Reader Review: Xbox 360 S

Reader Review: Xbox 360 S

Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Nicholas does, as he puts his Xbox through weight watchers.

Yes, that’s right, we’re now publishing reader reviews here on Kotaku. This is your chance to deliver sensible game purchasing advice to the rest of the Kotaku community.

And thanks to the very kind chaps at Madman Entertainment, purveyor of all kinds of cool, indie and esoteric film, the best reader review we publish each month will win a prize pack containing ten of the latest Madman DVD releases.

This review was submitted by Nicholas D. If you’ve played with the new Xbox 360 console, or just want to ask Nicholas more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Xbox 360 S

Following the trend in videogame consoles, Microsoft unleash their ‘slim’ version of Xbox 360.


Design: As Microsoft haven’t officially named it the Slim, maybe the ‘S’ stands for something else… Sexy? Yep, that sounds about right. The new Xbox 360 has been redesigned from the ground up. It is 17% smaller than the original 360, half a kilogram lighter and amazingly glossy. As usual with a redesign, Microsoft have taken a look at the flaws of the original and made sure the new 360 dispenses heat efficiently. It also boasts five USB ports, and the new Kinect port.

“Whisper quiet”: Although the console still makes a bit of noise if playing uninstalled games, the Slim is actually dead quiet if you are playing an installed game or just browsing menus. I sometimes forget it’s on, it’s that quiet.

Wireless: This is possibly the best addition of the console. The Slim comes with a built-in Wi-Fi that supports up to 802.11n. Handy for those who were unable to connect via ethernet cable or did not want to fork out ~$140 for the adapter. The speed and quality have been very reliable on online games thus far.

No more RRoD: It may be a bit early to claim this console is flawless in hardware design but, the Xbox 360 S comes free of RRoD – literally. The power button no longer has red LEDs in the ring of light. That’s not to say you won’t know if you get an error, though. Now you will be welcomed with a REoD (Red Eye of Death)! However, don’t expect this to become as famous as RRoD as the console will shut down to prevent hardware failures.


Fingerprints: Although appealing to the eye, the piano black finish is an absolute fingerprint and dust magnet. So if you are thinking about picking up this fancy machine, be sure to pick up a microfibre cloth as well!

No HD out-of-the-box: Everything is in high definition nowadays, even mobile phones have 720p HD capabilities. Oddly enough, the Xbox S only comes with a standard definition AV cable. So once again, if you are intending on purchasing the ‘Slim’, be sure to get an HDMI cable as well.

HDD: This isn’t something that bothers me too much, but I know it has had a negative response on some gamers. The HDD is still proprietary and is completely redesigned specially for the 360 S. For those looking to transfer content from their old 360s, you won’t be able to use your HDD on the Slim, but there are other methods.

Powerbrick: Yes, it’s here to stay. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The redesigned powerbrick is also slim and uses less power than the original. It’s not so much a brick anymore, but definitely a block.

In closing, the 360 S is a great console with some truly awesome features. But if you are happy with the original and already have the wireless adapter and a spacious HDD, there is little reason to upgrade.

Reviewed by: Nicholas D

You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 500 words – yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.


  • No HD out of the box? I thought we were beyond this. I understand this is probably linked to the HD TV instal base in countries, but I thought it was actually quite high in most countries now.

    • I don’t agree with you… It’s not a concern to me as I went out and got a HDMI cable for my PS3 (my 360 is too old for one).

      Until is the 100% standard like AV ports are at the moment, then I think they should provide the bare minimum cables. If the companies wish to provide both cables or a combined cable, then that is nice of them.

      The point is, if I buy something I want to take it home and know it’s going to work out of the box, I don’t mind paying more on an accessory to enhance the experience, but I don’t want to buy an accessory JUST to make it work.

    • I’m still using the component cable from my launch Xbox 360. I’ve since replaced the console (it RRoD *again*, outside warranty), and the 120Gb Elite came with only a standard composite cable. And my current setup isn’t particularly favourable to an HDMI cable (being that my surround sound speakers wouldn’t be compatible – gotta love Logitech products).

    • HDMI, antenna cabls, digital optical audio, companies won’t give you things like these for free, because electrical salesmen (like me) need to sell them as add-ons!

  • This is a question in relation to the sleek sexyness of the machine…

    If i greased myself up and rubbed the console over my body, how would it feel for pure joy on a scale from 1-10?

  • “HDD: This isn’t something that bothers me too much, but I know it has had a negative response on some gamers. The HDD is still proprietary and is completely redesigned specially for the 360 S. For those looking to transfer content from their old 360s, you won’t be able to use your HDD on the Slim, but there are other methods.”

    Yes i agree its annoying but hardly an issue. I just de-installed games. Threw in a spare 16G flash drive i had, setup for Xbox memory (In the xbox’s now – as of an update a month or two ago (Can’t remember timeframe)), told it to transfer everything and done… Also, MS have re-released the HD transfer cables – though their USB flash drive update made this simple.

    • Glenn, I agree with you. I actually found it very easy (although a bit slow because I wasn’t using the Microsoft-branded USB) to just copy the saves, user accounts and extras onto my USB drive and copy it onto the new machine.

