Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Xbox 360 Impression

First PlayStation 3 then Nintendo Wii and now Xbox 360. It’s a pity you consoles re-design so easily or I might get a bit of satisfaction. Butchered movie quotes aside, yes, the Xbox 360 announced at E3 2010 that it would redesign in much the same manner as the other consoles. Call this the Apple Effect as the iPod has always tweaked, redesigned and added features even when the market did not demand it. Consoles rarely redesigned while in a generation until near the end of that generation. For example the PlayStation 2 slim hit much later in the systems lifecycle. So what does this Apple Effect mean to Xbox 360 owners and gamers?

Look & Feel – It’s shiny and pretty. The design casing is actually smaller and weighs less and has a Jenny Craig slim waist look near the power indicator. The older 360’s looked like they should live in a stack in a datacenter while this new design looks fit for any living room entertainment system. It fits in, looks great and feels, well the same. The controller is the same, with a shiny Xbox logo and having the Wi-Fi built-in means no gray attachment with antenna on the back. Microsoft did a great job of making this system look desirable which also points to the Apple Effect. 250 GB of built in memory never hurts.

Tech & Ports – All accessories will work with the new 360, so no money lost there but the old school hard drives need to be ported over leaving gamers with a hard to access hard drive (not really removable). This is solved by the use of flash drives for taking game data places, a nice space saving fix. There is one HDMI port (one more would have been nice) along with five USB ports (3 back, 2 front) and an Ethernet port. The additional USB help to connect the variety of accessories. The new port that really requires mention is the Kinect Auxiliary port for the new sensor that Microsoft will release very soon. The Kinect looks like something out of War of the Worlds and is not by any means hidden or small but it’s gaming and entertainment promise is staggering.

Sound – It’s quite, so much more quite than any other model which is a dream. This is a much needed fix and one that is long overdue. The S/PDIF port for digital audio is easier to access and makes games sound outstanding, of course based on our home setup.

 Worth the Purchase? For gamers looking to finally get a 360 then this is the time, 100%. Besides the extra ports, look and feel it’s really the built-in Wi-Fi that makes this the time to buy. Everything is here for an out of box gaming experience on par with all other systems and it looks, sounds and feels damn good. What about current 360 owners? Unless you recently purchased an Elite, in the past 6 months (a fine system) then you should take a look. This redesign makes it easier to justify a new purchase especially if there are internet cables running all over your house. It comes down to if the budget is there as this system is well worth the purchase.

Overall the newly redesigned Xbox 360 looks beautiful, sounds great and offers a more integrated gaming experience. With built-in Wi-Fi, an additional cost for every other 360, gamers are getting more for about a $300 price tag and that’s before you trade in your old system and games to get even more duckets off. The benefits are great and for gamers on the fence about getting an Xbox 360 or trading in their old system for Elite, well the time is now.

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