here we’re pleased to report that the Xbox One X performs precisely as marketed: Video games look nice throughout the board. Whether or not you’re utilizing a 1080p TV with the Xbox One X or taking part in in 4K HDR, video games look improbable on the next-gen console. 

However let’s break down every use case individually. 

In case you’re a 1080p TV proprietor, the Xbox One X will do one thing referred to as supersampling to create better-looking pictures. Supersampling is a posh time period however the fundamental concept is that the sport renders itself in 4K considering it’s related to a 4K display screen, which implies objects are rendered with 4 instances the element. All this knowledge can’t be displayed as a result of, on the finish it’s nonetheless being proven on a 1080p TV with a set variety of pixels on its show, however the ensuing picture is one that’s extra detail-rich. 

In apply meaning pictures are going to look a bit sharper. Timber, branches and foliage usually received’t look so jagged, for instance, and fundamental fog on an Xbox One would possibly turn out to be thicker and extra sensible whereas utilizing an Xbox One X.

When you see a sport operating in 1080p with supersampling it’s very apparent that it appears higher than a sport operating in commonplace 1080p. However should you’re not the type of one who takes a minute to scent the roses in video games – the sort who can respect a superb edge on a shrub or a wealthy, dense fog within the morning – then Xbox One X isn’t going to impress you. 

That’s, except you improve to a 4K HDR TV. 

On a 4K HDR TV, the Xbox One X unleashes its full energy. Video games render at as much as native 4K, providing supply 4 instances the element of normal 1080p. Higher nonetheless, a few of these video games may have a wider array of shade choices because of a know-how referred to as excessive dynamic vary or HDR. Skies look bluer, grass appears greener and colours drip from each scene. The outcomes communicate for themselves.

However visible upgrades aren’t the one kind of upgrades the Xbox One X presents. The opposite is efficiency – i.e. the frames per second at which a sport runs. 

We’ll prevent one other long-winded clarification on the topic, however the fundamental concept right here is that when scenes turn out to be actually detail-rich and full of an unlimited variety of objects, the console turns into overwhelmed. As an alternative of with the ability to output, say, 60 frames per second, it drops right down to 55 and even much less. It was an enormous downside on the unique Xbox One, however one which the Xbox One S appeared to put off underneath all however essentially the most excessive circumstances. 

Xbox One X tries its greatest to output video games at 60 frames per second, a form of golden quantity for the trade that matches the native refresh fee of most TVs and mainstream screens. And whereas the outcomes are noticeably higher on Xbox One X, video games nonetheless don’t at all times hit that 60 frames per second quantity – there are occasional dropped frames and gradual downs. 

So what are you to make of all this? Effectively, Enhanced for Xbox video games do look higher on an Xbox One X console, whether or not you’re related to a 1080p TV or not. Efficiency, additionally, is usually nice on the brand new console.Video games don’t run at an ideal 60 frames per second such as you’ll discover on mid- to high-end gaming PCs, however more often than not it’s nice. 

OK, Enhanced for Xbox One X video games look nice and play nice. However what precisely makes a sport Enhanced for Xbox One X? What number of of those video games are there? 

Microsoft itself hasn’t set a minimal commonplace for what constitutes an Enhanced for Xbox One X title however there are three broad classes that builders are utilizing: enhanced 4K visible belongings, HDR visible processing or greater body fee. And simply certainly one of three will suffice.

To that time, it’s attainable for a sport to supply HDR or a 60 frames-per-second framerate, however not native 4K and vice versa. Builders can choose and select which enhancements make sense for his or her video games and roll with it. 

To make issues all-the-more difficult, Microsoft’s Xbox Chief, Phil Spencer, has gone on report saying that new video games aren’t essentially required to help the brand new , i.e. there’s no mandate for builders to make the most of the Xbox One X’s capabilities.

What we are able to say for sure is that, proper now, there are nicely over 100 titles which can be going to be Enhanced for Xbox One X. Not all of those patches will probably be obtainable when the system launches on November 7, however most will probably be right here by the tip of the yr, with much more coming in 2018. 

New Xbox One interface 

Earlier than we shut out the evaluate, we thought it might be a good suggestion to look at the interface for the Xbox One, that ever-changing software program that’s someway nonetheless so divisive now three years and two main updates after launch. 

