We love the Xbox 360. Its controller is the best ever, it has the best online features, and the way it compresses our gaming careers into a single number is both exhilarating and infuriating. And we love the new Xbox 360 S as well, with its smaller size, race car looks, and much quieter fan. But after some time with it, we’ve noticed a few things that could stand to be enhanced even more, as well as a few “improvements” that simply aren’t. These quibbles won’t matter to everyone, but if they’re important to you, think twice before pulling the trigger on this new hotness.
It still ships with a composite video cable
We really wish this was a joke, but it’s not. Microsoft has spent millions of dollars redesigning and reengineering an already cutting-edge games machine, yet it’s still packing in video cables that have been obsolete since the days of the original Xbox. We didn’t really expect an included HDMI cable – though we’d wager it would only cost Microsoft what, 80 cents each? – but at least add some RGB ends to the existing cord to make it one of those combo component/composite cables. The current situation is like hiring the world’s most renown chef to work at your lush new restaurant but then cutting costs by not buying tables, chairs or plates for the dining area.
Above: The 360 S box mocks us ironically
The faceplate is not removable (near as we can tell)
Yeah, the black front is more likely to match our living room than an airbrushed Yoda or an anime RPG babe or a bright red sports car or whatever. And yes, we’ve all got a stack of faceplates we no longer use – but that just proves how much we liked swapping them now and then. So let’s all observe a moment of silence for the user’s ability to customize his or her console. It was good. Now it’s gone.
Above: Get used to this look – that cowprint faceplate is an antique now
There is absolutely no way to connect your memory card
Got one of those nice little beige-and-chrome things that holds your saved games? Be sure to copy everything on it over to your old 360’s hard drive before porting it all over, because that OG memory card simply cannot attach itself to your new 360 S. At all. Oh, and buy a new USB key while you’re at it, so you can cart your gamer profile around.
Above: There’s a dinosaur in this picture. Can you find it?
The pack-in controller requires AA batteries
Granted, the first two are included (Duracells, even), but how about a little Earth-friendliness, Microsoft? We know you make black rechargeable battery packs and charging cables – we just paid $13 for one – so why wouldn’t you include… oh wait. We get it.
Above: We know it’s meant to be black, but couldn’t it also be a little more green?
The new hard drive is not portable
You know that whole, “you can take your drive with you to a friend’s house” thing? Assuming you were one of the few people who actually did that regularly, you can forget it. You need to take along your whole system now, unless you like the idea of flipping your system over, opening a trap door on its underside and pulling out an internal drive that is clearly not meant to be pulled out more than once in awhile. We’re actually surprised it isn’t screwed in.
Above: The drive is still technically removable, but portable it isn’t