It’s not just for Xbox. Microsoft’s well-engineered Xbox One Wireless Controller is perfectly compatible with Windows and can also work with Android phones.
There are few controllers that can match the overall efficacy of the Xbox Wireless Controller. With billions of dollars poured into its research and development, Microsoft has engineered a controller with superior ergonomics and forward-thinking features like dedicated vibration engines for its triggers.
The company also helped popularize the layout of the face buttons, directional pad, and analog sticks. Analog sticks line up on opposite ends of the controller, as opposed to lining them up right next to each other like on Sony’s DualShock 4 for the PlayStation. This makes for a more balanced control experience, though this is a matter of preference. Having used this controller extensively myself, I can attest to the heightened sense of immersion these features enable, and the comfort level allows me to enjoy gaming for hours at a time.
The Xbox One’s controller didn’t always support Bluetooth. Microsoft made that upgrade when it unified the company’s gaming efforts across console and PC (and yes, Macs included). As such, the Xbox Wireless Controller works with scores of your favorite games on PC. Many games have dedicated controller or joystick modes that communicate directly with the controller interface included with Windows 10.
In games that don’t automatically target it, it’s simple enough to map the buttons how you like. It being Bluetooth means the pad can also work with Android smartphones, though it’s not always perfect as some mobile games don’t have proper support.
One other niggle is that the controller accepts AA batteries as standard. You’ll need to buy a separate battery — either a Play-and-Charge Kit (25 hours of battery life) or rechargeable AAs (40 hours) — if you want that functionality. The upside to this element, and something I bill as an advantage, is that you can hot-swap your batteries when they’re dead, so there’s never a need to connect a USB charger if being tethered is out of the question. This also eliminates the need for repairs or replacements when battery life eventually degrades.
The Xbox Wireless Controller maintains an average of around 4 stars out of 5 at Amazon. More than 4,000 reviewers have chimed in, and one buyer said it’s “very comfortable to use, and the Bluetooth connectivity to my Windows 10 PC is consistent.” That sentiment echoes PCGamer’s views, which scored the original incarnation of this controller a 90 out of 100, calling it “a vast improvement over the original Xbox 360 controller,” which itself was the best of its time.
Pros: Masterful ergonomic design, native Windows 10 support, user-replaceable batteries, widespread game compatibility, excellent battery life, value
Cons: Need to supply your own batteries, some Android games are not supported