Despite tine millions of Xboxes sold, the 360 line has been plagued by the infamous red ring of death — a fatal design flaw that causes overheated Xbox 360 units to shut down and become inoperable. It also had a bulky hard drive and lacked Wi-Fi. Microsoft aims to remedy all of these ills with Xbox 360 (250GB). The redesigned Xbox has the same horsepower, game library, and rich online experience as previous Xbox 360 models, but contains several key tweaks and improvements that make it the best Xbox yet.
Measuring 10.6 by 10.4 by 2.9 inches (HWD) and weighing 6 pounds, the new Xbox 360 is noticeably smaller than the Xbox 360 Elite. The matte casing that has been associated with previous Xbox 360 consoles is no more; in its place is a glossy, piano-black enclosure. The rear panel reveals three USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, S/PDIF, and composite A/V ports, and a single custom auxiliary jack. Microsoft has also added 802.11n Wi-Fi. The new Xbox 360 is fully compatible with the same prolific video game library, and the system’s graphical output is light years beyond the Nintendo Wii, and, for the most part, is on a par with the Sony PlayStation 3.
The Kinect motion-based controller for the Xbox 360 utilizes a 3D camera with an integrated microphone. Some 16 games have been announced so far, with the first releasing in November. It’s an obvious attempt by Microsoft to cull some of the Nintendo Wii audience, but the game play is far advanced; while playing Harmonix Dance Central (a Dance Dance Revolutionlike dance game), 1 was amazed at how accurately Kinect picked up my gestures.
Despite a smaller (120GB) hard drive for the same price, the Sony PlayStation 3 remains our Editors’ Choice, thanks to a deep library of compelling titles and a top- notch Blu-ray player. But if Kinect proves to be a better motion-control experience than the PlayStation Move, it may provide the muscle Microsoft needs to push the Xbox to the top of the heap.