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Xbox Battery Packs Have One Glaring Oversight

Microsoft's relationship with batteries can be seen as divisive. Not only does the company's Xbox Series X controller still rely on AA batteries, but if you want to save money on alkalines, you need to shell out $25 for a rechargeable battery pack. The bad news doesn't end there, because even if you buy that dedicated battery pack, your money headaches are not over.

Recently, Tom's Guide editor Marshall Honorof posted a scathing opinion piece regarding the Xbox Series X's rechargeable battery and accompanying USB-C cable. While he infinitely prefers the pack to constantly swapping out AA batteries, Honorof (along with other Xbox gamers) has noticed a fairly large design oversight on the Series X controller: the lack of an indicator light. This tiny, almost innocuous illuminated dot might seem superfluous, but it serves the important task of telling you when the controller is fully charged. Past Xbox charging bundles came packaged with LED cables that changed colors to indicate their current storage level, but since the Xbox Series X's cable lacks this light, you can only get a feel for the battery's charge by turning on your console.

As Honorof pointed out, this design flaw wastes electricity on multiple fronts. You could leave the controller plugged in for several hours to guarantee a full charge, but the battery draws power even after it is full, so that's extra wattage added to your electric bill. And if you want to check how much longer your battery needs, you have to turn on your console and television, which takes up more energy. Since powering the Series X could potentially cost U.S. gamers a total of $1 billion through 2025, you might want to reduce the console's power consumption to minimize your electric expenditures. This is easier said than done when you have to turn the Series X on just to keep tabs on its controller's battery.

Until Microsoft solves this unintentional issue, gamers may want to look elsewhere for their rechargeable battery cable needs. Honorof recommended the Numskull Xbox Series X LED USB-C Charge Cable, which also works with the PlayStation 5 DualSense, Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, and other USB-C devices. The entire cable lights up to help you keep track of your controller's charging status and is also cheaper than buying a new charging kit, since Xbox One rechargeable batteries are compatible with Xbox Series X controllers.

Unless Microsoft starts producing a second Xbox Series X charge kit iteration with indicator lights — or better yet, controllers with built-in batteries — gamers might find themselves buying more third-party charging cables than official Microsoft ones.