2016 Xbox One Holiday Gift Guide

Xbox One had an incredible year in 2016, not only introducing an affordable 4K Blu-Ray player in their Xbox One S, but was also able to swing the momentum back in their favor for a couple of months with a huge flurry of exclusive games. Whether it’s Gears of War 4, Killer Instinct Season 3 or Dead Rising 4, there’s something here for everyone. While the games have been great, what about the accessory side of things? We were able to compile some of the must have accessories for any Xbox One gamer this holiday, be it hard drives or customizable controllers. We won’t be listing audio equipment as we have made a separate gift guide for headsets.

For Those Who Wants More Storage: Seagate Game Drive

Let’s face it: 500GB is not a lot of space. When major games are anywhere between 20-90GB (Halo 5: Guardians and Gears of War 4 being on the higher end of the scale), that stock hard drive that came with the Xbox One is going to fill up very quickly. Microsoft allows for players to use an external hard drive in order to store and play their games, which is incredibly convenient, and this is where Seagate comes into play. While you can go buy any external drive, Seagate and Xbox have teamed up to create an easily accessible and high performance drive for the Xbox One.

The Game Drive gives players either 2TB or 4TB worth of game data, costing only $99 and $149, respectively. There’s even a Gears of War 4 Special Edition that comes with a Gear Pack for those looking to dig deeper into the shooter’s multiplayer and cooperative modes. It’s a small investment that will give you a lot of value when you play multiple games a year. Best yet, the Game Drive also speeds up load times extensively. Just one example would be, loading your save file in Forza Horizon 3 takes 81 seconds on the stock drive, and the Game Drive basically cuts that number in half. For this reason alone, the Seagate Game Drive is an absolute must for any Xbox One owner.

For Those Who Want Better Load Times: Seagate Game Drive SSD

While a lot of extra space is great, what’s important is performance, and Seagate’s SSD version certainly delivers. Unfortunately, the biggest hurdle is the price point. While this will decrease load times by a significant margin, the capacity of the SSD Game Drive is only 512GB and is priced at $199. That’s double the cost of the standard 2TB Game Drive at a quarter of the capacity. When games are becoming increasingly larger over time, 512GB will fill up fast.

Fortunately, while this is a hefty price to pay for any accessory, like the Xbox One Elite Controller we talk about below, it’s more than worth it. If you’re someone who’s looking for a significant boost in performance, look no further. The Seagate Game Drive for Xbox SSD drastically decreases load times across the board, even when comparing it to the HDD Game Drive Seagate offers. 2016’s Battlefield 1 is a great example. The stock Xbox One hard drive will take 87 seconds to load a single player save, whereas the Seagate SSD is more than 3x faster, coming in at only 28 seconds. The SSD helps decrease load times generally between 40-66%, which is a significant percentage for most games that take more than a minute to load areas. If you can spare the cash, the Seagate Game Drive for Xbox SSD ensures players get the best performance possible, cutting down on unnecessary load times.

For Those with Money to Blow: Xbox One Elite Controller

This is the most obvious pick for anyone with money to spare. The Xbox One Elite controller is arguably the best controller ever designed, and it makes the perfect gift for gamers. It does run around $149.99, which is two and a half times the cost of a standard Xbox One controller, but it comes with all the bells and whistles anyone would desire. Outside the ergonomic design, the paddles on the back give the player more responsive controls, helping avoid moving your fingers around unnecessarily. There are also trigger locks for those who think the triggers are too squishy, along with the perfect type of grips on the back of the controller.

Best yet, the analog sticks and D-pad are fully removable and customizable, with various other designs at your disposal. The circular pad you can replace the D-pad in particular with works wonders for fighting games. The Xbox One Elite Controller is the ultimate gaming accessory for anyone with an Xbox One or high end PC; it may cost a pretty penny, but once you go Elite, you’ll never want to go back.

