Xbox One Controller + Cable for Windows Review: Can't Fight This Feeling

Microsoft released a PC version of its Xbox One controller recently and after spending countless hours with it, we're ready to give our verdict as to whether or not the PC Master Race needs it in their lives.

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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.

Xbox, on!

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.

Senior Editor

From The Chatty

  • reply
    December 15, 2014 9:00 AM

    Daniel Perez posted a new article, Xbox One Controller + Cable for Windows Review: Can't Fight This Feeling

    • reply
      December 15, 2014 9:04 AM

      I can't believe it is wired. I'm using a dualshock 4 instead because of the wirelessness

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        December 15, 2014 9:30 AM

        How does the Dualshock 4 perform as a PC controller? Also - do you happen to have the drivers or any pertinent info handy? I'd love to check it out so I could compare the two.

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          December 15, 2014 10:04 AM

          I used it a bit with the I downloaded DS4 Tools and that worked very well. Mimics an Xbox 360 controller basically.

          http://forums.pcsx2.net/Thread-DS4-To-XInput-Wrapper

          News to me but it seems the developer of DS4 Tools stopped development on it last July.

          However I had to bother setting up almost each time I played and sometimes restarting it got too annoying on my PC. Also wireless works but again the battery life on the DS4 gets me about 3-4 hours so I end up playing plugged in most of the time. I mainly use it as my gaming controller now when I travel with my laptop.

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          December 15, 2014 10:35 AM

          You just need something called DS4Tool

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          December 15, 2014 10:49 AM

          Works perfectly fine with the DS4Tool and there are many mods out there to replace xbox button images with PS ones in games/emulators. It's the best for anything with a d-pad requirement, short of a 6 face button controller.

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          December 15, 2014 5:22 PM

          I bought a 360 controller last year sometime, but when I started using a DS4 I ditched the 360 one for it. I use DS4Windows as I had a few games that didn't like DS4Tool, zero issues with DS4Windows. Your mileage may vary, but the DS4 is now my preferred controller between that and the 360 one.

          Favorite current controllers: WiiU Pro Controller > DS4 > Xbone

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        December 15, 2014 5:29 PM

        I'm fine with it being wired as I'm usually close to the PC.

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      December 15, 2014 9:06 AM

      My main question about that controller is does it natively support all the games that have 360 controller support (like 360 button prompts, etc.) or would I have to do weird workarounds. Also, does it support the steam big picture Xbox button+right bumper screenshot function?

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        December 15, 2014 9:15 AM

        Yes, games will have "xbox" button prompts. Most of the time you will see 360 button prompts (start and back rather than... Whatever the fuck xbone buttons are), but pretty much every modern PC game with controller support uses the Xbox buttons as default.
        Also, some newer games (Far Cry 4) actually do use Xbone button prompts, which I thought was interesting.

        Also worth noting, I tried playing Kingdoms Of Amalur with my XBone controller and I got weird performance issues. Everything is fine for about 5 minutes, but then shit starts to fall apart... Weird button lag that gets progressively worse until it's completely unplayable (can't even exit the game). I googled this and apparently it's a pretty widespread issue for that game with the Xbone controller. 100% fine with the 360 pad, so if you have some of those around you might want to hold on to them in case that sort of thing happens.

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      December 15, 2014 9:08 AM

      Why why why why why is this not wireless.

      Stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid

      • reply
        December 15, 2014 9:14 AM

        It's symbolic. The cable represents Microsofts renewed commitment to PC gaming.

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          December 15, 2014 9:49 AM

          OHHHHH. So the cable shows how they are tethered to PC gaming.

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      December 15, 2014 9:12 AM

      I switched to using my XB1 controller on PC for Dragon Age Inquisition and this game is much better with a controller. The interface looks better IMO on controller because M+KB it's too hard to see the cursor.

      It's nice that the PC has a standardize control scheme for controllers for a while now.

      Also syncing the XB1 controller to the console can be done using the USB cable as well instead of having to do the sync buttons.

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        December 15, 2014 5:40 PM

        Those playing DAI, get a controller. Its sooo much better.

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      December 15, 2014 9:13 AM

      I'll totally use this on PC when the wireless dongle is available. Great controller.

      • reply
        December 15, 2014 9:33 AM

        Thanks for sharing that. I'm sure those using OSX will really appreciate it.

        • reply
          December 15, 2014 5:37 PM

          can you pin chatty comments that show up in the article? if so, this should be pinned. if not, you should update the article with thanks to MWM

      • reply
        December 15, 2014 9:52 AM

        One Single Mom's Weird Tweak

      • reply
        December 15, 2014 1:33 PM

        I use the Wii U Pro controller with iOS. Bluetooth works fine

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      December 15, 2014 9:48 AM

      I just recently retired a broken 360 wired controller for my PC, and switched to a wireless model. I'm really not interested in going back to dealing with a cable. I'm honestly just curious as to why there is no wireless adapter like they had with their previous controller. Maybe a third party company would like to get into the business of making such a peripheral.

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        December 15, 2014 10:20 AM

        I imagine they are working on it but wanted to get something out sooner.

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          December 15, 2014 11:12 AM

          And I'm probably over simplifying this, but it's just a wireless receiver on the 2.4GHz spectrum. There's really nothing special going on.