      Although I do own a PS3 and I am quite happy with the freedom to easily upgrade the hard drive to whatever size I can reasonably afford (500gb last year)… I do not look forward to memory management in the future with the 360. Currently I’m doing OK because I’m not playing it much and I’m sticking to Halo-ing, but there are lots of new features coming to these HD machines in the near future which are going to require more space :-S

      Does anyone else already have difficulties dealing with a 120GB hard drive in their Xbox 360?

  • I can think of another word that starts with s.

    The design is hideous, it epitomizes imitation over inspiration. I actually didn’t think they could get worse than the awkward confidence lacking curve of the original 360 but they have gone and trumped it with this top heavy angular mess. It’s the console equivalent of a 45 year old at a party wearing a Fubu jacket asking if you tweet.

  • Yeah I was kinda pissed when I found out only came with a standard A/V cable… Luckily! I have a HDMI at home lol. -It’s still pretty noisy when you play unistalled games but with the 250GB hard drive it shouldn’t be a bother.

    • while its not the best in terms of gameplay for anything else its ideal

      the 360 works good as a cheap Media front with something like XBMC loaded on

      The fact that they still refuse to allow a non microsoft HDD in the system is still a major no no(even if i am streaming)

  • I am still waiting for a Elite that I won a while back (Alan Wake comp) but I am seriously considering upgrading, mostly due to noise and wifi. I love my xbox (have all 3 consoles) but the noise is truly crazy. I have a 2006 console and you can tell. RROD once (repaired by me 2 years ago and never went back!!!) but it sounds like a aircraft.

    I install my regular games on the HDD but with only 20g (14g really), you only get one game once DLC is added on.

    I don’t want to have to pay the $200 or so upgrade cost, but I think this is a small price to pay for a ‘much’ better system.

    I will still have my original console that is hard wired to the router… so

    I need wifi if I want to move my console around the house as a media hub (already got a ps3 for this)

    I want a quiter system

    I have a 1.5 year old who touches everything and the console is within reach (gloss black, Im looking at you!)

    I want a bigger HDD

    I am getting a Free Elite hopefully soon 🙁

    I like new shiny things

    I can’t justify $200 on ‘more games stuff’ to the wife and she will not care about a minor reduction in electrical output or wifi where I already have an ethernet cable

    So… what do I do. Birthday is later this month so perhaps i hit the rest of the family up for vouchers…..


    • Maybe just a new hard drive? How much space does you Alan Wake Elite have? Either way though, 120 or 250 should be enough to install games and have DLC? Or trade both the Elite and your current 360 in? If you go somewhere like game, that’d probably get you a decent amount.

  • Internal wireless isn’t really a plus for me since I always hard wire my console in when I play games but, now I can hard wire my ps3 and chat on my 360 via wireless.

  • Does anyone here own a wireless N router? I have trouble streaming videos from my PC -> router -> PS3/360 and I use wireless G… Is the N standard significantly better in practical situations?

  • I’m probably going to get laughed out of here for asking this.

    Does the new model work with the HD-DVD drive?

    I still have mine laying around and while it works, it is cheaper to make use of it rather than by my HD movies al over again.

  • what’s this about the kinect port?

    is there a seperate plug for kinect that’s only on the new xbox s model?

    if so that s is going to stand for slut.(soz about the language)

    • Kinect will work on the original Xbox, but will require a seperate “power supply” (pretty sure they just mean power cable).

    • From what I understand, all 360 consoles can use kinect, but the older 360 models using kinect will have 2 power bricks – one for the 360 and one for kinect. A 360 S will only have one power brick which is for the 360 only.

      That’s what I think is happening. I wouldn’t know much/care, as I do not own nor plan on getting a 360 anytime soon.

  • Hey Aaron, N is much faster and is a more robust signal so it should help. But this is based on what I know not personal experiance.

    I have a 42 inch screen, AV cables look crap, unplayable crap. And I owned a C64 so it’s not just them not being in HD it’s just not good enough now some would make the argument if I own such a TV and you can pick up cheap ones for around $500 that I should be able to shell out some more coin for a HDMI cable. And as an informed game I would buy said cable. But as a parent picking up the console for the kids not buying the cable makes the thing damn near unplayable. How hard is it to put 2 cables in the box?

    • “But as a parent picking up the console for the kids not buying the cable makes the thing damn near unplayable.”

      To be fair, those people won’t be able to appreciate the difference. And they’d probably get the cable sold to them for an extra $100 by the used car salesman at Harvey Norman anyway.

  • Okay well seeing as I awaited the unveiling of the xbox slim fairly eagerly and bought it almost immediately after its release date as well as after purchasing the xbox elite, I think that my viewpoint could be considered unique. The slim console is considerably more silent than the previous console even with an intercooler attatched. It also has very sensitive power and disc tray opening buttons that are of course touch. The new gloss design is very favorable to my friends and I, and the console itself in terms of speed and efficiency has noticably improved ten-fold.

  • Hi Nicholas,

    You forgot to mention that really sexy beep the machine makes when you open the drive tray, or switch it on at the box.

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