Microsoft Xbox One Play & Charge Kit vs. PowerA Play & Charge Kit: Which should you buy?

The official Xbox One Play & Charge kit offers all you could want, with Microsoft's expertise in accessories prevalent. However, PowerA comes close with its low-cost alternative.

Just plug and play

Xbox One controllers can eat batteries fast, making rechargeable battery kits a valuable companion for any gamer. Microsoft's Xbox One Play & Charge kit is among the best, offering an official, all-inclusive package to top-up your favorite controller. One rechargeable battery pack and an accompanying 9-foot micro USB cable are included, providing all you need for fast plug-and-play use.

PowerA also features a Play & Charge kit in its lineup, offering the best third-party alternative for recharging controllers. While priced $10 cheaper than the official kit, it contains two battery packs and one micro USB cable, ideal for setups with multiple gamepads. The unique battery shape also requires the use of PowerA's custom black battery doors, which support its other wireless charging accessories, as well.

PowerA's kit offers superior value — packing two batteries for just $15 — yet bears noteworthy design flaws over its premium counterpart. Most prominent are the unsightly battery packs that exposing surplus micro USB ports from the rear rather than use the controller's built-in input. The vibrant orange plastic construction further draws attention, throwing off the aesthetics of any special edition controller.

In contrast, Microsoft's solution feels more premium with its low-profile implementation. Don't overlook the benefit of a sleek charging kit for your daily driver, even if PowerA's value is unbeaten.

Not all batteries are created equal

While PowerA packs double the charging at half the price, Microsoft takes the lead in overall performance. Microsoft succeeds with its 1400mAh lithium-ion offering, packing up to 30 hours of promised charge. PowerA leverages 1100 mAh nickel–metal hydride (NiMH) units, and while offers less playtime, still trumps most budget alternatives.

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Header Cell - Column 0 MicrosoftPowerA
Battery typeLithiumNiMH
Stated battery life"Up to 30 hours""20+ hours"
Number of batteries12

Microsoft's use of lithium batteries is also notable over the inferior NiMH technology of budget batteries. Accompanying the increased capacity, expect improved charging times and longevity. Third-party battery packs are more likely to diminish over prolonged use, while our five-year-old lithium kits are still reliable today.

Microsoft vs. PowerA: Which is best?

Microsoft and PowerA offer some of the best controller accessories on the market with recommendable charging kits. Microsoft's offering is superior, with its simple design and superior technology under the hood.

However, both lower priced and offering two batteries, PowerA offers equally strong value for money. Small design shortcomings don't overshadow its huge savings, ideal for those on a budget.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.