The $400 Xbox 360 Elite is black instead of white, includes a 120GB hard drive (six times as capacious as the previous 360's, twice as big as the PS3's), and sports an HDMI output for easier hookups to HDTVs.

The good: Excellent selection of games, including many 360-only exclusives; all games are in native high-definition; user-friendly Dashboard interface; supports wireless controllers and accessories; Xbox Live service offers online multiplayer (with matchmaking and voice chat) and content downloads for most games; backward compatible with many--but not all--original Xbox titles; doubles as a superior digital media hub and Windows Media extender; online Marketplace allows easy purchases of minigames, add-on gaming content, high-def movies, and TV shows.

The bad: The Elite fails to correct most of the annoyances of the original 360 version: the noisy DVD drive and cooling fan; a gigantic, oversize power supply; no built-in wireless networking; only three USB ports; a substandard DVD player; online gaming requires a paid subscription to Xbox Live; proprietary wireless format limits third-party accessories.

The bottom line: While it's neither a must-have upgrade for existing 360 owners nor as feature-packed as the PS3, the Xbox 360 Elite's combination of top-notch gaming and digital media features make it the current game console of choice.

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