Microsoft has refined the third member of the Xbox line-up to offer a wealth of gaming and entertainment options, as well as address issues of hardware reliability with its Xbox One. Gamers can look forward to enhanced, controller-free gaming on Kinect and an improved online gaming experience, all without fear of facing the infamous red ring of death. Huntmar rounds up all deals on a special Xbox One page for everyone from casual gamer to hardcore gaming aficionados. READ MORE
Since taking over from the Xbox 360 back in 2013, Microsoft’s Xbox One has been a huge success with gamers all over the world. With its minimalist, back-to-basics looks and impressive speed, it built on what made the 360 so great, and developers responded, building up an awesome library of games.
However, the world of console gaming never stands still, and even the most advanced systems are overhauled from time to time. So it was no surprise when the Xbox One X arrived in 2017, with a new, even more streamlined form and the capability to go head to head with Sony’s PS4 and gaming PCs in the high definition graphics department.
This buyer’s guide will offer an in-depth look at the original Xbox One and the Xbox One X, helping gamers decide which system to buy. We’ll take a detailed look at the specs beneath the hood, and compare the systems against Sony’s competitors, highlighting the major differences (if any).
But before we go into any of that, let’s explore where the Xbox One X comes from, with a short history of Microsoft’s popular console.
The first Xbox landed way back in 2001. After the success of the Sony Playstation and with the Playstation 2 on the horizon, the Seattle-based tech giant saw a huge opportunity to offer some competition. Mobilising their knowledge of graphics technology and their financial resources, the company made sure that the new console would be the most advanced around. And they also put plenty of money into developing titles like Halo, which instantly hooked gamers with their realistic 3D worlds.
Success came immediately. In fact, Microsoft had to delay the console’s European release date to fulfil promises made to Japanese gamers. Since then, the Xbox story has continued to evolve, with the introduction of the 360 in 2005 taking things to a new level. This time around, Microsoft focused on online gaming, providing ways to download demos and stream music and videos via the Xbox Live service. Swappable hard drives made it easy to share content with friends, while wireless controllers and console colour choices were accompanied by a new – even more addictive – edition of Halo.
Another key innovation has been the Xbox Kinect service. First developed for the 360, Kinect allows players to control gameplay without needing a traditional controller. Instead, they can interact with the games they love via body gestures and words which are detected by the Kinect’s camera and microphone – capabilities that developers used to the full in their dancing or sporting titles.
However, there was a downside to the Xbox 360. For some gamers, the “red ring of death” became a curse, rendering their controllers unusable without technical support. Ever keen to iron out flaws and out-compete Sony, Microsoft made sure that the Xbox One would do away with the troublesome ring, offering a seamless 8th generation gaming experience.
When the Xbox One arrived, some key features made it stand out from the crowd, including:
Those features clearly set the Xbox One apart from the 360, but the Xbox One X has gone further, adding some important new elements to the mix:
However, some things haven’t been tweaked that much. The aesthetics of the X are similar to the Xbox One. And the hard disk isn’t all that different, either. The standard version of the new console comes with a 1TB drive, which may sound big, but is actually relatively small when some 4K titles occupy 100-150GB of space. Thankfully, the console fully supports external drives, so you might want to invest in a few when you upgrade, just to be sure that you have enough storage space for the games you want to play.
We’ve looked quickly at the features of both the Xbox One and the Xbox One X, but to get a really deep appreciation of how the two systems differ, a run-through of the key specs is in order. So here they are:
Firstly, the original Xbox One:
Now, the Xbox One X:
Since the Xbox One was released, Microsoft have introduced a range of bundles including the various versions of the console, peripherals and different software selections. The original console came in 500GB and 1TB versions, and buyers could choose options with or without Kinect, but the Xbox One X comes with Kinect as standard, and only a 1TB version has been made available.
When you shop for Xbox One X bundles on HotUKDeals, you’ll find a wide range of games included as part of the deal, from FIFA 18 to Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Overwatch, Call of Duty: WWII, Fallout 4, and State of Decay to Forza 7. So mix and match your purchase to suit your gaming preferences.
If you intend to download or purchase a wide variety of games, it’s also worth investing in extra storage space when you buy your console. Manufacturers like Seagate have developed sleek, Xbox-branded “game drives” designed specifically for the Xbox One X, adding as much as 8TB of space to your system.
