Ho, ho and ho again. Welcome back to Christmas on Pocket-lint. Today is, of course, the second day of Christmas which begs the question of what your true love will give to you, or indeed even you to them. What we’re doing in the run up to the big day is helping you out with that conundrum by coming up with 12 solid gold gift ideas and 12 reasons why they deserve a place under your tree.

Today is day 2 and it brings us to a rather tasty treat that’ll sit equally well under your telly as it would the old Christmas totem. It nearly could have been the PS3, it wasn’t miles away from the Wii either but, ultimately, the all-rounder has to be the games machine from Microsoft.

What is it?
Games console & media centre
Who is it for
Someone from 10-50 years old/yourself
How much is it
Delivery Speed
Next Day

It’s the height of innovation

The height of innovation part actually refers to Microsoft Kinect and that will actually cost you an extra £129.99; that’s even presuming you can get hold of a kit before Christmas. So, the point here is that buying an Xbox 360 S will make you “height of innovation ready” but we think that’s good enough for a piece of look-ma-no-hands entertainment.

You can stream to it from your PC

The Xbox 360 S connects to your home network over built-in Wi-Fi. As well as a host of other services that it brings, it also means you can stream content to it - and therefore to your telly - with the Microsoft Media Centre. All you need to do is make sure your PC is switched on and the Xbox will be able to pick up whatever’s in your computer’s Media Centre library.

You can rent films on it

The Xbox 360’s media store is taken care of by the Zune platform. From there you can rent and stream both HD and SD new release films direct to your TV the instant you want to. No waiting around required. The good news is that Zune also seems to be getting stronger by the day which means the back catalogue of films to watch is also growing as well.

You can play and store your music on it

Your Xbox 360 will also act as an audio player as well as games and video. You can either store your digital music files on its hard drive to play back through your TV or you can stream them from your PC or just stick a CD in the drive if you prefer. What’s more, you can also get Last.fm on the Xbox Live system, meaning that you can stream and scrobble all the music you want from the internet as well.

You can playback pictures on it

The Xbox 360 comes with two USB ports into which you can plug a normal thumb drive that you’d use on your computer. So, if you want to show someone your photos, you don’t have to settle for crowding round a camera or latpop. Just pop them onto your memory stick and into the Xbox and they’ll come up on your big screen telly instead.

You can play downloaded films on it

Of course, those USB ports aren’t just for photos and music. The Xbox 360 also has no qualms whatsoever about playing back films from thumb drives as well. While it won’t do every single codec under the sun, all the major food groups are clearly represented and 99 per cent of the time, it’s just a case of downloading it and sticking it in.

You can get free Sky TV on it

Xbox Live Gold users can download the Skyplayer app for their machines. So, if you also happen to have a Sky TV subscription, you can watch the lion’s share of the channels live via your Xbox 360 and have access to all the on-demand content which includes hundreds of films, TV shows and sports as well. Now, if you don’t have a Sky subscription, that’s not too much of a problem. So long as you know someone that does, you can simply use their user name and password to log in from your Xbox and you get all the content for free.

You can play DVDs on it

Who needs another box sitting under you TV especially when all it does is play films? Like most other consoles, the Xbox 360 can play back DVDs without a problem. So, chuck out your DVD player and buy an Xbox instead.

It’s quiet as a mouse

The old Xbox 360 had a few issues with noise but the Slim version has managed to silence its critics by adding fan grills and vents on three sides. The upshot is that it doesn’t need a fan quite as powerful as the previous model and, essentially, what you get is a media centre that you can leave on in the background without actually noticing it’s there.

You can get Facebook and Twitter on your TV with it

The Xbox Live platform lets you download apps for both Twitter and Facebook and that means you can get a TV-sized view of your social network. In practice, what that actually does for you is that when you’re bored of what’s on telly, you can just call up your profiles and have a chat with whoever’s around about how there’s nothing on TV any more.

You can get a phone to go with it

As it stands, there’s no Nintendo phone and Sony Ericsson’s devices may have some compatibility, but it isn’t at the same level of cross over as you get between the Xbox 360 and a Windows Phone. WP7 comes with a dedicated Xbox Live panel featuring your avatar, achievements, a messaging centre and all sorts of other fun. On top of that, there are also Xbox Live Arcade games you can play on your mobile and, eventually, even companion gaming too.

Oh, and you can play games on it too

12 reasons and we only just get round to talking about the main point as to why the Xbox 360 S exists in the first place. The Microsoft console has also sorts of nice exclusives like the Fable and Halo series and much more besides too. But, whether you choose to use it for video gaming or not, you’re still getting a bargain.


Share you thoughts on hot gift tips for Christmas 2010 in the comments below and don't forget to take a look at the other 11 days of Christmas on Pocket-lint.