Usually I'm not an early adopter of any platform. I have limited funds and choose to alocate them wisely. Once a year I go against this principle for Christmas/my birthday and splurge on myself. This year I had it all picked out, Xbox 360, but there was no way in hell I would wait in line. I reserved $500 and some change for the purchase, knowing tax would bite me.
Finding the right package
I used only one online tracker (http://xbox360tracker.com/ ) and waited for just the right offer to pass me by. Luckily, or unluckily if you understand credit, I found an offer from Dell for the premium system, 1 wireless controller, play and charge kit, 3 games (kameo, madden, pgr3), and 12 months of xbox live for 680. The accessories and games alone equalled $300 + the $399 base of the premium system. Not too bad for everything I would have eventually paid for.
There have been a number of reported issues such as overheating, lockups, or other quirks.
- Orientation: Vertical. It seems to "prefer" this setting as the controllers are at the bottom of the console and every picture I've seen is in this configuration. I've always hated loading DVDs this way though.
- Power Supply: On the TV stand behind the TV. There's not much room to draw air but it's exposed enough and not on carpet.
- Transport: I've toted it up and down stairs multiple times (can't while powered, no media was harmed) and I've yet to see a problem. It looks so fragile but you'd be surprised.
- Locked up: 2 times
- 1 - Call of Duty 2: Possibly software but the DVD-ROM was making a whirring-click noise. As if it was searching for a spot on the DVD but couldn't read it. This happened in a loop and I had to power down the console using the power button (control was unresponsive)
- 2 - PGR3: Clearly a software issue. The game just locked up. I could use the controller and load again so it was a small foul.
- I consider #1 a serious problem if the software can cause such a loop. The OS was built from the ground up for the hardware, not using XP. I can see a reasoning for doing so, but there may be unplugged holes. Luckily dashboard can be updated (and probably could track it).
- No game/DVD: Almost silent. There's a fan inside the box but it's barely noticable with normal ambient sound. I play demos when I'm in bed and with a fan on I don't notice a difference.
- DVD: It's a 12x DVD-ROM. Fast is an understatement and I doubt it's any quieter in a computer. I expect this to sound like a small jet/high powered vacuum/high rpm lawn mower/dragster
Despite what I've experienced, what I have is still a stable platform. The Dashboard (OS/UI) makes changing console settings easy plus the "escape to Dashboard without saving" feature lets me get out of a game if I want to be anal and load a save before I got beat down during single player matches.
Was this a sound investment? Personally, the game choice hasn't reached "enough" for me but I'm extremely picky. The fact that 90% of my library works on the new system (though I only spent $150 on the Xbox) means the bulk of what I'm getting is the updated software and hardware. As far as the hardware goes, it's definately worth it. I could have waited but I'm glad I don't have to focus on paying it off immediately.
If I had a chance to do it all over again my only wish would be to inspect the box before hand at a local retailer. Things came a little banged up though everything seems to work just fine. Kameo and PGR3's boxes were either cut or crushed. The console box was a little bent on a corner suggesting things took a tumble. They were packed using air bags, not anything more secure, so it's highly likely the console bounced around and took out the games. Am I crying over it? Not unless 2 years down the road I can't get anything hypothetically caused now fixed and have to repurchase the console.