User Interface

The User Interface (UI) for the Xbox One X is exactly the same as the original console, thanks to the shared platform underneath. In mid October, Microsoft released the Xbox One Fall Update, which made further changes to the UI. As with the Xbox 360, Microsoft is not content to leave the UI alone, but instead they are always trying to improve it. Whether they’ve succeeded in improving it is not always a clear cut answer, but after using the Fall Update for a few weeks, it is an overall nice update. Let’s go over some of the highlights and features.

The new Home screen offers a lot more selections without having to switch screens, but it’s nice to see the Games and Apps very quickly available. You can now pin games to Home, and they get their own home page directly below the main Home page. This does make it harder to get to your pins though, especially if you’ve pinned a couple of games to Home, since you have to scroll past them, so it is really only useful for the one or two games you are playing right now. Others may disagree of course.

What has improved a lot though is the Guide, which is the overlay from the left which pops up when you hit home. Here it’s very easy to get to pins, all games and apps, and your most recent apps, but it’s also easier to sign out, get to settings, or find your game captures. The Guide performance seems like they’ve finally got it where they want it, although the extra performance of the X likely helps a lot in this regard.

The new light theme is a nice touch for those that get tired of the standard dark theme, although the dark theme looks amazing on OLED.

Microsoft has added some features to the Fall Update specifically to get you set up for the Xbox One X upgrade too, which are worth discussing. First, you can backup your games, and your console settings, to a USB hard drive, to make it easy to transfer them to your new console. Or, if you are still going to have both consoles up and running, there’s also a new Network Transfer feature which lets you pull games from one Xbox where they are already downloaded, to the other. Since most people have a much faster network than internet connection, this is a great feature, even though we only saw about 300 Mbps maximum from it even over a wired gigabit Ethernet connection to both consoles. You can select some, or just transfer all of your games.

What would make this feature even better is if it would automatically do this for the user, much like the Branch Cache features of Windows, or even the new Windows Update functionality in Windows 10 where it can pull updates from another machine on the LAN. The method to do this currently is to go into settings, then network, and then start a network transfer, but this isn’t very obvious, and if the system would just pull the data from the other system when you select it in your “Ready to Install” list, that would make it easier.

In addition to the network transfer, if you have an Xbox One, and are upgrading to an Xbox One X, you can also set your Xbox One to download the 4K assets for games that are Xbox One Enhanced, but, like the Network Transfer feature, this is also buried in settings, and not obvious. You have to go to Settings, System, and then Backup & transfer, then check the box that says Download 4K game content. It’s nice to have, but it’s just not obvious to most users, and you pretty much have to know about it ahead of time to even know to look for it. If you are getting an Xbox One X, and you have an earlier model, it’s definitely worth your time though, since the 4K updates can be massive. The update for Gears of War 4 was something like 26 GB, making the game over 90 GB total.

Game DVR also got an update to allow 4K recordings up to 30 seconds max, and the system will automatically convert the videos to SDR for sharing, which is a nice touch. As we saw earlier in the 4K screenshots, they are just presented as PNG files with the HDR info stripped away, resulting in the wrong colors being displayed. It’s hopeful this will get fixed in the future.

The only downside with the UI is that it, once again, changed somewhat dramatically, meaning muscle memory may have to be re-learned. That’s not always ideal, but in this case, it does seem like the overall experience is better than before.

Power Usage Discussing Xbox One X with Kevin Gammill, Xbox Partner Group Program Manager
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  • Manch - Friday, November 3, 2017 - link

    explain? Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Friday, November 3, 2017 - link

    12 memory chips with each memory chip having it's own 32bit memory controller for a 384bit memory bus.
    There are only 32 ROPS.

    Which means there is an additional memory crossbar just like the Radeon 7970... Which also means that there could be scenario's where real-world bandwidth ends up as 218GB/s rather than the full 326GB/s.
    Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Friday, November 3, 2017 - link

    Ian elaborated upon that in a prior article. I just thought it might have been expanded upon here. Reply
  • Manch - Friday, November 3, 2017 - link

    Ah OK, thanks for explaining.

    What would be a typical scenario that would cause this? Or is there a link or google phrase that will pull up the relevant info.

    Appreciate it.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Friday, November 3, 2017 - link

    Unfortunately I don't have any new information to add on the subject at this time. But I wouldn't draw too many comparisons to Tahiti; the situation is made a lot more complex by the fact that a CPU is being fed as well (which is also why even the original XB1 had the equivalent of a memory crossbar). Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Saturday, November 4, 2017 - link

    Fair call. Microsoft stated it was able to achieve 285GB/s of bandwidth out of 326GB/s.
    But they didn't really elaborate beyond that.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/xbox-scorpio-engi...
    Reply
  • Manch - Saturday, November 4, 2017 - link

    Interesting, and thanks for the link. I've been reading up on the 7970(what I can find) and now Ill have to add this to the list. Reply
  • alistair.brogan - Friday, November 3, 2017 - link

    Not a single game made expressly for this console. Kind of weird right? I'd rather the n64 situation with 2 launch games!!!

    Would have loved to see a 1080p/60fps game made only for the X. Guess I'm waiting for a PS5 now.
    Reply
  • Manch - Friday, November 3, 2017 - link

    That comment makes no sense. If you're not trolling, utilize the power of the internet and read up. Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Friday, November 3, 2017 - link

    Games ... yes. Great Games ... Not so much. The Nintendo switch has two new perennial favorite titles (Zelda Breath of the Wild + Super Mario Odyssey) each with a Metacritic Score of 97!! Where are these critically acclaimed titles on the XBox and PS4? Even the PC seems to suffer from a lack of ground breaking titles. Non-Nintendo gaming needs to bring the ground breaking titles ... otherwise what's the point? Reply

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