These 4 tips will help you max out your Xbox One controller’s battery life

Get the most life out of your Xbox One controller with these tips

The Xbox One gamepad might be the best feature of Microsoft’s current console. Its comfortable triggers, easy-to-reach analog sticks, and, most importantly, energy-efficient design allow you to play games for weeks on end without having to swap out your batteries. But eventually, your controller is going to die, and you’re going to have to replace those AAs if you want to continue gaming. Here are some tips to get the most out of your Xbox One controller batteries, and how you can even keep playing without using batteries at all.

Buy a rechargeable battery dock

Unlike the PlayStation 4’s DualShock 4 and the Switch’s Pro controller, the Xbox One doesn’t use an internal battery. By default, it requires standard AA batteries. You can use any type or brand, including higher-capacity Alkaline batteries, but the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly choice is a rechargeable Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) battery. They are less toxic when you do eventually throw them away, and, unlike older Nickel Cadmium batteries, they don’t develop “battery memory.” You can purchase an Energizer 1-Hour Charger with four rechargeable batteries for $35, and with space for all four in the charger, one pair can always be ready to go when the other is drained.

If you’re looking to spend a little less money, a basic charger is also available, which can charge your batteries in 7 to 13 hours, but the included batteries in this set are only 1300mAh — Energizer’s NH15-2300 give you nearly twice the capacity, and are compatible with the same chargers.

Don’t bother with the Play and Charge Kit

xbox one controller battery life tips xboxoneplaycharge1

Microsoft sells a rechargeable battery pack made especially for the Xbox One, the Xbox One Play and Charge Kit, which replaces your AA batteries with a lithium-ion battery pack, which you charge using a micro-USB cable. Connecting the cable to your console also allows you to connect the controller without syncing it wirelessly.

The charge pack’s lithium-ion battery can get up to 30 hours of battery life, and charges in four hours. That’s fine, but it’s nothing compared to what you can get with other rechargeable batteries. The Play and Charge Kit’s battery is only 1400mAh — just slightly above the PlayStation 4’s pack — while AA Alkaline batteries can go all the way up to 3000mAh.

While it sounds nice, using a charging cable instead of replacing batteries isn’t as great as it sounds. Unless you want to charge the battery exclusively through the Xbox One, you need another charging block with a USB port. And, of course, the battery pack will be completely useless for anything other than your Xbox One controller.

Third-party charging stations can eliminate the need for another charger, but its battery still isn’t up to snuff. At only 1100mAh, it holds a smaller capacity than even the cheapest AAA batteries, and it will take you more than two hours to completely charge your pack.

Play games with a wired connection

If you’ve somehow managed to drain or destroy all of your AA batteries, you still don’t have to stop playing your Xbox One. An Xbox One wireless controller can be converted into a wired controller by connecting it to your console with any micro-USB cable. Unlike the Xbox 360, which would only charge wireless controllers over a connection, connecting the controller in this manner on the Xbox One actually allows data to transmit over the wired connection. While wired, the controller does not need batteries to run, and will not drain any batteries in the controller. If you have the Play and Charge kit, the battery will charge.

In addition to being a great battery-saving option for those living in smaller areas, it’s also a better way to play games that rely on extremely fast reflexes, such as fighting games or Dark Souls III. You’ll see slightly reduced input lag, and when you’re facing off against an opponent in Injustice 2 or Dragon Ball FighterZ, every millisecond counts.

Don’t worry about leaving it turned on

microsoft xbox one recon tech special edition wireless controller 06805
Will Fulton/Digital Trends
Will Fulton/Digital Trends

With a certain setting adjustment, the PlayStation 4’s DualShock 4 controller can stay on indefinitely, even if you’ve left the console idle for hours on end. The Xbox One’s controller, on the other hand, automatically turns off after 15 minutes of inactivity in order to preserve battery life. There isn’t a way to change this setting, which can be a little annoying if you’re watching Netflix and don’t have a Kinect or microphone hooked up for voice commands, but the controller only takes a few seconds to reconnect after hitting the home button.

