The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S aren't quite the home entertainment system powerhouses that their predecessor was for a number of reasons, but they're still both excellent boxes to have under your TV to kick back and relax to a movie or your favorite TV show. And like the Xbox One before them, using a game controller to control media playback features on your TV is a little painful. Fortunately, there are some awesome remotes out there ready to make your life so much easier.
The PDP Talon Media Remote looks more like a universal remote than a dedicated Xbox remote. All the standard buttons you'd find on any remote are here — play, pause, stop, rewind, fast-forward, and more — but it's larger and has more dedicated buttons. Like most Xbox remotes, this one uses IR and has some limited TV control capabilities, and the soft touch coating makes it nice and grippy.
If you're looking for something that will control your Xbox console that also works with your other devices, the Inteset universal IR learning remote is perfect. It comes preset to use with an Xbox, which makes it incredibly easy to set up. Simply by pushing either the A, B, C, or D buttons, you can set up the remote to function for Apple TV, Xbox, Windows Media Center if you're still rocking one of those, and Roku, respectively, making it easy to switch back and forth between devices.
King of remotes
Logitech's Harmony Elite is the current pinnacle of universal remotes. The first thing that stands out is its touchscreen, which allows you to access all the different devices you have connected to the remote, making it easy to switch between using your Xbox, cable box, Apple TV, or any other device. One-touch can turn on your TV, set the input, turn on the Xbox, and switch on your speaker system. It can even control your smart lights. It has a rechargeable battery and charging dock, as well as a hub allowing control through your smartphone.
The Xbox skill for Alexa means you can control just about every aspect of your Xbox One with your voice, and the 4th generation Amazon Echo Dot is the best way to do this. It's small and stylish looking enough to blend in anywhere, sounds excellent for listening to music, but best of all, you can change channels, volume, launch apps, games, movies, and so much more all with your voice.
Fans of the Google Assistant can use it to control their Xbox Series X or Series S with their voice, too, and the Nest Mini is the most affordable way to make that happen. It's small, sounds decent for listening to music and podcasts, and allows you to launch apps and games, movies, TV shows, and control playback all without having to move an inch.
A good remote is definitely the best way to control media on your Xbox Series X or Series S, but let's face it, there will be times when you just can't find it. For that, a little bonus tip is that you can use the Xbox app on your iPhone or Android device. Once you've linked the app to your console through your home network, you'll be able to do some basic navigation to get your favorite movie or show rolling!
If we had to pick...
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The Xbox is still a fantastic box to have in your living room for all your home media needs in 2020 and beyond, and a great remote can enhance your experience. The superb PDP Talon is an excellent remote by any standards, let alone for a console. It has all the Xbox buttons, is well made and affordable, and ticks all the boxes.
By contrast, you can alternatively interact with your console using your voice. It's not a substitute for a dedicated remote, but with an Amazon Echo Dot you can get basic control of media and navigation without having to lift a single finger. And that's always a winner.
Lastly, if you're a fan of high-end home entertainment equipment, the Xbox has a fine friend in the Logitech Harmony Elite. This programmable remote is capable of controlling everything in your entertainment center and even a bunch of your smart home devices. It's pricey, but it's the king of remotes.
For other awesome peripherals to go with your next-gen Xbox console, check out our roundup of all of the best Xbox Series X, Series S accessories on the market.
Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
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