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Experience comfort, style, and performance with the Xbox 360 controller

After the chilly reception to the original Xbox controller (nevertheless affectionately referred to as “The Duke”), Microsoft was tasked with revising its design for the Xbox 360 generation. The Duke was broadly considered to be aesthetically displeasing, oversized, and uncomfortable. Microsoft desperately needed to rebound with something sleek, innovative, and comfortable. Luckily the result was a major success. The Xbox 360 controller is widely regarded as a triumph, and many gamers consider it to be their favourite controller design of all time.

Wired vs. Wireless

Most players prefer the convenience and ease of a wireless controller. Eliminating the hassle of a wire tethering the controller to the console via a Bluetooth connection creates freedom of movement distance from the console. Wireless controllers are generally easy to sync simply by connection the controller to the console via its USB port. Once powered on, the controller should automatically sync.

Of course there are a few advantages that can lead some gamers to prefer a wired controller. In particular those most sensitive to the difference in latency between a wired and a wireless signal may prefer the former for its sharper response time. Wired controllers are also powered by the console and do not require batteries.

Both the wired and wireless versions of the Xbox 360 controller are compatible with PC as well. This is generally as simple as plug and play, although the wireless Xbox 360 controller will require a separate USB dongle in order to make a wireless connection. Xbox 360 controllers are not natively compatible with the Xbox One console however. That said, there are tutorials available for viewing online which claim to allow players to work around this limitation.

Wireless controllers: Battery powered vs. Charge and Play

Since wireless controllers not directly powered by the console, they require another form of energy. The standard Xbox 360 controller is powered by 2 AA batteries. However there are also charge and play kits available which include a rechargeable battery pack that can be charged via USB connection to the console.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each method. With regular AA batteries, players never need to worry about connecting their controller to the console via a charging cable. When the batteries run dry, they simply need to be replaced. That said, a frequent gamer may go through batteries quickly, making their replacement a costly investment.

Alternatively, a rechargeable battery pack can save money over time, and players will never find themselves out of replaceable AA batteries mid-game. However, they do run the risk of finding the rechargeable battery depleted, which will then require either playing while tethered to the console via a charging cable, or even having to wait for the battery to recharge altogether.

First Party vs. Third Party

On top of the official first party Xbox 360 controllers manufactured and sold by Microsoft, there are also a number of third party iterations available as well.

Microsoft maintains the same shape and quality across its controllers, but they do come in a variety of colours, patterns, and finishes. They tend to cost a bit more than a third party controller, but they are also guaranteed to be a high quality product. Check for the Microsoft brand to verify whether or not a controller is a first party product.

Alternatively, third party controllers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some even offer different aesthetic flourishes such as glowing lights or stylized grips. Third party Xbox 360 controllers are also often priced more economically than those manufactured by Microsoft itself, but generally at the cost of some level of quality.

There are also a wide variety of custom accessories and skins available for both first and third party Xbox 360 controllers. These can be used to personalize your controller with unique colours and artwork, or even add functionality beyond the factory specifications of a controller.