Hands on with the new Xbox One Elite controller

3 min read


Sony may have a tech-heavy controller that has some great ideas packed into it, but the Xbox One controller trumps thanks to one simple fact: It’s a  damn comfy controller. It’s easily one of the best input devices ever made. But there’s a better controller on the way. And it certainly has an “elite” feel to it.

XB1 Elite controller (4)

Revealed last week at the Microsoft E3 press conference, the Xbox One Elite controller promised more precision, paddles, button mapping, swappable components and plenty of other smaller upgrades packed inside of it.

Over on the E3 show floor, you could actually go hands on with the device, with various configurations available. And right from the get-go, it feels like a $150 controller.

XB1 Elite controller (7)

There’s a nice heft to the input device, where it feels just a little bit heavier than the standard controller. Not too heavy, but heavy enough. The analogue thumb sticks felt a bit sharper, with virtually no dead zones, while the vibrating triggers felt a touch more responsive, equipped with smoother input.

XB1 Elite controller (6)

Playing a quick round of Forza Motorsport 6 felt more responsive, with the triggers themselves creating a more accurate sensation of pedal to the metal. All with that lovely touch of vibration, which now matched the revs on screen.

XB1 Elite controller (8)

Then there was the D-pad. And it’s weird. Proper weird, but in a good way. It’s essentially a third analogue stick, with the dome-shaped input providing quicker responses. Best of all, the version that I was using had paddles at the back.

XB1 Elite controller (3)

Paddles which had a surprising snap to them, and felt quite lightweight. Switching to a manual gear change in Forza 6 actually felt great, with the quick snap of those paddles giving me allusions of being a Top Gear presenter replacement before I crashed horribly and killed my Stig.

XB1 Elite controller (9)

The one complaint that I did have with the controller, was the actual surface of the face plate. It felt a bit cheap, and nasty after it had spent hours in the hands of other gamers. Hopefully that’s something that can be ironed out with custom face-plates in the future.

XB1 Elite controller (1)

But as a controller for hardcore fans, this is a must-buy. Manufacturers like Scuff are most likely soiling their pants right now, as the hefty $150 price tag still makes this controller cheaper than third-party offerings.

XB1 Elite controller (5)

There’s still more customisation options on the way according to a Microsoft rep at E3, with apps on the way to configure the device internally. It’s a serious piece of kit for serious gamers. It’s not essential if you’re already happy with what you have though, but it is a damn fine piece of work.

Last Updated: June 24, 2015

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