This review is to focus on the differences that are not on a "standard" XBOX 360 Arcade and the Elite, and rate the system as a new purchase, not an upgrade or replacement to your current XBOX 360, but overall.
When the XBOX Slim was first announced @ E3 2010, this was the most significant upgrade to the XBOX 360 platform since the update of the Elite. With an initial release price tag of $299 – the new Slim model includes many updates that may entice a buyer to upgrade, or choose this model over the previous model. These items include:
• HDMI and optical audio output
• 250GB internal hard drive
• Integrated wireless adapter with N wireless capability
• Kinect Ready (Microsoft Motion Hardware)
• Slimmer model with lower power consumption
• Sleek black body housing with touch sensitive DVD and Power “buttons”
• 5 USB ports
Now, after the classic XBOX 360 received a price drop on the Arcade and Elite models the buyer must determine if there is enough difference between the models to justify the upgrade.
Almost everything about the classic Xbox 360 in white has changed with the announcement of the Slim: It runs cooler, quieter, and shiny, sexy new black. The increased venting on the side of the XBOX and the one larger fan make this thing run cool. The bad things that have changed are that the XBOX Slim does not come with a component cable (standard AV only), no Ethernet cable, no real extras – just bare bones. With the announcement of the Slim, and price reductions of the Holiday bundles with all the extras, it is hard to say that which is a better value for the dollar.
There is a new 45-nanometer (Valhalla) chip designed with integrated CPU and GPU. The redesigned chip improves energy consumption by as much as half from the originally released XBOX, and this is the reason it makes it run quieter, and it decreases the size. In terms of processing power, there isn’t much difference. Also, this console will of course be backwards compatible with all existing Xbox 360 titles, but one thing missing is a slot for the memory cards that were specific to the original 360s. However, you can use your USB drive to transfer data or take your profile with you on the go.
Don't let the black slick body distract you; the only thing you need to ask is if it improves the performance quality - and after many reviews and hours using this machine, the answer is YES. This thing is so quiet, and slick, that the form factor and performance make it worth the money. Compared to the Arcade or the XBOX Elite's noise level – you will notice the lack of sound when you power this thing on. The 250GB hard drive upgrade is nice for all that downloadable content that you have been picking up on the market place.
Should you buy it?
Gamers who have an Xbox 360? Only if you plan on getting Kinect and you need a hard drive upgrade. Also, if you stream HD content on a wireless N network.
Videophiles looking for a Blu-Ray player? No! Microsoft is banking on digital distribution and you are looking at the wrong system.
Videophiles looking to get into the Xbox Live video marketplace and stream content? Yes, but know that this thing is still loud and you can now get HDMI in the newly manufactured XBOX Classics. However, the 1080p output when —except the strange washed out colors that the VGA cables sometimes show (Gears of War 2, for example), is excellent – even in the Zune Marketplace. The HDMI again has that shadow detail boost that comes up over and over again. HDMI wins for a better picture over component.
Guys like me who are gamers and video geeks? Ya, this is for you. The fact that all that video and audio is being piped through a HDMI/optical output is a bonus, that the wireless is integrated, and the increased hard drive space, not to mention Kinect Ready – this is a significant upgrade. Also, I swear this is so much cooler and quieter, that alone makes it worth the upgrade.
It runs HDMI 1.3 (not 1.3 - the newest version), only runs 5.1 Dolby still (no 7.1 yet), and has the bonus of the larger hard drive, wireless N built in, Kinect ready, 5 USB ports, lower power consumption, and also the sleek styling. The 360 Slim is definitely worth getting if you are just now entering the high definition video game market and need the extra hard drive space for all your goodies - if you do not need all the latest upgrades, then save yourself $50 and get the newly updated Elite with HDMI, packaged with a game bundle (if you can find them) and game on.
• Same price as the previous Elite Model, but with a 250GB Hard Drive
• Sleek design and styling
• Smaller, cooler operation than the original
• It is significantly quieter
• Built in WiFi (with N)
• Hard Drive change can make it difficult to take your content with you
• An odd way to remove the hard drive that could potentially cause problems
• No HD (HDMI or Component) cables without additional purchase
• No Blu-ray player
• The fancy shine is easily smudged with fingerprints