The Xbox One X may have been released in the US in November of 2017 but it took more than two months for Microsoft to bring the console to India officially. And the successor of the Microsoft Xbox One S, the Xbox One X has seen a lot of beefing up in terms of the hardware, and is easily the most powerful gaming console on the market right now.
After the late release in India, I have been able to get my hands on the device and tried it out for a while. Here’s my review of the Microsoft Xbox One X.
Design of the Xbox One X
The first thing that really impressed me about the Xbox One X design was not the sleek design or the corrugated textures, but the fact that Microsoft has been able to integrate the power adapter brick into that small form factor of the Xbox unit itself. And all one needs is to the connect the device using a power cable and a display or HDMI cable to the display unit.
With that initial impression of the unit done, I take a look at the device as a whole and find that it looks incredibly sleek for something this powerful. With a matte finish texture on top and front of the device, and corrugated panels on either sides, the Xbox One X wears a sophisticated look for a console device to sit on any surface that one can think of.
The side panels function as vents for the heat inside the device to evacuate and the front panel features a USB-A socket on the right and the disc slot on the left hand side. The rear of the device features the same ports as those of the Xbox One S, which include a power socket, and HDMI output, an HDMI input for a TV-set top box, two USB-A super speed ports, and an ethernet port, with the fan vents below them. The Xbox One X comes with the standard wireless Xbox controller.
The bottom of the device has a contoured texture along with rubber feet on the four corners to make sure the device does not slide off off any surface.
Though there may not be much to talk about the design of the device, it is the opposite when it comes to the performance. Let’s face it, consoles are not that big on looks but more about how they perform. Which is not the case when it comes to gaming PC and laptops.
In terms of the specifications Microsoft is using a 2.3GHz 8-core AMD Jaguar processor, 12GB of RAM, and a six-teraflop AMD Radeon GPU on the new Xbox One X. This makes it the most powerful console out there right now on paper and, well, in performance as well. In comparison the Sony PlayStation only produces 4.3 teraflops, has a less powerful GPU and 3GB less RAM.
The system performs perfectly to produce some really stable 60 frames per second visuals on 1080p resolution. Full disclosure here, I am a PC gamer and like my frame rates to be high, and sluggish frame rates really are a sore spot for my eyes. And to enunciate more on this point, I really enjoyed the performance of games like Gears of War 4, Fortnite, Forza Motorsport 7 and the newly released Sea of Thieves on 1080p with HDR on. The frame rates were very stable and didn’t seem to flicker at all.
Now let’s talk about one of the selling points of this device, which is upscaling to 4K resolution. The few games that do support 4K with HDR and 60FPS like Forza Motorsport 7 seemed to work fine on the console with few drops in the FPS. And there is visibly less texture appropriation than any other console to make up for the higher frame rate on 4K. And this is where the power of the device really shows itself. ‘’
With games like Gear of War 4 which don’t have native support for 4K, show some promising results as well when upscaled to 4K, but the frame rate flicker much more and the texture do seem to become muddled. Mind you, I notice these differences because I am a PC gamer who is used to seeing crisp textures all the time. For console gamers, this device will produce graphics better than any other console out there.
When the console is pushed hard, it does tend to produce some heat, which can only be felt on the back panel of the device, which is why I would suggest to keep it in an unenclosed space with some breathing room behind the device. The sound produced by the device is clearly noticeable when under pressure, and the fans make themselves heard, but it is not enough to overpower the sound from the TV and definitely is not an issue is using headphones.
The 4K Blu-ray drive on the Xbox One X is the only one on any console right now with Dolby Atmos and HDR 10, though I didn’t have any disks to try it out. And since Microsoft does not support either Netflix or Amazon Prime on 4K resolutions in India I missed trying this out as well.
Microsoft has definitely created a beast of a console in this visibly small form factor, but they still have a long way to go in terms of the exclusive content for Xbox. Sony, despite its less powerful console is beating Microsoft precisely because of this. The Xbox One X is the most powerful console with the best capability of any console to play 4K games, but there are hardly content to play on 4K for it.
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With a price point of Rs 40,990, it is slightly more than that of the PlayStation 4 Pro, and even though it has higher specs, Sony has far more exclusive franchises to lure away customers. This is definitely the king of consoles, but this king needs more subjects to show just how great it is.