* Prices may differ from that shown
A long time ago console gaming was all about the single player experience. There were generally no passwords to remember, no conversations to hold down, and a split screen game of Formula One was the closest you came to social networking. These days' things have become so much more complex, and a console game's prime focus seems to be on providing a social experience. Microsoft was the pioneer of this concept, and one of the first steps they took was to tie their Xbox360 into their MSN Instant Messaging chat service. Alas; as anybody that has attempted to type a message using the Xbox360's onscreen Keyboard will attest, this could often be a painful experience. In theory that is where the Chatpad could come in handy.
The Chatpad is; for all intents and purposes, a miniature keyboard similar in style to the one found on a Blackberry smart phone. The Chatpad has the same QWERTY layout as a standard keyboard, and does make typing messages a lot easier. Sadly it still does not make the experience any more fun. Coming in at slightly larger than a Blackberry the Chatpad's keyboard is nevertheless too small for the average consumer's fingers. As a result you will find yourself typing everything out...very...slowly...to avoid making silly mistakes. It's hard to understand why anyone would design this over a bog standard USB keyboard; except for the aesthetically pleasing way it fits into your console.
Setting up the Chatpad is very easy. You simply remove the device from its packaging and click it into place in your controller. It clicks into the same Jack as your headset, but has a separate Jack at the bottom so that you don't lose anything. It really is that simple to set up, and starts working immediately. It also looks very stylish sitting snugly at the base of the controller; feeling like an extension rather than a separate peripheral.
Sadly everything else about the Chatpad is subpar! The size is too small to type, but large enough to alter the size and shape of your controller. It also weighs enough that the controller becomes heavier, and as such your gaming experience is altered as you attempt to get used to the new weight. If you're playing on-line then this shift is enough to affect your concentration and could conceivably spoil your first few games.
The Chatpad currently retails for around £20 and comes bundled with an official Microsoft headset. This is considerably cheaper than it was at launch, but its value will be up to you to decide. I am a functional rather than an aesthetic kind of guy, so would have preferred a USB keyboard. Others may feel differently, and for you it comes in the option of white or black depending on your set up. Although I often find myself wondering why people will insist on using an Instant Messenger while playing a game. When your status shows up as "Carl is playing tomb Raider" why do people insist on saying "Hi"?!?! Then again I suppose you could put that down to my antisocial fondness for the days when single player games would rule the charts.
I have had my xbox for over 5 years and i have had this chatpad for most of that and i can honestly say that it is invaluable for writing messages as using the xbox controller can take ages even to write a simple message to a friend so any message that requires some explanation takes forever using just the controller. However, with this chatpad, you can type very quickly and comfortably. Whilst it does add some weight and bulk to the controller when you are playing, you adapt to this very quickly and it is not a problem at all. My main gripe with this product is that when i am talking to a friend through my headset and i am using the chatpad at the same time, if my controller vibrates, the person i am talking to hears a buzzing noise through my headset which is very annoying for them. However, i cannot say conclusively whether this is a widespread problem or whether my product is slightly faulty.
@ About @
This messenger kit comes only in white and one thing to note: It will drain your battery faster than just using a regular headset on its own. The keypad lights up every time you hit one of the keys, and just leaving it to sit in the controller will also drain the battery since the controller is having to keep the keypad live ready to use.
There is no on or off switch it will just run. To plug the headset in you will need the one they give you and if it goes wrong or you loose it, you will never be able to plug in another headset without buying another messenger kit. Microsoft have cleverly done this by removing the two prong connectors at the front and just given you a 3.5mm jack which will only fit the headset they give you.
@ The headset @
The headset for the messenger kit is much like the regular ones, only this time there is a switch to mute on/off on the wire. This is very easy to use because its just a switch you can flick up or down but its too close to the headset for those moments. When you have to quickly flick it off during a game. Its just a couple inches from your head and would be better placed further down.