In case you’ve but to obtain it in your Xbox One at house, the brand new Xbox One interface is a form of mash-up of the Xbox 360 blade design and the Home windows 10 block-and-pin-heavy design. 

Just like the blade design of yore, the interface is separated by goal: there’s Residence and Retailer tabs, that are fairly self-explanatory, but in addition tabs for Group, Leisure and Mixer, a Microsoft-owned Twitch competitor. Navigating from one tab to the following is a quick and fluid expertise and, to its credit score, there’s at all times one thing new to have a look at.

One in every of its most unusual options is popping the concept of pins – video games or apps that you’re actually hooked up to – into full rows on the Residence display screen. This row would possibly name consideration to DLC, observe how shut you might be to a specific achievement or present you a spotlight from Mixer. It’s a novel strategy to preserve you fascinated by a sport lengthy after you stop out and one thing we discovered ourselves appreciating each time we noticed it. 

What we had been much less appreciative of, nevertheless, was how deep Microsoft buries issues like associates lists, achievements and settings, all of which had been a vital a part of the UI all through the 360 years. These sections are normally relegated to the small Xbox Assist Bar that’s accessed once you press the Xbox jewel. 

In the end, whereas the UI appears good and has no downside displaying us strangers taking part in video games, it nonetheless has issues displaying us what what we care about most with out burying us underneath a great deal of content material that merely would not curiosity us.

We preferred 

Coming into this closing evaluate we had some issues. We thought Microsoft’s most premium console but won’t present something of worth to the 1080p TV homeowners on the market. We felt that its efficiency, nevertheless good, won’t be capable to justify its value. And we had been scared that video games won’t get patches for lengthy stretches of time, leaving Xbox One X homeowners with out manner of showcasing their . On all accounts, we had been flawed. 

Because it seems, the Xbox One X is a premium console by way of and thru. 

Positive, you would possibly want a discerning eye to identify the variations between supersampled video games in 1080p and video games performed in 1080p on the unique Xbox One, however there’s a distinction. With 4K HDR gaming, nevertheless, the proof is within the pudding so to talk. When hooked as much as a good 4K HDR display screen, the console performs video games at an astoundingly excessive stage of element. Throw on a 4K Blu-ray with Dolby Atmos sound, and also you’ll be handled to the perfect cinematic expertise this aspect of movie show. 

For avid gamers who can afford it, the Xbox One X is the top of console gaming.

We disliked 

However whereas the Xbox One X has claimed the brand new prime spot, its closest opponents – the PlayStation four Professional and Xbox One S – aren’t far behind. 

Regardless of not with the ability to play video games in native 4K, these consoles are round half the value and look almost nearly as good. Their higher steadiness between affordability and efficiency will make them a greater choose for the overwhelming majority of avid gamers on the market, save for the few who see and respect the minor variations in premium, high-octane video high quality and decrease grade, but-still-awesome upscaled 4K. 

Even when neither of those consoles had by no means existed, nevertheless, the Xbox One X wouldn’t be flawless. Its 1TB arduous drive may theoretically refill virtually in a single day because of 100GB-plus downloads for video games like Gears of Conflict four, Forza Motorsport 7 and Quantum Break, if it weren’t for the truth that these large video games will take a number of hours to obtain. Microsoft may repair this down the street with a bigger measurement arduous drive however, because it stands proper now, the world’s most premium console can solely retailer round 10 triple-A video games at a time. 

Remaining verdict 

Let’s carry this full circle. Originally we acknowledged that there’s a selected type of gamer who’d respect the intricacies and unabashed energy of the Xbox One X. By now, we hope, you’ve come to a conclusion a method or one other for your self should you match into that class. But when not, the best query you possibly can ask your self is: ‘Will I respect the additional horsepower?’ 

In case you’re the type of gamer who stops to have a look at the scenic vistas in video games like Skyrim, The Witcher or Dragon Age, or a streamer who can level out a four frame-per-second distinction whereas taking a look at two movies aspect by aspect, the Xbox One X is a worthwhile funding. 

That stated, should you’re a gamer who simply desires a console that performs great-looking video games with out digging too deep into your pocket books, the Xbox One X is a bit overkill – avoid wasting cash and purchase your self an Xbox One S … ideally the one with a 2TB arduous drive.

Authentic evaluate revealed at 12:01 PST on November three, 2017. Jon Porter contributed to this evaluate.

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