The best accessories for your new Xbox Series X or S 2021
If you bought an Xbox Series X or S a year ago, your selection of accessories mostly came down to aging gear designed for last-gen systems. Now, you’ve got plenty more ways to upgrade your Xbox experience. Maybe you need a better controller to optimize your Psychonauts 2 runs, a clearer headset to chat with teammates in Apex Legends, or perhaps your storage is just running low. Here are a few of the best Xbox accessories you can nab today.
Controllers: Go stylish, go Pro
It’s always smart to have a second controller on hand. Even if you don’t play multiplayer games much, you’ll regret not being prepared for the occasional friend or family member who’s down for a Mortal Kombat match. And at the very least, it’s wise to have a replacement in case something goes wrong with your main controller. (We’ve all smashed our gamepads against the wall for one reason, or another – no judgement.)
While you could just get another stock Microsoft controller, there are plenty of options worth considering. The Anniversary Edition gamepad is just a bit more at $70, and it has a spiffy translucent design that’ll look great on your coffee table. If you’re looking for something with a bit more color, the gorgeous Limited Edition Forza Horizon 5 model is still around. If you find yourself burning through plenty of AA batteries, consider a rechargeable solution like PowerA’s dual controller bay. It comes with two batteries, and it lets you juice up your gamepads in style.
Buy Xbox Wireless Controller at Microsoft – $60Buy Anniversary Edition controller at Amazon – $100Buy Forza Horizon 5 controller at Microsoft – $75Buy PowerA charging station at Amazon – $25
For dedicated Xbox gamers, Microsoft’s second-generation Elite gamepad may be worth the investment. It has replaceable thumbsticks, rear buttons and a comfortable grip. Not to mention, it’s one of the few Xbox gamepads that you can recharge over USB-C.
If you’re more interested in playing older games, or are just looking for a different style of controller, we’re also huge fans of 8BitDo’s Pro 2. It’s incredibly comfortable, and its directional pad is one of the best on the market. It also makes a great controller for PC gaming (though any recent Xbox controller will also work on computers over Bluetooth).
Buy Elite gamepad at Amazon – $180Buy 8Bitdo Pro 2 at Amazon – $50
Specialized controllers are cool again!
If you play Microsoft Flight Simulator long enough, you’ll realize you can only go so far with a standard gamepad. Time for a flight stick! After conferring with flying simulator fanatics, and perusing plenty of reviews, we’d recommend jumping on Thrustmaster’s T-Flight Hotas One joystick. It offers realistic five-axis control, fourteen buttons and a detachable throttle. And unlike some clunky PC solutions, it’s compact enough to fit on a coffee table or lap desk. (You can also use it with a computer, if you’d like.)
If you’re more into cars, we were impressed by Logitech’s G923 racing wheel. It feels like a genuine steering wheel, with a comfortable grip, steel paddle shifters, and a trio of solid pedals. Once it’s clamped to a table, it delivers a surprisingly realistic driving experience – all the better to tear through Mexico in Forza Horizon 5. It’s definitely pricey at $400, but it’s an investment that’ll last for many racing games to come.
Buy T-Flight Hotas One joystick at Amazon – $90Buy Logitech G923 racing wheel at Amazon – $400
Bump up your storage
If you were lucky enough to nab a new Xbox Series X or S at launch, chances are you’re already familiar with their storage limitations. Luckily, you can easily give yourself a bit more breathing room with one of Seagate’s storage expansion cards, which are just as fast as the speedy SSDs inside the consoles. In addition to the 1TB card that arrived at launch, Seagate also recently unveiled 512GB and 2TB options. We’d recommend going for the 1TB option at this point, though – spending $400 for the 2TB just seems excessive.
You can also connect traditional hard drives, like Seagate’s 2TB Game Drive, to the Xbox Series X and S over USB. They’re far too slow to run current-gen games at their full speed, but they give you a boatload of storage for a much cheaper price. They’re useful to have around for playing games from the original Xbox, as well as the 360. And they can also be used as “cold storage” to free up space on your precious SSD. Newer games can easily move back and forth between those drives, which prevents you from having to download them again.
Buy Seagate expansion card (1TB) at Amazon – $220Buy Seagate Game Drive (2TB) at Amazon – $130
Tune up your sound
You deserve better than your crummy TV speakers. While you could just plug in whatever headphones you have laying around into your Xbox controller, we’d recommend investing in a solid pair of wireless headphones. They’ll likely sound better, and they remove the whole cord problem entirely. SteelSeries Arctis 9X are one of the best options around, with beefy drivers, a comfortable fit and sturdy build quality. We were impressed during our hands-on testing, as they sounded just as good as the company’s excellent Arctis Pro PC headphones.
Upgrade to a real media remote
Tired of controlling Netflix playback with your controller? Then snag 8BitDo’s Media Remote. Available in long and short designs (the latter removes numbers and other extraneous buttons), they’re well-made remotes that fit the Xbox’s clean aesthetic. I’ve been using the short model to control 4K Blu-rays and tons of streaming apps, and it’s far easier to use than a controller when it comes to quickly fast-forward. Now, I don’t have to put my drink down to skip to another chapter.
Buy 8Bitdo Media Remote at Amazon – $20