The other thing i don't like is the sound quality and volume is too quiet. The sound from other players is tinny, and when they shout into the mic they are quiet and distorted. I have to leave the headset on full volume throughout the duration of gameplay just to hear the players who have their mic as close to their mouth as possible. The microphone is not at all sensitive and coupled with poor speaker quality makes it a rubbish product.
@ The keypad @
I have now thrown my keypad away after just one year because of poor build quality, the most popular keys such as Space, A, N, and L have all stopped working completely and the other keys take a great deal of effort to press down to get the character to appear on the screen. All the buttons are almost kaput and this is not with heavy use either. They often get sticky and every single word had letters missing.
There is also a lot of lag from the keypad when letters appear on screen. Sometimes they take a while to appear one by one and on other occasions they pause and when i look up my xbox is loading something, then about 12 letters appear on screen. Like i said, poor quality product.
@ Overall @
I strongly recommend you take the cheaper, and more reliable option: use a standard computer USB keyboard as i am now doing, and get some turtle beach headphones as an alternative, not a recommended product and not worth wasting your money on.
I've had my Xbox for nearly 3 years now, back in the day not many of my friends had the console, and I didn't have Xbox Live to begin with, I just had a couple of games I'd sit and play on my own. As more and more of my friends got Xbox consoles, and I finally got onto Xbox Live I found myself sending loads of messages to my friends, and fellow players online. It would take a fair while to do so using the on screen keyboard and I'd find myself losing concentration in games as it would take so long for me to message people back when they replied. So when I was shopping in Morrisons one day after work I noticed this cracking bit of kit in the games and DVD's aisle, I never even knew these kits existed so I bought it instantly.
Inside the pack is a QWERTY keyboard which you attach to the bottom of any Xbox 360 controller, it fits nice and snug onto the bottom of the controller and clicks when it's fully into place. At the bottom of the keyboard is a hole in which you can plug your headset into if you want to use that at the same time as having your chat pad attached. It's as simple as that, there are over 40 buttons obviously with all the alphabet plus some extra keys that are shortcuts to various things including MSN messenger. The keyboard is backlit making it easier to see the keys, there would definitely be loads of spelling errors on my behalf if there were no lights behind the keys.
The headset fits into the bottom of the chat pad making it the ultimate kit for gaming and chatting. The headset is just your basic Xbox 360 wired headset, there is a switch half way down the wire in which you can turn your microphone on or off, this also has a little volume slider on the side to turn down the headphone volume.
You can purchase the messenger kits from pretty much anywhere it seems, prices vary obviously depending on where you buy it from. I purchased mine from Morrisons over a year and a half ago for around £15 and it had a months free Xbox Live Trial with it. There is a black version available now if you want to colour co-ordinate your chat pad with your black Xbox controllers. I'm not that fussy though so I still use my white chat pad with my black controllers. The black messenger kits cost a little more at over £20 from most gaming retailers it depends how fussy you are as to which kit you want to buy.
The headset is a little flimsy and I've gone through a few whilst I've had my Xbox console, but it's always just been a problem with the wires getting tangled and weakening so they split, I'd still recommend people purchase this kit, as it really is a bargain. If you want to splash out there are plenty of other headsets you can purchase. I'd still probably have paid around £10-£15 just for the chat pad itself as it really is a great bit of kit for me, I don't know how I went so long without having one, it takes forever to try and send a message without it.
I'd recommend every Xbox 360 gamer who has Xbox Live to purchase one, especially if you like to chat and play at the same time, it really is a great piece of kit. It's great for sending quick messages to fellow gamers, or for signing onto MSN to chat to your friends online that way.
The Xbox 360 Messenger kit is a godsend for those people who want more chat in their gaming experience, in essence it's a keyboard and headset which you attach to the Xbox and play your games.
