There’s no denying Project Scorpio, I mean Xbox One X is the most impressive console money can buy. But before you fork over your hard earned cash, you should consider if it’s right for you. For starters, you’re going to need a 4K TV and quality internet connection. Plus, you’re going to pay extra for video content, because that’s the way 4K rolls.
Priced at AUD $649, Xbox One X is a powerhouse of performance. Microsoft’s new black box is 40% more powerful than the PlayStation 4 Pro which is an impressive feat. It’s still not as powerful as high – end gaming PCs, but not everyone wants to spend thousands of dollars or deal with those occasional PC hiccups.
Under its hood, the One X possesses a 6 teraflop GPU, 2.3 GHz processor, 12 GB GDDR5 memory, 326GB per second bandwidth and a 1TB hard drive. It’s a lot of jargon that will only appeal to the tech-savvy. Basically, it means on One X your games look better, run smoother, download and load faster. One X sets no standards for internal storage. Considering there’s really only 725GB of free space and One X enhanced games are typically over 100GB in size, you’ll be looking to add an external hard drive quick smart.
The console itself is sleek and rectangular, with matte black surfaces that won’t show unsightly fingerprints. The One X can be laid vertically or horizontally without an additional stand. There’s no longer a bulky power brick to deal with, the power supply is managed internally. One X has three USB 3.0 ports – one at the front and two at the rear. An additional port at the front would have been nice, but 3 is good unless you have an irrational fear of odd numbers. Also, the Kinect port has been removed, signifying the final nail in its coffin.
One X is quite compact. It measures 30cm long, 24cm wide and 6cm high. Despite packing the most power, Xbox One X is surprisingly smaller than both the Xbox One S and PlayStation 4 Pro. The One X controller is the same as the one included with the previous Xbox One. An Elite Controller as standard would have been a nice addition, but we don’t always get what we want.
Original Xbox One owners will be glad to hear that the upgrade to 4K is a near painless experience. To save time, you can copy all of your content over to an external hard drive and simply load it on to the new console when it’s good to go. Once you sign in to your account, follow the dashboard link to find all of your digital content and apps.
Thanks to Xbox Play Anywhere, I went straight to my copy of Cuphead that I’d previously played only on PC, downloaded it straight to One X and continued to play while I waited for the larger games to download. Scroll down to Xbox Tips & Features for advice on making the most of a 4K TV, surround sound setup and even Dolby Atmos, which is available for an additional fee.
The tricky part is finding out if your games are One X enhanced in the first place. Currently, the best way to do this is by visiting the Xbox Live marketplace and searching the Xbox One X Enhanced Games submenu or searching for a list online. New physical releases specify the enhancements on the cover, but expect the additional downloads to be almost as large as the games themselves – hence ‘near-painless experience.’
Microsoft’s first party games look awesome on One X. I played Gears of War 4 on a Sony Bravia 4K UHD TV and noticed a higher resolution, more vibrant colours, improved reflections and draw distances. Microsoft is offering similar improvements to most of its games; sadly there are just not as many great ones as what’s currently found on Sony’s flagship console. Still, Microsoft has a lot of great content, and over 130 games are receiving the enhanced treatment.
Enhancements for third-party titles vary from game to game. In Assassin’s Creed Origins I noticed improved reflections and realistic movement of the tall grass when sprinting through fields. The visual improvements over the PS Pro version of Origins were subtle and required constant back and forth of the same scene to spot the differences, but they were there. You can even stream and record gameplay in 4K.
Xbox One X is backwards compatible with 400+ Xbox 360 and original Xbox games which all automatically receive a visual upgrade. Just don’t expect anything revolutionary from decade old games.
Xbox One X is also a quality 4K Blu-ray player and streams 4K media. While watching a pygmy sloth seek a mate in the Ultra HD Blu-ray copy of Planet Earth II, the greens and blues of the rainforest and ocean were intense and really ‘popped’ thanks to the console’s high dynamic range and wide colour gamut. I assure you that ‘popped’ is a technical term.
Whether it was the images on screen or David Attenborough’s seductive voice, it was easy to forget I had Star Wars Battlefront II and Ashes Cricket downloading. It is odd that you need to download the Blu-Ray Player app before you can watch physical media but it’s no big deal. Also, PlayStation Pro doesn’t offer 4K Blu-ray playback, so Microsoft wins that battle by default.
All your favourite apps are there: Spotify, Skype, Facebook and streaming apps such as Twitch, YouTube, Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime and Foxtel Play. Something to consider is Netflix, Stan and Amazon Prime all require premium subscriptions to stream 4K content, and it won’t even be worth attempting if you don’t have a great internet connection. Considering the state of Australian internet, you should check the streaming services official sites for recommended speeds.
After a week with the One X, I can safely say that the console exceeded my expectations in every way. In 2017, I would have never predicted that the games I was already playing could look and perform better than they already did.
So should you upgrade to Xbox One X? Well, You need to decide if $649 is a reasonable asking price and check if your TV and internet connection are up to the task. If multiplayer is your thing, you might want to check which console your friends are playing before hand. If all of the above checks out, why are you still here? Go buy one. Final Thought: Scorpio is a much better name than X.
Man of Many received an Xbox One X, Planet Earth II and a tonne of games courtesy of Microsoft.