Plug a mini microphone into your Xbox One controller, and get Cortana without Kinect

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More and more features you are familiar with on your PC are becoming available on your Xbox now that the Xbox One can run UWP apps. As we’ve covered before, Xbox apps like Netflix and Hulu will be getting the UWP treatment. And a new Groove Music UWP app is slated to finally bring about background music.

Of course, Microsoft’s legendary video game character turned digital personal assistant, Cortana, is also returning to Xbox One. The Xbox version of the Windows 10 Anniversary update brings Cortana to the console, replacing the previous Xbox voice commands. Originally, Microsoft stated a Kinect sensor was required to speak with Cortana when they announced their plans at E3 2015.

But since then, things have been relaxed and you can also speak with Cortana through a game headset’s microphone attached to your controller. This gave one of the writers at Windows Central an idea. They decided to purchase a small 3.5mm microphone and insert it into the 3.5mm jack on the newer Xbox One controllers.

Xbox Controller with a mini microphone, credit Windows Central

These microphones are 3.5mm jack add-ons to your smartphone. But this turns out to be a viable option to dedicated headphones or a Kinect sensor.

Considering dedicated headphones could run anywhere from $30 to $200, and a Kinect Sensor retails at $99.99, the 3.5mm microphone option is much more cost effective. You can find one on Amazon for $5-$10. The folks at Windows Central even listed a few favorite options at the end of their article.

Presumably, the mini microphone solution won’t work to turn on your Xbox or wake the controller. This is because the Xbox controller would need to be activated to power the microphone and transmit the commands. But the 3.5mm mini microphone is still a great solution. It cost effectively opens up voice commands for getting around your Xbox, and you won’t need a more costly headset or Kinect Sensor. It is still not as great as having a built-in microphone in your controller, but it at least opens the door to speaking with Cortana to more easily command your Xbox One.