But How Good Is It? Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver

I have always wanted to be able to use my Xbox 360 controller with my PC, as I am much more accustomed to it than a mouse and keyboard for First Person Shooter (FPS) and driving games. There are two ways to go about hooking up an Xbox controller to the PC, buy a wired Xbox controller (should work on both Xbox and PC) or buy a “wireless gaming receiver”. You cannot use a “play and charge kit” wire (controller – USB) to use your controller with the PC, as it seems to only transmit power and not data.

I went for the wirless gaming receiver, an unofficial one. Official ones were about £20, I got mine for £10 including postage.

What’s in the box?

Included in the box was:

  • The wireless receiver with a very long cable, 6 foot apparently.
  • Mini disc with drivers, instructions, software etc on it.
Installation

On many review that I read before buying, I saw a lot of people had problems with the drivers, especially with Windows 64 bit, which I have.
Sure enough, I plugged in the device – “Device not recognised” by Windows.
I popped the disk in and found the instructions, and drivers for 32 bit Windows.
After a quick Google, I found that the drivers seem to be built in already (and this unofficial device seems to use the same as the official one?), and found the following instructions on this website.

  • Right click on Computer
  • Go to Properties
  • Click on Device Manager
  • Right click on the Unidentified Device
  • Go to Properties
  • Go to the Drive tab
  • Click on Update Driver…
  • Browse my computer for driver software
  • Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer
  • Microsoft Common Controller for Window Class
  • Xbox 360 Wireless Receiver for Windows Version: 2.1.0.1349 [8/13/2009]
  • Update Driver Warning
  • Click Yes

My device manager listed 2 unknown devices, so I repeated this process, clicking whatever was the newer dated driver.

First Use

Now the right drivers were installed, the controllers connected easily (and quicker than to the Xbox 360). I connected 2, and it seemed all happy. There is a standard connect button on the device to press to open it up to new devices (controllers/headsets etc). Had a few teething issues, selecting it in a game seemed very easy (tried it in Off Road: Drive, Race Driver: Grid and Trucks & Trailers so far), and I configured the buttons to do what I wanted. One problem I had was that Off Road Drive kept pausing, but after restarting the game it seems fine now. With Trucks & Trailers (lorry driving), I noticed that when the steering wheel had been moved, it would move back to its normal (straight) position, but sometimes would be slightly off centre. This seemed to be the controller steering slightly in one direction once being used to steer, and I countered this by turning up the steering deadzone slightly.

After the odd tweak to the settings here and there, I had great fun in using my controllers with the different driving games, providing as I hoped, much more control over the vehicles. One thing you must remember is that the Xbox controller has much less buttons than a keyboard does! This is fine for GRID etc, but for Off Road Drive, with all of its different options in game for locking differentials, delfating tyres, engaging winches etc.. I had to double up some buttons (e.g hold RB and press A to turn the winch on, just A itself is handbrake).
On the disk comes some software which comes with an old HTML troubleshooting guide, and can display battery status etc, as shown in the image below.

Would I buy it again?

Yes, definitely. Would I go for the official version… possibly. This one hasn’t really let me down yet, and I believe it must be almost as good as the official ones.
Matt