Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Controller review: Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Controller

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.2
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 9.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless controller is comfortable and practical, with amazing wireless capability and solid battery life.

The Bad The Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless controller is quite pricey, even without the optional rechargeable battery accessories. Also, the controller lacks the motion-sensitive innovation of the Nintendo Wii and Sony PS3 controllers and may stunt creativity in games for the system.

The Bottom Line The Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless controller may be the most expensive first-party controller ever, but it's easily the best, too.

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Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Controller

Microsoft's first venture into the console business with the Xbox was a learning experience for the company, and there's no greater evidence than the evolution of the system's controller. The original Xbox controller was an oversize mess, with oddly shaped and placed buttons. Roughly halfway through the console's run, the original controller was replaced with the Controller S, the smaller alternative created for the Japanese launch. Heralded as one of the best controllers ever created, Xbox fans wondered how Microsoft could improve upon its design as it set out to create the official wireless controller for the Xbox 360. Here's the answer.

The Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless controller retails for $50--that is, $10 more than the wired controller. It's currently available in only one color, and it accepts two AA batteries or a more environmentally friendly Xbox 360 Rechargeable Battery Pack. The controller should last from 15 to 20 hours between recharging or replacing the battery.

The Xbox 360 Wireless Controller borrows many design elements from the Controller S. The left and right analog sticks and triggers, the control pad, and the face buttons are all in the same spots, constructed rather similarly. The start and Back buttons have been moved to the center, flanking the new guide button, which can turn on the system remotely and allows access to your gamer card at any time. Removed from the older controller are the black and white buttons, which were awkwardly placed below the face buttons. Taking their place are the left and right bumpers, which make their home on the top of the controller in front of the triggers. Atop the controller is a small white sync button that, for the first time, allows your controller to communicate with a Xbox 360 console. The slight changes have resulted in a nearly perfect design; not only is the controller great for Xbox 360 games, but you may just prefer the new layout for the backward-compatible Xbox1 titles, as the bumpers are better located than the black and white buttons.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Nov 22, 2005
  • Color pink
  • Form Factor external
  • Type game pad
  • Connectivity Technology wireless
  • Form Factor AA type
  • Compatibility Game console