This time last year, the Xbox One X was still known as Project Scorpio. It’s hard to believe that the console is actually here. And we actually tried it out for ourselves. Here’s what we think.
First and foremost – the $499 Xbox One X isn’t a new Xbox. It’s really just a souped up Xbox One; there’s more power under the hood, and the games look and play better, provided that they’re optimized for the new console.
The Xbox One X makes two things possible for optimized games played on 4K televisions:
- 4K resolution
- High Dynamic Range (or HDR).
It can also give you better framerates and more detailed textures, but it’s not as significant as what a new console generation usually brings.
We used several different setups:
1) An Xbox One connected to a 1080p TV, which is the very minimum that a basic Xbox One is capable of.
2) The Xbox One X on the same 1080p TV. This allowed us to see what gains to see without a 4K TV.
3) The Xbox One X on a 55-inch 4K television, which has HDR.
We played a few optimized games on each of these setups. Note that as of this writing, only about a dozen are enhanced for the Xbox One X.
How the Xbox One X played
So we tried Gears of War 4 on the Xbox One X. The game runs at full 4K and HDR or 60fps support (but not both at the same time). It supports the following graphics modes:
- “Performance” for high framerates, which you can enjoy on any TV,
- “Visuals” for that touted 4K resolution. Take note, this mode provides a little visual boost non-4K TVs as well.
Running on 4K, Gears of War 4 is incredibly clear. The experience is similar to seeing HD for the first time. In performance mode, the framerate is locked to 60 frames per second, and this makes the game buttery smooth.
You might never want to play 30fps – which is what regular current-gen consoles provide – ever again.
We played 4K first, then switched to 1080p. And while the latter had silky smooth framerates, the regular HD resolution looked almost blurry. The 4K visuals, while prettier, was also annoying because games occasionally stuttered.