While Sony PlayStation 4 users can rightfully brag that their new console comes with a rechargeable wireless controller, the more expensive Xbox One, curiously, does not. Instead, it ships with a controller that accepts two AA batteries. But you can upgrade that controller with a rechargeable battery pack. And you should.
There are two options for this upgrade: The Xbox One Play & Charge Kit ($24.99), which provides a rechargeable battery and USB charging cable, and the Xbox One Wireless Controller with Play & Charge Kit ($74.99) which combines the former option with an Xbox One wireless controller.
My advice here is simple. If you own an Xbox One, you need an Xbox One Play & Charge Kit. This affordable little package will put an end to one of the Xbox One's stranger annoyances, where the AA batteries in the controller suddenly just stop working with no indication that this power outage is on the way; with the Xbox 360 wireless controller, the battery in the similar Play & Charge package died a bit more gracefully, hinting that the end was near by flashing the lights around the Xbox Guide button on the controller.
If you are buying a new controller, get the Xbox One Wireless Controller with Play & Charge Kit instead. An Xbox One wireless controller by itself is $59.99, so getting the rechargeable battery and USB charging cable will cost just an additional $15, a savings of $10 over buying them separately. Do not question this additional cost. Just get it.
Either way, the kits provide a lithium ion rechargeable battery that is shaped to fit in the battery compartment in the Xbox One wireless controller. It only goes in one way, and is even simpler than inserting AA batteries, which of course need to be replaced regularly as well.
The kits also come with a high quality Xbox One USB charging cable. This cable is very long, at 9 feet, to accommodate living room use, and has a nice charging light on the tip that plugs into the controller so you can see where you're at.
You can use the controller with the cable plugged in or not, so you'll never be without juice. And the best part is that if you plug in the controller while the console is in standby mode (what most people will think of as "off"), the controller still charges.
I do believe that not including such a battery and charging cable is a classic Microsoft nickel-and-dime tactic, but in the scheme of things, $25 extra—or just $15 extra if you buy them together—is a small price for this convenience, and nothing like the rip-off of requiring an Xbox Live Gold subscription to do anything meaningful with this console. If you have an Xbox One, you need an Xbox One Play & Charge Kit, period.