Xbox One Wireless Controller vs. AmazonBasics Wired Controller: Which should you buy?

Microsoft's own Xbox One controller leverages the system's best features, while Amazon's alternative doubles down on the basics. While the latter is an ideal choice on the cheap, the official solution is likely worth the premium.

Among the best Xbox One controllers

Xbox One controller

Xbox One controller (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft's Xbox One wireless controller is the universal go-to solution, packaged alongside consoles, and produced in-house by the Xbox team. It's a reference design that inspires third-party alternatives, packing the key features, alongside some premium touches.

As expected from any product donning Xbox branding, this wireless controller touts impressive build quality, with guaranteed compatibility across the growing accessories range. This is paired with ergonomic buttons and triggers and backed by extensive research from the firm's Redmond teams. Microsoft's expertise in gaming accessories shines in 2018, following nearly 20 years in the space.

AmazonBasics is the mega-retailer's budget product line, recently expanding to Xbox One with its take on the iconic controller. This entry-level alternative strips the gamepad to its core, cutting surplus features in pursuit of a low price point.

The final result is still a well-built controller lined with a grippy rubberized rear, maintaining sizeable weight for a great in-hand feel. However, there's an overall lack of refinement, alongside soft, mushy buttons likely attributed to its low-cost assembly. You'll also be limited to just black or white, in contrast to the ever-growing Xbox controller lineup with all the colors and patterns under the rainbow.

Slashing prices comes at a cost

Xbox One Controller

Xbox One Controller (Image credit: Windows Central)

The official Xbox One controller highlights the console's best packing some features often overlooked by third-parties. The integrated 3.5mm audio jack and accessories port ensure usability with all headsets, chatpads, and other controller accompaniments. Rumble triggers provide further feedback in vibrations, bringing out the most in shooters, racers, and other supported games. With its latest revision, Bluetooth support for PCs and mobiles is standard issue.

Functionality is cut by Amazon, once again sticking to simplicity. You'll get vibration without rumble triggers, but lose the accessories port for a single 3.5mm jack. The obvious omission is wireless capability, limiting use to the integrated 9.8-foot USB cable. This might not be a huge deal if you sit close to your console but for those with larger spaces, or who like the freedom of wireless, you're out of luck.

More for your money

Microsoft's Xbox One wireless controller provides everything you need, supporting all of the console's best features. It feels excellent to use and has no significant flaws; it's truly among the best gamepads you can buy in 2018. At just $49, it could be the last controller you buy for a while.

AmazonBasics' $22 variant is cheap and nails the essentials, functioning as an equally strong alternative. However, the cutbacks may outweigh the savings, making the official Xbox One controller our top pick. AmazonBasics' controller might be good if you need an extra controller on the cheap, but it should definitely not be your main controller.

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.