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Does the Xbox Series X controller use rechargeable batteries?

Updated: Jun 16, 2021

With the release of the Xbox Series X comes another update in the Microsoft gaming ecosystem, the newest iteration of its signature Wireless Controller.

This new, backward compatible gamepad comes with many innovations from its predecessor, but is the energy supply one of them? Does it ditch the classic AA battery in favor of an internal power unit like Sony´s Dualsense?

What batteries does the Series X Wireless Controller use?

The series X controller still draws energy from a pair of AA batteries, It doesn´t have any sort of internal power source. These batteries can last, give or take, around 40 hours depending on what games you play and which features of the gamepad they use.

If you were expecting some sort of new internal battery, the design team considered it but opted to keep using trusty AA batteries to give the controller more flexibility and shelf life, as you can replace them with ease, something that can´t be done if the controller has an internal power supply.

But what do they mean by flexibility? Well...

Is the Series X/S controller compatible with rechargeable batteries?

Yes. If you don´t want to worry about replacing the batteries on your controller every few weeks, you can get a pack of rechargeable batteries. While any pair of AA batteries will do, there are a few that are made for the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, like this one.

If you already have a rechargeable battery, you can even go further and buy a charging station as well. Charging Stations are little stands where you can plug in your gamepad to recharge their energy when not playing. The Series X and Series S already have a couple of stands you can buy, if you rather don´t worry about keeping your batteries charged.

When you have a rechargeable battery, you can plug-it-in to a power source while playing to recharge energy mid-game session. The drawback is that you are effectively anchored when playing like this, but it does offer the comfort of not worrying about battery life while you play.

Now, this all applies when playing on the Xbox Series X or S. You can also use this controller on PC, as it is compatible with Windows. If you do, then you don´t even need a pack of AA batteries, you can plug in your controller and play just like that.

Why? Well, one advantage of the new Xbox controller is that it comes with a USB-C port (and the official pack of rechargeable batteries with a USB-C cable). If you plug it into a PC with a USB-C cable, then you can play pretty much instantly.

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S both lack a USB-C port, only having a USB-A port. Modern computers do have such a port (usually) and that is why it's easier for the controller to connect to Windows rather than the Xbox with a cable.

In theory, however, it should be possible to do the same on an Xbox Series X or S if you have a USB A-to-C cable like this one.

Is there an alternative controller with a built-in battery?

Yes. The default wireless controller isn´t the only official gamepad of the new generation of Xbox. The Elite Controller Series 2 is another alternative. While it is a bit "old", it does offer a built-in battery as well as other features such as built-in paddles, rubberized grips, and other "premium" features.

The drawback of course is that is a very expensive controller. If you still prefer a wired alternative that doesn´t need to be constantly charged, PowerA has a good third party option.

In Summary...

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S wireless controller uses two standard AA batteries. These batteries have to be replaced when they run out of energy unless you pay for a couple of rechargeable alternatives.

If you are playing on PC, you can connect your controller directly with its USB-C port and forget about batteries altogether. Alternatively, you can buy a controller with a built-in battery like an Elite Controller.

If you want to look at more accessories for the Xbox Series X and S, check out our page here on the site!


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