Microsoft Xbox 360 S 250GB Game Console Review: The original model may have been beset with hardware failures, but Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is still alive and kicking thanks to smooth HD graphics, an amazing range of software, a great joypad and a well-conceived online service. The original Xbox 360 may have stayed with us for more than 5 years now and this new redesigned 360 may come a bit late, overdue if you will, but still very welcome.
Officially referred to as the “S” console, Microsoft redesigned the Xbox 360 from the ground up and has given the new 360 S a 250GB hard drive, built-in Wi-Fi, and a new design that’s about 17 percent smaller that the older 360 models.
The arrival of this new hardware will wipe Microsoft’s slate clean with all the woes that plagued the Xbox 360 in the past. The 360 S is considered to be the best Xbox ever made from the new quieter internals to its shiny, aggressive-looking outer case but would it be enough for Microsoft to redeem itself?
Design and construction
Measuring 75 x 270 x 264 mm and weighs in at a bit over 6 pounds making it noticeably smaller than its big brother, the new Xbox 360 said goodbye to the matte-plastic casing seen on the Elite and white versions and instead opted for a glossy black finish. Unfortunately, that finish is a fingerprint magnet as we have seen in many gadgets today.
With the removal of the disc tray and power buttons and instead having touch-sensitive controls to replace them, the new Xbox 360 has fewer buttons compared to its predecessors.
One letdown though is that with new design of the console, it becomes incompatible with older Xbox 360 faceplates. I’m not saying that customization is one of the console’s strong points. Nevertheless, no faceplates will work with the new Xbox 360.
The Xbox 360 Slim was redesigned in the hope of correcting the annoyances and complaints about older Xbox 360 models. The new console packs a 250GB hard drive, built-in Wi-Fi that supports up to 802.11n, five USB ports, and an additional slot dedicated to the Kinect.
The 250GB hard drive is located under a door flap at the base of the system and comes in a black plastic enclosure that slides it snugly onto a receiving slot. What this means is that it cannot be replaced by a third-party drive so consumers planning to have more storage will be forced to buy Xbox 360-branded internal storage.
With the overhaul the Xbox 360 Slim went through, it is expected to have increased performance under the hood as well. Sad to say, this is not the case with the 360 S. Compared with an older Xbox Elite, the innards of the 360 S and the Elite were clocked at the same speeds. The 250GB storage of the 360 was neck and neck with the Elite’s 120GB in a battery of tests.
Heat, Noise, Power
The 360 S boasts of its “whisper-quiet” operation. Compared to the older 360 models, the 360 s was downright stealthy. Almost totally silent when on idle, the 360 S is barely noticeable when running its disc drive. This is seen a big improvement over the older 360 models and is hoped to lead to less instances of system failure.
Unfortunately, the console heats up after just 10 minutes f game play. Good thing that there is a perforated vent above an exhaust fan where the hot air can be spewed out of the console to lessen internal heating. Given Microsoft’s history of hardware failure, it is not advisable to leave your 360 S inside a cabinet or stack it with other audio/video components.
Game Library, Xbox Live and multimedia features
The 360 S is fully compatible with the same video game library that has made this platform a runaway hit. The new 360 S delivers visually. Games like UFC Undisputed for example feature photo-realistic characters with accurate details. The graphical output of the 360 S is at par with the Sony PlayStation 3 but is easily light years ahead of the Nintendo Wii.
Xbox Live on the other hand is still the definitive online gaming experience even if it requires a subscription to access particular features. However, reports say that Microsoft will come up with pricing schemes that are sure to make their Xbox Live subscribers very happy.
Let’s face it: Microsoft came up with a lot of fine improvements to the Xbox 360 S. the slick, compact design, internal Wi-Fi, and increased storage are indeed very tempting making it a worthy purchase – for new users.
But if you already own an Xbox 360, the improvements are not enough to justify ditching your current console and shelling out the moolah to upgrade to the 360 S. Unless your existing unit is driving you up the wall with its screeching or you console is kinda behaving in such a way that a Red Ring of Death is not far away, better stick with it I’m telling you.
You may check out: Microsoft Xbox 360 Price in Singapore Dollar (SGD)