How to test Xbox controller latency and fix latency issues

series x

series x

Is your Xbox Series X controller suffering from latency issues and input lag? When it comes to competitive gaming, every millisecond matters, and this problem could damage your chances.

There are many frustrating issues with controllers, such as stick drift, broken buttons, or white controllers getting dirty. Alongside this, input lag, or latency issues, are another problem gamers on all platforms must deal with. Luckily for you, we might be able to help.

If you think you missed out on that perfect headshot because your controller didn't respond in time, then here's what you can do to try to mitigate that.

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Dynamic Latency Input

To try to reduce latency issues on the Xbox Series X, Microsoft developed what they call DLI. With this system, the new Series X controller samples and transmits data before the game asks for it, so that the latest input arrives at the console just before it's needed.

The idea, Microsoft says, is that this will lead to significantly lower controller latency. Additionally, Microsoft has tried to make it easier for developers to improve game latency, as well as a raft of other efforts. So hopefully, in theory, latency isn't causing you too many issues.

But what if you still feel that you are having some trouble with lag? Is there anything you can do?

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How to test latency on Xbox

If you think you might be having some issues with latency, it is possible to run a speed test on your Xbox. To do this:

  1. Press the Xbox button to open the guide.
  1. Select Profile & system > Settings > General > Network settings.
  2. Select Test network speed & statistics.

You want your latency (also known as ping) to measure less than 150 milliseconds. Anything higher than this suggests that latency could be an issue.

How to fix controller input latency on Xbox Series X

So if you are suffering from controller input lag, what can you actually do about it? Well, there are a few steps worth trying.

The first thing you should try is to refresh your network connection, just in case. It's a quick and easy fix, so well worth trying as an option. To do this, go to Xbox Network Settings and select Go Offline. Disconnect for a short while, then reconnect and see if it has resolved your issue.

Another option if you're getting latency, is to make sure your Xbox isn't being overworked by background apps. Like any computer, the more apps you have running, the harder your Xbox is having to work. The thinner it is spread, the more likely you are to suffer from latency. To shut down any unnecessary apps, head to your Home Screen, hover over the app you want to close, press Menu, and then press Quit.

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Check for any pending firmware updates for your controller. If there are any outstanding, then update your controller to see if this resolves your issue.

It may also be worth testing the controller using a different USB port, in case there is a problem with a specific port.

And finally, input lag may be an indication that your controller battery is running low. So check how much is left on your Xbox controller battery, and if necessary, try putting new batteries in.

Check your WiFi

It might be worth taking a closer look at your WiFi, especially for online gaming. Using the test we mentioned above to test your internet speeds, might reveal whether you are actually on the wrong internet package, and in need of an upgrade.

Beyond that, it's worth making sure your internet connection is working by restarting your router.

Also, if there are lots of devices connecting to your WiFi at once, this can also slow things down. So if possible, consider reducing the number of devices that are fighting over bandwidth. Finally, if none of the above works, try using a wired connection rather than a wireless one, to see if this makes a difference.

Could it be your TV?

One further thing to check is your TV setup. Some televisions have a dedicated Game mode, with reduced latency settings. You can also check that any post-processing settings, which can slow things down, are switched off.

It's also worth bearing in mind that the higher the refresh rate on your television, the lower the lag is likely to be. So a 120hz refresh rate will usually end up outperforming a 60hz refresh rate, for example. Also, check that the HDMI cable you are using is in good condition, and the HDMI port you are using. Some TVs will have an HDMI port dedicated for gaming. If yours doesn't, then your best bet is to use HDMI port 1, which may be preset for gaming.

Thanks to DLI, hopefully latency is not a major issue for you on your Series X. But if you are experiencing problems, give our suggestions a try, and hopefully at least one of them will help.

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Can The HDMI Cable Be a Factor?

This is a good question. And the answer is yes, the HDMI cable you are using can contribute to how good or bad your lag becomes.

For example, using HDMI 2.1 offers an 8.3ms latency improvement over HDMI 2.0. Essentially, it can transfer data faster, which accounts for the difference.

HDMI 2.1 is the standard cable that comes with your Xbox Series X. But check to make sure you are still using that cable, and that it hasn't been swapped for an older cable. It's also a good opportunity to check for any damage that might be visible. Something like bent pins, or a frayed cable for example, might reduce performance, and increase lag.

And if your HDMI cable passes through any devices before reaching the television, such as a capture card, this can also lead to latency. So connecting your cable directly to your television may make a difference.

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