As a result of the far-too-long-awaited Dashboard update which finally made Memory Units redundant, the Xbox 360 250GB forgoes the ports for those devices, leaving only two USB ports up front. Around the back there are now three USB ports - two more than previously - alongside a dedicated port for connecting a Kinect kit once available. There's a Kensington lock connection point, too, for ensuring that the boardroom Xbox doesn't go walkabout.
Connectivity options are almost unchanged from the previous model Xbox 360. The proprietary AV port remains, as does an HDMI port, but the digital optical audio output is now on the console itself, although it can still be accessed via the AV adaptor is you so choose. Best of all, however, is the provision of built-in 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. Not only is this much more convenient than attaching an adaptor, it's also a significant cost saving considering how ungodly expensive the Xbox 360 Wi-Fi adaptor was.
There was one more thing, too… oh yes: you'll be surprised to hear that this Xbox 360 has a 250GB hard drive. Who would have guessed?
The Xbox 360 250 GB hard drive is, like its predecessor, removable. Annoyingly this is once again in a (fairly attractive as these things go) proprietary cartridge, even though the port is no longer custom - there's simply a gap exposing the hard drives SATA connector. Quite why Microsoft still hasn't gone down the Sony PS3 route of letting you use any hard drive you like we don't know, but c'est la vie.
The least defensible criticism is that Microsoft only supplies standard definition cables in the box with the Xbox 360 250GB. We'd like to think that the days when people would ignorantly connect their games console to a TV via a Composite video cable and wonder why HD doesn't look all that great after all are behind us, and that Xbox 360 250GB-buyers are savvy enough to know they'll need to buy connecting cables with their console. But was the cost of including an HDMI cable really prohibitive, Microsoft? It seems unlikely to us.
While the hardware layout has changed, the core specs of the Xbox 360 250GB remain entirely unchanged. Updates in pursuit of power reduction aside, there's nothing different about the Xbox 360 260GB's silicon. This is, of course, only expected.