I bought one as my nieces are now old enough to play games and I wanted to ensure I had time with them, doing something fun together and allowing us to chat and catch up whilst still playing games. It seemed a fun (if not slightly impractical ideas), but much better than simply skyping. I have to admit I did also buy it to use with Fifa 11 to badmouth friends during matches and wind them up, so it wasn't solely for good purposes!!!!
Being honest, I use this as much to wind up friends on more sociable games, by typing in insults or other things to spur them on and build atmosphere, I use the headset more for family time.
I bought the kit in Game for £22.99 and have to admit in theory it is a great idea, in practice it is probably more suited to kids, as some of its big pluses are not such big positives for me.
To start with when you buy it, you get a tiny little plastic box which immediately makes you wonder if you have just been ripped off, once you get through this, you can appreciate that the whole idea of this product is to be small and non-intrusive therefore it is actually a plus point.
What you get in this set are a chat pad, which is a tiny keyboard that you can plug into your controller to use during games, it allows small MSN messages to be sent during games, which allow you to joke, put off or wind up your opponent depending on your preference. Alongside the chat pad is the headset which plugs into the chatpad giving you connectivity and allowing you to speak with anyone you are playing games with. The headset is convenient and small enough to be unobtrusive; the volume controls are located on the wiring which means they are always within easy reach.
My favourite uses for the kit are speaking with mates whilst playing games such as Fifa 11 or Call of Duty, I also enjoy sending my nieces little messages or encouraging them when we play Yahtzee or Boggle on the Family game night package. It is a good easy way to keep in contact whilst sharing something rather than sitting being unsure what to do on Skype.
Overall I think this is a good idea and something I hope Microsoft can flesh out and get rid of a few annoying niggles, if they can do this, then all will be well.
The package has some real plus points and some more negative aspects for me, on the plus side the keypad is incredibly light and it is a great idea having it attach to the controller, balancing this out, the keyboard is flimsy, the keys are too small and I find more often than not, I come across as a slightly lumbering oaf when typing as I mistype or end up pressing too many keys and simply writing jibberish (Some would say this is similar to my writing style here!!).
I've also broken keys as they are just too weak for anyone but the daintiest person to type. I now have a form of code in that anything that has a 'j' in words forming nonsensical words, should be considered an 'H'.
To balance things, although I have had lots of problems with the small keyboard, my sister tells me that she and my niece have no such problems, so it may just be the keyboard is designed for people with very small fingers.
The keyboard and headset are easy to use, the headset especially is clear and I've had no problems with it at all and it's the best part of the package.
The one thing I would also mention is I do think this is too expensive for what it is. It is a reasonable little keypad and a headset, but I could buy a USB keyboard for much less and a headset to attach, they just wouldn't have the Microsoft mark, but the keyboard especially would probably be more reliable. I think this is something they need to address as £22.99 is the cheaper end of the scale for this product but Is still about £6 above being competitive and they also need to address the issues of reliability with the keyboard which should be so much better for the price.
The product is available in Game, on Amazon and via Play and most other decent game retailers, shop around as prices can vary from £19.99 to £29.99 so search out the best price.
When I first got my Xbox hooked up to Xbox Live I was amazed at some of the features and one that I really liked was the fact I could get MSN messenger on my Xbox. It was so difficult to type on the TV screen by moving around with the controller, so I decided I would purchase one of these.
The Messenger kit includes the basic headset which comes with the Xbox 360 Console when you purchase it. So I didnt really want nor need this. But it is handy to have incase my other one breaks. The other thing that comes as part of the Messenger kit is the Chatpad. The Chatpad itself slides into the bottom of the xbox pad and connects through the Headset socket (there is a headset socket at the bottom of the chatpad so you can still use your headset with the Chatpad clipped in). The Chatpad is very small and takes lots of practise to type on it. It is set out like a normal QWERTY keypad.
Im glad I bought this Chatpad as it is very handy to have, and makes talking on MSN so much easier. I dont however use it that much now, but its still handy to have when you need to type anything on your Xbox!