Another thing to think about when choosing a bundle is what you are going to use as a screen. Older TVs may not do the 4K visuals on games like Forza 7 justice, but upgrading to state of the art screens can be expensive. So look out for deals from TV retailers which bundle in the Xbox console and new TVs in one purchase. There are plenty around, and they pop up all the time at the HotUKDeals Xbox One X listings.
A couple of years ago, the battle was between the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. Most experts felt that there wasn’t much between the two systems, with Sony’s PS4 besting Microsoft’s console slightly in the graphics department, while the Xbox One compared well in terms of processing speed. However, the PS4 just about shaded it, with its larger games library, although the honours were shared fairly evenly. Is that the case with the fight between the Xbox One X and the PS4 Pro?
Firstly, both consoles are 4K enabled, making them graphical beasts compared to their predecessors. So if you’re upgrading from an earlier Xbox or PlayStation, expect to be amazed. And both are in a way backwards compatible with older titles, so there’s nothing to worry about if you have a library of games that you still want to enjoy.
However, with the technical specs of the Xbox One X, Microsoft have definitely stolen a march on Sony, justifying the slightly higher price tag of their marquee gaming system.
This can be clearly seen in the GPUs of the two systems. While the PlayStation 4 Pro manages 4.12 TFLOPs at 218GB/s, the new Xbox can churn out 6 TFLOPs at 326GB/s, meaning that its 4K visuals are smoother and lag is much less of a problem. Moreover, the PS4 comes with 8GB of GDDR5 memory, compared to the beefier 12GB offered by the Xbox One X – again something which impacts on gaming performance.
You won’t necessarily notice the differences when playing less demanding games, but you almost certainly will when opting for 4K optimised titles like God of War. The Sony system can manage 4K at 30fps, while the newest Xbox whizzes along at 60fps, making shooters, sports and driving games that much more fluid and realistic.
Then there’s the Blu-ray drive. While both consoles support HD Blu-rays, which will be welcome for movie and TV fans, only the X comes with support for UHD Blu-rays (and also comes with Dolby Atmos support). So if you intend to make your console double up as a home entertainment system, Microsoft’s device is slightly ahead.
The library of games available for both systems is impressive, with over 1,500 titles for the Xbox One and 1,700 for the PS4, and almost every game being released comes with enhancements for the X. So there’s not much to choose between the two consoles on that score. Both consoles come with a range of exclusive games, if you wanna play titles like Forza, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds or Halo, you’ll have to go with the Xbox. If you’re after Horizon: Zero Dawn, the Uncharted series or God of War, is the PS4 your way to go.
For some people, the choice may come down to price, and this is where the Xbox One X does fall down a little. When released, its bundles where £100 more expensive than the PS4. You can reduce the cost by shopping around on HotUKDeals, but you are still likely to find PS4 Pros for less, and as both systems offer a high-quality gaming experience, you might be happy to save cash and save 4K UHD gaming for later.
For others, the older Xbox systems could still be appealing. After all, they have massive gaming libraries and online communities, great technical support and impressive specifications (if you ignore the 9th generation systems). And they are much cheaper to buy and stock with games than the X or PS4.
If you don’t mind sacrificing a little performance, the Xbox One S could be the way to go. Introduced in 2016 as an update on the Xbox One, the S was slimmed down and sleeker than its big brother, without losing any power in the process.
The S also introduced 4K video streaming and Blu-ray visuals, while the controller was upgraded as well. The new version came with Bluetooth compatibility, allowing players to shift it between devices (or even use it as a TV remote) – a neat addition to the Xbox toolkit.
Importantly, the Xbox One S also shipped in a 2TB version – more space than even the Xbox One X has to offer. And the power adapted was exchanged for a “power brick” inside the console, reducing the need to wrestle with cables, while making the console more mobile for taking to friends or on holiday.
In fact, portability is a major advantage of the S versus the newer X. At 2lbs lighter, it can be moved with ease, while the high-quality Blu-ray drive is brilliant for taking to the bedroom for movie nights. If you intend to use the console more as an entertainment centre, and less as a high-end gaming system, then upgrading to the X may not be worthwhile at all.
But there’s no doubting the superiority of the Xbox One X where games are concerned. The graphical chops of the newest Xbox simply blow its predecessors out of the water, adding a new dimension to all kinds of console game.