While Microsoft has been lagging behind Sony in terms of console sales so far this generation, it is hoping to trump its rival next month with the raw power of the Xbox One X. Boasting beefier specs than even the upgraded PlayStation 4 Pro, it promises to be the number one choice for gamers who care about 4K content. But for the average buyer, does any of this even matter?
In many respects, the Xbox One X is merely a mid-cycle update to the original Xbox One released in 2013. Microsoft is keen to avoid alienating customers who already own the older machine, which is why there will be no exclusive content or add-ons released for the One X. So anyone who is strapped for cash and wondering whether they will be missing out by not upgrading need not worry.
On the outside as well, there are not a huge number of differences between the One X and the slimmed-down One S. In fact, Microsoft has even managed to make the newcomer slightly more compact, which might suggest that sacrifices have been made when it comes to the hardware. Thankfully, this is absolutely not the case, as it manages to live up to the claims of being the world’s most powerful console when all of its components are considered as a whole.
Matching 12GB of RAM with an octa-core processor and a unique graphics chip, all of which have been overclocked to further maximise performance, the One X should easily have enough grunt to push existing titles out of 4K televisions at native resolutions of up to 3840×2160. By comparison, the 1080p efforts of earlier Xbox models will look distinctly outclassed.
Microsoft is also promising that this added oomph will allow crystal clear pixel counts, and also higher frame rates. So rather than having to put up with games chugging along at less than 30 frames a second, One X owners will be able to match the 60fps experience enjoyed by smug PC fans.
Of course, pitting this console against a desktop computer that costs three or four times the price is not fair or sensible. The actual target for the Xbox One X is the PS4 Pro, which was released almost a year ago. There is no doubt that Microsoft’s machine has better specs, with 4GB more RAM to play with for starters. The real test will come in terms of how well the most popular games are optimised by developers for both systems. In the past generation, the Xbox 360 was less powerful than the PlayStation 3, but ran many titles more competently, because it was used as the development platform of choice thanks to its sales dominance.
Arguments over the merits and pitfalls of console hardware may be entertaining to enthusiasts, but in the end, the thing which matters most to the buying public is likely to be price. Pre-orders for the Xbox One X are currently available for around £450, while the year old PS4 Pro costs about £100 less. In either case, using gadget insurance to protect these costly consoles against household mishaps will be essential. The best gadget insurance will allow you to make a claim if accidental damage occurs, or if some hardware fault develops that the manufacturer’s warranty does not cover. UK gadget insurance could save you hundreds of pounds if you decide to pick up the Xbox One X as a Christmas present this year to see whether the world’s most powerful console lives up to the hype.