Xbox One X
Launch Date: 11/7/17
What’s in the box: Xbox One X console, wireless controller, AC power cable, 14-day Xbox Live Gold trial, 1 month Xbox Game Pass subscription trial
Specs: CPU: 2.3GHz 8-core AMD custom Jaguar CPU, GPU: Integrated AMD graphics with 6 teraflops of performance, RAM: 12GB GDDR5, Optical Drive: 4K/HDR Blu-ray drive, Storage: 1TB hard drive
If you’re a gamer, you can’t help but be inundated with information about the Xbox One X, Microsoft’s latest console. How could you not? The Redmond, Washington based company has been touting the X as “the world’s most powerful console” for months. But does it live up the hype? And if so, who’s the target audience?
I’ve been spending a lot of time with the Xbox One X (Microsoft provided a console for review) and was able to analyze its performance. While this new console isn’t perfect, I found that it delivered on almost everything Microsoft has promised.
What you’ll like
It’s incredibly powerful - Even if you don’t know what a teraflop is (or giggle like a 10 year old when you hear the word), the numbers don’t lie. The Xbox One X is the most powerful console you can get. It has more heft than its closest competitor, the PS4 Pro, in every major statistical category. I also certainly noticed a difference when I compared it to my four year old Xbox One. In-game environments were more vibrant, draw distances more significant, and textures more life like.
It’s the best console for third party games - There are over 70 titles currently available that are labeled as Xbox One Enhanced. These games make full use of the power of the console. If you want the best looking version of “Call of Duty WWII,” for example, the Xbox One X is where you’d find it. Unless there’s a multiplayer game you consistently play with friends on another console, the Xbox One X is where you’ll enjoy the strongest third party experience.
It’s not just for 4K TV owners - There are still plenty of reasons to own an Xbox One X if you’re not ready to take a deep dive into the 4K rabbit hole just yet. Those who own 1080p TVs still get the benefit of the console’s increased power, with better framerates, enhanced textures, and faster load times.
A true home entertainment system - Microsoft has been trying for years to make the Xbox your home entertainment hub and with the X that’s finally come to pass. The Xbox One X isn’t just a game console, it’s a great place to watch movies and TV. With its 4K UHD Blu-ray player, access to plenty of apps that offer 4K programming and the option to connect to premium audio, you can turn your living room into a real home theater.
Setup is idiot proof - I hate waiting. For anything really but especially not for a console to set up. Thankfully I hit the ground running with the Xbox One X. After a brief update, I was playing games within minutes. If you’re upgrading from an older Xbox, just make sure you back up your old games on an external hard drive and you’ll be good to go.
What you won’t like
The hard drive isn't big enough - The Xbox One X comes with a 1TB hard drive, which sounds significant. However, Enhanced games take up a greater amount of hard drive space. For example, “Halo 5” went from taking up about 50GB of space to 97GB. Other Enhanced titles had similar results. At that rate, a hard drive is going to fill up pretty fast. I have a 1TB external hard drive and currently have 50 games installed. Between my hard drive and my external drive, I’m sitting at 64.5% capacity, which isn’t bad. But if I didn’t have that external hard drive I’d be in big trouble.
No launch title - Microsoft is using “Forza Motorsport 7” as the Xbox One X’s de facto launch title but it came out in October. While it looks stunning and is a great racing game, not having something new to show off the X on day one is a missed opportunity. Microsoft has been touting the Xbox One X’s resume for months, a true launch title would’ve helped illustrate its power.
A premium product means a premium price - All the power of the Xbox One X comes at cost. The X is $100 more than the PS4 Pro and $200 more than a 1TB Xbox One S. Unless you’re an early adopter, upgrading from the original Xbox One, or are buying your first Xbox console the $500 price tag can be intimidating.
The Grade (A-)
The Xbox One X is the Ferrari of video game consoles. Its fast, beautiful and is tailor made for those who insist on having the best performing machine on the market. This new console is a bit ahead of its time, with a ton of untapped potential. But if you have the means and are 4K ready, you can start to see where the future of gaming is headed with the Xbox One X right now.
Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, GamesBeat, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.