When I first saw that this was being released for the console, I thought that this would be a good addition, as I used to use Windows Live Messenger quite a lot through my Xbox 360 console, and because of this I thought it would be good value.
When I purchased this kit, I thought that it could've been improved. The headset was quite cheap and broke easily, meaning that I wasn't able to talk to fellow gamers over Xbox Live whilst playing games. The chat pad was quite bulky, but was very easy to use which was an advantage as I could type quite quickly on the pad. Which surprised me as I was comfortable using a proper keyboard before the release of this.
I also feel that the price could've been made a bit cheaper, especially as Microsoft gave a cheap headset away with the set.
Overall, I feel the product is of good quality and I would recommend it to all Xbox users as it can be used every day as nearly every game requires you to enter some information somewhere. But, because the headset was disappointing, I would give this product a 3/5.
For all you messenger/xbox live users out there your prayers have been answered!
A nice little compact device that connects easily to your controller to save you from the stress of having to type letter to leter to letter slowly selecting them using the joysticks on the controller without!
This pack comes with two items, firstly a 'chat' headset and also of course the chat pad! For those of you who are keen xbox live users, you will no doubt have realised quickly that people are nattering to each other constantly during your game session and it makes the experience so much more thrilling to be involved in whats being said so the headset is a great way to get involved and is worth a purchase at least on its own! **its worth noting that the headset that came in this pack was not the same as the original one which comes with the xbox, the controls of the headset are slightly different but it does what you need it to!**
The second half of the main for of contact available on the xbox 360 is the messaging half, both through sending messages to other users or talking to their friends on messenger. Those who have tried to contact a chum on the service without a keypad will have no doubt been pulling their hair out after you've taken a year to type such a short message and then with one slip of a finger closed all the work you've put in and had to start again! the chat pad obviously gets rid of that slow typing nightmare! admitingly at first it does take a little time to get used to the size but youll without doubt quickly realise how much it helps!
The keypad features backlit keys to help you type in darkened conditions and also (my favourite part of the unit) is that the key pad has a dedicated button which, while in game, takes you to a small messenger window to allow you to respond to friends and then another quick hit of the button takes you straight back to where you were! saves you having to wait between games to write back a tiny response!
Overall i would say that once you've finally hacked your way through the annoying packaging that these pieces come in and got access to them you'll be happy to find two small units which make an already enjoyable xbox live service even better! The only thing i really have an issue with, like with most microsoft products, is its price! not as bad right now as it was when it first came out but still a touch expensive in my opinion for something which is not entirely essential to a user!
Highly rated by myself and i get my moneys worth out of mine!
I'm not actually sure why I bought this, it must have been cheap because the cons outweigh the pros. First off, the Messenger Kit attaches to the bottom of the controller where your headset normally goes and then you plug your headset into the bottom of the Chat Pad. The problem is that it feels horrible to play video games when it's attached. You can't hold the controller properly and it's heavier. So what happens is you end up taking it off and putting it back on a lot and it would just be easier not to use it all! It doesn't really get as much use as I expected. Basically the only thing I use it for is redeeming codes and if I start a new account which isn't frequently.
The pad itself is well designed in terms of button layout and having a nice backlight to type in the dark. There's a shift button which effectively doubles the buttons to use as different keys so all your standard letters, symbols and numbers are there as well as a couple of new additions.
You do get a wired headset with the Kit but if you're read my review on those then you'll see why that isn't much of a benefit. I don't recommend buying this simply because you won't use it and it's not exactly a cheap accessory.
My partner has been looking to buy this forever. So I finally gave in and bought it for him on the weekend. I bought it in Game for £24.99 but they also had it on offer, if you buy anything in Game you get the Messenger Kit for £19.99.
Included in the pack is the small keyboard and a wired headset. The keyboard clips onto the bottom of your Xbox 360 controller. Once plugged into the controller the keys on it light up! (Funnily enough this was the part that made him happiest!) The good thing about this product is no batteries or charging required as it get's it's power from the controller.
