Hardcore console gamers — especially those who can’t afford expensive PC gear — were frustrated until Microsoft announced the Xbox One X, which the company claims to be the world’s most powerful console. In an attempt to provide an experience close to PC gaming, the Xbox One X gets a custom AMD GPU with 6 teraflops of raw power, support for 4K Blu-Ray, and ability to play games in native 4K resolution. This is technically the most advanced console in the market, beating Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro console. At Rs 44,990, the Xbox One X is also the most expensive console on offer. Plus, of course, you need to have a 4K HDR TV to take advantage of the Xbox One X. If you’re a fan of Halo or Gears of War, or epic racing game Forza, the Xbox One X is the ultimate console. I have tested the Xbox One X for a week, and here’s my verdict.
Xbox One X review: Design and connectivity options
The Xbox One X is aesthetically a better-looking console compared to the PlayStation 4 Pro and that wouldn’t have been an easy thing to achieve. Despite being technically more superior than the Xbox One S, Microsoft’s flagship console is more compact and smaller in size. The Xbox One X is an understated, boxy console that has a nice matte black finish.
Along the front of the console you have the trademark Xbox power button that illuminates in white, as well as regular buttons for ejecting discs and pairing Xbox controllers. A USB 3.0 port and an IR Blaster are also present on the front. On the back, you’ll find two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI-in 1.4 port, an HDMI-out 2.0 port, Ethernet, and an S/PDIF port. The Xbox One X console is compatible with all previous Xbox One accessories, including older controllers. A single Xbox controller is supplied along with the Xbox One X. It is best suited to play racing games and shooting games.
Xbox One X review: Hardware and specifications
More than the design of the console, I was excited to see what goes inside the Xbox One X. After all, the Xbox One X has been marketed as the world’s most powerful console. As I mentioned, the Xbox One X rivals the PlayStation 4 Pro, and to be honest, this console is superior in the spec department. The Xbox One X offers a custom 8-core 2.3-GHz AMD processor with 12GB GDDR5 RAM and a custom AMD GPU with 6 teraflops ( a basic measurement of the system’s speed and power) and 40 compute units.
The PlayStation 4 Pro, in comparison, has a 2.1-GHz 8-core AMD processor with 8GB of GDDR5 with an additional 1GB DDR3 RAM and an integrated AMD Radeon Polaris GPU with 4.2 teraflops and 36 compute units. Unlike the PS4 Pro, the Xbox One X also supports 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray player. Dolby Atmos support is also available.
In layman’s language, this means that the Xbox One X is faster than any other console available in the market. Expect faster speeds, smooth user interface, and better loading times thanks to a faster 1TB hard drive. With that level of specifications, you’ll be able to play games at native 4K at 60 frames per second without dropping the frame rate.
Xbox One X review: 4K gaming, exclusives, and backward compatibility
As I mentioned earlier, if you are keen to buy an Xbox One X, make sure you get a 4K HDR TV. To test the Xbox One X, I paired the console with my Xiaomi Mi LED Smart TV 4 which supports 4K resolution and is fully compatible with HDR. Gaming at a 4K resolution, that’s 3840 x 2160p, is sheer delight. Games optimised for 4K like Forza Motorsport 7 (provided by Microsoft for review) look better. Such games take the advantage of the Xbox One X’s hardware, thereby providing smooth gameplay and improved graphics.
Microsoft is also selling a number of Xbox One X Enhances titles. They will offer 4K visuals, HDR, and even higher frame rates. A list of such games is growing fast. Far Cry 5, Super Lucky’s Tales, Gears of War 4, and Assassin’s Creed Origins are some of the notable Enhanced titles.
Although I didn’t try to pair the Xbox One X with my Sony Bravia, Microsoft says the console should work fine on the standard 1080p TV. Through a technique called supersampling, gamers can expect to see massive improvements in graphics on a 1080p TV.
Admittedly, there aren’t any exclusives games available for the Xbox One X. The idea behind the Xbox One X is to offer better-than-expected gaming and multimedia experience on the console. Xbox, in general, lacks a compelling gaming catalogue where the PlayStation 4 wins. Xbox doesn’t have many exclusive IPs barring a few, including Halo, Gears of War, Forza and a few more. PlayStation is home to a number of exclusive IPs and games which won’t be available on the Xbox. Uncharted, God of War, and The Last Guardian to name a few.
Unlike the PlayStation 4 Pro, the Xbox One X has a huge advantage. The console is backward compatible, which means you can play hundreds of old Xbox 360 and Xbox games on the Xbox One X. You can either buy the physical copy or buy them from the Xbox Live store.
Xbox One X review: Verdict
This is a tricky one. The Xbox One X is indeed a powerful console compared to the PlayStation 4 Pro, at least in terms of raw power. But that should not be the only deciding factor to go with the Xbox One X. In terms of price at least, the gap between the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X isn’t huge. The PS4 Pro is available for Rs 36,860, while the Xbox One X is selling for about Rs 40,000 on several e-commerce platforms.
The PS4 Pro is also very graphically sound, can play games with resolutions up to 4K (though not always in native 4K), and supports PlayStation VR headset. Perhaps the biggest reason to own the PlayStation 4 Pro (or a regular PS4) is its strong lineup of exclusive games available on the platform, and for gamers, that matters a lot. Secondly, a number of Xbox exclusives are playable on Windows 10 PC. It’s a fantastic move on the part of Microsoft to make games available on both platforms. But, indirectly, it makes the PS4 Pro a more compelling option over the Xbox One X.