"At first we were doubtful that a edgy box appearing in a little Flash ad from Italy last night could be legit, but Microsoft just got real with the new Xbox 360 Elite. It'll launch today priced for $299, while the old Elite will stick around for $249 and the Arcade will drop to $149."
While we don't cover gaming here on Digital Home Thoughts, the Xbox 360 has many digital home features, so this is worth taking notice of. I'll be ordering one as soon as they're available. Why? Noise - or, more accurately, the lack thereof. The new Xbox 360 is described as "whisper quiet" by Microsoft, and assuming that independent reviewers back up that claim, I'll snap one up. I find it extremely irritating how loud my Xbox 360 Elite is - and one of the reasons I bought it was that I'd heard the newer HDMI models were quieter than the first-generation Xbox 360's...which was absolutely not the case. Other perks on the new 360 include a 250 GB hard drive, 802.11n WiFi, and a smaller physical size - which, surprisingly, they were still able to achieve with an integrated power supply a power brick that's smaller than the current version.
Would I liked to have seen a version with Blu-ray? Yes, absolutely - but I can understand Microsoft's reluctance to add to the cost - they've been able to add all this new functionality into the product while keeping the $299 price point the same. That's impressive, and adding a Blu-ray drive would drive up the cost - and put money into the pocket of Sony, their main rival in the console wars. I'm particularly excited about Kinect, the product formerly known as Natal - though I find it curious Microsoft didn't mention the price point of it.
Engadget also has their unboxing and first thoughts on the new console. A few snaps from the video after the break; Engadget also has a close-up of the back. Read more...