If you've been looking to pick up a spare gamepad for your Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S or PC, it might be a good time to pull the trigger, as Microsoft's official Xbox Wireless Controller is on sale for $44 at Amazon and Walmart. Microsoft itself has the device for a dollar more. While this isn't an all-time low — we saw the controller go for $5 less over Black Friday, for instance — the Xbox pad has typically retailed in the $50 to $55 range in recent months. Note that this price applies to the white, black and red models; the pink, green and "electric volt" colorways, which usually cost $5 more, are each on sale for $49.
The Series X/S controller has the same broadly comfortable shape as older Xbox pads, with responsive face buttons and triggers, smooth joysticks and a pleasing sense of heft. Its d-pad is much more clicky than the one on Sony's DualSense PS5 controller, and it still uses an asymmetrical joystick layout, but whether those are negatives is largely a matter of preference. There's Bluetooth for pairing with a PC or mobile device, as well as a dedicated "Share" button for capturing screenshots and gameplay clips. While you don't get the advanced haptic feedback features of the DualSense, the whole thing is a bit less wide, and it's generally easier to use on a PC, especially if you use clients besides Steam. Alternatives like the 8BitDo Ultimate Bluetooth Controller and Microsoft's own Elite Series 2 pad (which is on sale for $140) offer a wider array of features, but if you just need the basics, the standard Xbox controller should do the job.
The main hang-up is that it still relies on AA batteries for power. That lets it last longer on a charge than the DualSense, but you'll have to buy a separate rechargeable battery pack if you don't want to swap out batteries on the regular. If you can live with that hassle, however, you can lessen the need to buy new batteries by grabbing a pair of rechargeable AAs like the Panasonic Eneloops.