TrolleyDaves Discount Find : Xbox360 Wireless A,B,G Adapter Microsoft RRP : £49.99 DinoDirect Price : £25 Click here for product. INTRODUCTION Ok, so I know the device isn't exactly new on the market. Everyone knows about the product, what it does etc. However, this one comes in at around half the price that the adapter normally would. So for those like me wanting to untether their 360 from their PC or those thinking of investing in one but the price has always put them off then this is a good alternative! It came from DinoDirect, an online shop in China. Usually in the UK the adapters will set you back around 40 to 50 quid, whereas this was 25 quid including shipping. While still expensive simply for a wireless dongle, lets face it - that's more Microsofts fault than any suppliers. From what I can tell with a quick look at the net it's also cheaper than it usually is Stateside. Weighing in at about the same cost as you'd find it in a sale. PACKAGING As you can see the wireless adapter is supplied in plastic "hanging" packaging. It's cheap, no frills but gets the job done well enough. I know there are people out there that despise this kind of packaging but it's neither here nor there for me. A quick snip of the scissors and it's open. CONTENTS Inside the packaging you'll find the adapter itself obviously, the backing card and a small paper manual. There are 3 languages on the backing card and in the manual. First and foremost there is English, which is always helpful! Along with English there's Chinese and Korean (well, I'm pretty sure it's Korean). With it being a Microsoft product the English is also excellent obviously. The instruction manual is very thorough. It contains all the things you'd expect it to such as connecting the adapter to the 360, console setup, etc. It also contains some padding, with info on purchasing a router, recommended routers, etc. There isn't really alot to setting the adapter up, it's simple and easy so chances are you probably won't have to refer to the manual anyway. For those that do or think they might have to, don't worry the instructions are clear and well written. BUILD QUALITY The build quality is what you'd expect of a Microsoft product. When ordering from China there's always the chance that the product you ordered is a counterfeit version. This doesn't have the usual cheap feeling of a counterfeit product. INSTALLATION Installation of the adapter couldn't be simpler. Simply plug the USB connecter into the port at the back of the 360 and then clip the adapter onto the back of the 360. It's hidden away quite nicely, although if you have the aerial straight up you can see it sticking out the top of the 360. SETUP Setting the adapter up on the console was a breeze and I can't see the average Joe Bloggs having any kind of problem with it. After plugging it in and switching the console on you're greeted with a first time install screen. This then guides you through the steps with good detailed onscreen instructions. After you've chosen your network, entered the encryption key etc. it runs a quick Network/Xbox Live Connection Test. Mine went like a charm, but from previous experience with the Connection Tests I know they'll throw up an error message if something hasn't gone right. It also gives you the option of onscreen hints for trying to solve the problem. They're not the greatest, but they do give you a starting point. More than likely though you'll probably find yourself hitting your favourite search engine or here at GBAtemp looking for advice. I will say going over to the wireless adapter from internet sharing on my PC did solve one of the problems that always appeared during the Connection Tests but was just too lazy to sort out! Of course, you still have the option of adjusting any of the wireless settings through the settings option on the Dashboard. It gives you all the usual options you'd expect to find such as DHCP or Static IP address, changing router etc. After doing some research on the 360 wireless adapter I did find that there are various router models that have compatibility problems with it. You'll find further information on that here. WIRELESS SECURITY The adapter offers WPA/WPA2 and WEP security. My router is set to WPA2 and the adapter had no problems. CONNECTION QUALITY The connection quality is fantastic of course. My 360 is upstairs and the router is downstairs and the signal strength appears to be excellent. Previously I had the 360 connecting via Internet Sharing on the PC and using the wireless adapter seems a little bit faster. Avatars load faster when displaying friends, the Sky Player buffers faster and things like that. It's not a huge difference, but it's noticable. In all honesty I've not really noticed any real difference in gaming. That being said though, I wouldn't really consider myself that much of an expert gamer that I would notice any real difference. MEDIA STREAMING One of the advantages of having the 360 connected to your network is the ability to stream films off a hard drive. Less wires means less mess obviously. However, for the life of me I could not get the 360 to connect to the PC using the standard 360 Media Centre method. This worked without a problem when I was using a direct connection, but wirelessly I had no joy whatsoever. It could of course just be me being a bit thick. I tried following all the instructions offered by the 360, various FAQ's and other sites but still had no joy. The problem was solved simply by installing TVersity though. TVersity was straightforward to setup and I had it running and streaming in a couple of minutes. So while the Media Centre option may not work for all, there is alternatives available. VALUE FOR MONEY Is the Xbox360 Wireless Adapter good value for money? Well, in my humble opinion I don't believe it is. Compared to the average USB wireless adapters for the PC it's incredibly overpriced. That's not really the fault of suppliers and sellers though, that fault lies firmly with Microsoft themselves. The cheapest option of course is to just plug your 360 directly into your router or to use internet sharing on your PC. It's simple and straightforward, with the only disadvantage being trailing wires. You also have the option of using Xbox360 compatible wireless bridges. Some of these are more expensive than purchasing the official wireless adapter from DinoDirect and some at roughly the same price. ROUND UP There's no denying that the Xbox360 wireless adapter is handy. It takes away trailing wires and it has a slightly better connection that using ICS. The product itself is built well enough and does exactly what it says on the tin. My vote is that it's worth owning, however at £50 it's definitely overpriced. At £25 it feels a little more reasonable. The big question really is how badly do you want to go wireless! If you're desperate to go wireless then it's a must obviously and at £25 it's a competitive price for the other wireless options available to you. I am unsure of whether the product is an official Microsoft product or a counterfeit version so I'm also unsure of whether you'll get official Microsoft support for it. If anyone knows of a why that I can positively determine it's authenticity then please let me know. For now I'll err on the side of caution and say that there's a high chance that it's counterfeit, it does work flawlessly however. DINODIRECT As you'd expect from any internet shop ordering was simple, straightforward and intuitive. Once I ordered the product I received an email confirmation, as well as receiving an email confirming it was sent out. It was roughly 24 hours between ordering and it being sent out. The people I dealt with all spoke English well and there were no communication problems at all. They offer a variety of shipping options, including free postage. As I know that most people here would choose the free shipping option that's the one I chose. It took around 14 days to arrive, which is about the average time it takes for packages to arrive from China for me. It was well packed and arrived with no damage to either the packaging or the product. All in all the transaction was straightforward, easy and went without a hitch.