It’s been a little over two weeks since I’ve gotten my Xbox 360, and I’m here to give my experiences with the system so far. This console certainly has it’s issues, but do the pros make up for the cons?
Time to power the system on! The system booted fine, and I just had to fill out some basic forms and set the date and time. I was immediately presented with the option to update the system by connecting to the internet which surprised me, but I gave it a go. I was amazed, because it downloaded the patch and installed it within seconds. This was the first time I knew that the console was actually online, but I was primarily amazed that I did not even have to do anything on the desktop in order to get it online.
I was impressed by the GUI that the console has, and wished Windows looked only half as cool. The main UI is split into 4 ‘blades’, each one delivering different options. The first blade is for Xbox Live, and allows you to connect, check your friends list and also log onto the Xbox Live Marketplace. The Live Marketplace is a new service that allows content downloads, such as trailers and even demos. After this two week period, the demos selection is slim with only 3 or 4 to choose from. I’m hoping as months pass though, that this service will be updated often because downloading new demos to try before you buy… is the easiest way to do things.
The second blade is for your game selection. You can check out your achievements, view demos or trailers and play games that you downloaded through the Live Arcade. Media is what the third blade takes care of, included viewing pictures, video and playing music. If you install some software on your Windows PC, you can use the Media Connect feature, which will allow you to stream such files onto the Xbox. The least interesting blade is the fourth one which takes care of all things settings. You can set up your console, place parental protection, set up your tv resolution and more.
Overall, this is definitely the finest looking UI we have seen in place on a console and makes all others look extremely boring. As soon as you turn the system on, it will connect you to your Xbox Live account. Because of this, you have many options available to you as soon as you turn on the console without a game, plus it will allow you to play online quickly since it will log you on before your game even loads.
I am personally impressed by the connectivity of the console. One of the coolest methods in my opinion is that you can plug in USB storage and access files on it. If you have a digital camera, you can plug it in, and set up a slideshow. With a USB thumb drive, you can store some music or pictures and plug it into the system as well. This is useful if you are going to a friends house but want to take your music with you to play during gameplay. When playing any game, you can mute the ingame music then play your own. It’s a feature that I’m quite happy with. I did not test an external hard drive in an enclosure, but I would imagine it would work just fine.
One thing I was hoping to do was be able to back up saved games to the thumb drive, or copy music from the drive to the system. I could not see any way to do this, although it doesn’t surprise me. If people could copy their saved games to it as a backup tool, then they wouldn’t sell many memory cards, which as always are ridiculously overpriced. Music is a weird one though, as I would think you’d be able to copy music TO your Xbox at least. Not everyone wants their console hooked up to the computer and stream it all the time. If anyone knows a way to do any of these tasks, let me know!