Should You Get an Xbox One X Now? It Depends

Posted on November 5, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Xbox One with 25 Comments

Should You Get an Xbox One X Now? It Depends

On Tuesday, Microsoft will unleash the next generation of video game consoles when it releases the Xbox One X. Whether you should get one will depend on a number of factors.

But know this. You want one. It’s just a matter of priorities.

I’ll be reviewing the Xbox One X in the near future, of course. But I’d like to address this topic—of priorities—ahead of the launch, and ahead of that review. Because there’s a good chance you may want to pony up the $500 it requires to join this club. You just need to know what you’re getting into it.

I’ve never written an article in flowchart form, but I considered doing so for this one. Instead, let’s step through the decision-making tree in a more linear—and textual—fashion.

So it goes something like this.

First, and most important, if you don’t have a 4K/UHD display, don’t bother.

Yes, the Xbox One X improves existing Xbox One and Xbox 360 games in subtle ways on a Full HD (1080p) HDTV or display, but it’s not worth upgrading your console for those differences. Microsoft cites faster load times and, more important, the graphical advantages of “supersampling”—where the console “down-rezzes” games written to 4K resolutions so that they look better at 1080p—as key reasons to think otherwise. But the performance differences are minimal, in my experience: The load times in games like Forza 7 Motorsport are still glacial, for example. And while those graphical niceties are very real, taking advantage of them requires you to a) actually own games that are written to higher resolutions and b) to take up the additional disk space they require by downloading the 4K assets.

And then there’s HDR: Xbox One X Enhanced titles that do support HDR—e.g. high dynamic range—will just look better if your display supports HDR. What’s interesting here is that HDR isn’t a “feature” of 4K/UHD, meaning that you may have a 1080p or 1440p display that supports HDR too. Should you get an Xbox One X if you have a non-4K/UHD display that supports HDR?

That’s a tough one, mostly because I don’t own such a set and can’t offer an educated opinion here. But my advice is logical enough: Look at the games you own already or will own this holiday season, see which have been enhanced (or will be) for Xbox One X, and then check to see whether HDR support is part of that update. (It doesn’t have to be.) If enough of the games you’re really going to play support HDR, this could be a vote in the Xbox One X’s favor. Otherwise, remember that Xbox One X fully supports HDR outside of games. (Meaning in streaming video services like Netflix and on Blu-Ray 4K/UHD/HDR discs.)

That said, if you’re in the market for a 4K/UHD display, do yourself a favor and make sure it supports HDR. The brighter, more vibrant color display will blow your socks off. Or, your eyeballs. Or something. It’s amazing.

The Xbox One X also supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X spacial sound technologies. If you can connect the console to a compatible sound system, you’re going to have the most immersive gaming experience imaginable. I’ve only just barely experienced this, and it’s worth pointing out that Windows 10 gamers can get a virtual Atmos experience with headphones that is worth checking out too.

If the $500 price tag is just too much—and I hear you on that one—just wait: Xbox One X will be less expensive a year or more in the future, maybe much less, and you can still enjoy all your Xbox One games—plus a ton of Xbox 360 games and a few from the original Xbox—on your existing Xbox One or Xbox One S today. The Xbox One S, in particular, is a steal: You can choose from any number of low-cost bundles right now and throughout the holidays, getting one or more free games in the process. And those games, and all your peripherals, will move forward with you when you do decide to upgrade.

And that’s the thing. The real question here isn’t whether or not you should upgrade to the Xbox One X, because you should. It’s when you should upgrade. And that will depend on your personal situation. Cost be damned, those with 4K/UHD/HDR sets should jump right now. Those without should think about that upgrade first. And those who haven’t yet joined the Xbox One generation—shame on you!—have tons of options, and can get in right now very cheaply with the Xbox One S.

Ultimately, no path forward is a bad decision. Unless, of course, you were banking on Sony to lead us to the 4K future.


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Comments (25)

25 responses to “Should You Get an Xbox One X Now? It Depends”

  1. Eric Rasmussen

    The one thing it doesn't do? VR. I thought the Windows 10 mixed reality announcements would have included a headset for the One X. With the proper equipment, virtual reality is amazing. Making that a feature of the X would have given people the ability to experience Windows mixed reality without needing to buy a whole PC...

