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Xbox One vs 360

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The Xbox One is the next-generation console from Microsoft. It’s bigger, and better, than the Xbox 360. But is it worth upgrading right now?

Xbox One vs Xbox 360 - DesignColours 5

One thing that may surprise you is that the Xbox One is larger than the Xbox 360. It’s a truly mammoth games console. It’s 33.3cm wide, 27.4cm deep and 7.9cm tall.

The latest Xbox 360 is 27cm wide, 26cm deep and 7.5cm tall. The new console is significantly larger, so if space around your TV is tight you might want to get the tape measure out.

You also need to consider Kinect. With an Xbox 360, Kinect is optional, but it comes bundled with every Xbox One. It’s about 25cm wide and ideally wants to sit above or below your TV.

Kinect is longer mandatory for the basic operation in the One, but you’re missing out if you stash it in a cupboard, and many games will need it.

Why is the Xbox One so big? According to Digital Foundry, it’s in order to help assure the console’s reliability – made “with a ten-year lifecycle in mind and that it is designed to be switched on for that entire period.”

The smaller Xbox 360 suffered from major overheating issues, which were to blame for the ‘red ring’ problem that killed off thousands and thousands of consoles and cost Microsoft more than a billion dollars. It’s no wonder Microsoft is playing it safe this time around.

Xbox One vs Xbox 360 – NoiseColours 1

We’ve not yet had a chance to measure quite how noisy the Xbox One is compared with the Xbox 360, but according to a developer cited on Reddit, it’s “very quiet”.

Once again, this is in part down to the enormous size of the console. More space means the fan has to work less hard, and therefore will produce less noise.

Last time around, the PS3 was significantly quieter than the Xbox 360, but Microsoft might just win the noise war in this generation. You may have to rearrange your lounge as part of the bargain, but low noise is a serious bonus for those who care about sound quality - especially for watching films.

Xbox One vs Xbox 360 – CPU and RAM Colours 2

The Xbox 360 has a PowerPC-based CPU - it's a triple-core 3.2GHz processor. The Xbox One has an eight-core processor based on the AMD Jaguar chip series.

Does that mean the Xbox One is two and a half times as powerful as the Xbox 360? No, it's more powerful than that as the efficiency of the CPU is much better, not just the clock speed and number of cores.

The increase in RAM is much more marked. The Xbox 360 has 512MB of RAM, the Xbox One has 8GB of RAM.

Xbox One vs Xbox 360 – Graphics ComparisonColours 3

We haven't had a chance to compare the graphics of the Xbox 360 and Xbox One for ourselves, but here are some direct video comparisons

The graphical difference between the Xbox 360 and Xbox One versions of Battlefield 4 varied depending on the scene. At some points they’re quite close, at others the Xbox One version looks far more detailed, with loads more objects on-screen at once. Jump to 3:00 to see what we mean.

This is a symptom of Battlefield 4 being a ‘cross-generation’ game that has to cater for both the consoles – and therefore won’t generally make best use of the Xbox One hardware.

It’s a similar tale with FIFA 14. The player’s shirts and some of the face models are clearly more intricate on the PS4, but it’s not quite the earth-shattering change some of you might expect.

Xbox One vs Xbox 360 – Games LibraryColours 4

As a console that has been around almost a decade, the Xbox 360 obviously has a much, much stronger games library than the newborn Xbox One.

If you don’t own a PS3 or Xbox 360, there are dozens, hundreds of great games for the console – and many can be picked up for a few quid.

Day one Xbox One launch titles include Assassin’s Creed 4, Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Crimson Dragon, Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport, Killer Instinct and Ryse: Son of Rome. Battlefield 4, CoD and Assassin’s Creed 4 are also available for the Xbox 360 as well as the new console. And they’re far from guaranteed to be 100 per cent classics.

Ryse in particular has a whiff of the launch line-up stinker. We’ll be back with the full verdict soon.

Xbox One vs Xbox 360 – Media skillsColours

The Xbox One is actually going to lag a little behind the Xbox 360 for a little while. It won’t launch with BBC iPlayer, one of the most popular streaming portals in the UK (if not the most popular).

Also missing at launch is external hard drive support, although this is going to be added in a software update down the line.

Most of the basics are still in-place, though. You can play audio CDs and DVDs, and stream from Now TV, LoveFilm and Netflix. The biggest difference is that the Xbox One has a Blu-ray while the Xbox 360 is stuck with musty old DVD. Thanks to the Xbox One’s quiet fan, it should make a very good little movie player.

However, serious media fans are likely to be a little disappointed, Neither console supports MKV – probably the most popular format for films distributed online (illegally). The PS3 remains the best console for the pirates, but even that one doesn’t support MKV either. 

The Xbox One has some very cool media features, such as being able to control your TV through your Xbox, but these features mostly won’t be available in the UK at release.

Xbox One vs Xbox 360 – Price and DealsColours 5

Xbox 360s can be had for as little as £130 new – that’s for the low-end 4GB edition, which won’t be enough to install many games on. We recommend going for the slightly more expensive 250GB version if you can afford it. It sells for around £170.

Plenty of different bundles are available, but don’t forget that many older games are available for peanuts if you’re looking to save some money. Buying the 'naked' console isn't a bad idea.

The Xbox One, predictably, costs a lot more. Without any games it costs £429, and no retail boxed games will be available on the cheap for some time. You’re looking at £450 with one game, or around £500 with two. However, bear in mind that this also includes a Kinect sensor.

Pre-Christmas stock is rapidly running out at online retailers too, so if you need one in time for 25 December, act now. Amazon has already announced that it has run out of pre-Christmas stock of both the PS4 and Xbox One.

Which console should you buy?

If you’re on a budget and don’t have any experience of the Xbox 360/PS3 generation of games, picking up an Xbox 360 is well worth considering. Its graphics are worse than the Xbox One’s, it’s noisier and earns you zero bragging rights. But the amount of entertainment on offer for not much money is stellar.

New games will also continue to be made for the Xbox 360 for three years, Microsoft estimates. The company has also vowed to support the console for that time, as long as demand stays up. 

However, if the latest and greatest gaming experiences are what you’re after, there’s no question – it’s all about Xbox One. Or PS4, if you’re not tied to Microsoft’s chariot.

Next, read our Xbox One vs PS4 comparison

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