The Microsoft website lists a lot of nice features for the new Xbox 360, which is gradually gaining the nickname “slim” due it the slightly smaller size of the console. According to the official Xbox website, this “new Xbox” boasts a 250 GB (gigabyte) hard drive, “whisper quiet” operation, built-in Wi-Fi access and all the equipment required to access the new “Kinect” feature. The tentative arrival date for Kinect is November 2010, according to the site. Microsoft unveiled the new Xbox 360 in a press conference on June 14th, 2010.
While doing research on whether or not the new Xbox 360 was worth upgrading to, I found some disturbing evidence of fans disputing almost all of these new features. Matt Kessler at Giant Bomb posted an article refuting the 250 GB hard drive size. According to Kessler, “This new 360 had a 120 gig hard drive inside, instead of the 250 gig unit announced at the Microsoft Press Conference.” Not only is this in contrast to the announcement, but also the features listed on the official page for the new Xbox 360-specifications which have yet to be updated on the site. Kessler reported that his new Xbox retailed at $279.99–$20 cheaper than the $300 price tag announced at the conference-which might explain the discrepancy between HD sizes, except that Kessler stated he also located units with the 250GB HD.
Nilay Patel at Engadget posted an article about-and videos of-his experiment in the “whisper quiet” claims made by Microsoft regarding the new Xbox 360. According to him, “At least one of our new Xbox 360s is anything but “whisper quiet” when it’s playing a game. It’s almost totally silent when it’s doing something that doesn’t require spinning a disc, but as soon as that happens, there’s a loud hum — we measured it at 60db, or about the same as our older 360.” Embedded videos included with the article back-up these claims. He did note that the new Xbox loads video games faster than its slightly larger predecessor.
Photos of the new Xbox paired with the original Xbox 360 also challenge the legitimacy of the “sleek new design,” but the Microsoft website makes no claims about just how much smaller the new model of the popular console would be. View a picture comparison here compliments of Patel at Engadget. Patel’s measurements prove “the new unit is actually a bit deeper by about a half-inch,” but that they are narrower and thinner than the original Xbox 360.
Another feature of the new Xbox 360, which isn’t mentioned on the official website, is the termination of the “red-ring” feature. Tor Thorsen at Gamespot reported: “The three-red-bar indicator on the front of the console that signaled a variety of hardware failures” lead to the feature being dubbed the “red ring of death” by Xbox 360 fans. In his article, Thorsen explained that folks with the gaming blog, Joystiq, provided a spec sheet for the new Xbox 360 which details about the lack of red LED lights in the ring on the front of the console. In the latest version, the Xbox 360 is incapable of producing the “red ring of death” because it doesn’t have any red LED lights.
On June 14th, 2010, Gamespot announced that Xbox 360 Elite and Arcade will both be reduced in price by $50. The Xbox 360 Elite model originally retailed for $300; Xbox 360 Arcade carried a $200 price tag. Unfortunately, neither version boasts the Kinect-ready status of the new Xbox 360. Kinect is the motion-sensor Microsoft answer to the popularity of the Wii, topping the revolutionary system in place from Nintendo by supposedly removing the need for a controller. “Kinect for Xbox 360 brings games and entertainment to life in extraordinary new ways,” promises Microsoft on the official website. For more information on the Kinect project click here.
Ultimately, I intend to keep my loud, clunky, Kinect-unfriendly Xbox 360 until further notice. I am disheartened by the almost immediately refuted claims about so many of the new Xbox 360 features, and the presence either mislabeled or misleading 120GB HB models of the new Xbox 360 has me awaiting a disclaimer or recall from Microsoft in true Microsoft-apology fashion.
New Xbox 360, “Which Console For You,” Xbox
Matt Kessler, “There Are New 360s With 160 Gig Hard Drives,” GiantBomb
Nilay Patel, “The new Xbox 360 is here — we go head-to-head with the 360 Original, PS3 Slim, and Wii,” Engadget
Tor Thorsen, “Xbox 360 slim can’t red-ring by design,” “New $200 Xbox 360 planned, Elite & Arcade getting $50 price cut,” and “Project Natal renamed Kinect, due in November”, Gamespot E3 Coverage