The first reviews for the Xbox One X are in, and the general verdict is pretty good, but not as pristine as the console's 4K image quality.
While everyone seems to love the $499 console's ability to render games at higher resolutions and and faster frame-rates, Microsoft's lineup of exclusive and enhanced titles isn't enough for everyone to come away voicing unwavering support.
While the Xbox One X's 4K abilities appear to be better than that of the PS4 Pro, is that enough to make it a must buy? Let's see what the critics think:
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In her comprehensive review at Tom's Guide, Sherri L. Smith marveled at the visual beauty of the Xbox One X's 4K gaming, but noted that the console is lagging behind in exclusives.
"Killer Instinct never looked so pretty as it did on the One X. I could see every detail of Jago's shoulder tattoo, and his metallic demon kneepads looked like they were ready to gnaw a hole through anyone fool enough to get too close. When I performed a Shadow Wind Kick, I could see the dark purple energy emanating from the attack in waves."
"Thanks to supersampling technology, the system will scale down the resolution while still delivering sharper images and faster frame rates. When I played Assassin's Creed Origins on my 32-inch 1080p Smart LED TV, the game didn't render as smoothly as it did on my 4K set, but it did look better than it did on my original Xbox One."
Gizmodo's Alex Cranz spent a lot of time in her review placing the Xbox One X and the PlayStation 4 in head to head competition, and found that the more-powerful Xbox simply is the better 4K machine.
"And when you consider dynamic 4K resolution, and the power required to get as close to 4K as often as possible, then the Xbox One X is easily the best blend of price to quality you can find in a gaming console right now."
"Besides delivering nearly as good a picture quality as a high-end gaming PC, the picture also looks a little nicer than what I get out of my PlayStation 4 Pro."
"But the Xbox One X isn’t just the fastest console with the best graphics, it’s also the most expensive console available right now. Hell at $500, it's twice the price of the $250 Xbox One S, which also supports UHD Blu-rays, 4K, and HDR."
"Unfortunately it's not as good for multiplayer as there are twice as many players on PlayStations."
In his review at The Verge, Tom Warren focused on the bold and brash power of the Xbox One X, and complimented Microsoft for packing all this brawn into a small package.
"I’m really impressed and surprised at how much power Microsoft has managed to squeeze into the Xbox One X’s small case. While the original Xbox One was a big, black box about the size of an old-school VCR, the Xbox One X matches the impressive design of the Xbox One S."
"I spent some time playing Gears of War 4 with its new up-to-60fps 'performance mode.' Although it’s an old game at this point, it’s a good example of how the Xbox One X can have 4K modes or performance-focused modes. The 4K mode, coupled with HDR, looks great, but the performance mode running at 60fps feels even better without the 4K resolution boost."
"My biggest issue with the Xbox One X is a lack of stunning 4K games to really show why this is worth $499. Microsoft doesn’t have a single launch exclusive for this console, and while enhancements to old games are great, I often found it hard to even notice big differences because I don’t think some of these games were designed with 4K textures in mind."
"One thing to note: buy an external drive for the Xbox One X. I ran out of space on the 1TB drive of the Xbox One X with around 14 games installed and 20 apps. Most Xbox One games are around 40GB or 50GB in size, but I’ve noticed the Enhanced for Xbox One X games are significantly bigger."
In a review at CNET, Jeff Bakalar didn't offer as much enthusiasm for the latest Xbox, as he saw mixed results when looking for significant performance improvement in games.
"I compared an Xbox One X to an Xbox One S playing Gears of War 4 (which has been updated to take advantage of the X's hardware) side-by-side using two nearly identical 4K TVs. Right out of the gate, the difference in sharpness and detail was very apparent. In some instances comparing textures between the two consoles was night and day."
"I fired up Assassin's Creed Origins on both an Xbox One X and a PS4 Pro and invited a few coworkers in to find out if they could see something I couldn't. After about 15 minutes of scrutiny, no one was confident enough to crown either screen superior."
"Even if you're set on buying your first Xbox, I can't really recommend the X over the S unless you already own a 4K TV and you're dead set on having the latest and greatest gaming hardware out there."
Over at IGN, Brandin Tyrrel admired how much better the One X made enhanced games look, but noted one downside of 4K gaming: load times.
"Gears of War 4 ... 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. When all of that is working together, Gears of War 4 on the One X is dramatically smoother, and a sharper, deeper visual experience than it is on the One S."
"It’s also as remarkably quiet as the One S, even when it’s working hard, and never got warm enough that overheating in a confined space would be a concern."
"Yet when a game does take full advantage of everything the One X can do, there’s a downside: 4K textures are huge. The enhanced versions of both Gears of War 4 and Forza Motorsport 7 weigh in at around a chubby 90 gigabytes each (depending on any downloaded DLC), which is roughly double their install size on the One S."
"These monster-sized files can also have an impact on install and load times because so much data needs to be transferred to and from the 5400rpm hard drive. For example, loading the first campaign level of the native 4K-enhanced version of Gears of War 4 took the One X roughly 20 seconds, compared to 10 seconds for the standard version on a One S."