During this time of self-quarantining, tools that help you with communication are more critical — and convenient — than ever. When playing with your friends or trying to respond to messages you get on Xbox, it can be a pain to try and quickly respond to folks using just the controller. Thankfully, special chatpads accessories exist, and they make the process of messaging people on Xbox significantly easier. The official Xbox Chatpad is a superb product from Microsoft, but at $35, it may be too expensive for some people. Thankfully, there are several third-party chatpads available on the market, and all of them cost considerably less than Microsoft's version. Here's a list of some of the best alternatives you can find.
Gamers Digital QWERTY Keyboard (opens in new tab)
The Gamers Digital QWERTY Keyboard has responsive, well-placed buttons designed with quality in mind. Each one clicks satisfyingly, and the input doesn't lag or glitch out. This overall makes it our favorite choice, as the quality of the typing experience is the best out of any option on this list.
Whiteoak Backlit Chatpad (opens in new tab)
Whiteoak offers an edition of their chatpad with backlit keys, which means that you'll be able to use this chatpad in the dark or low light areas with few issues. If you don't often game in this kind of environment, this is a strong keyboard to go with, as not being able to see chatpad buttons can be a serious pain.
Old Skool Xbox One Mini Chatpad (opens in new tab)
The Old Skool Xbox One Mini Chatpad is the best option out there if you're looking for a smaller chatpad. It doesn't have the greatest buttons, but the small form factor will be ideal for people who have small hands or for people who hate their chatpad adding bulk to their controller's size.
Prodico Wireless Chatpad (opens in new tab)
The Prodico Wireless Chatpad is the least expensive option available at the rock bottom price of $18, but you get what you pay for. You may face a myriad of issues with this device between the soft, cheap buttons, the poor build quality, and the inconsistent input recognition. However, if you need to save money, you won't find a lower price than the Prodico.
Each of these chatpads has its positives and negatives, and all of them are worth buying, depending on your situation. Personally, if I were to use one of them, I would opt for the Gamers Digital QWERTY Keyboard (opens in new tab), as I prefer to have maximum functionality from my accessories and I think the button quality is worth it.
If you're looking for a chatpad that has backlit buttons, don't sleep on the Whiteoak Backlit Chatpad (opens in new tab) as all of its buttons light up brightly in the dark, making them easy to spot and use during the night. If you're short on funds and simply want the best chatpad that you can afford on a low budget, opt for the Prodico Wireless Chatpad (opens in new tab). It's not the most reliable chatpad, but it's good enough to be sufficient for most people, and you can't ask for more then that at its rock bottom price.
Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.
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