A new Xbox is now on sale and it’s a big upgrade.
Design & Connectivity
What immediately catches the eye about the Xbox One X is its design. Black is back and all heat is now channelled out the back, rather than a combination of back and top. While I personally prefer the white finish, the airflow shift is a big deal as it means you can stack AV equipment on top.
Microsoft also touts the Xbox One X as the smallest Xbox ever and in pure volume terms it is (just), but it’s also significantly heavier than the Xbox One S:
- Xbox One X – 300 x 240 x 60 mm (11.8 x 9.4 x 2.3 in) and 3.8 Kg (8.4 lbs)
- Xbox One S – 295 x 230 x 64 mm (11.6 x 9.0 x 2.5 in) and 2.9 kg (6.4 lbs)
Like the Xbox One S, the Xbox One X also has its power supply built in which nullifies the ergonomic selling point Sony held over the original Xbox One with the PS4. The two also share matching connectivity:
- Xbox One X and Xbox One S – 3x USB 3.0, 1x HDMI 2.0, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0, Built-in IR blaster
At this stage it’s safe to say no-one misses the loss of Kinect though it must frustrate Microsoft that essentially the same technology is now being widely heralded after it was shrunk to power Face ID in the iPhone X.
While the Xbox One X has only minor design tweaks compared to the Xbox One S, what is far more important is what Microsoft has done internally and here the new console shines:
- Xbox One X – Custom CPU @ 2.3GHz, 8 cores; Custom GPU @ 1.172GHz, 40 CUs, Polaris features, 6.0 TFLOPS; 12GB GDDR5 RAM @ 326 GB/s
- Xbox One S – Custom CPU @ 1.75GHz, 8 cores; Custom GPU @ 914MHz, 12 CUs, 1.4 TFLOPS; 8GB DDR3 RAM @ 68 GB/s
Yes, the difference is night and day and it enables the Xbox One X to deliver the first true 4K gaming experience. The Xbox One S can upscale 1080p games to 4K but it isn’t a real 4K console.
In practice the Xbox One X is almost neck and neck with an Nvidia GTX 1070 desktop PC graphics card and you’re getting roughly 4.5x the graphical performance of the original Xbox One. That’s seriously impressive and the move to unified RAM means Xbox architecture is edging ever closer to being a PC, which will make ports easier than ever before.
Meanwhile the Xbox One X retains all the media sensibilities of the Xbox One S with an Ultra HD (4K) Blu-ray player, support for HDR content and Dolby Atmos. The icing on the top is the IR blaster which lets you programme your Xbox controllers to work with all your home cinema equipment.
With such a combination you could have no interest in games and just buy either console for its living room prowess. That said, if home A/V is all you care about you’ll see why you should opt for the Xbox One S in the next section.
Storage & Price
When the Xbox One S launched it did so at just a $50 premium compared to the original Xbox One. But there was no chance of that happening with the Xbox One X:
- Xbox One X – $499 (1TB HDD)
- Xbox One S – from $199 (500GB, 1TB HDD)
Yes you’re paying over twice the price for the Xbox One S and the gap looks even bigger when 1TB Xbox One S bundles start from $250 and recent Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals have pushed the price even lower.
Of course cuts to the Xbox One X (both promotional and permanent) will happen but this is a console designed purely to give hardcore gamers everything they wanted from an Xbox, no matter the price. The Xbox One X also sees it leapfrog the PS4 Pro, which returns the “world’s fastest console” bragging rights to Microsoft.
When Sony introduced the PS4 Pro it gave Xbox owners a glimpse of what they wanted from Microsoft and Microsoft has delivered with the Xbox One X. If you can afford the asking price you will get the fastest games console ever made and one that will be future proof for many years to come.
The flipside is not all games will take full advantage of the Xbox One X’s extra power since working smoothly on the millions of Xbox One and Xbox One S consoles already sold remains the priority. So your mileage, especially for the first year, may vary.
There’s also the issue of price. There’s no question the Xbox One S is far better value for casual gamers, but they have the Xbox One X to thank for driving down its asking price. Ultimately if you want the best of the best then, for Xbox fans, the Xbox One X is the console of your dreams.
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