Should You Upgrade? – Xbox One X Impressions

Do you want to buy an Xbox One X? Get your facts here!

The Announcement

When Phil Spencer took the stage at E3 2017 to reveal the Xbox One X the response was overwhelming. Microsoft promised true 4K HDR gaming coupled with faster response and load times. The console specifications that they were pushing were impressive, more-so than anyone was expecting at the time. With all the hype that the new console was generating came an equal amount of speculation. Could Microsoft deliver on these promises and would it be worth the $500 price tag?

The Release

After anxiously waiting five months for the Xbox One X to release, I finally got my hands on it. After making sure to transfer everything from the OG Xbox One to an external hard drive, it was time to fire up the Scorpio. The first thing to note, before hooking everything up, is the size of the console. It is tiny, coming in at roughly half the size of the original. The sleek, minimalist design and small form factor complement almost any entertainment center that it is added to.

Let’s talk about something generally unimportant when deciding on a console: running sound. This new addition to the Xbox One family is almost completely silent. The original Xbox One is quiet in its own right, running much quieter than the competition. Compared to the Xbox One X, however, the original is a jet engine. If the button on the front wasn’t illuminated one would be forgiven for wondering if it was running. While not a reason in and of itself to upgrade to the Scorpio, it was definitely a sign of good things to come.

Once fired up it went through the usual steps of setting up a new Xbox One, including an internet connection. After the setup it proceeded to download a small, under one gigabyte, console update before restarting. The Scorpio boots incredibly fast, even from a completely powered down state. Taking around twelve seconds from pressing the guide button to the dashboard in “Instant On” mode or just under one minute in “Power Saver” mode. While only a marginal improvement over its predecessors, it was a welcome one.

The Xbox One X Experience

Few games at the time of the consoles launch had implemented Xbox One X improvements. Since then the list has grown exponentially. One of the few games that had improvements at launch was Assassin’s Creed: Origins. Coincidentally, that was also one of the games that had piqued my interest around the same time. Having played it on the original Xbox One would also give insight into the improvements to come from the new console. Origins on the Xbox One X is one of the most stunningly beautiful gaming experiences of this generation. Ubisoft knew what they were doing when crafting the One X enhancements, that much is certain.

The difference between 1080p and 4K isn’t as noticeable as one might think. While the increased resolution does help, the biggest improvement is from HDR support. High Dynamic Range helps with graphical fidelity by allowing for brighter brights and darker darks. This brings what is being displayed closer to what one would see in the real world. The only caveat for it is that HDR needs to be supported by the television or monitor as well.

One of the biggest draws of the Xbox One X is in how it can improve every game. Games that haven’t implemented Xbox One X improvements will still see benefits running on the new console. With the increased hard drive bandwidth, games load vastly quicker than ever before. Grand Theft Auto V loads into the game almost twice as fast as on the original Xbox One. Many games include dynamic textures and resolutions to make sure they play at a specific frame rate. Having the increased processing power allows these games to output better visuals and maintain the steady frame rate. Load time and graphical improvements can even be seen when running backwards compatible games. Games such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds become a lot more stable when running on the Scorpio.

The Verdict

The Xbox One X delivered on all the promises made at its announcement and more. With the greatly improved loading times and graphical enhancements the Scorpio is the definition of a luxury console. Far above and beyond anything else available it is the best place to play games aside from top-tier gaming computers. The upgrade is absolutely worthwhile as long as the cost isn’t a deal breaker. While a 4K HDR television is needed to get the most out of the new console, it is not required to notice the benefits it provides.

I’d like to hear what you think by starting a discussion using the comments section below. How do you feel about the Xbox One X? Are you going to be upgrading? Why or why not? If you already own one, how do you feel it stacks up against its predecessors or the competition? What do you think is going to come next for the Xbox brand?

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