It also has a Windows messenger button. It lets you sign into Windows messenger on your Xbox. The feeback I've had from my partner is, he finds it a lot easier to type messages to his friends on the Xbox. A lot quicker to type to each other as well and this also means he finds it better chatting to his friends using the Xbox than having to get up and go to the other room to sit at his computer!!
It is quite stiff to put on but also to slide off, again this is a positive about the product as you don't want it sliding of when you're half way through typing a message. It also sits on without moving when playing a game.
The headset can either plug into the bottom of the keypad or just into the controller. It is white and grey in colour. The ear piece sits on your ear instead of in your ear, I don't know if you're like me but it's a lot comfier than sitting in your ear. The headset sits on you're head and doesn't slide of easily.
The headset has a clip so you can attatch the wire to your clothes. It also has a volume and mute button halfway up the cable just like some earphones. This is good to be able to adjust the volume to suit you, and the mute button is good so your friends don't hear you shouting to your poor partner to get you a drink (like me - always fetching him something!!)
Good price for this product and has been made very well!
Xbox 360 Windows Live Messenger Kit: Chatpad and Headset.(Msn Kit)
I bought the MSN kit for the Xbox 360 last week along with a wireless adapter, I bought it for £18 out of XtraVision!
What comes in the Packaging?
In the Packaging there is manuals, A Xbox 360 Windows Live Messenger Chatpad and a Xbox 360 Headset (white).
What does the Chatpad do?
The chatpad lets you type in conversations on MSN and type in your details on your Xbox 360 (e.g. Typing your email address for the setup of Xbox Live)!
What does the Headset do?
The headset lets you talk to your friends on Xbox live during or not during games!
How does the MSN kit work?
The chatpad fits into the Headset jack at the bottom of the Xbox 360 Controller, It then automatically works with the Xbox 360 Console no installments needed! The Headset fits into ethier the Headset jack on the bottom of the controller or the Headset jack on the bottom of the MSN kit! The headset works automatically with the Xbox 360 console too so there is no installments needed!
It is a very good product from Microsoft, It cost's around £18 to £25! It is really good value because you get a Headset and a Chatpad for £18. It is a very good feature for Windows Live Messenger on the Xbox 360! It keeps you from typing on the screen, and it speeds up time alot! Check out www.game.co.uk and goto Xbox 360 Accessories for more details!
The Xbox 360 Messenger Kit comes in that awful plastic packaging that you cut yourself trying to get into - but once you get past that initial hell, you'll find yourself with a very respectable product.
The Messenger Kit includes both a chat pad & an xbox 360 headset. I should mention now however that the headset that comes with this kit is not the original headset that we are all used to. The difference with this headset is that the volume & mute controls are in different locations to the previous headset. Previously the controls were located on a piece of plastic that connected to your controller, however now the controls are located half way up the wire that leads to your ear.
The location of the volume & mute controls may bother those gamers who like to have the mute button at their finger tips, but you soon get used to reaching up to the wire to mute yourself - it's really not a problem.
The chat pad itself connects to the bottom of your xbox 360 controller and then the headset connects to the bottom of the chat pad. The weight of the chat pad is quite light, so gaming whilst having it connected to your controller is by no means uncomfortable.
Typing on the chat pad does take some getting used to, however after about 10 minutes you soon get used to it and you'll be typing fast in no time. Gone are the days of spending 10 minutes writing a message to your friend on that on-screen keyboard, hoorah !
The chat pad has a neat little feature whereby if you're playing a game, you can press a shortcut key and a small msn window will appear at the bottom of the screen where you can scroll through your conversations and type to your friends from there. Press the shortcut key again and it disappears - simple & it saves a lot of time going through the xbox guide button.
