We all are aware that the video game console market is booming right now, and right at the top of the charts is MIcrosoft's phenomenal Xbox 360, competing directly with the likes of the Sony PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii. The Slim is the latest iteration of the same.
The Xbox 360 Slim was released in June 2010 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), an annual conference where all the biggies of the industry show off their latest offerings. The biggest difference between the Slim and the previous model is the size of the console itself, which is now 17% smaller and much lighter. This difference in the size stems from the fact that the hard drive's position has now been changed from the side to inside the console, even though it can still be removed. The shape of the console itself is concave, and it meets at the center, where the power button is positioned.
The next thing you will notice is the quality of the finish of the console. While the new PS3 Slim has an inferior quality and look about it, Microsoft has replaced the old matte finish with a sharp glossy finish, and also changed the color from white to black. This lends the console a classy, expensive look, but it does become a fingerprint magnet in the process. The power button itself is now touch-sensitive, and it even makes a slight sound when you press it.
Review in Brief
Microsoft seems to have bungled up a bit with the hard drive removal process, though, and this is something that has been acknowledged on most reviews of this console. You will need to pull a cord which sets into place the release mechanism to remove the 250GB hard drive, and this is something that will get weaker over time. The best way to avoid problems is to refrain from removing the hard drive, and use an external hard drive and connect it via the USB ports instead. The console now has 5 USB ports, so this is not something that should be a problem for you.
The biggest change, however, is that the 360 Slim now offers 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity, something that was lacking in the earlier models but was ominously present in the PS3. In addition to this, you also have an additional AUX port that will be used to run Microsoft Kinect, the new motion-sensing gaming platform developed by Microsoft.
Interestingly, this is a revolutionary development, where, as Microsoft likes to put it, "you are the controller". The chip system inside is the new and improved Valhalla system, which is faster, smoother, and quieter when running Xbox 360 games. It also causes less overheating problems, which was something earlier models regularly had to deal with. The fact that Microsoft have achieved this after reducing the number of cooling fans from 2 to 1 is commendable in itself.
So one can gather from most of the reviews that the plus points of this new version are as follows.
- Better visual appeal, with a smaller design and glossy finish.
- Wi-Fi connectivity, which increases the functionality of Xbox Live.
- Makes less noise and cools down faster.
- Better chip set inside the machine.
- 5 USB ports available.
- Compatibility with the Kinect motion-sensing gaming system.
All this is well and good, but ultimately you have to compare this new model to the PS3, most notably the new PS3 Slim, and carry out a comparison between the two. Though the PS3 is slightly more expensive, you do get the advantage of the console being compatible with Blu-Ray. This is something that cannot be overlooked, but this is more of a feather in Sony's cap, rather than a thorn in Microsoft's side. The clumsy method of removing the hard drive is not really something that is worth writing home about, either.
All in all, if you own an older version of the Xbox 360 it is best to stick to that, especially if you own the 250GB version. You must have already found a way to get around the lack of Wi-Fi connectivity by using a dongle or an adapter. If you are buying a new console, the PS3 Slim may be a slightly better bet, but until Blu-Ray catches on among the mainstream, the less expensive Xbox is quite good enough!