X360Key Review

Discussion in 'Official GBAtemp Reviews' started by Devin, Nov 20, 2011.

Nov 20, 2011

X360Key Review by Devin at 2:41 AM (50,714 Views / 2 Likes) 42 replies

  1. Devin
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    Member Devin "Local Hardware Wizard"

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    GBAtemp.net review of the...

    [​IMG]

    Manufactured by: x360Key Team
    Review samples supplied by: ModchipCentral

    By Devin

    Review Contents, and Index

    • Introduction

      - Official Feature List
    • Packaging and Contents
    • Design, and Impressions
    • Set-up and Usage

      -Hardware Installation
      -Firmware
    • Performance, and Compatibility

      -Xbox 360
      -Original Xbox
    • Conclusion

    Introduction




    The x360key was the first ODE (Optical Disc Drive Emulator) to be announced for the Xbox 360, but due to it's price a lot of users have pushed it aside. Waiting to see if a cheaper alternative came along, many have but lets see if the x360key lives up to it's average price tag of $106 USD. A ODE is basically a USB Loader for the Xbox 360 console. It allows you to launch ISOs off a USB Hard Drive. Before you had to either have a JTAG Xbox 360, or have a Reset Glitch Xbox 360 to launch games off a USB HDD but now you've got a alternative solution for your "backup" needs.

    Official Features List


    User Friendly Interface Uses a novice friendly interface.
    Compatible with both Fat and Slim models Works with the Xbox 360 Phat, and Slim consoles.
    Supports most Xbox 360 and Xbox 1 games Allows you to play Xbox 360, and Xbox Original games.
    Supports most file systems, including NTFS, EXT2/3/4, and Mac OS X Extended The USB HDD it loads games off of can be formatted in many ways.
    High speed USB2 interface Can use USB 2.0 speed when loading games.
    Stylish USB control pad for selecting games and controlling your x360key Utilizes a USB Control Pad to choose what games to load.
    Powerful embedded Linux system running from Micro SD card It has Linux running from the Micro SD Card.
    Linux firmware fully updatable from USB media You can update it using a JTAG Programming cable, Micro SD Card, or USB HDD.
    FPGA fully updatable from USB media via built-in, in-system JTAG programming You can update it using a JTAG Programming cable, Micro SD Card, or USB HDD.
    Recovery mode If a flash update doesn't complete, and corrupts the x360key. You can always reflash it.
    No drive flashing or JTAG hack required You don't need to JTAG, or install CFW on your Xbox 360 in order to use the x360key
    AP25 supported Games that have the AP25 Anti-Piracy measure will boot fine.
    XGD3 supported Games in XDG3 format will boot fine.
    Pass-through mode. Allow you to still use your Xbox 360's Original disc drive.
    Multi Disc Games supported Games that have multiple discs can be played.

    Packaging, and Contents


    X360Key Motherboard
    USB Control Pad
    2x Ribbon Cables (One long, one short.)
    Sata Cable
    Power Cable
    USB Dongle
    128 MB Micro SD Card
    Cardboard Boxing

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Design, and Impressions


    Design

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    The x360key is a simple PCB board with a Micro SD Card slot, two sata and power ports as well as a slot for the ribbon cable. It also includes a USB Control Pad, which has 3 buttons to select your games from your USB HDD. "UP, DOWN, and SELECT." The USB Control Pad has a nice screen, that serves it's purpose well. (No color, but if you bought it to play Xbox 360 games you should only be on it for a minute or two in order to select a game to play.)

    Impressions

    The x360key's has a nice sturdy feel to it. The ribbon cable slot is nice, latches fine, and is in a very nice position. A nice little bonus on the x360key is that the Micro SD Slot is spring loaded, so no need to worry about the Micro SD card sliding out out of place. Next thing is that I like the positions of the sata, and data ports which curve to the shape the cables need to be in order to connect properly. The cardboard boxing is a nice little addition as well so that your x360key doesn't short circuit, while inside your Xbox 360 by bumping into any circuitry. Overall I'm pretty impressed by the build, it's simple, clean, and with the combination of the cardboard boxing makes it look pretty nice while in the Xbox 360. The USB Control Pad plastic has a cheap sort of feel to it, but other than that very nice look to it. The buttons are clicky, and respond very well when pressed.

