Previous Microsoft released their XBOX ONE S in an attempt to gather in UHD game players, and home video enthusiasts. In essence it was a grand maneuver offering a game player that also accommodated the playing of UHD Blu-ray discs - offering the unit at a relatively moderate price; seemingly making it a grand bargain.
My review of that unit wasn't how it would preform as a gaming platform since that would be covered by all others; but instead as a Blu-ray UHD player. It failed, not delivering proper audio, in Dolby Atmos, & DTS X, and integrating well into a home theater set-up.
Much has been expected from this new release from Microsoft as its been heralded as the "most powerful gaming system" ever. Maybe so.
I preordered the unit through Microsoft, at one of their stores. A pre-launch party was announced with the units, Project Scorpio, being release at midnight - the night before the actual release of the XBOX ONE X units.
The party was a disaster complete with overly loud DJ music, free food from Toco Bell, and Popcorn from a charitable entity. (Who was terribly mistreated by the attendees.)
Among the free give-aways was a back pack, a water bottle, sunglasses and very cool pin that doubles for the processing chip of the unit.
Those who pre-ordered were getting the unit packaged under its pre-launch name "Project Scorpio".
The box was given inside an black XBOX shopping bag.
The party began at 5pm and the units were available at midnight.
It was a tough run without any demos of the unit or talks about the unit. The mall closed at 9pm to which we were trapped in the Microsoft store with no place to got for food or drink. Let it be said, by 10pm it was getting boring.
I was way too tired to try anything by the time I got home due to having to go into another state to get the unit.
It waited till the next day after the effects of being a tired zombie wore off.
The well packed unit was surrounded by packing material. Inside was the usual cables, AC, HDMI, a stand for the unit to lay vertical, a wireless controller (black), and batteries.
The unit was a breeze to connect and hook up. I first made a direct connection to my TV (Sony 75" UHD XBR75X940E) - I was careful to connect it to a UHD input.
After the unit came on it went through a series of updates which did take a while - then again, when doesn't a new Microsoft anything don't go through a series of updates when turned on for the first time?
Being patient I then went though the usual login procedures, and began to download a game in my Microsoft account. Knowing it would take forever I simply download one game and started my assessment.
Okay, I'm not a gamer. I can't be. Most of the moving images, especially in moving one man shooter make me sick and give me a headache. There are very few game I can actually enjoy. Plants VS. Zombies is one.
Because this unit is said to up convert games I started up my favorite game and was pleasantly surprised. PVSZ looked amazingly clear, bright and detailed - more so than on my XBOX ONE S. It played extremely well with no glitches. Actually, it was quite beautiful.
Still keeping it connected directly to the TV I downloaded the Blu-ray app.
In "Settings" the set-up for video had changed. There are more options for Hz, and now 4k output. In audio there is also an option for Dolby Atoms.
I popped in my UHD disc of 3:10 TO YUMA and chose the DTS X audio and started up the disc. The picture seemed a bit soft and hazy. The black level was off.
I popped in GODS OF EGYPT and it was the same. It wasn't until I put in JUPITER ASCENDING that i realized how off the visual element was. All black were off.
I disconnected the unit from the TV and connected it to my Marantz SR7009. Just to make sure I disconnected my OPPO and connected it there.
Interestingly, I was told by the unit to download the Dolby App for Dolby Atmos - I did. Then I preceded with JUPITER ASCENDING. Still, the image was foggy and with way less definition than a UHD disc - actually more akin to a DVD.
I went back to the other two films and found the same quality - or lack of. I popped in DRACULA and FANTASTIC BEASTS - all the same.
Yes the unit was was decoding Dolby Atmos, and even DTS X, but that too was different than when my MARANTZ was decoding. It wasn't bad, but hazy.
(There is an option on the unit to either let the unit decode or allow your home receiver).
I went back to "Settings" and tired to find something that might set things right and allow the proper playing of UHD discs. Even the XBOX ONE S didn't preform like this, visually. It only had sound issues.
In the end there seems to be an issue Microsoft, hopefully, can correct with a future update. If not this is an excellent unit for playing games, but not a decent UHD disc player. As with the XBOX ONE S I will keep this review open for updates. Hopefully, I will be contacted by Microsoft and be able to discuss the short comings of this unit and be able to report any changes.
Two other things - one, all previous XBOXs for some reason could not play Twilight Time blu-ray releases. None would respond to the main menu of the disc - now, thankfully this problem has been solved with the XBOX ONE X; it works!
The second thing - each time I ejected a Blu-ray disc I was surprised to find it hot. Yes, hot. Whatever is going on inside this unit is causing the disc to heat up.
Until changes are made however - don't purchase this unit if you expect to use it as a UHD player. Even players like Samsung, LG, and especially OPPO are better. Because The Digital Cinema is a moive/film oriented site my review reflects that and how this unit works. Let hope changes are made.