Windows 10 Xbox App Game DVR and Screenshot Quality Test: Great Start, Negligible Performance Impact

on July 23, 2015 4:26 PM

Windows 10 is just a few days from its release on July 29th, and soon everyone with a legit copy of Windows 7 and 8 will be able to enjoy the Xbox App on PC.

One of the most interesting features of the app is the full-fledged Game DVR feature, similar to the one included on the Xbox One, but how does it perform? and what kind of quality can you expect from recording and screenshots?

The screen recording feature performs admirably, with an extremely small performance impact that very well suits the needs of those who might not have extremely powerful rigs.

Below you can see two screenshots while recording and on stand-by. The performance impact is a mere 2 frames per second, which is extremely good for this kind of feature.

Stand-by

METAL GEAR SOLID V_ GROUND ZEROES 7_23_2015 9_52_50 PM

Recording

METAL GEAR SOLID V_ GROUND ZEROES 7_23_2015 9_53_14 PM

This has been tested with a quite old rig with an AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition, a Geforce GTX 660 and 8 gigabytes of RAM (it’s my secondary PC, as installing a beta operating system on your main is rather reckless). Rigs with better hardware will perform even better.

Screenshots are taken with the highest possible quality, thanks to the lossless PNG format. The only small drawback is that the file size is rather big. An option to save in compressed JPG would be convenient, but starting with the lossless format is definitely much better than the other way around.

Videos can be recorded in high and standard quality.  The difference is in the bitrate: high records at about 20,000 kbps, while standard at about 10,000. The only problem, at the moment, is that recording frame rate is locked to 30 FPS. Options for different frame rates would be welcome, and will probably come at a later date.

The high option is really great in quality, enough to show every little detail of the game with minimum compression, but it’ll take about twice as much hard disk space.

The standard option still shows good quality, but it takes less space, and it’s ideal for you everyday uploading to YouTube.

Compared to the Xbox One’s Game DVR, file handling is of course much more convenient: all videos and screenshots are neatly saved in a folder and can be accessed directly with absolutely no hassle. Clips are recorded in MP4 format.

In order to show you the quality achievable with the Game DVR, below you can see screenshots and videos from several games. The videos have been recorded in both high and standard quality, and uploaded to YouTube. Since YouTube applies compression of its own, you can download the original file for each video by clicking on the title.

At the bottom we also included recordings and screenshots from Forza Horizon 2 streamed from Xbox One. The reason is that you’ll need to use the Game DVR on Windows in order to record while streaming. Streaming from Xbox One, in fact, blocks the screenshot and capture features of the console.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes – High

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes – Standard

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes – Screenshots

Tomb Raider – High

Tomb Raider – Standard

Tomb Raider – Screenshots

Cities: Skylines – High

Cities: Skylines – Standard

Cities: Skylines – Screenshots

Deus Ex: Human Revolution – High

Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Standard

Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Screenshots

Forza Horizon 2 (streamed from Xbox One) – High

Forza Horizon 2 (streamed from Xbox One) – Standard

Forza Horizon 2 (streamed from Xbox One) – Screenshots

In conclusion, The GameDVR feature on Windows 10 is a great start for the Xbox App. If you don’t need to record at a frame rate higher than 30 FPS, you can easily do everything you need without the help of any third party programs, and the ability to trim videos is also a great bonus.

If you need to record at higher frame rates, you might want not to discard your favorite capture program yet, but hopefully Microsoft will implement 60 FPS and more editing features soon.

If you want to see a full overview of the Xbox App, you can find it here.

 /  Executive News Editor
Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.