When the Xbox 360 was released in November 2005, owners of the previous console were delighted to see that the online element would not only be preserved, but it would also be vastly improved. Xbox Live on the 360 not only provided updated features across the board, but it also concentrated on the social environment, allowing gamers to message each other through text and voice.
Unfortunately, the only way one could text message another user would be through the tedious process of typing through a virtual keyboard or physically attaching a USB keyboard to the console. With the Xbox 360 Messenger Kit, users can now use a slick QWERTY keyboard attachment (called the chatpad) on their Xbox 360 controller for private messaging in-game via Xbox Live or Microsoft Messenger. While Sony just announced a similar device for the PlayStation 3, the chatpad has been available for the Xbox 360 since September 2007.
The Xbox 360 Messenger Kit comes with two pieces: a chatpad attachment for the 360 controller and a headset that plugs into the chatpad's base.
Attaching the chatpad is quick and easy. You simply line up the communication ports on the chatpad and click the outer pegs into the controller. Because the attachment occupies the port that the existing wired headset uses, the included modified headset plugs into the base of the chatpad so you can use both devices simultaneously.
The headset differs only slightly from the original, with a new volume slider and mute toggle that can clip onto your clothing. Other than that, the adjustable headset is nearly identical in looks and solid performance. Note that if you use the wireless headset, there is no change in operation when you attach the chatpad.