Usually, I’m pretty good about this stuff. My television is seven years old. I didn’t upgrade my phone until the built-in battery was starting to fail. I try to keep my technology until it breaks down or is starting to fail before replacing it. This week, though, I was bad. My gadget lust got to me. The Xbox One Elite Bundle was simply too much for me to resist, and now it sits upon my home theater rack. I haven’t used it enough to develop strong impressions of whether or not it’s wildly different from the original Day One Xbox I was using until this week, but I have it out of the box in all its glory for you to check out.

Even as someone who just purchased one, I’m not going to lie and say this is something worth upgrading for, but there is some value to be had here, all the same.

The system costs $500 and doesn’t come with Kinect (big surprise) or any games, unlike many of the other bundles this holiday, which are accompanied by anywhere from 1 to 5 or more games.

The biggest draw of the system, perhaps, is the inclusion of the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller, which commands a $150 price tag on its own. I would’ve ended up picking one of these up on my own, new Xbox or not.

The other $350 I wouldn’t have spent otherwise, though, what does that account for?

The console is packing, in place of the standard 500GB or even the upgraded 1TB drive, a 1TB Solid State Hybrid Drive, meaning that while the storage itself is still on rotational media, there’s a chip onboard that stores the most used data to keep things loading faster. Microsoft claims this improves the start-up time of the console by about 20 percent if you have your system turning off completely rather than in Instant On mode, and it should have some pretty noticeable effects on general navigation as well. It seems a lot faster to me already, but that could be simply a matter of the system cache not being full of 2 years of use, too, so I’ll reserve judgment on that. If the SSHD does its job well, it could even improve loading times on frequently played games, too, though that’s still up in the air.

Finally, the console sports a matte finish instead of a glossy one, and comes with an attractive braided USB micro cable.

At $499, this is not the cheapest way to get an Xbox One. If you think the controller is worth the $150 it asks as a standalone, though, this is a great deal. Most 1TB Xbox One systems cost $399 on their own and don’t have the benefit of the improved hard drive or the premium controller. In that case, this particular bundle is a savings of at least $50. This system is on shelves now and, at least for a little while longer, is currently the only way to get the Elite Wireless Controller as supplies run short.

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