Xbox 360 Messenger Kit Hands-On

We spend some hands-on time with the new chatpad and headset from the Xbox 360 Messenger Kit.

This year's Xbox 360 Spring Dashboard Update brought MSN Messenger contact-list integration to Xbox Live, but many of us have been waiting for Microsoft to release the chatpad accessory before making full use of the service. Microsoft knows that messaging isn't going to be widely used on the Xbox 360 unless the system has an input device to make texting easier for those of us who don't keep USB keyboards on the coffee table.

Xbox 360 Messenger Kit (bike and bag not included)

Xbox representatives dangled the chatpad in front of us when they first announced the Spring Update back in April but waited until E3 2007 to announce its availability. We now know that anxious texters will be able to get their very own Xbox 360 Messenger Kit for $30 on September 6, 2007.

The Messenger Kit will include the keyboard chatpad and a new wired headset. The chatpad is designed to slide into the base of the Xbox 360 gamepad. The pad feels a little awkward as you fit it into place, but it snaps on with a satisfying click as the pad's plastic retention pegs find their corresponding holes on the gamepad. The snug fit makes the pad feel like it's a part of the gamepad. The unit adds some weight to the controller, but the heft seems manageable. We played a few games with the chatpad installed and found that it didn't interfere with game controls. The edge of your palms will rest on the left and right sides of the chatpad, but you'll still be able to use the buttons and analog sticks just fine.

The chatpad sure beats hunting and pecking on a virtual keyboard.

The chatpad itself feels solid. The keys provide adequate, clicky feedback and are spaced well enough for fast typing. It uses a standard QWERTY layout, and many of the keys have special alternate values that you can activate using the green and amber keys on the bottom left and bottom right of the chatpad. The pad also has a messenger button that can open up the messaging window onscreen. For players who like to game in the dark, the pad has a built-in backlight that will illuminate the keyboard whenever a key is pressed. We tried plugging a USB Xbox 360 gamepad with the chatpad into a PC desktop system, but we couldn't get Windows to recognize the chatpad as a text input device.

The chatpad has a headset pass-thru jack at the base of the unit, but the single 2.5mm audio jack can't accept the triple-pronged connector on the old headset. That's probably why Microsoft bundled a new headset with the chatpad. Aside from the audio connector change, the new headset is almost identical to the original except the microphone mute and volume controls have moved from the base of the cable connector to an inline module. Older Xbox headsets and 2.5mm mobile headsets still work with the chatpad. We were able to plug our Plantronics Halo 2 headset into the chatpad without a problem.

The Xbox 360 Messenger Kit looks to be a solid product for system owners interested in taking advantage of the Xbox 360's communication options. Players who stick to gaming and voice chat won't need to pick up the chatpad, but the peripheral might become more compelling if Microsoft were to release more text-heavy applications on the 360, such as a Web browser, for example.

How often do you use your Xbox 360 to write messages? What do you think of the Xbox 360 Messenger Kit?

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Discussion

784 comments
konn3r
konn3r

Looks like it belongs there

persia316
persia316

Is Microsoft ever going to make one in black? I have The Resident Evil Red 360 & it looks funny with a white messenger kit :-(

Fatman52
Fatman52

looks cool, but only useful if your a BIG communicator and use the xbox360 to send messages alot. If xbox live had internet browsing i would buy it but ill stick to the hassle of pausing in game or at the dashbord to send a text. other than that this is probably a very effective product in terms of its basic use. i would recommenced it.

chinaguy9
chinaguy9

Had it for a while, love it!

unkipower
unkipower

well, i would rather just plug in my $10 keyboard, its alot easier to type

Crono21
Crono21

bought one used today. Really liking it. Great device.

plainelmo
plainelmo

Despite all the, 'we don't need a web-browser, that's what a PC is for... security risks...blah' this would be Ideal for a web-browser. Use it or don't, it would be a nice addition.

seriousjoker93
seriousjoker93

Brought mine yesterday and it's so much easier and quicker on msn. Good little thing to buy.

Ace77765
Ace77765

It's a decent piece to buy, mainly for in game stuff so you dont have to use a keyboard and such but yea it gives more of a stable feel to the controller. Just dont go thinking you can use it on FFXI like you use a keyboard cause it wont work the way you are thinking

Phant0m13
Phant0m13

This is probably the most useful accessory I have bought besides the charging tower. It has more uses then just txting, I've found it comes in handy when entering Xbox Live and Microsoft Point codes.