    Set-up and Usage



    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Hardware

    I'm pretty knowledgeable when it comes to opening up a Xbox 360, and plugging in cables but the x360key stunned me for a bit. The sata, and data ports aren't marked in any way, so there's no way for you to tell what port to connect where. It took me about 30-45 minutes just to install the x360dock, not including the time it took me to take apart the Xbox 360. I looked on the website for instructions, but there weren't any so I had to do trial and error in order to get the thing working. Eventually I got it, after a few tries. (One of which got me a bit worried, because it made my Xbox 360 power supply's light turn red. Which I heard is a sign of the power brick dieing, however after reconnecting it in a different way I was able to get the Xbox 360 working fine, and the x360key to operate normally.) So I had to figure it out myself. First off, I had to load the Micro SD Card with the correct files, and put it in the Micro SD Slot located on the x360key. (Look at the next section for a more in depth process.) Once done I got to work on hooking up the x360key motherboard, first off I disconnected the original Xbox 360 disc drive from the Xbox 360's motherboard by unplugging the sata and power cables. Then I plugged one end of the sata cable included with the x360key into the Xbox 360 motherboard's sata port, and connected it to the x360key. I did the same thing with the power cable. Next, I connected the original Xbox 360 disc drive to the x360key by plugging the sata and power cables (Which were previously in the Xbox 360.) to the corresponding ports. As shown below. I then took the smaller ribbon cable and connected it to the ribbon slot on the x360key motherboard, and slipped it through the spacing between the USB Port and the Xbox 360 casing. Afterwards, I then put the cardboard boxing, around the x360key and put it right behind the disc drive. Closed everything up, making sure not to damage the ribbon cable. After everything was put back together, I took the end of the ribbon cable and connected it to the USB Dongle. Connected the dongle to the Xbox 360 via the USB port in the back, and connected the USB Control pad to the USB Dongle by using the USB cable included. Almost done, next you'll want to hook up your USB HDD to the USB Control Pad, using the USB slot on the side. Boot up your Xbox 360, as normal. Eject the disc tray, on the USB Control Pad use the buttons to navigate to the ISO you would like to launch, press the Select button and the game will load up. As a bonus, the x360 key also has a ISOMenu where you can select your ISOs directly from the Dashboard without needing to touch the USB Control Pad. It works as concealing itself as Mixed Media disc, allowing you took look at the contents of your HDD, and select a ISO for the Xbox 360 to boot.

    Firmware

    Software wise the x360key is much easier to get up and running than the installation. First off, you're going to want to download the firmware from the x360key website, and put it on the root your USB HDD. (Files are too big to fit on the Micro SD Card.) But in order to do so, you have to sign up for a account on the x360key website. Along with registering a account, in order to get access to the downloads you have to register your x360key by inputting the serial number located on the back of the USB Control Pad. Also, in order to get the x360key to function you're going to need the drive keys from the disc drive in your Xbox 360. This can be accomplished by dumping the keys by using a X360 USB PRO, Maximus 360 Lizard, or the Sata port on a PC. A quick google search for a tutorial will teach you all you need to know. Once you obtain the keys. (In the form of a file called key.bin.) You must put make a file called "firmware.bin" using a program called JungleFlasher. Grab JungleFlasher, and a stock firmware file. Open up the firmware file in Jungleflasher, and spoof your keys onto the firmware file. Afterwards, save it as "firmware.bin" and throw it on the root of the Micro SD Card. Next, put the Micro SD card in the x360key and you're ready to go. Software wise, anyway.

