Xbox One X: What you need to know
The Xbox One X is basically an apology letter from Microsoft after the ignominious launch of the original Xbox One. While the original lagged behind the PS4 in power, this mid-generation refresh proudly boasts itself as “the world's most powerful console.” As a result, the Xbox One X is capable of running games at a native 4K resolution, while also supporting HDR 10 to provide some truly stunning visuals.
All this power comes at a cost though as the Xbox One X is also the most expensive console on the market today, with an MSRP of $499.
Xbox One X: Specs
- 8-core Custom AMD CPU clocked at 2.3GHz
- 2GB GDDR5 of graphic memory
- 6 Teraflop GPU
Microsoft set out to build the world’s most powerful console and the Xbox One X absolutely delivered on that promise. The hardware specifications for this thing are monstrous: An 8-core Custom AMD CPU clocked at 2.3GHz backed up by 12GB GDDR5 of graphic memory and a 6 Teraflop GPU. To keep all this raw power under control, the Xbox One X utilizes an advanced liquid cooling system alongside a supercharger-style centrifugal fan.
You’ll have plenty of room for games too thanks to the 1TB HDD internal storage, which is almost a necessity nowadays with the size of AAA game installs (Microsoft’s latest AAA exclusive. Gears 5, takes up a massive 57.72 GB by itself).
The Xbox One X comes equipped with a 4K UHD Blu-ray Optical Disc Drive, setting itself apart from its rival the PS4 Pro. Along with the disc drive you’ll find the eject disc button, the power button, an IR blaster, and a forward facing USB 3.0 port on the front of the console. On the back is the power port, HDMI 2.0 in and out ports, two additional USB 3.0 ports, IR out, S/PDIF and an Ethernet port.
The Xbox One X also features dual band wireless with WiFi allowing you to connect wirelessly to your home internet. Audiophiles out there will also be happy to know that the Xbox One X supports both DTS 5.1 and DOLBY Digital 5.1, along with Dolby Atmos and Windows Sonic.
Xbox One X: Games and Subscriptions
- Still isn’t on the level of Sony or Nintendo
- Good backwards compatibility feature
- Xbox Game Pass is great
A video game console is nothing without games, a lesson Microsoft seemed to forget when they launched the Xbox One back in 2013. Since then they’ve come a long way with their first-party output, but it still isn’t on the level of Sony or Nintendo. Despite this, there are a handful of must-have exclusives.
Those looking for blockbuster titles will want to pick up Gears 5, Halo 5: Guardians, Sea of Thieves, and Forza Horizon 4. Nostalgic gamers looking for something with an independent flavor should check out Ori and the Blind Forest and Cuphead - two fantastic throwbacks to the age of the platformer.
The Xbox One X’s meager exclusives library is bolstered by the consoles backwards compatibility feature. There are over 600 Xbox 360 and original Xbox games that can be played on Xbox One X.
What it lacks in exclusive titles, the Xbox One X makes up for with its gaming subscription service, Xbox Game Pass. For a monthly subscription fee of $9.99, Xbox Game Pass offers you access to a library of over 100 games including all Microsoft’s first-party releases. This lineup of games is constantly updated, with new games added to the service monthly.
You don’t own any of these games and you’ll lose access as soon as your subscription ends. Even so, it’s hard to argue with the staggering value that this service offers.
Alongside Xbox Game Pass, there is also Xbox Live Gold which is required if you want to play online multiplayer. As an added bonus, Xbox Live Gold subscribers receive four free games a month - two Xbox One titles and two backwards compatible Xbox 360 titles.
Xbox One X: User Interface
- UI has always been a weak point of the Xbox One
- Greatly improved though
- Controller is wireless and battery powered
The UI has always been a weak point of the Xbox One. Since launch the experience has gone through several major revisions and we’re happy to report things have improved. It might take some time to adjust to Microsoft’s occasionally esoteric design choices though. The increased power that the Xbox One X means it delivers a smoother experience over the launch Xbox One and Xbox One S.
The latest revision of the Xbox One controller has also seen some improvements. The controller is still wireless and battery powered, requiring two AA batteries. The controller can also be connected to the console via a micro USB cable.
The improvements have come in the form of alterations to the shoulder bumpers, which used to operate on an awkward hinge that made them difficult to press down. The newer revision of the controller also features an audio port, allowing you to connect a headset directly into the controller.
Xbox One X: Multimedia
- Integrated 4K UHD Blu-ray Optical Disc Drive
- Plenty of streaming services supported
- Support for Spotify, Soundcloud, and Pandora
When Microsoft first launched the Xbox One, they had hopes of it becoming the ultimate multimedia machine at the center of every living room. Things might not have gone to plan on their first try, but the Xbox One X certainly fulfills that ambition.
The headline feature is the integrated 4K UHD Blu-ray Optical Disc Drive which eliminates the need for a separate Blu-ray player in your entertainment setup. A decent Blu-ray player can easily cost over $200, so getting one built-in here is ideal.
If you’re more interested in streaming services, then the Xbox One X is wonderfully equipped in that department too. There are apps for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, YouTube, and just about any other streaming service you can think of. You can also listen to your favorite music with Spotify, Soundcloud, and Pandora.
Xbox One X: Verdict
The Xbox One X has delivered on Microsoft’s promise of “the world's most powerful console”, blowing away the competition when it comes to hardware. Sadly, the Xbox One’s games lineup has lagged behind its competitors for years and the results of Microsoft’s renewed gaming push are only just starting to pay off.
Thankfully, the games library is propped up by Xbox Game Pass - which can only be described as the best value gaming service in the world. If you’re looking for the best visuals and performance then the Xbox One X is the clear choice, as long as you don’t mind the premium price.