The New Xbox 360 Experience In-depth Review

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Whats Missing and Final Thoughts

What’s Missing: As impressive as the New Xbox Experience is, there are still many things that keep the it from being truly complete.  Here are a few things we think could use improvement...
 
  • No Web Browser – This is one thing that keeps the Xbox from being a truly one stop system.  With built in USB connectivity, it’d be easy to hook up a keyboard and mouse to turn the Xbox 360 into a nettop.
  • More Streaming Internet Content – Netflix is a great start, hopefully sites like Hulu can be added giving access to even more media and content.
  • Wider CODEC Support – It’s great that the Xbox 360 can link so easily to a Media Center PC, but not so great when you can’t play content on your PC because the CODECs still aren’t supported. VLC360, please.
  • .iso Support From Hard Drives – You can rip games to the hard drive, but what about movies?  We'd also like the ability to access movie files saved as an .iso on an external USB hard drive.
  • Customize What Goes To The My Xbox Section – Being able to rearrange what you deem most important to you would add even more layers of customizability to this substantial upgrade. Being able to place Netflix in the section, so you didn’t have to go to the Video Marketplace whenever you wanted to stream something would be nice too.

The New Xbox Experience has proven to be a great upgrade for the Xbox. Its flow is much smoother, it rarely hiccups, and what you can do while in game, such as party creation, multiple voice chat, and music control, all leads to a much more pleasant experience. None of the hiccups that frequently arose when navigating about the old blades reared their head for us.  We were impressed by how well Microsoft integrated the additional features and functionality without making the interface look cluttered or feel overwhelming.

Overall, this upgrade is a definitely a big step forward, and it allows Microsoft to better interact with consumers.  By providing both a family oriented design, that's flashy enough for even hardcore gamers, combined with relatively low cost that falls below the Wii now, we think the Xbox 360 is going to be a recurring draw for consumers this holiday season. One thing to note as of right now, however, is that some features of the update require additional hard drive space.  So, Xbox 360 arcade version owners may not have access to everything we've shown here.

Lastly, keep in mind none of these pictures truly capture the ‘feel’ of the NXE interface.  The colors continually shift and flow, icons sweep in and out with swooshing noises, avatars look around, the bottom right corner has a pulsating Xbox icon, and there is much more glitz  to see.  In general the new Xbox experience just looks plain "cooler" now.
 

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