Xbox OneSource: Windows Central

One question I've received a few times on social media is whether or not I think it's worth getting an Xbox One X this close to the release of the next Xbox, codenamed Scarlett, expected to launch in 2020.

For Black Friday and Cyber Monday the Xbox One X is heavily discounted, alongside the base Xbox One systems. Is it worth the upgrade, or should you skip it, considering the next-gen Xbox is dropping next year?

Xbox One X vs. Xbox One S in full

Xbox One X: If you're upgrading from a regular Xbox One

The Xbox One X is a huge performance boost over the base Xbox One or Xbox One S, providing notable gains even without a 4K UHD TV set. Games with uncapped frame rates like Monster Hunter World run better on the Xbox One X, performing more smoothly than they can with the Xbox One S's outdated architecture. If you do have a 4K TV, the difference between the consoles is truly night and day, especially if you have a higher-end set with HDR and wide color gamut.

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If you're upgrading all the way from the VCR-like 2013 Xbox One, you'll also land the ability to play media and Blu-ray discs in 4K UHD as well, adding additional functionality to your media center. It also just looks a lot nicer than the previous Xbox One model, with a sleeker footprint and the ability to stand upright without scratching discs inside it.

Res comparisonsSource: MicrosoftThis shows how many more pixels you get in a 4K resolution. UHD in red, HD in green.

Xbox One X vs. Xbox One S: Spec showdown

Category Xbox One X Xbox One S
Processor 8-core Jaguar "Evolved" CPU at 2.3GHz 8-core Jaguar CPU at 1.75GHz
Storage 1TB 500GB, 1TB or 2TB
Memory 12GB of GDDR5 RAM 8GB DDR3 RAM
Graphics 40 CUs (1,172Mhz) 6 TF GPU 12 CUs (914MHz) 1.23 TF GPU
Ports HDMI-in; HDMI-out; one front-facing USB 3.0 ; two rear-facing USB 3.0; IR receiver/blaster; SPDIF digital audio; Ethernet HDMI-in; HDMI-out; one front-facing USB 3.0; two rear-facing USB 3.0; IR receiver/blaster; SPDIF digital audio; Ethernet
Optical drive 4K UHD Blu Ray 4K UHD Blu Ray (no optical drive in the S All-Digital)
Design Matte black Matte white
Price $500 RRP $300 RRP

So, long story short, if you're upgrading from an Xbox One S, you're gaining more performance in hundreds of games even on a 1080p set, and crisper, 4K visuals on a UHD TV, complete with the added depth from HDR. Once you've experienced 4K, it's tough to go back down to the jagged edges and blurry presentation of HD and below.

Xbox One X: If you're completely new to the Xbox ecosystem

Xbox Game PAssSource: Microsoft

If you're completely new to the Xbox ecosystem, there are a few good reasons to skip the S and move straight to the X, but also a few good reasons to buy one of the cheaper options.

The Xbox One X is powerful and gives you the best of the Xbox ecosystem, but throughout 2020 Microsoft is rolling out Xbox Game Streaming and Project xCloud. If you're already doing the majority of your gaming on PC or PlayStation 4, the Xbox One ecosystem might be a good supplementary option, without having to spend all the way up to an Xbox One X.

Buying an Xbox One S or an even cheaper disc-less Xbox One S All-Digital will give you the ability to stream games you purchased on Xbox One to a mobile device of your choice. Right now Android is the only option, but we have it on good authority iPhones and iPads will get in on the fun in the earlier half of 2020. Additionally, Xbox Game Pass is a very cheap subscription service granting access to dozens upon dozens of games instantaneously, including all of the Xbox Game Studios exclusives.

No brainer

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

£15.99 £33 £17 off

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is the best value in gaming, combining Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Game Pass for console and Xbox Game Pass for PC into one, easy to manage package.

If you simply want to dabble in Forza Horizon, Xbox Game Streaming services, or Halo Infinite once it drops in 2020, grabbing a cheaper Xbox One option may be a smarter bet if you plan on sticking to PC, Nintendo Switch, or PlayStation for the majority of your gaming in the near term.

Xbox One X: So, is it worth it?

Xbox One XSource: Windows Central

The Xbox One X is the world's most powerful console, but the PS5 and Xbox Scarlett launching in around a year's time will make it completely and utterly obsolete. That said, you'd easily be able to trade it in or sell it on, providing you keep the box and maintain it well.

If you're interested in the Xbox One ecosystem, picking up a cheaper console might be a better bet, such as the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, which is absurdly cheap through now until Cyber Monday, for $150. With the All-Digital, you can enjoy Xbox Game Pass exclusives and Xbox Game Streaming to mobile devices when it launches in 2020, but you'll sacrifice Blu-ray playback and physical discs as a result.

If you have a 4K TV set, or are planning to buy one, the Xbox One X is more than worth the ask in my opinion. The visual boost is truly huge, and you can always trade it or stick it on eBay in when Scarlett drops in 2020. Just keep the box and console well-maintained!

Cheapest option

Xbox One S (All-Digital)

Absurdly cheap

For just $150 for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the Xbox One S All-Digital is the cheapest entry point into the Xbox ecosystem.

Cheap and cheerful

Xbox One S

Thousands of games without breaking the bank.

The Xbox One S might not be powerful enough for gaming on your 4K TV, but it sports thousands of games and 4K media for an affordable price.

Monstrous power

Xbox One X

For those who want the best-looking games.

The Xbox One X is significantly more potent than any other console out there, providing the best-looking games built for your 4K TV.

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