TechRadar Choice: top 10 Xbox 360 extras

Fantastic Xbox peripherals you didn't know you needed

Xbox peripherals

The Xbox 360 is by far the most PC-like console we've ever had. And as a result there's an absolute shedload of weird and wonderful accessories you can buy for it.

And of course there are some really bad, futile accessories too.

And that's why we've gone to the trouble of whittling the options down to ten of the more interesting accessories and peripherals.

We've included the cream of Microsoft's official crop as well as some of the more outstanding third-party widgets and gizmos.

wheel1. Wireless Wheel With Force Feedback


There've been plug-in steering wheels for almost as long as there've been consoles, but in most cases they're little more than gamepads built into a wheel.

Fortuntely, Microsoft's official offering is designed as wheel from the ground-up, making a world of difference in the lies of Forza 2 and GRID.

Entirely wireless and eschewing the gamepad's basic rumble for meaty, bone-shaking force feedback, it does a right number on the various third-party wheels.


HDD2. 120gb hard drive


Sounds like a laughably gigantic amount of space? Think again.

Demos regularly creep past the 1Gb mark, HD movie downloads need a good couple of gig and, with the upcoming dashboard update introducing the option to install 360 games to the hard drive in the name of faster load times, suddenly even 120Gb doesn't seem like enough.

If you're still making do with the original 20Gb drive (as opposed to the 60Gb model that ships with the newer 360s), an upgrade's pretty much an essential by now.


lian li3. Lian-Li XB-01B case


Really, it's an insane luxury. If, however, you use your 360 as your main media device - I.e. for DVDs and CDs - you'll notice it's noisier than a rattlesnake orgy.

Hardly ideal for optimum listening. Lian-Li have come up with a custom case that cuts much of the noise, and also keeps the console cooler - so there's less chance of those dreaded red rings of death.

The downsides: moving the innards to the new case wipes the warranty, and the thing's huge - so make sure you've got plenty of room next to your telly.


cans4. Turtle Beach Ear Force X3 Wireless Headphones


That chat headset is all well and good for babbling smacktalk into the night, but it's not exactly much cop for listening to the game.

These fancy earmuffs pump all audio from the system straight to your lugholes, so the noise of gunfire in the wee small hours won't terrify the neighbours but the sound quality doesn't suffer for it.

And when you do want to chat, you can just swivel down the built-in mic and simply below those obscenities away.

Best of all, the whole kit and kaboodle's wireless, so you won't choke yourself with any cables, and can wander around the house chatting or listening to music.


5. Play and charge kit


Arguably the single most essential peripheral there is - no more dropping a small fortune on endless AA batteries, and no more suddenly finding you can't keep playing because you're out of juice.

This cable'n'battery combo adds a rechargeable powersource to your gamepad, and can turn it into a functioning wired controller while you wait for the battery to recharge.

This one really should come with the console, frankly.


pc6. A PC

£anything goes

Yep, a computer on the same home network as the 360 really brings it to life.

Rather than laboriously saving stuff to the console's weeny hard drive, you can stream pretty much any movie, music or picture file stored on the PC to the 360 over the network

It's far easier than it sounds, honest.

No need for a fancy media centre PC either (though the console can do a bit more with one) - so long as you're running Windows XP or Vista you're sorted.


madcatz7. Madcatz HDMI Conversion Kit


Perhaps Microsoft's biggest foul up with the original 360 was to leave an HDMI port out of it.

Y'know, the standardised connection for HDTVs - which rather made all their ballyhoo about its high definitioniness a little bittersweet.

Newer models do have one, but anyone who picked up one before that is left in the Component or VGA cold, with a mess of ugly wires and the need for a separate audio connection.

This add-on solves that problem, and allows true 1080p from an otherwise HDMI-less 360. Trouble is it's desperately expensive - but less so than buying a whole new console.


camera8. Live Vision Camera


The 360's webcam hasn't been as acclaimed as the Playstation 2's Eyetoy was, but there are a fair few games that support it now.

There's nothing quite like victimising someone you've just roundly defeated in Civilization Revolution with your ugly mug gurning away, or mapping a photo of your face onto your Rainbow Six Vegas 2 character.

Also, video chats: it's like the future.


stick9. Hori Fighting Stick EX2

£40 www.hori.jpg

With Street Fighter IV on the way, a decent arcade stick is a must - you'll be absolutely caned if you venture online with a standard gamepad.

With a big, firm stick (missus) and gloriously oversized buttons, it's very much arcade nostalgia meets modern practicality.

It's not only good for fighting games either - it really livens up XBLA retro fare such as Pacman CE.


hub10. Nyko Multicard Reader & Hub


For a console that shouts so loud about how good it is for photos and music, it's not hugely well-equipped for getting the files onto the thing in the first place.

A cheapo card reader like this makes all the difference - just pop your digital camera memory card into it to stare at your pictures on that giant HDTV of yours.

This model also adds three extra USB ports to the console, which is handy if you've picked up half the other peripherals on this list.


HD dvd11. HD DVD drive

Nah, only kidding.

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