I have three official wireless Xbox One controllers that have been great to move back and forth between my gaming PCs. Open the Bluetooth config, select the controller, connect. All the configuration in the games is taken care of. I love that.

I also have kids who break things.

I'm looking to replace two of them, but am wondering, do the third party controllers connect to Windows 10 with the same level of ease as the official ones? Do they support XInput (I think), which allows them to work with pretty much everything automatically? I guess I don't know if, just because a controller says it works with Xbox, does it do those nice things Xbox controllers do on Windows machines.

I'm looking for the least amount of effort once connected. Losing controller settings and reconfiguring everything when the controllers switch between machines is not an option.

Thanks for the help!

1 Answer 1


In my experience, what you're paying for when you get first-party is consistency. Every 1st-party XBox controller is going to have roughly the same quality and roughly the same issues. Microsoft warrants its products against defects.

If you're buying from a known 3rd party (e.g. Razer sells an XInput controller called the Wolverine V2) then you're going to get quality in-line with their brand. You just have to do market research to figure out if they're worth it.

Buying from the bottom shelf? It's a grab bag! Companies can literally just make things. Does it work? Who cares! Some poor schmuck will probably buy it. Without knowing the specific brands you're looking at, it's hard to judge quality.

That being said, most controllers are plug-and-play nowadays¹. They'll give you adequate performance without feeling especially great on the hands. Bluetooth is a finicky protocol to deal with on the best of days, so you'll probably have to find workarounds for it. For example, one of my third-party controllers fails to connect when I swap it between rigs, so I have to unpair and re-pair it every time. Other than that it "just works" when within games, partially because of Steam's excellent controller API handling compatibility in the background.

1: For obvious reasons, the Xbox Adaptive Controller requires quite a bit of setup, and many flight controllers require some trickery to get working flawlessly, but I don't think you're asking about any of those.

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