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

A variety of inputs are unobtrusively located on the Xbox 360 Wireless Controller. On the top is the input for the Xbox 360 Play and Charge Kit, which allows you to recharge the battery pack via a cabled USB connection to the console--though we found the Quick Charge Kit to be a far better solution. On the bottom is a headset input. You can plug in any headset with a 2.5mm minijack (standard for cell phone headsets), but the input is form-fitted to accept the Xbox 360 Headset, which has built-in volume and mute buttons. Compared to the wired controller, this model is slightly heavier and bulkier, due to the presence of the battery pack at the back of the controller.

As for performance, it's phenomenal, besting even Logitech and Nintendo's wireless wares. Response time is even with that of any wireless controller released before. The controller is as responsive as its wired counterpart, with the exception of the guide button, which takes a few seconds longer to sync wirelessly. The force feedback is strong but not quite as strong as the wired controller's. That said, where the 360 Wireless Controller separates itself from the rest of the pack is its ability to connect multiple controllers at once. While other controllers require multiple dongles and manually chosen frequencies, each of these wireless controllers will sync with the Xbox 360 console once the guide button is pressed. Once connected, the quadrant of the guide button corresponding to the player's number lights up.

In the final analysis, the Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Controller may be one of the best wireless controllers ever in terms of design and performance. If you're looking for faults, you might argue the controller lacks any startling new features--especially in comparison to the motion-based controllers for the upcoming Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3--which may hinder true game design innovations. And you might also be disappointed that it doesn't come with a rechargeable battery at this price point. But those quibbles aside, the Xbox 360 Wireless Controller is at the top of the pack.

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Quick Specifications See All

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