Xbox 360, our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award winner, quickly capitalized on a strong demand that translated into continued sales growth. Without looking back, Microsoft has continually made refinements and improvements to the Xbox 360 video game console. By improving video quality, adding multimedia and internet functions and offering several console formats, you will find that the Xbox 360 offers the best gaming experience possible.
With the release of new gaming titles, Xbox 360 sets and continues to raise the standard for video game consoles. Microsoft has improved video and graphic output with the aid of custom-made graphic engines and new High Dynamic Range graphic technologies. The addition of "Halo 3" and "Halo Reach" to its gaming lineup has forced Microsoft to make a quality online gaming experience and to improve on its overall gaming quality. When it comes to online gaming, nothing outdoes the freedom and ease of use that comes with Xbox Live. This one feature provides limitless access to online data and now includes social networking options and other amazing features.
Though there are a few differences between the Arcade, Pro and Elite versions of the Xbox 360, all Xbox 360 models have a sizable advantage over their predecessor, the original Xbox. Aside from obvious video and audio components and multimedia functionality, older versions of this console lack the desired gaming quality many gamers have come to expect over the years.
The improvements in computing speed and power are apparent in the graphical and video difference that exists between the two consoles. The video output for the Xbox 360 offers a greater fill rate with increased color (bit) and sharper output, making it ideal for HD video formats. Though few changes have been made in the Xbox 360's audio configuration, its additional AV configurations open it up to a variety of HD and other enhanced AV settings, greatly improving its sound potential.
The Xbox 360 offers a video game experience unlike any other, combining unbelievable graphics with blazing-fast processing speed and consistency. Xbox 360 has well beyond 500 game titles available, with backward compatibility for almost all Xbox games available with a hard drive and the latest software update. The Xbox 360 game console uses HD DVDs instead of Blu-ray Discs or plain DVDs for all of the games. This type of game media may not support the large storage capacities of Blu-rays but are still able to produce HD quality images and have enough storage space for any game on the market.
Aside from functioning as a video game console, the Xbox 360 can also be used as a web browser, and as a CD and DVD player. The Xbox 360 is also compatible with iTunes and Zune, as well as other audio file formats, allowing you to play the music of your choice during game play, or play music alone with the Xbox 360's interactive visual synthesizer. The Xbox 360 can also display photos and slideshows with various transition effects, with full audio playback and music player controls.
Though most accessories that were available for the original Xbox are still available for the Xbox 360, a strong emphasis has been placed on wireless technology for everything from controllers and headsets to internet connectivity, greatly eliminating the mess of cables and lines that become a nuisance with most video game consoles. An important accessory improvement for the Xbox 360 is its web cam and HDMI component upgrades, accessories that were not available in the original Xbox.
When it comes to game consoles, everyone knows that the overall performance is of course the most important feature. The Xbox 360 outperforms other gaming consoles in almost every area and, of course, offers the necessary extras to make up the difference. The one major thing missing from the 360 would have to be the lack of a Blu-ray player. However, the HD DVD player included in this gaming console is able to produce 1080p HD-quality images and does not hinder the creative minds of game developers. With the same processing speed and GPU speed as the PS3 and even more RAM, the Xbox 360 gaming console outdoes the next closest system in overall performance.
If for some reason you run out of hard drive space on your Xbox 360, simply purchase a larger hard drive and off you go. At the same time, you can move your favorite downloaded games from one Xbox to another by simply removing the hard drive and replacing it on another system. The only problem we found with the Xbox 360 is the common overheating or Red Ring of Death issue that some older systems have. This common problem seems to have been corrected in newer systems and is no longer a huge thorn in Microsoft's side.
As more and more game titles have embraced the idea of online play, Microsoft has improved its Xbox Live service by offering two different versions: Gold and Silver. Silver is free of charge but has limited options and no multiplayer gaming. Gold can be purchased at monthly or yearly rates and includes expanded game play, access to online-only games, video conferencing and increased user profile options. Both Gold and Silver offer parental controls and full integration with Windows Live Messenger.
The Xbox Live network boasts more than 10 million Gold subscribers and an Xbox Marketplace that makes game rentals and purchases available, while also offering software and game downloads. The Xbox Live network offers video and voice chat, user forums, user profile and bio pages, user rankings and, of course, full-featured online game play. With the insane amount of extras that come with Xbox Live, it is easy to see why the online community for the Xbox 360 is doing so well.
In terms of internet connectivity and use, Xbox 360 has adopted the popular 802.11 wireless model in favor of the 100Mb Ethernet connection that the original Xbox utilized. While a network adapter is still needed for connectivity, the Xbox 360 is built for faster, more-effective internet browsing, downloading and streaming, making it comparable to most desktops in terms of cache memory and computational power. The improved browser functions make it possible to watch television and other programs that you download or stream from the internet, giving it a strong multimedia foundation that takes it beyond mere video game player and establishes it as a central entertainment staple.
Microsoft offers a range of help and support options, including telephone, email and online chat assistance. A dedicated customer service line is also available, with repair information, including cost and status conveniently located for quick reference. Microsoft offers an impressive one-year warranty (from the date of purchase) for its various Xbox 360 consoles, with an additional two-year warranty also available.
You will need to call Microsoft directly if you wish to change or cancel your Xbox live membership, which can be annoying at times. One of the biggest selling points would have to be the incredible security the company uses to ensure the safety of your person information. With recent hacks on companies like Sony, it is nice to know that your credit card and other information are secure.
The Xbox 360 stands head and shoulders above the other consoles when it comes to gaming, both online and otherwise. With lightning-quick hardware and software specs that provide the best in graphic and video output, as well as a continual focus on cutting-edge game development and integrated online game play, the Xbox 360 is certain to remain atop the heap for some time to come. For the best gaming experience, there is no better choice than a system that Microsoft backs up that has made a huge mark in the gaming industry in a very short period of time.
The Xbox 360 has the best online community and is able to play even the most demanding games.
Xbox Live account information must be changed over the phone.
If you are interested in online gaming or simply want a gaming console that has a little of everything, the Xbox 360 is the system for you.