    ...wait. Maybe I just answered my own question. :)

  2. gvan

    Forget that lousy iPhone X. I want an XBox One X! I'm still trying to figure out the $500 with Christmas coming up. Oho well...

  3. Jay

    Those that have been paying attention know we’ve had well over a year to get set up for the X.

    I bought my 4K HDR LG HDTV from Dell last year.

    I have an Xbox One S but that is being sold as I can’t see the need to keep two xboxes in the House. So assuming I make $200. The Xbox One X is $300.

  4. DeusFever

    Paul makes a good point about the value proposition changing in the next year or two, but I am still waiting for Sony to drop the price of the PS4 Pro. It seems as if both companies are using the 1080p consoles to gain market share (the razors and blades model) and the 4K consoles to milk profits from higher end consumers. Also, sometimes the best value comes from buying a product at full price at launch because then you have more time to use it. This brings me to another decision that could be in Paul's flowchart, when the Xbox One X will go obsolete. Some wishful thinking says the next gen will come in 2019. Considering how successful the PS4 is this generation, 2020 is more likely. Although most of us have been upgrading our $500+ phones on a 2 year cycle, we expect more than 2 or 3 years of usefulness for a game console.

  5. Emma Stones

    I am not going to buy the Xbox One X. I as of now have the standard Xbox One and am thinking about grabbing a Xbox One Slim for my school dormitory. The Xbox One X will give you the ideal support gaming background. Its specs constitute it as the most effective reassure to date. Clearly there is a component called super inspecting or something to that effect. Help With Assignment Writing. Moreover it should offer better stacking circumstances. Perhaps it won't take 5 minutes to stack in my MyCareer on NBA 2k17 any longer, may be justified regardless of the buy all things considered.

  6. Maelstrom

    One advice on HDR: make sure it is done over 10 bits! Some older 4k tv sets don't and that is not good. Period. And, again on the TV front, you need at least a 55" screen to take full advantage of 4K/UHD.

  7. glenn8878

    I’m thinking the sweet spot for 4K may very well be Christmas 2018. So wait if you can. Target already sells a 4K 55 curved screen for $699.

  8. mmcpher

    Too late. Now I'm going to have to upgrade my TV too.

  9. ChristopherCollins

    I still have a Day One edition going strong and it's operating on a 1080P LG set I bought years before it... I'm planning to grab a One X when this TV goes down. As TV's in my house fail, they will certainly be replaced with 4K HDR sets. The longer these guys last, the cheaper it will be.

  10. PeteB

    It's simpler than that.

    Own a gaming PC? Get PS4 Pro and have all bases covered.

    Own Xbox One? Get PS4 Pro and have all bases covered.

    Own PS4 or Pro? Get Xbox One S for $189 and have all the bases covered + 4k, UHD Disc playback, Dolby Atmos. All the same as X.

    Have nothing? Get PS4 + Xbox One S and have all bases covered, with money left over vs a $500 X.

    If you care about games, there's no compelling reason to get an X given how many exclusives Sony continues to pump out, and how non-existent new Xbox firstparty games are.

    • Daekar

      In reply to PeteB:

      Incorrect. You've left out the Switch, which is the first hardware that should accompany a gaming PC or any other current generation console. It's a no brainer with many Nintendo exclusives that are truly excellent.

    • Roger Ramjet

      In reply to PeteB:

      The fallacy in this simplicity is that it assumes quantity > quality for all buyers. That is simply incorrect. There is a customer for all you can eat buffet and there is also a customer for fine dinning. Yes, it's bling, but as I have noted in many a discussion on $1000 smartphone on this site, if the customer sees value in it that's all that is required.

    • Usman

      In reply to PeteB:

      Don't get why this is downvoted.

    • mike2k

      In reply to PeteB:
      this article is not XBOX One X vs PS4. Quite obvious it's geared towards those who use an Xbox exclusively.

      • PeteB

        In reply to mike2k: this article is not XBOX One X vs PS4. Quite obvious it's geared towards those who use an Xbox exclusively.

