So Microsoft has launched a new Xbox 360 at E3, but should you upgrade, should you sign up into the Xbox 360 fold and how do they compare against each other head to head? We take a look.
Xbox 360 Slim or Xbox 360, what's in a name?
It's still just the Xbox 360, confused? You shouldn't be. Microsoft has said that its stopped making the old model. That doesn't mean you won't be able to buy it, but when the stock runs out in the shops, you'll only be able to get the slim version.
While any designer would tell you the two models come from the same family, the new sleeker black model announced at E3 is clearly an evolution. It's clad in black gloss rather than the dulled off-white or black and it's got harder lines too. Think Motorola Droid/Milestone versus the iPhone.
In terms of physical size, the new model is considerably slimmer, although don't expect it to be so much slimmer that you'll lose it behind the TV. At the E3 Media briefing, Microsoft fitted the new Xbox 360 inside the old model. The same trick Sony has performed in the past when it launched the slimline PlayStation 2.
Wired vs Wireless
One of the biggest complaints of the original Xbox 360 over the last 5 years was that you had to fuss around with a wired connection to get online. Seeing as that was one of the major selling points of the console and Xbox Live Service, this was a pretty shocking omission.
Now the new model will feature 802.11n wireless connectivity meaning you get a fast wireless connection and the ability to plug it in anywhere rather than within a cable's length of your router.
The new model gets a storage bump to 250GB over the previous 160GB offering. That means more space for your movies, music, game saves and other bits and bobs that you like to save to your hard drive. Like before, the storage is removable and don't forget the latest software update allows you to plug in external storage as well. You really have no excuse if you're whinging about saving content.
Let's face it, the original Xbox 360 when turned on was like standing next to an air turbine on full blast.
Now Microsoft has turned down the noise considerably so you can hardly hear it. Thankfully that means no more having to turn up the volume, and hopefully the ability to leave it on downloading in the background
They are the same for both machines. The Xbox 360 controller has not been updated. You'll still only get one in the box as standard.
Kinect for Xbox 360 works on both consoles, however, if you plan to use it on the now older Xbox 360 console you will have to plug it in as there isn't enough power to run it off the console itself.
That's not the case for the newer slimmer model. It has a socket around the back that means you'll be able to get away with a single cable connection. That means your TV stand won't be so cluttered, but if it already is, it probably doesn't matter?
Still no support for Blu-ray on either device. Microsoft is still pushing HD downloads via its Marketplace service. If you want Blu-ray with your games, buy a PS3.
Microsoft hasn't updated the processor or the consoles performance. The new Xbox 360 is not faster nor slower than before
It might have a shiny new look, improved storage space, and wireless connectivity, but you aren't going to get an enhanced gaming experience. The games the new model can play are exactly the same as the games the old model can play and vice versa.
The new Xbox 360 will cost £199 in the UK and $299 in the US. That's the same price as the old model, but we suspect the now older model will be discounted heavily to shift the stock. As we've already said, with Microsoft discontinuing the old design, retailers like Best Buy, Amazon and GAME will want it out of the store room and the shop floor.
How long will I have to wait?
If you are based in the US, there is no wait at all. It's already available to buy. If you're in the UK, 16 July.
So who wins? Well its clear that the new model offers a better package over the older version, rebooting the console and giving you the freedom of wireless connectivity in the mix.
Should you upgrade? To be honest there isn't really a need unless you really must have the new look and feel. The lack of wireless on the original model is fixed with the wireless dongle, and storage is solved by a USB drive.
No, you won't get the "single socket" connected Kinect option, but then it's just a case of finding a plug behind your TV.
Still, the new model, with its angular lines, does look cool. So, if you've just been served the "red ring of death" this at least will make a very nice replacement option.