Coinciding with the launch of Halo 5: Guardians tomorrow (you’ve read our review, right?), Microsoft is also gearing up to unleash their professional Xbox One controller – the Elite. Revealed at E3 even more drooling inducing at Gamescom. the Elite is billed as the controller for the serious Xbox One gamer. Whether that translates to purely professional play of extended lengths of time spent in front of your console is up to you, but it certainly looks like the Elite is a controller like no other.
While we haven’t received our own controller to put through some tests yet, many other media around the world has. In short, they’ve all arrived at the same consensus – praising the Elite Controller as the best ever created, while questioning its incredibly high price. But even nearing R2500 for a single controller must have its benefits, right?
It does, and it’s no better encapsulated by some of the reviews.
Engadget praised the look and feel of the controller, which is slightly heavier than the one standard with the Xbox One. The extra weight goes hand in hand with the paddle design though, giving you a comfortable fit in your palms.
That heft likely comes from the Elite’s revamped innards. The thumbsticks feel incredibly springy and precise, thanks to their metal construction. I’ve never been a fan of the sticks on the Xbox One pad. They’ve always felt rough and just weren’t comfortable to me. With the Elite, I had the option of choosing among three different sets (standard, tall and a pair of convex heads) and changing them on the fly, but most of the time I was perfectly happy with the standard set. All are incredibly comfortable, though, and have the same premium feel as the rest of the controller.
Kotaku also loved not only how customisable the controller is, but the ease with which you are able to pull off the thumbsticks, D-Pad, extra back paddles and more. The shortened triggers are also easily changed without having to take the controller apart thanks to sliders on the controller itself. A mile above what the likes of Scuf make you do.
What’s amazing to me is that the interchangeable components are held to the controller’s face with magnets. Pull straight up and they come off easily.
Yet when in place they’re just as strong as the connected parts on the traditional controller, if not a bit stronger. The analog sticks snap to center position with more authority. That strange directional disc registers movement more tactfully than anything Xbox d-pad before it.
Should you want to go deeper still, the Elite ships with an app on the Xbox One that finally lets you remap button commands around the controller. This gives the Elite (and by extension every other Xbox One controller) a lot more depth to customisation – although the additional paddles and buttons give it a slight edge. As described by Ars Technica:
The Xbox Accessories app also lets you choose from a few preset adjustments to the analog “power curve” for each stick. On the “slow start” setting, for instance, small movements of the stick send barely any input to the game, allowing for extremely fine control if, say, you want to make a tiny adjustment down a sniper scope.
Of course it seems everyone is a little divided when it comes to actually nailing down who this controller is meant for. In a year which saw Microsoft lose Call of Duty’s DLC exclusivity but gain a far more eSports focused Halo 5, it’s easy to see that professional, competitive gaming is certainly top of the list. But with the host of improvements over the traditional controller, it seems fit for someone who spends more than a few hours a day using the Xbox One.
Is it worth the asking price, and how well does it stack up to the competition? Those are questions we’ll be answering in our own review very soon.
Last Updated: October 26, 2015