        Citation needed. Nowhere did Paul say "intended for those who use an Xbox exclusively".

        Sounds like you're just reading your own bias into it.

        Obviously Xbox doesn't exist in a vacuum, and anyone that cares about games is going to do their homework for most bang for buck and best games.

  11. Bats

    Sooooo....according to Best Buy, the cheapest 4K HDR television is $469. So I guess, that in order to fully maximize the Xbox One X experience one has to not only buy the console, but buy the television as well.

    So, we are talking a total of $499 + $469 + $59 + tax = $1,027 at least to have a slightly upgraded immersive gaming experience? Uh.....I don't know about that.

    4k is good and all, and the market will eventually get there, I just don't see it being worth spending $499 (half a grand) for a slightly better experience. Then, to make it really worth it, spend almost double for the tv?

    • DeusFever

      In reply to Bats:

      You have it backwards. The Xbox One X doesn't mean you have to upgrade you TV. If you already upgraded your TV, you will benefit from an Xbox One X.

      • Rob_Wade

        In reply to DeusFever: Many, if not most, of us have NOT upgraded our TV and don't feel we've gotten our money's worth from the TV we already have. So, yes, in order to really enjoy ANOTHER $500 investment (the Xbox One X) you'll have to upgrade your TV. My wife and I am not even close to ready to do that. That's over $1000 to improve watching SOME movies, ultimately, since we do not do console gaming.

    • glenn8878

      In reply to Bats:

      Target is selling 4K curved screen 55” Samsung for $699. That’s a great deal. Waiting a year is also an option since everything gets cheaper.

      I assume curved screen is better for gaming.

    • Roger Ramjet

      In reply to Bats:

      I bought my 56" Samsung 1080p Smart TV 5 or 6 years ago for ~$1500, and at that time I thought it was a pretty good price. I think one thing people are missing on this is Microsoft's good timing which is probably no accident. Of course, every year at holiday time you see new TV models, but this year feels just like the period when 720p or 1080p broke through enmass for the 4K/HDRs. They are everywhere and priced well into mass adoption prices for TVs, plus, it's been a few years since the last big wave, the housing market has been reasonable for a while. So, if anyone buys a 4K/HDR TV, just for its own sake, at this point what is the top complementary product buy that is out there to go with it?

  12. wunderbar

    Paul, about HDR: the Xbox One S already supports HDR in games that have it. So if you have an Xbox One S, then you absolutely do not need to upgrade just to get HDR.

  13. Craig Luecke

    So I'm late to this post and here's why. Pre-ordered the XBOX One X from Best Buy and put off picking it up until after Windows Weekly live stream. After watching Leo with his Project Scorpio edition, I cancelled the BB item and ordered the Scorpio edition from Amazon Prime for the same price. It was the one chance I could have something better than Paul. Stranger things.

    I do not believe I would have upgraded had it not been for Paul's teenage gushing over this new console. I don't have a 4K set as I am still enjoying my plasma. But, Paul kept crowing about this thing and how it really didn't matter if you had 1080 or 4K.

    The XBOX One X arrived today. Connected it to the 1080 plasma set. There is DEFINITELY a different in the appearance even with the menus and speed. A quick boot of Rocket League and while RL hasn't been enhanced yet the speed of the game was quite noticeable. It was buttery smooth and playable. Forza Horizon 3 is very noticeably different. The speed of every game as well as the faster frame rates is worth the upgrade.

    And for the console haters - I do have a self built gaming PC with Oculus, Vive, steering wheel, 3 monitors, etc. I live stream with it. Why do I have a console if I have a strong PC? Having a racing chair with full Thrustmaster wheel, pedals and shifter in front of very large screen and theater sound is a much more enjoyable experience. Playing Rocket League on a large screen is a times more fun. Common thread ... for me is the larger screen for 2D immersion if there is such a thing. When you kids get older you'll understand.

    When I play Rocket League on the PC against the PS4 consoles do I trash talk against consoles ... @#$% yeah. I get it. I hated playing RL on the XBOX One. It was just choppy and not as much fun. The XBOX One X has elevated the quality of the console games to that of a strong PC.

    I'm not regretting this at all.

    And Paul, my wife would like to have a word with you.