South African Xbox 360 buyers guide

Xbox 360 console With the recent announcements of the Arcade and Value bundles on the local South African gaming market I thought a buyers guide might be useful. So I’ve taken the liberty to summarise the various console offerings for those considering buying a new console and perhaps dispel a few common misconceptions about various aspects of the Xbox 360 console itself.

Essentially the product offerings can be split into two categories based on the type of user – family and enthusiast. Family users are expected to not really be too concerned about the technical aspects of gaming like Xbox LIVE and backward compatibility and more about a gaming experience suitable for the entire family. Enthusiasts would be the more avid gaming fanatic that has a high-end sound system and wants to play with friends over Xbox LIVE.

How you hook the console up to your display or television is important. All consoles are able to deliver standard definition and high definition video to your display and all consoles include composite (standard A/V) cables. If you have a high definition television then you will want to use with the component HD AV able, HDMI or VGA.

One thing I must point out immediately is this misconception about HDMI. I believe that Microsoft opted to not put an HDMI port on the first Xbox 360 consoles due to the HDMI specification not being finalised as well as poor adoption for the standard by the industry at the time. However as more televisions on the market are supporting the HDMI standard, newer revisions of the Xbox 360 console hardware have an HDMI port. This means that if you have an HDMI enabled television you might want to consider a console that has an HDMI port on it. If you want to use a VGA or LCD computer monitor then you can purchase the VGA cable accessory (R399).

The family offering revolves around the Core model and the newly announced Arcade bundle which is a special for the 2007 festive season only. The new Arcade bundle features the new HDMI port however it must be pointed out that it does not ship with an HDMI cable; this must be purchased separately from your favourite audio visual shop. Included in the bundle are two full titles on disc as well as five arcade games which should cater for the entire family. For R300 extra the Arcade bundle is a very worthwhile option if you were considering a Core and would like an HDMI port, a wireless controller and some games to get you started.

When it comes to enthusiasts there are four product choices. What sets them apart of the Core and Arcade are the additions of a hard drive, a high definition enabled audio video cable and an Xbox LIVE wired headset. The removable hard drives are available as an accessories (20GB R999 or 120GB R1999) as well as the component HD AV cable (R399) so a Core or Arcade console can easily be upgraded at a later stage but it will cost you almost the same as buying an Elite console. Note that the Halo 3 Special Edition console will only be available until stocks run out and the Value bundle is a 2007 festive season special as well.

The Elite console is really the ultimate console for the extreme enthusiast out there. Its got a whopping 120GB hard drive and it comes with an HDMI cable (R250) and a Play & Charge kit (R199) in the box.

SKU ERP Features
Core R2699.00 Composite AV cable
Wired controller
Arcade bundle
(limited stock)
R2999.99 2 bundled games
256MB memory unit

5 bundled arcade games
Composite AV cable
HDMI port
Wireless controller
Pro R3699.00 20GB hard drive
Component HD AV cable
Ethernet cable
Wired headset
Wireless controller
Halo 3 Special Edition
(some stock still remaining)
R3999.00 20GB hard drive (branded)
Component HD AV cable
Ethernet cable
Halo 3 Gamer Pics and Theme
HDMI port
Play & Charge kit
Wired headset (branded)
Wireless controller (branded)
Value bundle
(limited stock)
R3999.00 20GB hard drive
4 bundled games
Component HD AV cable
Ethernet cable
Wired headset
Wireless controller
Elite
(black console)
R4599.00 120GB hard drive (black)
Component HD AV cable
Ethernet cable (black)
HDMI port & cable
Play & Charge kit
Wired headset (black)
Wireless controller (black)

One thing worth noting is that all Xbox 360 consoles are technically capable of running all Xbox 360 games on the market. However in order to be able to run older original Xbox 1 games or to connect to Xbox LIVE for an online experience, an Xbox 360 hard drive is required. In addition all consoles can be used with both wired and wireless controllers regardless of what is included in the retail box. Up to four wired (R329) or wireless (R399) controllers can be connected at any given time and and are available separately as accessories. If you but wireless controllers I highly recommend buying a Play & Charge kit (R199) which makes a wireless controller rechargeable from any USB port. If you have multiple wireless controllers you can buy extra rechargeable battery packs (R149) and use recharge them with the cable from the Play & Charge kit.

[tags]Xbox 360,South Africa,buyers guide[/tags]

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