Xbox 360 Features and Functions

What exactly makes the Xbox 360 stand out from the crowd? Here are a few features of the Xbox 360 that make it one of the top games machines around

The Ring of Light:  The ring of light is the power button and it is divided into four quarters, displaying different colors depending on the situation and the state of the Xbox. Information can be passed on by the color of the ring.

The Xbox Guide button: The Guide button is featured both on the Xbox 360 remote as well as the controller and allows you to instantly access any personal information or profile of another gamer on Xbox Live. It also allows you to find any downloadable material that may be available for the game that you are playing. The Xbox Guide Button also allows you to switch the xonsole on or off without leaving the sofa. It is about time they brought this simple addition out .

Xbox Live – There are currently two choices available for Xbox Live for the Xbox 360: Silver and Gold.

The Silver version is free.  With the Silver package you cannot access the marketplace and download all the available content for the Xbox 360 and also communicate with other gamers via voice chat.  You cannot, however, play games online.

The Gold version of Xbox live includes all of the available features  of the Silver package, but importantly allows you to play games online and compete with other gamers. Your scores and game standings will be saved  so that you can check them anytime and compare them to your friends’. You will also of course be able to use full video chat and video messaging to keep in touch with your friends. Microsoft usually offers the Gold service free for the first month for all new Xbox 36 customers,  but after that, the pricing will be charged at the normal rate. Gold service annual cards can still be found online for $50.

Xbox Live Marketplace: The marketplace is an important feature for the Xbox 360  as it allows you to download game demos, trailers, and free games, as well as new content for current games such as new levels, weapons, characters, and vehicles.  There is a wealth of content to choose from. Some of it is free, but much of the quality content is premium and must be paid extra for.

Digital Entertainment: The Xbox 360 allows you to rip any music from a CD to the hard drive so that you can play it during gameplay. It can also play music directly from an mp3 player that is plugged into one of the USB 2.0 ports. This is a nice feature if you like gaming to tunes

Photos and Videos: You can upload photos to the hard drive either from USB or DVD and share them with your friends on Xbox Live. The Xbox 360 also allows you to play DVD movies directly and can display them with progressive scan. The DVD playback is standard and is available straight out of the box; it does not require any additional purchased products. Definitely an improvement .

Personalizing your console:  You can change the color and look of your Xbox 360 simply by swapping out the faceplate or buying custom art Xbox 360 Skins. These skins are easily applied yourself and can make your Xbox look seriously cool and very unique. You can look for the best skins at ‘tricked-out tech‘.

You can also personalize the look and feel of the Xbox guide browser on the system, very similar to changing the desktop themes in Windows on a pc. They are both after all made by Microsoft. This customization is a nice feature and although it does not really give you any functionality changes, it does provide a nice change now and then for a more pleasant user experience.

Xbox 360 and its quality features are a great deal and worth every cent.

The hard drive is one of the most important parts of the Xbox 360 and the user experience that it provides: You can save your progress to it as you play games, rip your music to it to give your games a more exciting edge, or transfer music, videos or photos to it from the USB drive. It also allows you to spend much more quality time on Xbox live, as downloading custom content, patches, games, and updates, needs much more storage than a tiny 64 MB memory card.

The hard drive also has some more subtle benefits: It allows for backward compatibilty, and increases the load speed of certain games when parts can be stored on the hard drive.

There is even more to shout about now with the recent releases of bigger and bigger hard drives, and the aesthetically pleasing external slim hard drives.

The newest release for the XBox 360 is the Kinect. This is the next generation in gaming controllers – without controllers. Very similar to the Wii in that the game is controlled by the actual movement of the gamer, but it takes it one step further by actually removing the controller altogether and just detecting the motion of the gamers body. A very exciting development indeed.

With all of these Xbox 360 features available, what more could you ask for? Go get it!

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