An Xbox with R-Factor

Recently my dreams of owning a limited edition Xbox came true.

I’ve always wanted one, but my desire went into overdrive last year upon the release of the Star Wars Kinect machine. This was not only a limited edition Xbox – this was an Xbox decked out to look like R2-D2 with a golden C-3PO controller. Nothing could be more awesome.

So, as my birthday approached my lovely, amazing, awesome family leapt on an online deal that brought it more into the realms of affordability and bought me my very own limited edition machine – even giving it to me early and not making me wait until the actual day of my birthday! I was so pleased and excited I took videos of me opening and closing the disk drive (which is accompanied by the legendary R2-D2 beeps and whistles) with childlike glee and posted it on my Facebook page. I’m so happy with my new Star Wars themed machine.

Putting aside the R2-D2ness of the machine; I’m very pleased with the improvements Microsoft have made to the newer, slimmer machine. There were a number of motivators that drove me to want an updated and this machine has, so far, ticked all the boxes.

Firstly – it is soooooo much quieter than my previous model. My old machine literally sounded like an airplane taking off and forced me to turn the volume up on the telly and my headset just to hear what was going on. It was getting very frustrating; especially as it was getting louder as the machine got older. Microsoft were securing all these exciting deals for Lovefilm, BBC iPlayer, SkyTV etc and my machine was too loud to enjoy a streamed movie. This new machine runs with barely a sound – just the occasional low hum when a disk starts up in the drive, which I’m so much happier with and less concerned about the effects on my hearing!

The larger memory is a godsend – Skyrim and the last couple of Arcade purchases (Gotham City Imposters, Magic 2013 & Tony Hawkes Pro HD) had sucked up what little of my 20 GB HDD remained. It was becoming a regular ritual kulling the save games and DLC to make way for new games and video player apps. The R2-D2 machine has come with a whopping 320 GB, which should definitely serve my memory needs for a long time to come.

The HDMI output is also a welcome addition. Again, the advent of video content apps on the Xbox had made me lament this omitted output even more than I already had been for my games; especially as game graphics get better and better and the likes of Lovefilm and BBC iPlayer started streaming HD content. In fairness; the component AV wasn’t all that bad, I think it was a step up on SCART, but the HDMI is just enough better I was pleased with what I am seeing – it’s definitely a more crisp and defined viewing experience.

What about the Kinect function? Well, so far, probably the weakest link for me. The voice recognition is pretty cool, but is essentially a bit gimmicky and not strong enough for me to be really blown away. As far as the motion sensor stuff goes; it’s a bit inconsistent and glitchy, which I’m pretty sure is down to the limited space in my living room restricting it’s capabilities and effecting it’s performance. I’d be interested to see how it works in an optimal environment, because when it has worked it’s been a good laugh and quite entertaining. The R2-D2 model I picked up came with the Star Wars Kinect game and Kinect Adventures included, which I’ll get a write ups done for when I’ve played them a bit more.

The review of the Kinect games may take a little time to appear though. One thing I have found is that I am not inclined to play the Kinect games after a full day of work or weekend activities with my daughter – they are super energy intensive at times, and I can’t get the drive up to play! Vegging on the sofa with a controller in my hand is one thing, but physically acting out a rampaging Rancor is a different matter altogether, especially at my level of physical fitness. I’m just too tired and drained most nights to bother with it. I’m sure it’ll be a laugh next time Big Al comes round and we’ve nailed some good liquor though…

So, as you’ll have gathered; utterly pleased as punch with my beautiful new machine. I would recommend anyone tired of the noise and limits of an original 360 consider moving to the new slimline as I have found any negative feedback I had of the old machine suitably addressed and it’s a huge improvement. The Star Wars theme makes it even sweeter of course, but even without the novelty trappings I would be buzzing off the improvements even if I had gone with a standard black model. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

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