Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Picking up an Xbox Slim? Read this FIRST
So a couple of weekends ago, I headed over to Gamestop to see if they still had the trade-in-your-old-Xbox-360 for a new, shiny Slim Xbox 360 program. Despite Gamestop yanking the program off the Web, they were still honoring the deal until Sunday at closing.
After the smoke cleared, I said 'Ciao' to my 20gb Xbox 360 Premium which had made the trek to McAllen twice (even before I had moved BACK to the great state of Texas), a host of accessories and was the owner of a slick, shiny Xbox 360 Slim.
I'll break this down into soon-to-be owners and folks sitting on the virtual fence, not quite sure if they want the new Slim just yet.
Let's talk to the soon-to-be owners first.
When you get the Slim and unbox it - just head over to YouTube for unboxing videos - you'll notice a few things. First, the new controller is already configured out of the box for the new Slim. Right out of the box, the controller will power the Slim on. The Slim chirps when it starts up and it's noticeably quiet vs. the older 360s. The standard eject button is still there beside the disc tray, but there's a small touch sensor that opens the drive for you. This is cool but got annoying fast. I accidentally brushed my hand near it and the disc drive popped open.
The 250gb drive is internal and has a small tag you can use to pull it out. It doesn't have the same interface as the standard Xbox 360 20gb, 60gb, 120gb and 250gb hard drives. (According to one site, you CAN use your old hard drive in the Slims - see the Editor's Note)
The new Slim can also use all of the old 360 accessories except for the memory card and the hard drive. Everything else - including the full HD 1080P HD-DVD player - work flawlessly. However, if you have multiple 360s, or have your profile on an older memory card, you will have to find a compatible flash drive to put your profile on. Finding a flash drive isn't a problem - finding a flash drive to pass the Xbox 360's performance standards that's not an official 360 flash drive - isn't an easy task.
Also, if you want to transfer your data from your old hard drive to the new one, you'll need to buy a transfer cable. This is where things get interesting. I was told by Gamestop that the old transfer cable would NOT work with the new Slim, so I shelled out $20 for the cable. When I got it home, it was the same exact cable! I returned it and got a refund. MS could have packed a cable in with the Slim, but decided to make even more bank off the folks looking to upgrade their old, RROD prone 360s to the sleeker Slims.
Gamestop normally won't accept returns on the transfer cables since the cables are a one-time use product (they did the same thing with the PS2-to-PS3 data transfer kits).
You could also wait for the 4gb model to hit store shelves for $199, though the extra hard drive space - 4gb vs. 250gb makes the $299 for the 360 Slim a bargain.
You will also need to transfer licenses and such online first before you finish the transfer process. Head to this Web site here and make sure your Slim is online when you do it. You may have to redownload some content, but it's pretty painless.
Inside the box, you'll receive - the black wireless controller, a black headset (similar to the headset that comes with the chatpad), power brick, standard RCA cables and the console itself.
I'd also recommend carving out a space for your new Slim. It's slimmer than the original 360 and deeper, but requires it to be on top of every other component. The top of the console has a huge vent that pushes air upward and out of the console. You can't block the top vent - if you do, expect the device to fail quickly.
The Slim also has five USB slots - two in front and three in the back.
Bottom line - it's a definite improvement, and was a cherry deal from Gamestop to get gamers with older 360s to upgrade to a Slim. Is it slick enough to justify dropping $199 for the 4gb model - or $299 for the 250gb model - if you own a 360? If your console is newer, then no. However, if you have a console that has RROD'ed at least once, it should be your next step.
Now, for the folks on the fence: If you wanted to buy an Xbox 360 but were scared to death of RROD, you can put your fears to rest. The console is slimmer and has a huge vent on the top of the console, making the console run a lot cooler. As long as you don't put anything on top of it or wrap a towel around it, you don't have to worry about losing your console to RROD.
Next, with the upcoming Kinect device, the 360 Slim is ready for you to be the controller. The older 360s will have to use an adapter to power the Kinect - I hope MS doesn't charge for this, though I have a feeling that they may ...
The Slim has a special port on the back of the console to power the Kinect.
The other thing to consider - price. Sure, you can get an older 360 Arcade for $149 with two games, or get the new 4gb Slim 360 for $199. With the built-in wifi, the only thing it's lacking is the 250gb hard drive. There is a Kinect bundle with the 4gb Slim, Kinect and a game for $299. Consider this - the Kinect is $149, and basically pulls the 4gb Slim down to $149.
Lastly, the Slim is still backward compatible with several original Xbox titles. Even though MS put the old 360 on a diet, it still hasn't lost the ability to play "Halo" and "Halo 2," as well as "Fable: Lost Chapters" and "Crimson Skies."
So, is it time for you to "jump in?" The new Slim is smaller, quieter and more reliable. And for $199, you can get in at the 360 Arcade price point.
Now, if MS could allow everyone to get online and play multiplayer and Netflix with Silver LIVE members!
Editor's note: If you don't want to transfer your data to your new hard drive on the Slim, or want to get the bargain $199 4GB Slim and keep your old hard drive, there is hope. While I don't think it's a long-term solution, Engadet worked some magic and shoved an original hard drive into the 250gb HD slot on the Slim.
Here's the photo and the text:
If you're buying an Xbox for the very first time, data migration won't concern you in the least, but on the off-chance you're thinking of springing for a new system you should know that things have changed for the better, and we thought we'd include this brief guide. There are now three ways to move your data over, assuming you don't want to download it all again: USB, the transfer cable, or by simply sticking in your old hard drive.
USB is the cheapest way to move content by far -- just insert an USB thumbdrive or external HDD, and the Xbox can partition up to 16GB worth of storage. Thing is, you can't move savegames and DLC a la carte, as your profile always has to come along for the ride. If you've only got a small USB key, it could take ages to ferry everything over.
The Xbox 360 Hard Drive Data Migration Transfer Kit (yes, that's seriously the full name) makes things easier, as you can move an entire drive's worth of content in one fell swoop, but it costs $20 at retail. Thankfully, Microsoft made these practically disposable a few years back in what used to be single-use transfer kits, and you can find the now-bidrectional cables for pennies on eBay.
Last but not least, as we just discovered, you can simply rip open your old Xbox 360 hard drive and slot it into the case, at which point it will be immediately recognized. Needless to say, we don't recommend this route for a variety of reasons... we hear Microsoft's warranty support service doesn't take kindly to freely bouncing hard drives.