In spite of underpowered hardware and a pile of poor early decisions, the current executive team at Microsoft has done a commendable job turning the Xbox One into a respectable platform. With exclusives like Forza Motorsport 6, Halo 5: Guardians, and Rise of the Tomb Raider, this has been an inarguably strong year for Redmond. And since we’re regularly seeing new bundles dip below the $300 mark, there are bound to be millions of new users jumping on the Xbox One bandwagon this holiday season.
If you’ve snagged an Xbox One on the cheap, consider investing in some accessories to improve your experience. From game streaming to online multiplayer to game storage, there’s something here to enhance nearly every aspect of this console.
HGST Touro S 1TB 7200RPM USB 3.0 external hard drive
Once you’ve installed about a dozen or so games on your Xbox One, you’ll likely begin to run out of hard drive space. Unfortunately, cracking open your Xbox One to replace the hard drive will void your warranty. And considering how easy it is to swap out a hard drive on the PS4, this seems like a sizable misstep on Microsoft’s part.
However, there is a simple solution: external storage. Plug in this USB 3.0 drive to your Xbox One, and you’ll instantly add an extra terabyte of storage to your console. Since the standard internal drive in the Xbox One is so sluggish, you’ll likely see better performance when loading your games from an external drive anyway.
Xbox One play and charge kit
The battery life of the Xbox One controller is superior to the DualShock 4‘s, but repeatedly swapping out AAs as you play is a hassle. Thankfully, Microsoft has the play and charge kit to solve that problem. This lithium-ion battery pack slides into the back of your controller, and allows you to charge over the built-in micro USB port. It’s just a shame that Microsoft refuses to build a rechargeable battery into the controller in the first place.
Xbox One Kinect
After being red-hot on the Kinect concept for a few years, Microsoft went a little too far in the other direction. As a tactic to drop the price as fast as possible, it made a lot of sense to un-bundle the Kinect last year, but Redmond sacrificed one of the only unique selling points that the Xbox One had. However, the Kinect is still being sold as a standalone product, and there are still some compelling reasons to buy-in despite its quiet exile fromthe tribe.
Unlike the DualShock 4, the Xbox One’s controller doesn’t have a dedicated share button. If you want to take a screenshot or record a video clip, you need to fumble with the home button. It’s not a great solution, but Kinect users can bypass that isssue simply by saying “Take a screenshot” or “Record that.” Combine that with a handful of neat games likeFantasia: Music Evolved and Dance Central Spotlight, and the Kinect is still worth having around.
Xbox One stereo headset
If you’re playing online with friends, you’re going to want to grab a comfy headset. Even if you have a Kinect, you just can’t beat having a unidirectional mic pointed at your mouth. Keep in mind, other headsets will absolutely work with the Xbox One, but this is an excellent option if you don’t already have a set lying around. And if you’re not using the latest controller revision with a 3.5mm jack, you’d probably need to invest in an adaptor for third-party headsets anyway.
Elgato Game Capture HD60
The streaming and local game capture available on the Xbox One is something of a disappointment. The concept is great, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Thankfully, you can augment your recording and streaming experience by investing in thisHDMI capture gear from Elgato.
If production value matters to you, this tiny box is worth your time. Not only can you capture and stream 1080p video at 60 frames per second, but the Game Capture software also allows you to add a webcam feed for a closer connection with your audience.
Grip-iT analog stick covers
If the texture and shape of the Xbox One’s thumbsticks bother you, you’re in luck. Drop a fiver on these analog stick covers, and you’ll never have to scrape your thumb on that abrasive ridge ever again.