For Those Looking for Sleekness: PDP Battlefield 1 Controller

 

If you can’t afford the Elite, there are plenty of other options outside of the standard Xbox One controller. One of the best games this year has been Battlefield 1, and PDP has teamed up with both Microsoft and EA Games to bring players a controller themed around the WW1 shooter. One thing to consider is that this is the same price as a standard Xbox One controller, but there are alterations that make this much more than just a reskinned device. Firstly, there are two new multi-functional wheels on the back of the controller that can be mapped to anything you want. Scroll in one direction and they will perform the View and Menu button functions; scroll the other way and they act as bumpers. This make sure the placement of your fingers are locked in, never distracting you from the action. Secondly, for headphones, which can be attached via the 3.5mm jack on the bottom, you can mix the volume for both in-game and in-chat audio with a small button below the right stick in combination with the D-pad. It’s a clever way to ensure you don’t need that bulky headset adapter attached to the bottom of your controller.

Unfortunately, there are some caveats. While this does contain everything you’ve come to expect from an Xbox One controller, Impulse Triggers and all, this is still strictly a wired device. Fortunately, on the other side of the coin, the cable is fully detachable for easy storage and is quite lengthy at ten feet. The analog sticks aren’t as well-crafted as the standard Xbox One controller, though, going from the sharp, highly detailed texture to basic, albeit sturdy material. Other than the general plastic casing not having much of a grip, this is still very much an Xbox One controller, and having the wooden and steel design splashed together really makes this an appealing device to own.

For Those Looking for Customization: PDP Titanfall 2 and NFL Controllers

 

PDP also has a brand of Xbox One controllers that feature the ability to add and remove different faceplates for better customization. While this is primarily aimed towards football fans, the Titanfall 2 model also comes with its own unique design that’s a little more than just a highly stylized faceplate.

Unfortunately, the problem with the Faceoff controllers is, because the faceplates are detachable, they ride up a bit high, making the D-pad feel a bit mushy. It doesn’t have the tactile click you’d expect from the standard Xbox One D-pad. Similar to the Battlefield 1 controller we talked about above, the analog sticks aren’t as appealing, but the Titanfall 2 controller specifically has some advantages to its overall design. For starters, there are two grips on the side of the controller for a better hold, and there’s an additional fancy LED light that complements the mechanical/futuristic design. The NFL one also features material that represents a football and its texture (although a bit harder), and surprisingly doesn’t feel all that bad in your hands. In the end, the NFL and Titanfall 2 controllers hold a specific aesthetic appeal, even containing the multi-functional wheels and impulse triggers, but the D-pad holds them back from being great.

For Those Who Can’t Afford an Elite Controller: PowerA Fusion Controller


Maybe the Xbox One Elite Controller is too pricey for you, but you want most of those cool features. Well there is one controller that does a number of those features and costs a third the price: PowerA’s Fusion controller. This is a controller aimed towards those interested in the Xbox One Elite Controller but don’t want to spend an exorbitant amount of money.

The Fusion is a wired take on the Elite, bringing two additional buttons on the back of the controller, trigger locks and exchangeable analog sticks. Now, it doesn’t have paddles or an interchangeable D-Pad, but it has a 3.5mm jack on the bottom and is coated with a luxurious gold paint on variation parts of the device. The biggest downside when comparing it to the Elite Controller, though, is the quality. This doesn’t feel nearly as solid, and the grips on the ends of the controller make it look really cheap. With that said, the controller itself is only $50, making it an incredibly appealing value for those looking for some of the options the Elite Controller touts.

For Those Who Use their Xbox One Primarily for Netflix: PDP Talon Media Remote

For those won’t don’t really enjoy the Xbox One controller when using the media functionalities, PDP has an affordable solution: The Talon Media Remote. This is a remote designed for console owners who to use most, if not all of the Xbox One’s media capabilities. This includes live TV, 4K Blu-Ray movies, and any form of video or audio format you move to the system.

It’s a simple design, and as much as you probably don’t need more remotes in your household, it does function quite well. If you’re tired of using the Xbox One’s interface with the controller while watching movies or TV, for $19.99, the Talon Media Remote is something to consider.