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Xbox 360 Console

Product: Xbox 360 Console
Company: Microsoft
Website: Official Xbox 360 Site
Estimated Street Price: $399.99 £279.99
Review By: Brian Kvalheim & Byron Hinson

Elite Update

It wasn’t too much of a surprise to see Microsoft finally get around to releasing an updated version of the Xbox 360 console...the real surprise was that it took so long to come up with HDMI support for the machine. So now we finally have our hands on the Xbox 360 Elite console, what differences are there and is it worth trading in your old (probably busted) Xbox 360 for this newer model?

Well the first major addition to the machine is HDMI support, this means you should in theory get the best possible picture out of the Xbox if you have a LCD/Plasma TV that supports it. I have always used the VGA option for the Xbox 360 since the machine came out and I ran that in the full 1080p mode but I am pleased to say that the HDMI picture quality is very slightly better than that – especially in relation to the colours that are displayed on the screen. Where the colours on the VGA pack were slightly dark, the HDMI colours are full of brightness in all the right spots. The Xbox 360 also detects your optimum resolution when you first attach the HDMI cable, so you are ready to go and play right away without fiddling with any other settings.

The only disappointment is that Microsoft decided to go with the older HDMI spec (1.2) and not the latest one that even the year old Playstation 3 has had from the beginning, this has better audio options and improved colours. But in saying that – at least Microsoft knew it was a good idea to ship the Elite WITH a HDMI cable unlike Sony.

While HDMI allows you to play sound directly from that cable, I still have an older 5.1 amp that requires optical connections – and while the HDMI cable doesn’t have the usual 360 optical attachment on it, there is an additional piece of hardware in the elite box for that specific reason.

 

So what else is new? Well we have the 120gb hard drive – which right now in the United Kingdom is a bit too much as there is no video marketplace available here still which means the chances of you downloading large high definition films on to the Xbox 360 Elite is very unlikely so the space won’t be getting used up – so really right now the 20gb hard drive for anywhere other than over in America is still a perfect size. Also the decision to not ship the transfer cable to move saves over from the older 20gb drive to the 120gb one is a bit of a booboo on Microsoft’s part – especially as the stand alone 120gb drive comes with it. This means you have to go through a request form to get it and still after 3 or 4 weeks most users haven’t got theirs yet.

Next we have the newer black design, while I thought I would prefer this look – I don’t all that much, not for the 360 itself, though I think the black controller looks excellent. Also it would have been nice to have all the leads in black too rather than the gray if you really want everything to look one shade.

Finally we have the innards, while we were told that the Xbox 360 Elite would run both cooler and quieter, this isn’t really the case – from the two Elites we have used, both of them run at the same volume as the older models, I guess the difference is that there is less chances of it going wrong thanks to the new heatsink design inside the machine.

So overall for any new buyers of the Xbox 360 this is the version to go for, it has the best picture quality, best hard drive size and is the model which is less likely to die within the first 12 months of its life. I wouldn’t recommend anyone trade their older 360s in for the Elite though, the addition of HDMI support while producing more colours isn’t enough to convince me people should be paying out even more money to get it and the disappointment that the console is still as loud as ever is a bit of a letdown. Either way it is still the best console for gaming.

Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: Setup
3: Windows Media Connect & The Media Center Extender
4: Guide Blades
5: Accessory Reviews
6: Backward Compatibility & Launch Titles
7: Conclusion

8: The Elite

Xbox 360 FAQ


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