Ars reviews the Xbox 360
We mentioned this in our Shortbread today, but Ars' Xbox 360 review is an eight-page dissection of all aspects of the console that's definitely worth a read by anyone who might one day want one of Microsoft's next-gen consoles. Ars' review unit didn't suffer from any glitches or crashes, but they made significant note of how loud the Xbox 360 is, as well as how hot it can get. From the article:
The 360 pumps out an extreme amount of heat . . . After an hour or so you can put your hand anywhere near the unit and feel just how hot it can get inside your entertainment center . . . If you cover a vent, or don't have adequate ventilation, or even just high carpeting, I have no problems imagining your system dying.
One potential negative that Ars glosses over a bit, in my opinion, is the HDTV issue. Although the Xbox 360 supports standard TV out, using a regular set apparently nukes most of the system's enhanced visuals. According to the most recent data
I could find, only about 10% of the US market actually owns an HDTV, which slaps the rest of us with a massive additional "upgrade" fee in order to actually play games at their potential detail levels.
In the end, Xbox Live, gaming in HDTV, and classic game availability all get high marks, while heat, noise, and a substandard DVD player are some of the lows. Personally, I've heard a lot of great things about the Xbox 360's game library, but given the console's less-than-stellar points, I'm not sold on buying one over a PS3 (assuming that either were actually available for purchase).