The XBox 360 has become quite a contender in the new-gen console wars, but Microsoft is the only one staying out of the portable market (so far). So while you wait for MS’s rumored Portable XBox, here are some options for taking the XBox 360 on the road.
Not too long ago, the master of all custom gaming devices portable, Ben Heckendorn created the ultimate portable version of the XBox 360 by putting in a laptop form factor and including the following features:
- 17″ 1280×720 progressive-scan LCD VGA monitor
- Custom Water-cooling to allow for a slimmer main body
- Built-in keyboard and Wi-Fi.
- Aluminum case
- Single “expanded” power supply brick for both screen and Xbox 360.
- Breakout ports audio and video ports for external AV options.
Ben really went all out in making sure everything was well-designed in terms of sustainability and usability and also tested everything thoroughly. It’s amazing some major gaming hardware company hasn’t paid him big money to design these things for them.
- One single device that handles the video, sound, power, and cooling
- Easy to carry around
- Relatively large screen
- Extremely stylish
- You need to arrange a custom order from Ben
- He says that most jobs cost “$400 (design / labor / case) + parts”, so I would imagine that it would be in the $1,000 ballpark
- May take a month or so for Ben to complete an order
Mr. Heckendorn also goes into great detail on how you can make your own Xbox 360 laptop (and other great console projects) on his website.
The XBox 360 In A Suitcase
If you are a hardcore-gamer who feels pathetic at the idea of leaving your Xbox 360 at home whenever you need to go-out, then you might be looking for some thing like this Portable Steel Case from Ackibox.
- Protective carrying case provides a portable console gaming experience
- Opens easy for easy access to the equipment
- Hinged lid adjusts for an optimal viewing angle
- Equipment is securely anchored within the case
- Cables are neatly managed in a separate cord compartment
- You still need to plug the 360 in
- You can’t buy one… yet.
Keep in mind that this is still a prototype, but this isn’t anything that is necessarily hard to duplicate. With the right materials and a little creativity, you could probably build your own.
Also, this “solution” doesn’t really add any real functionality except for a bit of convenience and protection for your equipment. Nothing is stopping you from just buying a small LCD TV and carrying it around with you.
XBox 360 + Custom LCD Screen
This technique has been around for a while and was pioneered by Sony and their PSOne screen. There are a few vendors out there that will sell you a special LCD that is styled after the XBox 360 and has an easy setup.
- Easy of use
- Good video connections
- Not the best value
- No power solution
- A bit bulky for what it does
- Limited number of retailers
- Limited number of no-name manufacturers
This would probably be my last resort for taking a 360 on the go. I would probably buy a small LCD TV for my 360 before one of these.
XBox 360 + Portable DVD Player
This technique may actually be the most affordable, simplistic, and practical of the bunch.
This Flickr user simply took his XBox 360 and plugged it into the video inputs of his Polaroid portable DVD player. Why pay extra for a special LCD that is only made to use with a certain console when you can use the DVD player with other devices and use it on its own.
- A wide selection of portable DVD players under $100
- Easy setup
- Relatively small screen and resolution
- Limited to Composite video in most cases
- Doesn’t help with power for the XBox 360
Personally, I would probably opt for this method. Some people probably already have one of these DVD players, so it may not even require you to spend any extra money.
XBox 360 In A Car
Suzuki just recently demoed a new car prototype that is built around the XBox 360. Even though I cringe a bit at the thought of having such a expensive vehicle based around a gaming system that will be out of style before you know it (anybody have a ’95 Corvette with an SNES built in?), I can’t help but be memorized a bit at the execution.
Obviously, this is the most expensive and over-the-top XBox 360 setup to date and nobody really knows for sure if anybody will be able to (or be willing to) buy one.
In addition to being able to play on two LCD screens in the back seats, there is also a projector screen that comes out of the cargo area.
- Total integration
- Fully powered
- Big screens
- Great sound system
- Total integration (don’t know if you can remove it)
- Expensive (obviously)
- Not sure if I’d want to sit in my car to play games much
- What happens when the XBox 720 comes out?
Personally, I think if they were to go through all this trouble, they should have an option to have the two LCDs go up to the front, combine for a widescreen effect, and let you play Project Gotham by using the car’s wheel, pedals, and shifter. No THAT would be a great gaming experience!