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            December 15, 2014 12:17 PM

            It's a proprietary protocol

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              December 15, 2014 4:47 PM

              If you go to Amazon, you can only buy generic wireless receivers for the Xbox 360. It's really not that proprietary.

      • reply
        December 15, 2014 1:23 PM

        They actually released the Xbox 360 for PC controller wired at first as well. The wireless receiver came out afterwards.

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          December 15, 2014 8:18 PM

          Yeah. Still today it seems like such an odd move. I suppose Microsoft doesn't really have a games division. PC/Xbox are still separate to them.

    • reply
      December 15, 2014 9:52 AM

      If I get an XBO controller, can I use any micro USB cable with it?

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        December 15, 2014 10:07 AM

        I use the same cable I leave to charge my Logitech G602 with. The computer automatically turns it on and recognizes the controller.

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        December 15, 2014 10:11 AM

        Yes.

      • reply
        December 15, 2014 10:23 AM

        Awesome, thanks guys! :)

      • reply
        December 15, 2014 3:17 PM

        Depends on cable length. For like 2 metres or more get a decent Lindy instead of no-brand shit, in my experience. Possibly obvious.

    • reply
      December 15, 2014 10:56 AM

      Stupid question but will the X1 controller work with my 360?

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      December 15, 2014 10:59 AM

      The D-pad is still shit.

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      December 15, 2014 11:02 AM

      Is the Xbox One controller worth the price difference over the 360 controller if I don't care about wireless? I remember when the One came out there was a lot of debate whether they'd improved the D pad enough.

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        December 15, 2014 11:18 AM

        I think it'd be a solid purchase for future-proofing purposes. Right now there probably aren't a lot of games taking advantage of the additional rumble/FF features in the XBO controller for the PC but I'd imagine that will change as the adoption rate increases.

        If you don't care about vibrating shoulder buttons and force-feedback triggers then skip it.

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      December 15, 2014 11:37 AM

      The white LED under the XBox button is way too bright, especially since it's pointed directly at your face. I had to fix it with some arts and crafts style taping:

      http://chattypics.com/files/XBoneFix_omkyjftjcm.jpg

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      December 15, 2014 11:38 AM

      Funny how many people bellyache the need for a wireless controller here but don't want to use the 360 controller? I mean, real funny. You've probably already got the thing, you can get the wireless dongles for maybe $10 online.

      If you want a dead-on D-Pad, that can easily be done with your 360 controller, just follow instructions here: http://www.mmmonkey.co.uk/xbox-360-d-pad-improvement/

      I've done about a dozen of these, using the drill method that is shown near the bottom. It's easy as hell and takes no time to do. You'll know if you've done it properly if your pad "clicks" when you press it.

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        December 15, 2014 12:00 PM

        There is no sound reason for them not to release a wireless dongle for the Xbone pad. That's all. Sell the things for $20 - $30 a pop and make devilish amounts of money from accessory sales.

        I guess we'll all have to wait for the Steam Pad... hey, what ever happened to that?

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      December 15, 2014 1:40 PM

      It's the year of our lord Two Thousand and Fourteen. Wires are a deal breaker.

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        December 15, 2014 8:15 PM

        That's basically the only basic requirement of a modern controller other than being a decent controller and preferably having rechargeable batteries. (since eneloops >>>>> what I hear about PS4 controllers)

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      December 15, 2014 3:01 PM

      Looks like someone had a word count to meet

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      December 15, 2014 3:22 PM

      My 360 controller is wireless. I think I'll just continue using that.

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        December 15, 2014 4:26 PM

        I don't blame you. I'd do the same thing, but, you know, Microsoft sent me this controller for review. So I GUESS I had to use it. ;)

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      December 15, 2014 5:26 PM

      What's the story on batteries? Does the XB1 controller need to have them charged when using it plugged in? Are they removable?

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      December 15, 2014 5:34 PM

      Why don't they do the wireless dongle? It's idiocy. The DS4 works great on a PC with a bit of fiddling.

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      December 15, 2014 7:58 PM

      Can this one be shut off without having to remove the batteries or have a special batch file?

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        December 15, 2014 8:17 PM

        IMO that's nothing compared to a controller shutting off while a game is paused, or needing a battery change, then it disappears from the system and the game needs to be restarted to see it. (admittedly, probably more of an issue with older software)

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          December 15, 2014 8:19 PM

          I just think it's retarded that there's no native way to turn off the 360 controller on a PC without taking out the batteries or having a special custom written 3rd party batch file executable.

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            December 15, 2014 8:20 PM

            Oh yeah granted, it's dumb.

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            December 15, 2014 8:37 PM

            Why the fuck would you want it off?

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              December 15, 2014 9:16 PM

              Because if I'm not using it, I don't wanna run the batteries down?

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                December 16, 2014 9:51 AM

                Oh I was talking about the corded ones, this makes more sense now

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              December 16, 2014 9:03 AM

              You just leave your controller on when you're done playing? That's cra-cra.

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            December 15, 2014 9:43 PM

            It's not like it's that big of a deal to pop the batteries and put it back on the 360. It's not like a difficult TV remote or like you have to pop out an individual battery.