How my, er Jims, experience with the Xbox 360 dashboard has been so far

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It’s no secret that a new Xbox 360 dashboard is on it’s way and with Microsoft now stating what exactly the new dashboard upgrades I thought it would be a good time to post up my experience with it so far.

Before doing that though I read through the terms and conditions of being part of the dashboard beta and apparently I am forbidden from talking about it, so instead I asked my friend Jim to give you his take on it as he doesn’t have anything to lose from breaking the NDA.

Over to Jim

Okay so first up the dashboard update took far longer than I expected to download, I didn’t check the file size but from download time it appeared to be over 100Mb… or the server was dead slow.

Once it was installed it ran me through a very simple instructional slideshow showing me the basics of the dashboard which is obviously aimed at people getting a Xbox 360 and Kinect for the first time and then I was done and the new dashboard loaded.

First impressions were that it was just like the old one only flatter, you scroll through the menu’s exactly the same and whether it is faster or not wasn’t noticeable to me. What I did notice very quickly however was that when I tried to explain to my wife to scroll left, when she was looking for something, I put my hand up and moved it left… I don’t know why I did that it just felt right?

Some new menu options have been added such as

  • Improved parental lock options
  • Kinect setup
  • Wireless configuration
  • A beta slide menu

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All the standard tabs were there and only ever so slightly changed, the main guide button’s functionality hasn’t changed and really everything works just as it did before.

The marketplace menu’s have changed a bit and I did manage to get lost in them trying to download the old Gears of War 2 map pack but I found my way eventually. It could be a little more intuitive but in general you only buy things which are featured or through the game interface I find so I don’t really mind.

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What I was hoping for however was a quicker loading time for some of the menu’s like my games and achievements but that loading time may now actually be slower. I spent a lot of time watching the double loading circles spin… yeah double circles instead of a single one… massive improvement.

I also noticed quite a few glitches after the second update this last weekend which meant that a lot of game placeholder images were no longer loading, the dashboard hangs often and my NAT suddenly went from Open to Strict. I had to open some new ports on my router to fix that so I am guessing the new dashboard uses some extra ports or it was just an incredibly weird coincidence.

All in all I was incredibly underwhelmed by the experience, if this is something you are excited about then we need to head out to the pub and have a chat as there are far more exciting things in this world other than a new dashboard update.

In a nutshell, the menu’s are flatter and there are now options to setup Kinect, wireless connectivity and extra parental controls. Apart from that nothing else was interesting.

…

Okay that’s it, thanks Jim for that write up and risking your beta access for us.

If you were wondering why there is no mention of ESPN, Netflix or Last.FM then it’s because poor Jim doesn’t live in Europe or the States and therefore doesn’t get any of that.

Last Updated: October 11, 2010

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

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