Testing Halo 3 on the Xbox 360 Elite

Alison Stewart
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May 25, 2007
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After my story back in January about how to become a Halo 3 beta tester, I’m proud to say that I was selected and am now one of a few thousand to test out Microsoft’s much coveted, notyet-released future Halo 3 game. The perfect combination is playing Halo 3 on the recently released Xbox 360 Elite. Apparently my playing Halo 3, among all my multiple video games and console platforms, is part of a growing trend for the “older” folks. I’m no kid, but you know from my previous game reviews that I totally fess up to enjoying these. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that.

In fact, “Gaming has emerged as a mainstream form of entertainment,” said Jim Takatsuka, regional executive for Microsoft. “Advances in graphics and online technologies, coupled with cinematic story lines, have completely changed the gaming experience, blurring the lines of the traditional user once based on age or gender.”


The Xbox 360 Elite is the latest addition to the Xbox family and yet another leap with Microsoft in leading the next-generation console war. Multiple people have asked me what makes it different from the regular Xbox 360. Well, it has a built-in hard drive that is six times bigger than its predecessor at 120 GB, and the largest available for a gaming console. That’s enough for a good-sized library of games, TV shows and music with which to entertain yourself. It also includes a HDMI (high definition multimedia interface) port, and it’s a sleek matte black color - the opposite of the previous white 360s.

With the exception of the HDMI port, the Elite is identical to the Xbox 360 Premium, and it includes all the cables you need to hook it up to your TV and home theater system. I like the fact that the HDMI output provides a single cable solution - digital audio and high definition, but the previous 360 could output HD video up to 1080p resolution only via component or VGA adapter.

Typically the HDTVs these days accept the highest resolutions via that wonderful HDMI input. I could see a noticeable difference playing the Halo 3 beta on my old 360 as opposed to the Elite. The picture was much sharper on the Elite than on my 360. My husband and I watched a couple of movies on the Elite just to see what it would look like, and those were sharp too.

Additionally, your Elite comes with one Xbox LIVE headset, one Xbox 360 Wireless Controller (black), one HDMI cable, an Xbox LIVE Silver Membership and a one-month Xbox LIVE Gold subscription.

Unfortunately the Wi-Fi adapter and HD-DVD drive are still sold separately, as is an extra controller.

Those of you who are considering making the leap from your current Xbox 360 to the Elite can use the Xbox 360 Elite Data Migration Kit. It gives you a simple option to transfer

everything from your old 20 GB Xbox 360 to your new 120 GB Xbox 360 Elite. Note that this only works one way (from 20 GB to 120 GB), but despite that, will make your transfer nearly flawless.

If you’re a concerned parent, don’t worry. If you remember my recent story on the Xbox 360’s parental controls, the Elite has all those same features to give you a safe gaming environment. See this link for all the details: www.xbox.com/isyourfamilyset


Overall, the only drawbacks I could see with the Elite are, as with the 360, it still has a huge power supply brick you have to hide among all your other plugs, the fan and drive are noisy, and the Wi-Fi adapter and HD-DVD drive are still sold separately. To me these issues are minor, and would not prevent me from buying an Elite if I was starting from scratch. I would recommend spending the extra $80 and buying the Elite if you do not have an Xbox 360 yet. But if you already have one, and do not want to upgrade it, at least buy the 120 GB detachable hard drive ($179.99) to give yourself more room.

Xbox 360 Elites are still difficult to come by, but I was able to find some in stock at Circuit City online at www.circuitcity.com for $479.99. For additional information on the Xbox 360 Elite and its upcoming games, check out www.xbox.com.

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