The Xbox One controller is, for my money, one of the most comfortable gamepads around, so why not use it on other platforms? The good news: you can. The bad news: if you have an older version, you might have a significantly harder time of it. The key question – and the one asked by many around the globe – is which Xbox One controller is Bluetooth? (I know it’s more correct to say “has Bluetooth”, but people don’t seem to ask that.)
Microsoft rightly got a lot of stick for the 2013 launch of the Xbox One with its £425 price and enforced bundling of Kinect, but the gamepad also had weaknesses. Not only was it missing a 3.5mm headphone jack, but it also didn’t have Bluetooth. Both of these issues have been fixed in more recent models – the former point even means you can use a PlayStation Gold headset on Xbox One if you like.
But back to the latter…
So, which Xbox One controller has Bluetooth?
There are three revisions of the regular Xbox One controller: 1537, 1697 and 1708. Only the last of these has Bluetooth built-in, meaning it can be easily used with laptops, smart TVs and phones.
The 1537 model is easy enough to spot – it has the words “DAY ONE 2013” embossed on the front – but at a glance 1697 and 1708 look remarkably similar. This picture, via Reddit, shows the key difference.
In short, if the section with the Xbox Guide button is the same material as the shoulder triggers, you’re using an older 1697 pad. If it’s the same plastic as the front of the controller, then – happy days! – you’ve got a 1708 model, and can pair it with pretty much anything using the Bluetooth standard.
If you’re still not sure which model you’re holding, then crack open the battery compartment and you’ll find the model number inside. Here’s my non-Bluetooth 1697 model:
While that closes the door on using this Xbox One pad with my phone, I can still use it with a PC.
How can I connect the Xbox One controller to my PC?
If it’s Bluetooth, the same way you’d connect anything. Navigate to your PC settings, and click devices, then Bluetooth settings. Meanwhile, hold down the pad’s Guide button to switch it on, and then press the tiny sync button on the top to make the Xbox logo blink. At this point it should appear as an available Bluetooth device for your PC to connect to.
If you own a 1537, 1697 or first-generation Elite pad (1698), then you’ll need to buy an accessory. The Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows 10 replicates the Xbox One’s radio frequency module, allowing you to wirelessly connect up to eight Xbox One gamepads to a PC, headsets and all. Just plug it in, press the sync button on the dongle and then the sync button on your pad and you should be away.
Once connected, if you have the Xbox PC app installed – essential for the rather excellent Xbox Game Pass Ultimate – pressing the Guide button brings up settings, your Xbox friend list, the ability to capture footage or screenshots and a basic performance counter, tracking CPU, GPU and RAM usage