    Performance, and Compatibility


    Xbox 360

    [​IMG] Dead Island
    [​IMG] Driver: San Franscisco
    [​IMG] Sonic Generations
    [​IMG] Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi
    [​IMG] Domdonpachi
    [​IMG] X-Men: Destiny
    [​IMG] Dead Rising 2: Off The Records
    [​IMG] Battlefield 3
    [​IMG] Rise Of Nightmares
    [​IMG] Gears Of War 3
    [​IMG] Halo 3
    [​IMG] Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
    [​IMG] Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
    [​IMG] Assassin's Creed: Revelations
    [​IMG] Red Dead Redemption

    All the Xbox 360 games I tested booted up fine, I did however have a small issue with freezing which seems to occur, every so often, it could possibly be my USB HDD. I will try the x360key out with another USB HDD, and update the review with my findings.

    Original Xbox

    [​IMG] Fable
    [​IMG] Family Guy: The Game
    [​IMG] Futurama
    [​IMG] Fairy Odd Parents

    All the Xbox Originals I tested show up, as a game title when I select them however, it gives me a "Error has occurred" error, when I try to boot them up. I'll be messaging the Support team, to ask them about it.

    Conclusion


    I'd rate it a 9/10. So from what I've experienced from the x360key I'd have to say it definitely serves it's purpose well, but is it worth the price tag? Yes, the extra features it has makes it deserving of the price tag. It has a supportive team that updates it with new features almost every week, or fixes bugs. That combined with the ISO Menu, functionality and nice look of the USB Control Pad give it that extra edge against the current competition.

    [​IMG]

    [shoptemp]511[/shoptemp]
     
    TeamScriptKiddies and Nicholson like this.


  2. Nujui

    Member Nujui I need something to do.

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    Awesome review as always Devin ;).

    I need to get my hand on a ODE.
     
  3. Devin
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    Member Devin "Local Hardware Wizard"

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    Thanks. On Monday I have a X360 USB Pro bundle coming, that I eventually plan on reviewing and making a tutorial for those unaware on how to do it for themselves. For those who don't like or can't use ODEs.
     
  4. Pippin666

    Member Pippin666 SSF43DE Master

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    How is the speed loading ?? Faster than optical drive ??

    Pip'
     
  5. Devin
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    Member Devin "Local Hardware Wizard"

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    You can see a tad increase of loading speed when you're playing games. Just as if you did a game install.
     
  6. jonesman99

    Member jonesman99 GBAtemp's Official ArchAndroid

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    I noticed in one of the pictures that you have the new Windows Metro Interface. Is that firmware update available yet?

    EDIT: Great review by the way. I also felt that the price wasn't really worth it, but the price makes up 2 games of which you would be able to play more than that with it. Either way, it still is a bit much.
     
  7. Joe88

    Member Joe88 [λ]

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    its a preview update, will become available to all users within the coming weeks
     
  8. jalaneme

    Member jalaneme Female Gamer

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    Hmmm, this xbox 360 key thing is not easy for normal people to install, it requires you to open the console e.t.c, with a ps3 it's simply just one pup file and you can plug any hard drive you want and play, I knew it was too good to be true, can you use any hard drive you want or as you stuck with a generic hard drive wih limited space?
     
  9. feidhlim1986

    Member feidhlim1986 GBAtemp Regular

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    The issue you had booting Modern Warfare 3 is you need to have the dae.bin file on the HDD loading the games to emulate the AP25 and XGD3. If it fails booting normalizing with CFW your Xbox would be flagged for a ban, but with X360Key, it will show the warning on the X360Key remote and give you 60 seconds to turn off your Xbox to avoid a ban-flag being written to your Xbox NAND.

    The random freezes you're experiencing are more than likely the HDD you're using. Many HDD's have a "sleep" mode built in, where the HDD will spin-down after a while if not directly being accessed. Some HDD's can be fixed to never spin down. If you're using a portable HDD that gets it's power from USB, then try a HDD with external power and see if you get freezes.

