Nyko SpeakerCom for Xbox One review: Voice chat without a headset

Xbox One owners have long had two basic options for voice chat: headsets or the Kinect microphone. Now Nyko has thrown a third option into the fray with the release of the SpeakerCom, an accessory that allows players to listen and talk through a controller attachment. But can it compare to real headsets?

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Snapping on the SpeakerCom

Nyko SpeakerCom Xbox One box contents

Ever since the days of the original Xbox, Nyko has been making SpeakerCom accessories for Xbox consoles. The concept is simple: to allow voice communication without requiring the player to wear a cumbersome headset.

The Xbox One version of the SpeakerCom attaches to the bottom of first-party controllers, much like the Chatpad. It connects to the controller via 3.5mm jack, so you can't use it with controllers that don't have a 3.5mm jack. Jack-less controllers have been out of production since June 2015, so hopefully everybody has one by now. (Third-party controllers won't work either, due to their different form factors.)

The front of the SpeakerCom features a single large speaker through which voice chat (and optionally, game sounds) play. Just above the speaker sit a Nyko logo and a pinhole-sized microphone. On the bottom of the unit is a volume knob adjusts the speaker's volume and a micro-USB port allows for charging.

A speakerphone for your controller

Nyko SpeakerCom Xbox One rear paddles

The unit's speaker automatically plays all headset audio, combining both stereo channels. Nyko recommends that you access the Xbox One's Settings menu (double-tap the Home/Guide button) and set the Headset chat mixer setting all the way to Voice. This makes the SpeakerCom output only voice chat rather than game audio.

Game audio actually sounds fine while broadcast through the SpeakerCom, similar to the controller audio of certain PlayStation 4 games. Most people will prefer hearing their game sounds exclusively from the TV or surround sound though, only using the SpeakerCom for voice communication.

Nyko SpeakerCom Xbox One

The SpeakerCom's speaker performs admirably when used for voice chat. The audio was a little quiet initially, but I just needed to turn up the Headset volume in the console settings. With that properly adjusted, you'll be able to hear everything your party or teammates say – as will anyone in the same room as you.

That's one of the advantages of this peripheral – multiple people can listen to voice chat from a single source. And as with a speakerphone, your online friends will be able to hear other people in the SpeakerCom's vicinity talking as well. For people who game with family members around, this product is far less isolating than traditional headsets.

What if you don't want the people you're chatting with to hear something, though? The inability to quickly mute is a major failing of the Kinect as a voice chat device. Luckily, the SpeakerCom is a push-to-talk device. People can only hear you when either of the green paddles on the rear of the unit is pressed.

The SpeakerCom's push-to-talk paddles work the same way as the paddles on an Elite controller, only you hit them with your pinky finger. The Nyko logo light turns green while a paddle is held. I tested the SpeakerCom both one-on-one and in a large Party Chat setting. In both cases, everyone reported that I sounded very clear. Sound quality won't be a problem with this accessory.

Nearly perfect

Nyko SpeakerCom Xbox One side

One slight issue with the SpeakerCom is that the speaker and microphone don't operate simultaneously. While holding a push-to-talk paddle, the speaker cuts out. This makes sense in a way, as humans can't easily talk and listen at the same time. Still, it prevents you from being able to tell when someone else is speaking while you talk.

More significantly, the SpeakerCom runs on its own internal battery, not the controller's. That keeps it from running your controller's battery down, which is good. But the SpeakerCom must be charged via micro-USB cable (it comes with one), which means another cord to deal with. It has no battery indicator either, so you can't tell when it's running low. But I used mine for several hours on a single charge, so it shouldn't die if you remember to charge it now and then. It can also be used while charging.

One of a kind

Nyko SpeakerCom Xbox One charging cable

The SpeakerCom is a unique accessory. Sure, it does the same basic thing as a headset. But it's cheaper than most headsets and doesn't rely on a potentially breakable cable to connect to your controller. You won't have to wear a bulky headset or be tethered to anything while using it.

Assuming you don't use a Chatpad, you can just leave the SpeakerCom connected all the time, even when you're playing single-player stuff. Just switch it on when someone messages you or joins your game – far more convenient than reaching for a headset. I love the convenience and portability.

A speakerphone-style attachment for voice chat won't appeal to everybody. But if the SpeakerCom's unique benefits sound good to you, don't hesitate to pick one up. You won't be disappointed.

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SpeakerCom for Xbox One provided for review by Nyko.

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • Cool.  I didn't even know this existed.
  • Me either. Cool product!!
  • Cool
  • Can you use it as a microphone for Cortana?
  • well since it connects to the head phone jack and Cortana can use headphones with mic to chat with her, maybe it will work fine.
  • Perfect. Just placed my order and tempted to get the PS4 version too.
    Sort of annoying it needs its own cable, but great it has its own battery and might make regular controllers as nice and heavy as the Elite ones.
    Thanks Paul.
  • Glad you enjoyed the review! I hope you dig the SpeakerComs. I'm thinking of buying a PS4 version as well.
  • Nice. May get one!
  • Soo, no one notice that is a custom elite controller in the picture
  • i noticed, but simply didn't feel it necessary to comment on it. i just wasn't surprised someone at windowscentral would have an elite controller.
  • We all know Windows Central is filled with elitest  :p
  • I wish someone would just make a wireless headset already. Not headphones like turtle beach, just a voice headset similar to what 360 had. If they can't make it directly connect to the system, that's fine, have the receiver plug into the bottom of the controller. That may even be preferable because then the voice controls are down there instead of on your head.
  • Still baffles me that one doesn't exist. They made 2 official versions for the 360, but perhaps it didn't sell well enough?
  • This is a cool product, tested with Paul the audio is clear, even at the range of his lap it still pick up clearly.
  • I never knew this existed either. A couple years ago this would have been for me, but I finally found a headset I really like. Still, this is a very inventive product and cool to know it's available.
  • I thought nyko only did intercoolers, had one for my 360 time ago
  • Ha, we've reviewed like six Xbox One accessories of theirs. One of them is an Intercooler, though. :)
  • Very cool product. This might be just the thing my wife needs to play online without having to get a headset.
  • Very cool product however, I'm a bit reluctant to try this, solely for the whole push-to-talk concept. Still getting used to the elite paddles let alone another button on the back, with this connected there is practically as much button pushing on the back of the controller as on the front of the controller (for elites of course). Couldn't they have just had a mute button on the front somwehre like the xbox one adapter peices?
  • Come on Paul.... You just wanted to show off your custom Elite controller ; ) Anyway, I see no mention of a retail price for this speaker. What gives?
  • I chose the Elite to show that this accessory doesn't interfere with its paddles, heh. The retail is $25 and Amazon currently sells it for $20. :)
  • Wow, I had no idea this was even a thing! This looks pretty cool and sounds like it works very well. Good to know this thing exists and is available to buy if I ever decide I need one.
  • I wonder if this will work as speakers when connection your Xbox Controller to your phone and playing some emulated games? Or if the Xbox's settings would be needed to control what it outputs?
  • If the Xbox One controller's headset jack outputs all phone audio when connected via Bluetooth, then it'd work. Otherwise, no dice.
  • Great article and so happy I found and read about this speaker. I am actually going to go to amazon right now and buy one for my husband.