Now we can connect our Xbox One controllers to the PC, wirelessly
Update: A new adapter for Windows 10 was released. You can check out that review here.
Being a PC gamer, I love the fact that I can use multiple controllers to play my games. It doesn’t matter which company the controller comes from, or hell, if drivers even exist. If it’s on the PC, someone will find a way. That is of course unless that controller uses some form of proprietary technology that presents a roadblock, like the Xbox One wireless controller. Previously you were able to use a USB cable to connect the controller to a PC for playing games which sort of defeats the whole point of the wireless/cordless controller.
With the Xbox 360, Microsoft had offered a solution for using the wireless controllers on the PC via their USB Wireless dongle, which I still use today on my other PC’s, however, I love the Xbox One controller design. So much that I even picked up the Xbox One Elite Wireless controller, that I use exclusively on my main PC, yet I still hate using a wire to play games. Well, thankfully Microsoft finally wised up and announced they would release a solution that would let you use your Xbox One controllers via wireless on the PC.
And then there was much rejoicing among the PC gaming communities. Finally, Microsoft got it and was going to give us what we wanted, hardware-wise, for so long.
But there were issues along the way. When the Xbox One wireless adapter was announced, it was only for Windows 10 enabled PCs. There would be no drivers for Windows 7 or 8/8.1 users, so if they wanted to use the device, they were pretty much screwed if they were against upgrading to Windows 10. While I was already planning on upgrading to Windows 10, I still felt that was a really bad move on Microsoft’s part. If you’re supposedly working to gain the trust of PC gaming community like they said they were, then forcing them to a new OS isn’t a good start. There is a silver-lining, as the company finally announced not too long ago that there will be Windows 7 and 8/8.1 support after all. At the time of this review, the drivers are ready, you just have to download them.
Speaking of drivers, this is the second issue with the adapter. When Microsoft first rolled out the drivers for the device, there were tons of issues that users reported, including myself. Random disconnects, cases with the device caused the OS to BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) and more importantly, it would nuke Xbox One controllers to the point where if you didn’t have an Xbox One to re-sync the controller, you were pretty much out of luck. There have been several updates since then and the issues appear to be fixed, as I can report that I haven’t suffered any more issues and looking over several major gaming forums, it seems that others can back up that statement. And when it works, it works well. There’s a tiny bit of latency when using the adapter, but that’s the trade-off when using wireless via a wired connection, but it’s not something that many people are going to notice when using it. Though it has to make you wonder just what kind of Q&A went into the final production of the adapter.
While the device does what it is meant to do, it’s a far cry from the previous Xbox 360 wireless adapter. Sure, the design is slicker, but that’s part of the issue. So instead of a dongle, the new adapter is a straight up USB device. In fact, if you didn’t know any better you would mistake it for a USB flash drive, due to its design. And while it works, if you don’t have any clearance on the front of your PC or any USB ports, you’re forced to either get a powered USB hub or stick it in the back of the PC and pray that you have space back there. However, there’s still an issue with that as the device also has a sync button on it, that you’ll need to access to connect your Xbox One controller with.
It also feels really flimsy. I’ve actually had two adapters so far, as it’s cheaply constructed and is prone to breaking. The connection where the USB port reaches out of the casing is weak and any misdirected force, such as removing it from a USB port, will bend it and cause the casing to pop. Mind you, it’s not screwed down and instead appears to just snap into place instead. That’s definitely a really bad call on Microsoft’s part. I’ve had to resort to reinforce my device with super glue around the sides so that my second one doesn’t meet the same fate as my first one.
Xbox One Controller PC Adapter Review
Gets the job done but still could use some work
In the end, however, I'd still recommend the adapter, assuming that you pick it up at a decent price, nothing over $30, that's for use. If you're using this on a PC that is sitting on/under a desk and you're just using a monitor, then a longer USB cable would be the answer. If you're like me are using an HTPC / Streaming PC that's connected to a TV and you're sitting a few feet away, then the adapter is the only way to go.
I wouldn't be as hesitant to recommend the adapter if it wasn't for those nagging issues with the build quality, which is definitely a shame as the device was sorely needed. Maybe Microsoft will heed the criticism and work on an updated model, once that addresses the concerns I pointed out.