If you’re using multiple controllers and you need to check battery levels, go back to the home screen of your Xbox One and hit the home button for each controller. The different battery levels will display, and you’ll be able to see which are connected via USB and/or are charging.

Product Review

The ZenFone 6 has a flippable camera and is unlike any other flagship phone

Asus is embracing the 2019 trend of not following any trends at all and instead going in its own direction. The ZenFone 6 has a motorized flip-around camera, a 5,000mAh battery, and an almost stock version of Android installed.
Computing

Need more pixels? These 4K laptops have the eye-popping visuals you crave

If you're looking for the best 4K laptops, you need to find one that has powerful internal hardware, and doesn't scrimp on weight and battery life. All of these 4K notebooks are great options, but which one is the right one for you?
Home Theater

Cambridge Audio’s earbuds have nearly twice AirPods’ juice for $40 less

Cambridge Audio announced its first pair of true wireless headphones. Called the Melomania 1, the tiny in-ears feature nine hours of battery life, and up to 45 hours with the included charging case.
Home Theater

Move over, PowerBeats Pro. JLab’s $149 Epic Air Sport have 70 hours of playtime

In the world of truly wireless earbuds, battery life keeps getting better and better. But we weren't prepared for JLab's Epic Air Sport's claimed 70 hours of playtime, especially given their relatively low price of $149.
Product Review

Cyberpunk 2077 looks like an astonishing evolution for action RPGs

Cyberpunk 2077's hour long E3 2019 gameplay presentation dazzled us. From its staggeringly varied approach to combat to a dizzying degree of customization, Cyberpunk 2077 looks like it could set a new bar for open world RPGs.
Gaming

Borderlands 3 feels like more of the same, but that’s a good thing

Our Borderlands 3 preview takes a look at new weapons and mechanics that help make it a new but familiar experience. It's your standard Borderlands fare and ultimately more of the same, and that isn't exactly a bad thing.
Gaming

The Genesis Mini will make you wonder how Sega lost the console wars

Sega may have lost the console wars to Nintendo, but it has stepped up its game in the new, retro console wars. The Sega Genesis Mini boasts an impressive lineup of games and has authentic, charming hardware design.
Deals

Need a smartphone? The Razer Phone 2 gets a huge $300 price cut

Mobile gaming has grown seen incredible growth in recent years. The best gaming smartphones tend to be expensive, though, but the beefy Razer Phone 2 is on sale right now for a huge discount on Amazon that can save you hundreds.
Deals

Walmart drops a big $200 price cut on the Dell XPS 8930 PC

If you're looking for an affordable gaming PC, you'll want to check out this Dell XPS 8930 Gaming Desktop Computer (8th Gen), which is $200 off from Walmart. Normally $1,400, a cool 14% discount brings the price down to $1,200.
Gaming

From Nintendo to Capcom, here are the best booths we saw at E3 2019

Every year, publishers and developers gather in Los Angeles to show off their games at E3. Booths are a major part of the excitement and this year didn't let us down. From Nintendo to Capcom, here are the best booths of E3 2019.
Gaming

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is endearing and wonderfully weird

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening is as magically weird as I remembered. The super cute art style fits Koholint Island so well, and Nintendo improved multiple, critical mechanics.
Computing

Don’t call it retro. Atari’s VCS is a modern console for PC gamers

You might think the Atari VCS is another retro console like the Nintendo SNES Classic or Sega Genesis Mini. You'd be wrong. Atari's VCS is actually a modern console that runs PC hardware. Yes, it can play Atari games, but it does much more.
Gaming

Call of Duty: Mobile is the best shooter I’ve played on a smartphone

Call of Duty: Mobile attempts to put the franchise's tight gameplay in the palm of your hand. It's largely successful, thanks to precise controls and attractive graphics. The game arrives on iOS and Android later this year.
Gaming

The PlayStation Network is back up. Here’s the latest on the PSN outage

Sony's PlayStation Network is back online after going down for several hours on Thursday afternoon, annoying legions of gamers right in the middle of E3. Here's the latest on the outage