    Another workaround is to install the game to the Xbox's local HDD, then the Xbox only needs to access the X360Key HDD to verify the "disc in the tray" and it'll read the game from the Xbox's HDD.
     
  10. VashTS

    Member VashTS Beat it, son

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    this does sound better than RGH for me. I like RGH, but I don't want a major project. I got two Xbox's so maybe one will get ODE and one will get RGH :) either way I want HDDs on each one so I guess I gotta wait for Thailand to recover.
     
  11. MattiasAndersson

    Newcomer MattiasAndersson Member

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    I got the xk3y (which is the real name, not x360key?) and I am extremely happy with it. It took a while to get everything up and running with firmwares, DVD keys, etc. Also, the SD-card has a weird partitions on it, which makes it hard to replace.

    But after everything was up and running, perfect! No freezes, everything works.
    Haven't tried Xbox 1 games though, but they update the firmware very often (sometimes every week) with new features. I'm sure Xbox 1 games will work soon.
    Also, hopefully the xk3y will extract the DVD key automatically soon :)

    Anyway, for me it was easily worth the price.
     
  12. Devin
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    Member Devin "Local Hardware Wizard"

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    With the x360key you can use any sized USB HDD.

    Yeah, I did a quick Google search and found out I had to throw a dae.bin file onto the USB HDD. All my XGD3 games boot up fine. As for the HDD I have one with external power, and installing to my Xbox 360's HDD would solve the problem but it'd be sort of a hassle for those with small Xbox 360 HDD's. However it might be my USB HDD, as you mentioned. Perhaps I shall try to grab another one, to see if I still experience freezing.

    As for you, either name is fine. Even on their site they refer to it as the xk3y, and x360key. As for updates they last updated it on the 28th of October, but looking from the update logs they seem to be pushing out updates at a pretty decent speed. Oh, and if they push out some more features that other ODE's don't it would set it apart from the other ODE's. (I see on their site some pretty impressive updates to come, however until they come out they're just talk.)
     
  13. OzModChips

    Member OzModChips GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Giving it a silver wold be fine....but you gave the x360dock a golden award? Which means you either don't know the product or x360dock are paying you to give them a better score.


    Lets see.

    x360key is the only ODE that supports USb HDDs - the dock makes you have a PC right there with it, and the wasabi is only eSATA.
    x360key is the only team in the 360 scene to fix the dae.bin, and they did it in 36 hours
    x360key also has a physical screen AND an menu (use the xkey.cfg file to activate it), which the wasabi has...so you get the best of both worlds. If M$ blocks it you have a backup.
    X360key has a wifi interface you can control the device from, which is also opened up so you can make ANY interface you want -



    I cannot comment on the original xbox games as i have never tried it
    The freezing issue is your HDD - defrag your drive and it *should fix it*
    The only thing they can be marked down on is not having an manual..but they are fixing that asap

    The 360dock might be $30 or so cheaper, but that doesn't mean its 'better'. If you are willign to spend $75 on a device, then $105 is not a big deal.
    The fact that the latest issues with dae.bin is STOPPING people from playing abotu 25 new games, and they couldnt avoid the update is a big deal. xkey fixed issue in 36 hours, and posted it on their forums for people to test another 12 hours later.
    Maybe you should set a timer and see how long it takes x360dock to fix the issue and adjust your scores according to support..since this is not what is important.
    Tick Tock......

    If you didn't know about the stuff mentioned above...then fair enough.
    only posting because many people are going to read this review, and its an ok review if it was the only one around - but you cannot seriously give it a lower score then the 360dock....its cringe worthy.
     
  14. ModchipCentral

    Member ModchipCentral GBAtemp Regular

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    I'm going to have to agree with OzModchips on this one. Not because I am a reseller for them or because I am biased, just my true feeling about it as well :)
     
  15. Devin
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    Member Devin "Local Hardware Wizard"

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    Let's see. You have some valid points.

    I'm not getting paid to promote any item. I give each one a solid run through.

