In this article we compare the Xbox 360 Slim with the older Xbox 360 Elite. Microsoft have made a number of improvements to their Xbox 360 console and we predict many people will upgrade to the new model for its looks alone.
New Glossy Black Case
The first thing that you will notice about the Xbox 360 Slim when unboxing it, is how the glossy black finish transforms the console. It simply is a better quality finish than the previous models. However, anyone that has small kids will know that greasy finger prints could be an issue.
More akin to a high end gaming PC than a games console, the Xbox 360 Slim has a grill on the side that allows you to see the fan and the heat sink. As with the Xbox Elite, the Xbox 360 Slim can be placed either vertically or horizontally. The new grill is not obstructed either way.
Xbox 360 Slim Connectivity
The new console features a Kinect port. This port is a dedicated connection for Microsoft's new motion sensing device - Kinect. You can of course attach Kinect to an Elite, but with the Xbox 360 Slim the Kinect port will also supply power. Elite owners will have to make use of a separate AC adaptor and plug socket.
The Xbox 360 Slim has 5 USB ports vs the 3 USB ports of the Xbox 360 Elite. There are 3 on the back and 2 on the front.
For the first time ever the Xbox 360 has a built-in optical out port for sending 5.1 sound data to an AV amplifier. Previously this port had been located on the component cable. Newer AV amps can receive this data via a HDMI connection, but this will be useful if you have an older amp and want to run HDMI to the TV and optical to your amp.
Slimmer, More Efficient Power Supply
The original Xbox power supply has always been a bit of a monster, the size of a house brick and just as heavy. The Xbox 360 Slim power supply is closer to the a Wii sized power supply and it clips into the back of the console, which is a nice design feature.
Touch Sensitive Buttons
This is a new feature for Microsoft consoles. Sony tried it and got rid of it. The Xbox 360 Slim is power on with the slightest of finger swipes of the round power button. The disc tray eject button is also touch sensitive, emitting a nice bleep when opened.
Xbox 360 Slim Silent Operation
With no disc inserted the Xbox 360 Slim is absolutely silent. This is due to the new cooling system, consisting of a single fan instead of two and a larger, more efficient heat sink. When you insert a disc the sound of the disc spinning up breaks that silence, but overall the Xbox 360 Slim is much quieter than the Xbox 360 Elite.
Built-in Wireless Adaptor Card
The Xbox 360 Slim now comes with a built-in wireless card, a 802.11n card to be precise. Built-in Wifi is something Wii and PS3 owners have always had and will save Xbox owners around £50. 802.11n is the fastest standard there currently is, so should be future proof for some time yet. The new card is detected during initial setup and it then asks you if you'd like to scan for wireless networks.
Xbox 360 Slim Backward Compatibility with Xbox Elite
If you intend to upgrade to the new Xbox 360 Slim, you should know that the hard drives are not interchangeable. However you can use a large USB stick to transfer your data to the new machine. Failing that you can buy a data transfer kit from Microsoft.
Improved CD Tray
The old Xbox 360 Elite CD tray was known for being slow to respond, sometimes causing you to press the eject button twice, which was annoying. Microsoft has improved the new Xbox 360 Slim CD tray. It now has a faster response time and a smoother operation.
Xbox 360 Budget Unit / Xbox 360 Slim Arcade
Microsoft have already announced a budget version of the Xbox 360 Slim. Priced at the same £134 of the Xbox 360 Arcade the new unit will be a paired down version of the Xbox 360 Slim. There are no details as yet, but we would predict that the new SKU would have less storage or no hard disk based storage at all.
Xbox 360 Slim Official Trailer
Just take a look at the shiny case and the new angular design.