PONKiE
PONKiE

I think I'd like to have one,... I hate it when my lil brother text messages me while I'm playing and I dont have my keyboard there. I have to get UP out of my 360-comfort-zone and dash to the pc to plug out the keyboard to put it on my x360. It's annoying.

trw534
trw534

thats cool because right now it is hard to write messages on xbox live now

GhostyMcboo
GhostyMcboo

Does it work with the WIndows version of the XBOX xontroller? That would be amazing if it did

pbutt77
pbutt77

WHEN THE HELL IS MICROSOFT OR SOME HACKER WITH TOO MUCH FREE TIME GONNA RELEASE DRIVERS TO USE THIS THING ON A WINDOWS BASED PC'S........GOD DAMN! EVERONE WOULD GET IT! CHARGE ME MONEY, I DONT GIVE A F#$K! I"ll EVEN GET MY SISTER TO DO U FAVORS! JUST PA-LEEEEEEEEASE!

ali-009
ali-009

this great,why need a pc while you have Xbox 360 this thing is AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Darkmasses91
Darkmasses91

that is very cool. the messenger kit is a great idea. in a long chating it is very useful. it looks preaty cool too.

oscaromarjp
oscaromarjp

I don't send too much mesages but I still want to buy a messenger kit...

NRGray555
NRGray555

I use mine all the time. I originally got it because I'd rather type text than talk. It's quick and easy. I love it (but not in a gay way because it's a girl. Her name is Shavonda).

nobdow
nobdow

I almost always right messages instead of sending a voice note because I have such a hard time hearing other people I don't want them to have the same problem. This looks sweet but a little much, I will probably buy it used soon.

blesst1
blesst1

this is cool for ppl who don't have a desk w/ a keyboard near their 360s

celestial_todd
celestial_todd

It saves a heck of a lot of time! that's for sure, though I don't think 30$ is worth it. 15$ would be more appropriate

_ProGamer_
_ProGamer_

without a i-net browser its unnecessary, i can use my Headest

hards80
hards80

very nice accessory, now i don't have to get up and go to my pc to answer my messages :)

trw534
trw534

Thats awsome it is hard to type on the 360 without it,it takes 10 minutes to type a complete sentence.Good job microsoft...Plus a internet browser on the 360 would be cool too!!!

Shikyo
Shikyo

I thnk this thing is pretty cool to be honest, well im also a big fan of having all the unnecessary accessories XD

Demonaz_666
Demonaz_666

mmmm i think that it's only a waste of money

scottishlocard
scottishlocard

Man, when I was playing Ghost Recon AWF it got really annoying to have to hunt and peck on the virtual keyboard. This little messenger could come in very handy, and even though this Write Messenger may not be used ALL of the time... the times that you do use it, it will be worth the investment. That in my mind, makes it worth at least trying out, and it doesnt look like it would be THAT inconvenient.

joshzen
joshzen

I love mine, I keep it on all of the time and although I may not use but for a few seconds in every couple hours, its a few seconds of typing verses scrolling through A-Z to slowly write a name or something else.

zeroxin
zeroxin

I have one its not really worth it i never use it

garcia28
garcia28

It's a great peripheral for those who use the messenger. It doesn't really interfere with the feel of the controller. You can live without it, but it's good to have.

kebabkurt
kebabkurt

it's just awsome, i bought one yesterday and my friends have started to hate me already because I write to them constantly and interferring with their gaming.

Tomagins
Tomagins

really need to pick one of these up!

Alexandh
Alexandh

its great for writting messages fast or recovering you gamertag faster BECAUSE XBOX LIVE NEVER WORKS SO YOU HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN!

superb_01
superb_01

i wish ther could be a black messenger kit for the 360 elite

nate1222
nate1222

I'm highly considering getting a 360, despite the fact I denounced it for a while. The Messenger Kit looks like a decent investment. Especially if I could use it with my PC titles as well. (hint hint)

Andy371
Andy371

Looks like a great accessory, I think I should get my hands on one. When I got my Xbox and I first looked at the messenger on it, I was extremely aggravated when trying to use the virtual keyboard. Haha, i'm an impatient prick though :)

Kraivyne
Kraivyne

I got one of these for Christmas yesterday, it is a really great accessory. I normally speak to my family and friends that aren't "gamers" via MSN while playing games or watching a tv show. Its nice to be in the middle of watching House and someone sends me a message on the xbox from msn and I can instantly reply back in seconds with this keyboard. Great buy!

roryk666
roryk666

anyone thinking of getting this for final fantasy 11 dont. it lacks buttons like CTRL which are crucial for final fantasy 11 online

pykieg
pykieg

Why not just get a cheap usb keyboard i think its easier

Ima_Grey
Ima_Grey

I got one a couple of months ago and although I don't use it too often, it's nice to have it when I do send messages to friends. Truly is much better and faster then that silly virtual keyboard in XB360. Also, there is some people saying that it makes the controller feel uncomfortable when playing games. To this I have to say that I have noticed no difference when I am gaming whether it's there or not, so no it doesn't makes the controller feel uncomfortable.

gordanfreeman53
gordanfreeman53

I recently bought a chat pad and I can tell there pretty spiffy.

BrandynC20
BrandynC20

Looks cool dont know if id use it much they need to link live to aim or somethin for me to buy that

Kravyn81
Kravyn81

Personally I think it's superfluous to have a messenger kit since every Xbox ships with a headset, so there's really no excuse for someone not to have a headset. As far as typing I have my account tied with my PC so I can log on to Xbox.com and type messages faster that way if for some reason I had to text someone. But I pretty much stick with voice messages.