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Lifewire / Zach Sweat
First-party device means seamless integration
Backlit keyboard for typing in the dark
No input lag
Requires some initial setup
Costs more than the competition
A bit hard to get on and off
Microsoft’s official Xbox One Chatpad proves once again that going with first-party accessories for your gaming needs is the best choice.
We purchased the Microsoft Xbox One Chatpad so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
Every gamer has been there, wasting countless time typing away with your controller via an on-screen keyboard. It’s annoying, tiresome and awkward, but what if there was a better way? Well, there is, and if you’ve got an Xbox One, Microsoft’s official Xbox One Chatpad is simply the best solution to this problem. Whether you’re chatting with friends or trying to guess the password to that old account login you’ve already typed out four times, upgrading your Xbox One controller with a chatpad will make your life so much easier.
Out of the box, the overall design of Microsoft’s chatpad isn’t anything too amazing, but it works flawlessly. Featuring the same color scheme and design as other Xbox accessories, it meshes quite well with the look and feel of stock controllers. This seamless design looks better than many third-party alternatives that use cheaper plastics or different textures. As far as we can tell, the chatpad is made from the same material as the official controllers, so it’s also fairly robust if you accidentally drop it. This chatpad is a little beefier than some, but it’s well worth it.
It sports a full QWERTY keyboard, making typing a breeze. For those older gamers out there, it feels a lot like typing on an old-school Blackberry or Droid back when cellphones still had keyboards. At the top, it’s also got a full number pad from 1 to 0, making it even smoother than competitors that require function keys to use the numbers. Below this, you’ve got your standard letter keys that also come equipped with two color functions for additional use. There are green and orange options on each letter, providing quick access to pretty much any symbol or function with one button press. One of the biggest perks of this chatpad is the backlit keyboard, which is perfect for gaming in the dark.
While the chatpad would be great for these features alone, one of our favorite things is that it also doubles as a stereo headset adapter for using 3.5mm headsets. Though all controllers since the summer of 2015 have come with a 3.5mm jack, the stereo adapter is still nice to have, since it gives you quick access to a range of handy controls. These chat controls have also made their way to the chatpad.
Upgrading your Xbox One controller with a chatpad will make your life so much easier.
Another cool little feature is the X1 and X2 buttons that add two unique keys. These aren’t found anywhere else, making this official chatpad even better. The two keys have default settings out of the box (X1 is for screenshots, X2 is for recording clips), but they can also be remapped for custom user functions, like instantly bringing up your friends list.
One the left side, there are two buttons for changing the balance of game audio and chat audio. The right features two buttons for increasing or decreasing volume, with the mute key close by. These hotkeys are great for speedy control when you need to make adjustments on the fly. At the bottom of the chatpad is your 3.5mm jack for use with headsets or headphones.
One last thing to note, if you’re still rocking your original Xbox One headset that uses the Xbox One controller’s data port versus a 3.5mm jack, you won’t be able to use the chatpad and it simultaneously because the pad is plugged in already.
As you would expect from a first-party accessory, the Xbox One Chatpad’s comfort is superb. Once snapped onto the controller, the chatpad is completely unobtrusive to the ergonomics of the stock controller. While some chatpads block part of your grip, this one seems to float just off the bottom and stay out of the way, but also remain perfectly in range of your thumbs for quick text chatting. Even those with smaller hands should have no issue reaching the full range of keys.
Once snapped onto the controller, the chatpad is completely unobtrusive to the ergonomics of the stock controller.
It’s also quite lightweight, so it won’t add unnecessary bulk either. As far as the keys themselves, they’ve got a nice tactile finish on them that feels good. There are even nubs to mark the “J” and “F” keys just like a normal keyboard.
Setting up your new Xbox One chatpad isn’t as easy as plug and play, but it’s nothing too hard. First, ensure your console is up-to-date with the latest software. Next, you’ll want to turn on your controller and then slide on the chatpad. From here, you’ll need to manually update the controller to add the chatpad’s functionality. To do this, take the USB cable that was provided in the box and plug it into the controller and then your console. Now run the update on the controller. You’ll see the orange LED begin to blink to indicate that it's connected and requires an update.
Once it’s completed, you can unplug your controller and begin using the chatpad right away. Unlike many other third-party chatpads, this official one does not need a USB transmitter plugged into the console, which is a nice plus.
While the official Xbox One chatpad isn’t the cheapest, we feel it’s well worth the small increase in price over its competitors. Searching around the internet, you can expect to pay around $30-45 for this setup right now depending on the retailer. Though that’s double some of the others, you also get a standard 3.5mm Xbox One headset (normally these are $25) for free in your box. Now this headset isn’t anything spectacular (it sounds pretty awful for music or in-game sounds), but it’s great for chatting with friends in parties or when you don’t want to isolate yourself from other local players with a full over-ear headset.
We could compare this chatpad with any of the numerous competitors out there, but the Ortz version is the most common and we had one on had to directly compare. First things first, price. The Ortz chatpad can be had for less than $20 typically, so it’s an okay option for those on a tight budget, but that’s about it for the positives it has over the Microsoft version.
While the Microsoft pad is roughly $15 more, you don’t get these with the Ortz: an included 3.5mm headset, backlit keys, function keys for typing symbols quickly and stereo headset controls built-in. We feel that given all these benefits, the optimal choice is easily the first-party chatpad.
Browse through our list of The 9 Best Xbox One Accessories of 2019 to see even more awesome accessories to enhance your gaming experience.
The best choice for an Xbox One chatpad.
Simply put, the first-party Xbox One Chatpad is the best option for a chatpad. Despite its higher cost, the price is warranted, and you definitely won’t regret spending the extra cash to go with a first-party accessory.
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