Microsoft has shown us what the future of console gaming looks like with the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. They have us looking nervously at the holiday fund, wondering whether to rename it the Xbox pot. But there’s good news.
This console transition might just be most painless one yet. Xbox One owners aren’t suddenly going to be left in the past, and Microsoft has confirmed any licensed accessories you buy for Xbox One will also work with Series S and Series X.
It matters a lot if you shell out for one of our favourite Xbox One accessories, the brilliant-but-pricey Wireless Elite Controller Series 2.
But what should you buy for your console? Aside from first-party and third-party pads, consider one of the best Xbox One headsets, an external hard drive or a subsription to one of Microsoft’s fab gaming services.
Here’s our pick of the best Xbox One accessories.
The Xbox One controller is already a pretty solid piece of hardware. It improved on the Xbox 360’s controller, which became the industry standard way-back-when. Somehow, Microsoft managed even further improvement in the form of the Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller.
There are swappable thumbsticks and directional pads that offer a better feel than the standard Xbox One controller, as well as quick-hit triggers to help out in the most high-impact shooters. While it’s pretty pricy for a pad at almost three times the cost of a standard controller, you definitely get what you pay for with this premium piece of hardware.
The first revision of this pro pad didnt have a built-in rechargeable battery, but Series 2 does. It lasts up to 40 hours, and while it’s no longer hot-swappable you can charge as you play. Other additions include Bluetooth, and controllable tension for the thumbsticks. It’s an engineering masterpiece.
Read the full review: Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller
While there is some benefit to Xbox One controller using standard batteries (like not having to worry about having a controller-free console in a few years when the other platforms controller batteries start dying and the platform manufacturers have moved on), the process of switching out AA batteries every few weeks can be maddening.
If you yearn for some simplicity, though, the Xbox One Play and Charge Kit puts the Xbox One Controller on the same playing field as the competition. Just put the simple battery back where you’d put the batteries and use a micro-USB cable to keep the controller fresh when you run out of juice.
Ever since the PlayStation 2 put a DVD player in the homes of millions, one constant has remained this millennium; using a controller to watch videos on consoles is the worst. If you’re using your Xbox One as a streamer, Blu-ray player, and TV watcher, the Xbox One Media Remote is a great way to watch all of your favorite content without fumbling to remember the proper controller command to bring up closed captions or time remaining.
This remote is perfectly sized to fit every important command (including volume options that controllers and Xbox One Smartglass cant handle), is very sleek, and has a backlight that’s perfect for home theaters and late-night video-watching.
Turtle Beach is the longest established specialist gaming headset manufacturer, with a fanatical following among pro-gamers – and when you unbox its top-of-the-range Elite Pro, you can see why. It simply oozes no-expense-spared design, and sports all manner of neat touches born from decades of pro-gaming experience.
But more importantly than that, it sounds spectacular, with huge bass and crystal-clear treble adding up to a sound which will allow you to get deeply immersed into whatever game you’re playing. Comfort-wise, it’s exemplary, with big, thick earpads that eliminate all ambient noise, and can be easily adjusted to fit all head-sizes. A neat feature lets you add spacing to the earpads to accommodate a pair of glasses.
On an Xbox One, we’d recommend teaming it up with piece of kit called the Tactical Audio Adapter, which clips into the Xbox One controller and operates as an amplifier, adding some of the extra sound-control features which come in a separate graphic equaliser-style box called the Tactical Audio Controller (which is pricey but adds Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound).
Those features include Turtle Beach’s Superhuman Hearing, which enhances the sound of incoming players’ footsteps and is great for hardcore first-person shooter fans, and Dynamic Chat Boost, which keeps chat-levels audible even when background noise rises. Plus, it lets you independently adjust game and chat volumes.
Add tank-like build-quality to the equation and you have a headset which has become something of a status symbol for those who take their gaming seriously.
For more information, check out our full Turtle Beach Elite Pro review.
There are two key Xbox One services you need to know about. Xbox Live Gold lets you play games online, and offers a handful of games to download each month. You can play them as long as your subscription is active, not just during that month.
Xbox Game Pass is more recent, and more interesting. It unlocks 100+ titles for Xbox and PC that you can download and play as if you owned them. You might never need to buy a game again.
A Game Pass Ultimate subscription rolls these two services into one monthly (or annual) payment, saving you a few dollars in the process.
Pro tip: keep an eye on the games that are set to come and go on Game Pass on the reg as a fistful change each month.
Sometimes, a voice message won’t do and you’ve got to send some words to your Xbox cohorts. So what do you do? Painfully trudge through the UI keyboard to slowly…type…out… each… word? Pull up your phone and dive through a series of Smartglass menus to text your fellow players? Wouldn’t it be great if you had a keyboard handy at all times?
That’s why the Xbox One Chatpad is so darn handy. Sending messages is a snap, even in the dark thanks to the back-lit mini-keyboard. Sending longer messages to friends or redeeming one of the Xbox One’s insane 25-character redemption codes is a heck of a lot easier with this sweet add-on that fits flush with your controller.
Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller is truly an innovative piece of tech, making gaming more accessible for gamers with limited mobility. While this Xbox One accessory isn’t necessarily for everyone, its large programmable buttons and ability to connect to external switches, buttons, mounts and joystick means the controller can be customized for users of varying needs.
However, the issue with this controller is price. While it works with a range of devices, they all need to be purchased separately (as the purchase price is only for the main controller). So if you have more precise needs, then you will need to buy more plug ins. It’s not ideal but Microsoft’s effort to make gaming more accessible is definitely a step forward.
Whether you’ve got an old reliable headset that saw you through some Xbox 360 battles or want your PC gaming headset to pull double duty, you’ll need something to get a non-official headset working with the Xbox One’s proprietary controller connector.
Thankfully, there’s the Xbox One Headset Adaptor that allows one to plug a standard wired gaming headset on the Xbox One console. It also helps things out by centralizing the headset commands right underneath the controller. No longer will you have to feel around on your headset’s wires to find the volume and muting controls; it’s all right there on the controller no matter what headset you’ve got connected.
Even with the streamlined simplicity that consoles offer, sometimes storage can be tricky, especially given the sheer variety of external hard drives on the market. Will a hard drive get enough power from the console to run properly? Is the speed up to snuff enough to play full games at a proper clip? Sometimes reliability and peace of mind is worth spending a little more for, which is why Seagate’s official external drive is worth seeking out.
Beyond the snazzy look and logo, you’re guaranteed a solution to your storage ills and a hard drive that will work right out of the box. If you’ve ever had to futz around formatting your drive and crossing your fingers that your console will recognize it, the Game Drive is a breath of fresh air.