Microsoft announced its Xbox One controller would be making its official debut as a PC gamepad back in September, allowing PC gamers who don’t own an Xbox One to experience the evolution of the company’s Xbox 360 controller from the comfort of their computer. The Xbox One Controller + Cable for Windows is a carbon copy of the Xbox One controller, except it comes with a cable that allows PC gamers to experience true plug & play as you won’t have to download any sort of drivers once you plug it into an open USB port.
Should those who own an Xbox 360 controller consider purchasing the Xbox One for Windows controller or should you just continue wearing down your analog sticks until they just vanish? There’s only one way to find out and that’s by letting our fingers do the talking in our review.
As I touched on in my opening paragraph, the Xbox One for Windows controller, for the most part, is an exact replica of the controller Xbox One owners receive when they purchase their console. That means if your sweaty mitts have ever touched an Xbox One controller and you weren’t impressed by it, then you’re going to have the same feelings towards this controller.
As far as what’s changed from the Xbox 360 controller, the Xbox One controller features slightly larger hand grips, a much-improved directional pad (or D-pad as it’s known), more solid-feeling thumbsticks that don’t feel as stiff, and more responsive face buttons. The trigger and bumpers have also been improved as the bumpers are larger and have a better click to them and the triggers are larger and more prominent on the controller. The extremely large battery pack has also been removed, allowing you to plug your batteries directly into the controller, which helps it feel way less bulky.
One of the biggest improvements of the Xbox One controller is the replacement of the Xbox 360’s proprietary connector, and is instead using microUSB to connect it to your PC. As someone who has lost too many Xbox 360 cables in the past, this is a very welcome change as it allows me to use any of the thousands of microUSB cables I have lying around in order to use the Xbox One controller on my PC.
Since the Xbox One for Windows controller is so similar to its console counterpart, it isn’t at all surprising to hear I could used it as a controller on my Xbox One console in addition to its use as a PC controller. Even though I’m not at all surprised by this, I’m sure this is will be a nice feature to know for those who are considering picking up this gamepad and may also be in the market for an Xbox One console.
Ball and USB chain
One benefit the Xbox 360 for Windows controller has over the Xbox One controller is the fact that it can be used wirelessly, so long as you own the Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows. Unfortunately, as of this writing, Microsoft doesn’t offer any way for the Xbox One to be used wirelessly on the PC as its gaming receiver is only compatible with Xbox 360 controllers. Not only is there no wireless adapter for the Xbox One controller, Microsoft has yet to announce such a device is in the works.
Fortunately, the cable that’s provided with the Xbox One controller is quite long measuring in at 9 feet, which means you shouldn’t have any trouble plugging it into your PC, so long as it’s within the same room. At 9 feet, the cable should even be able to reach across a small bedroom. The length of the cable helps somewhat, but if you require a wireless controller for you PC gaming needs, then you’re going to need to hold out on the Xbox One controller until Microsoft announces a compatible adapter.
Curious if the included cable allows you to use the Xbox One controller with your Xbox One console? Good news! It’s completely compatible if you suddenly need a second controller for your console, although you should know the controller is able to connect to the Xbox One wirelessly if you prefer. All you would need to do is sync it with your console and you’ll be good to go. It should be noted if you connect the Xbox One controller back to your PC with the included cable, you’ll need to sync it to your console again afterwards.
Xbox One vs. Xbox 360 controller. FIGHT!
If you’re in the market for a gamepad for your PC, I’d recommend the Xbox One Controller + Cable for Windows over the Xbox 360 controller so long as you don’t need it to be wireless. Microsoft has done a really great job of offering some notable enhancements to the Xbox One controller. With a unibody design, drastically improved input methods, and compatibility with the Xbox One console, you really should be picking this one up.
If you currently have an Xbox 360 controller and are enjoying the wireless goodness, there’s absolutely no rush to pick up the Xbox One controller. Even though I feel strongly towards its improvements, the lack of wireless could be a deal breaker for many PC gamers who want to keep their desks as clutter free as possible or have a PC hooked up in their living room. If you don’t own an Xbox One nor do you plan to in the near future, that’s even more of a reason to not upgrade since you won’t be using it for anything outside of PC gaming.
Once Microsoft releases the Xbox One Wireless Adapter, then I would say that would be the opportune time to kick your Xbox 360 controller to the curb.