The Xbox 360 has been superseded by the Xbox 360 Slim 250GB, released in Australia on 1 July 2010 for an RRP of AU$449. You can read our review here.
The Xbox 360 will be sold in two bundles - the Core System for AU$499.95 and the Xbox 360 System for AU$649.95. For full details, click here.
Years after Microsoft first confirmed its existence and months after its launch in other parts of the world, the Xbox 360 will finally hit Australian shores on 23 March. Like other new gaming consoles to come before it, the Xbox 360 has been the subject of intense speculation, hype and hysteria. Thankfully, CNET.com.au is here to cut through all the noise: Is the 360 all it's cracked up to be? Is it worth the money? Is it Xbox 1.5 or is it truly a next generation system? Read our full review below to find out.
The sleek Xbox 360
If the original Xbox was a big, black tank of a console, then consider the Xbox 360 its svelte Ferrari-like cousin. The 360 is all smooth curves and minimalist style, although in the flesh it's not quite as petite as one might think from looking at photos. It's certainly smaller than Xbox version 1, but it's nowhere near the micro size of the current slimline PlayStation 2.
The 360 is finished in a beige-like colour -- an odd decision on Microsoft's part considering most other home entertainment gear nowadays tends to go for silver, black or white as a finish. That said, the 360's colour is fairly innocuous - it's not a standout, but it won't jar with anything else in your living room setup at the same time. The console's design is also the height of simplicity - the entire unit is clutter free on all sides. The front features the disc tray (in silver), two slots for memory cards, the glowing Xbox button and a hinged slot which hides two USB 2.0 ports. It's similarly sparse at the back - there's a power slot, A/V slot, Ethernet port and another USB 2.0 port. The 360 can be laid flat or stood on one side, similar to a PS2.
The console's controllers have also undergone a style overhaul from the original bulky versions. The Xbox 360's controllers are slightly smaller than Xbox 1 units, and generally feel more comfortable to hold. The wireless controller particularly has a nice, solid weight which doesn't become a strain even after extended play sessions. All of the original controller's buttons have been kept - there are the four colour-coded face buttons, the two joysticks and the D-pad. The Start and Select buttons flank a glowing Xbox guide button in the centre of the controller. The guide button has four green lights which communicates to the gamer which number controller it is. It can also be pressed during gameplay to bring up the Xbox 360's much improved dashboard (more on this below). Rounding off the buttons list are two trigger buttons, left and right shoulder buttons and a small sync button (for wireless connections) on the top side of the controller.
Perhaps the 360's only design drawback is with its chunky power box. Almost as tall as the 360 itself and quite heavy, the power box is something you'll definitely want to keep out of sight.
The Xbox design overhaul doesn't stop on the outside, however. Microsoft has completely changed the look and feel of the Xbox Dashboard, the console's built-in operating system. Gone is the dark, green X-ray like dashboard of Xbox 1 - in its place is a smooth, clean menu system which is organised into four different vertical "blades".
The chunky power box is almost as tall as the 360
The Games blade is where the 360 keeps a running record of a user's gaming achievements both on and offline. Look in the Games blade and you'll find a player's achievements (a record of goals achieved in games, such as completing training in Call of Duty 2, or scoring 50 kills in Perfect Dark Zero), what games have been played, and any games that have been downloaded.
The Media blade is where all of the console's multimedia capabilities live -- from the Media section, users can access any music, photos or movies they may have stored on the 360's hard drive. It's also where they can access the system's Media Center extender software (as long as you're plugged into a home network with a Media Center PC, of course). Any other media device plugged into the 360 will also show up in the Media blade -- plug in an iPod or a camera, for example, and the content for those devices will be displayed here.
The System blade is where all of the 360's other options are housed. Console settings, for example, is where users can change the display output of the console (such as 480p, 720p or 1080i). Other options include family settings, memory manager, network settings and more.