Xbox One Elite Controller Review

E3 2015 Preview

We went hands on with Microsoft’s new pro controller for Xbox One and PC. While it costs $150, it appears to be worth the asking price.

The standard Xbox One controller is a modern classic — it feels great, it’s compatible across Xbox One and Windows, and it works both wirelessly and over a wired connection. However, it isn’t perfect — most notably, it required a special adaptor if you were using a gaming headset. Ahead of this year’s E3, Microsoft revamped the standard controller to fix the headset problem, so standard controllers sold after June should allow you to use standard gaming headsets. However, at E3 itself, Microsoft unveiled something completely new: the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller.

The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller is aimed squarely at the pro gaming market, plus those who like their gaming to be as luxurious as possible. Priced at $150 and set for release in October, the new controller puts customisation, quality and comfort at the top of the priority list.

The Elite Wireless Controller looks just like the standard Xbox One controller, except most of the buttons, sticks and pads are customisable. For example, the two analogue sticks can be replaced with convex, concave or extra-tall sticks as required. The standard four-way “ ”-style d-pad can be replaced with a circular pad, much like the one that featured on the original Xbox controller. Finally, paddles on the underside of the pad can be programmed to be used as alternatives to the face buttons.

All of these controls are included in the box as standard, and can easily be snapped on and off thanks to magnets. “You set up the controller exactly the way you want to be,” Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Project Manager David Prine told us. “Before we made a prototype, we spent months in the houses of pros, listening to them, making samples and getting feedback.” The result is a pad that’s destined to be the controller of choice for Call of Duty and FIFA tournament players in tournament play.

See also: Xbox One vs PS4

Xbox One Elite Controller 6

For example, the paddles on the underside of the pad mean you don’t need to move your right thumb off the control stick and onto a face button, which saves a vital split-second each time. The controller also boasts other features inspired by the pro gamer community–the grips have been extended around the outside of the handles, as Microsoft found pro gamers were using their own grips there.

The package includes the controller itself, two d-pads, six thumbsticks, four paddles, a USB cable and a carry case to hold everything. The stainless steel paddles mean the Xbox Elite Wireless controller is about 20 per cent heavier than the standard model, but it’s not noticeable in use. The ring around each thumbstick is also made from a low-friction resin, which not only promises to offer smooth movement, it’s also much more durable. Microsoft says that even after years of use, the thumbsticks will show almost no signs of wear and tear.

See also: Xbox One vs Xbox 360

Xbox One Elite Controller 5

The triggers aren’t replaceable, but they can be set to standard full travel, or 50 per cent travel, depending on your preference. This setting is controlled by a couple of sliders on the back of the controller itself. When the pad launches in October, it will do so alongside an app for Xbox One and Windows 10. Using the app, you can create up to 255 individual customised profiles for your games. The pad has in-built memory for two of these profiles, which can be activated by flicking a switch on the underside of the controller. If you play a lot of Call of Duty and FIFA, for example, you can switch between setups without having to go into the app.

First Impressions

The new Xbox One pad is aimed at serious and pro gamers, but if you’re the sort of person who enjoys the finer things in life, it’s something you’ll definitely want to use for your standard gaming. It goes on sale in October for $150, but there’s no UK price or release date as yet.

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