The chat pad's build quality is very good, despite not weighing very much the parts of the plastic that are at their thinnest are still rather thick, I believe you would have a tough time breaking the plastic. Dropping the chat pad on the floor most likely would not damage it apart from possible scratches. The keys themselves are very flat, so keys coming loose would be a very rare occurance unless you had very long nails and purposely tried to dislodge them.
I'd recommend this product to anyone who frequently sends messages via xbox live, or people who play a lot of games that require you to name your items, etc. People with large fingers may want to give this a miss as obviously each of the keys is rather small so it's possible to hit 2 keys with one push. The headset is exactly the same as the original except for the location of the volume & mute controls so you know what to expect when it comes to the headset.
The RRP of this product is £24.99 but at the time of writing can be purchased from Gameplay.co.uk for £19.99. Slightly expensive, but in my opinion it's worth the money.
Comes with headset
Easy to use
Slightly expensive at RRP but can be found cheap during in-store deals etc
Keys may be too small for large fingers
Volume & Mute controls location may bother some users
Thanks for reading, I hope this helps you make a decision. :)
Review also now published on Ciao
This is a very handy little device which plugs straight into your xbox controller (in the headphone port) enabling you to type message on a qwerty keyboard making messaging and msn far easier and quicker to use rather than having to navigate on screen to a letter at a time.
It's a worthy buy if you use the MSN feature a lot, but if you use it every now and then, I wouldn't bother.
The disadvantage to having this plugged in means you cannot use the microphone, something I believe was overlooked. When playing the xbox online, having the headset can make all the difference. It can be rather annoying having to disconnect and reconnect the kit each time you start a game online.
The bit of kit retails at around £25, shop around for a good deal.
Overall it is a handy little device, but is it really worth £25?
Avoid cheap chinese imports, these are unreliable and tend to last a month or so
The Microsoft chat pad and headset kit is a communication kit for the Microsoft Xbox 360 games console.
Now that you can use MSN messenger with your Xbox 360, this makes an awful lot of sense. Entering messages with the keyboard that is on the screen takes a lot of time.
The keyboard is white and silver grey so it does look nice when it is connected to your Xbox controller. The headset is also of the same colour so it looks good to.
This device is really simple to use. The chat pad connects into the bottom of your Xbox 360 wired or wireless controller. You will then be able to inputs messages much faster and with more accuracy. It has all the letters and it has the same layout as a standard keyboard so if you have used a PC you will be fine with this. It has a hole in the bottom and where you can connect your headset.
The included headset is the same as what comes with the Xbox360 console. The sound quality is quite good, but sometimes people can sound rather strange. It also only has one headphone so it is not very loud. Unfortunately it is a bit flimsy but it does the job and it is a nice bonus that the puts it in the box.
If you use MSN on your Xbox 360 a lot. This makes a great deal of sense to have it. You can purchase this for about £25.00.
The Xbox 360 messenger kit is a great accessory for any Xbox Live user.
This accessory simply attaches to the bottom of the controller where the headset usually goes and then your headset attaches to the Messenger Kit, which they provide. For only £25 this is a very good deal.
With the kit you can send messages to your friends so much quicker than the usual method. It's also very useful for redeeming codes in the Marketplace which most people have to do quite a bit with MS points, Xbox Live and bonuses such as maps and free gifts.
The keys are lighted so you can use it in the dark, but most people who can type reasonably fast won't have trouble finding the keys anyway. You don't have to use when playing, and it's so quick to remove and attach that it's perfect for its uses. It also matches perfectly in colour with the controller, console and the rest of the accessories.
I highly recommend this product and is why I suggested this product for this site.
The Xbox 360 Messenger Kit, which includes a Chatpad and Xbox 360 headset, allows users to easily chat with friends or family on Xbox LIVE and Windows-based PCs. The automatically backlit Chatpad quickly connects to any Xbox 360 controller and can be easily controlled with simple thumb strokes so users can simultaneously chat and play games with ease.