Xbox One X — Review

I'd hoped that Forza 7 would be available in 4K from the get-go, but it wasn't. Before I plugged in my Xbox One X, I saved all my games from my Xbox One S to an external hard drive.

Gears of War 4 on Xbox One X lets players choose whether they want gorgeous 4K visuals at the expense of a lower frame rate, or whether they still want a damn pretty game but at 60fps. It's a colourful, vibrant game and I can't help but feel that it greatly benefits from Xbox One X. The colours pop and the worlds look Pixar-like.

There's a lot to take in with the new console, and it's also the most complicated piece of gaming hardware to try and describe. Xbox gaming contributed close to 20% of Microsoft's MPC (More Personal Computing) segment's revenues. Or, you could manually re-download your stuff, set the X as your new home console, and re-configure your settings.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has been even more lenient.

But if you do have a 4K TV - and they're becoming increasingly affordable and more widespread - the X's 4K Blu-ray drive is a pretty convincing sell.

But back to games. It's a complicated question, and unfortunately there's no one-size-fits-all answer.

Granted, the specs are easily the biggest draw with the Xbox One X rocking an eight-core CPU overclocked at 2.3GHz, 12GB of GDDR5 memory and 6 Teraflops of power, so it certainly packs a punch. So, mileage will vary. There's a few back compat games, some older Kinect games that have been remade as 4K titles, a few first-party games and a few third-party games. It supports native 4K resolution and high-definition textures to match, HDR10 for improved color depth and contrast on supported televisions, plus "enhanced graphical features" which are most evident in lighting and particles.

I can also say that some currently unpatched games don't look any better running on an XOX than they do on an XOS - 4K TV or not. When it comes to experiences beyond the panel in the TV we need to look to software and services.

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There are just over 100 Xbox One X Enhanced games, but Enhanced doesn't always mean 4K by default. For those unaware, Gears of War 4 has a 30fps frame-rate limit for campaign and the cooperative Horde 3.0 mode. If not, just pick up a One S, maybe even wait for it to go on sale as the holidays roll in. Similarly, testing unenhanced versions of Madden '18 and Middle-earth: Shadow of War (the enhancement patch should be out soon) reveal slight but noticeable performance improvements over the One S. Will it have HD textures?

The release of the Xbox One X is just around the corner, and you should definitely check out our comprehensive review here. Chances are you're an early-adopter gadget freak anyway if you already dove in on 4K. While 4K streaming via Netflix or even attempting to upload a native 4K video via GameDVR will be a struggle for most of Aussies, simply sitting down and enjoying a native 4K game on a decent UHD TV is where it's at. The Xbox One X comes with a 1TB drive but because the operating system and other bits take up some space you only really get about 750GB of storage.

On the Microsoft side though, they jumped in with both feet from the very beginning and have been extremely transparent along the way. We have heard non 4K TV owners suggest this console isn't for them however when you remember the improved graphics and loading times, even in 1080P, you'll still have a large improvement. We'll keep testing this on other games. Previous Xbox consoles have produced Full HD (1920 x 1080-pixel) images, with the Xbox One S using a technique called 'upscaling' to output 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160-pixel) resolution.

If you have an Xbox One and a 4K TV then the jump is well worth it. It's got a rectangular compact shape and is nowhere near as bulky as the old original Xbox.

It makes games look jaw-dropping so if ticks your boxes, get on to Santa. Upscaling a game on a 4K TV can produce fantastic results but feeding a 4K HDR image into a matching TV is the best flow. Each and every year there's likely going to at least be one or two Nintendo games that are gunning for Game of the Year consideration, if not more.

Thankfully, Xbox has come up with a solution that seems to work (at least momentarily).

My main test scene for Gears of War 4, across Xbox One consoles, was the fifth mission in Act IV. We won't know for sure until those enhanced updates come out around the November 7 launch, but if I had to score it now.

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