    As for USB HDD Support. We've got the Wasabi 360 team and the USB to eSata Adapter, and the x360dock Module 2 which also allows support of USB HDDs.

    The dae.bin issue hasn't affected my x360dock in any way, all of my "backups" boot perfectly fine.

    Which the Wasabi has, as you mentioned and Module 2 for the x360dock will have a touch screen LCD remote.

    I can control my x360dock perfectly fine using my iPhone, and Teamviewer.

    Haven't had a single issue with the dae.bin with my x360dock.

    You have to know that a lot of people on here want two things. A cheap price, and features. If the Wasabi360, and x360dock can get them the features that the x360key (And more) has at a lower cost. Then by all means they're going to get it. Take a look from a consumer standpoint. I'm not new to the scene, and I'm pretty much in sync with the Xbox 360. With the x360dock it was a simple install, download the software, put your key.bin file in the same directory and choose your ISO to load. Simple. Now, it took me a quite a bit longer to get the x360key sorted up. Some parts of it I barely understood, such as getting the key into a firmware.bin file. (Had to have someone explain it to me.) I will however read over my reviews, as I do see your understand. Please allow me to do some corrections, until then. Lock.
     
  16. Devin
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    Member Devin "Local Hardware Wizard"

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    I'm going to reopen the topic. I seem to have judged the x360key more on installation, and set up rather than functionality. However, the x360key team should release a tutorial on how to set up, and install the x360key. (Which they are according to OzModChips.) The USB HDD freezing may have been on my HDD's part, so I have excluded it from the review. The x360dock, Wasabi360 and x360key are great products but as for now your decision should be (x360key- USB HDD Loading w/ USB Control Pad) (x360dock- PC HDD Loading) (Wasabi360- eSata loading).
     
  17. MattiasAndersson

    Newcomer MattiasAndersson Member

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    I don't think the dae.bin issue would cause problems booting the backups? It believe if would "only" get you banned from Xbox Live.

    And USB to eSATA adapter would add to the cost, making it about equal to xk3y in price? Or an eSATA harddrive which is more expensive than a USB harddrive? At least here.

    I wish the xk3y had built-in wifi though, so I didn't need to buy an add-on to get the web interfaces.

    EDIT:
    Seems I was wrong about booting backups. Shouldn't work. And you are online with your console?
     
  18. Devin
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    Member Devin "Local Hardware Wizard"

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    It makes the Xbox 360 spew out a "Unsupported Disc" error, and kicks you back to the Dash. People who have gotten said error have checked their Xbox 360's with XVAL and have gotten a failed AP25 check, "flagging" them. However legit copies of the games played on flashed Xbox 360's have also given the error.

    Just about, and it really does depend on your situation/location. I was able to grab a Samsung 2 TB HDD for $72's, despite of the huge increase of price due to the flood. Other places you could grab one for about $216. (Newegg is the place I'm referring to.)

    Yes, I'm online with my console.
     
  19. jalaneme

    Member jalaneme Female Gamer

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    That is really cool that you can control the interface via wifi.
     
  20. OzModChips

    Member OzModChips GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Anyone willing to change their mind is a smart man.
    Wasabi and xkey are the same price...
    Xdock is cheaper but i am guessing if you add module 2, it will be the same price.

    Regarding support...i am guessing you are not on live?
    Jump on live with 1.10 Beta3 of the xkey and you will see everything working
    Jump on with wasabi and xdock and you will see that no XGD3 game works.....I am sure they will figure it out but this kind decreases the functionality part does it?
    Also with xdock since you have to have a PC right next to the 360 it turns the 360 into more of a stationary device. Unless you are using a laptop, you cannot really pick up your 360 and take it to your mates house.

    The Manual not being out yet is probably to do with 3 things. The fact that the product is brand new and still evolving, the fact that they are in thailand and being flooded aswell, and the fact that everyone wants an x360key and its outselling other ODDs probably 50 to 1. They are struggling to keep up and concentrating on production and software support at the moment.

    Thanks
     

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