$150.00. For many gamers that is the only thing they see when considering the Xbox One Elite Controller. It’s so expensive, they cry. How can they justify that, they ask. Well, it’s simple really; this is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best game controllers, if not the best controller on the market. Not only that the cost of the controller really isn’t all that exorbitant when compared to other high level and customizable game pads on the market too. The only true difference is that this particular controller stands above its competition by leaps and bounds and if you use it you will absolutely love it.
I’ve held many a gamepad in my years as a gamer, as we all have I’d assume. I’ll admit that I’ve always felt the most comfortable with the design of the Xbox controller too. Of course I should give credit where it’s due and say that the new DualShock design is vastly improved and quite a joy to play with. Still, the ergonomic design of an Xbox controller has always been ideal for me. When picking up the Xbox One Elite you’ll notice that same great design plus a ton of other features.
First and foremost is its weight and heftiness; slightly heavier than its counterpart it feels like a high quality product from first touch. Rubberized grips on the back and the cool, matte black finish on top are exceedingly comfortable. The customizable stainless steel paddles on the back don’t feel intrusive and the responsiveness of both the analogs and the triggers is absolutely exceptional. In fact, the snap on the analogs is quite noticeable when comparing to the entry level Xbox One controller. Ok, so it feels good and it’s pretty. It’s still hard to justify that price tag. I feel you on that, so let’s get into the other features that help the Xbox One Elite controller stand out.
“… this is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best game controllers, if not the best controller on the market.”
Above all else it’s the suite of customization options that will win you over when considering this as a purchase and the first level of customization you’ll see is in the parts themselves. Three different types of analog sticks (standard, raised, domed), a standard D-pad and Octagonal D-pad , and finally removable paddles on the backside of the unit. Everything is held in place by magnets so it’s easy to remove but sturdy when in place. Don’t worry, your analogs will never slip out at an inopportune time. Switches at the back also allow you to set your triggers from standard depth to hair-trigger depth which is EXTREMELY handy when using non-automatic weapons in a shooter. As with the unit itself, everything has a luxurious feel to it and screams quality over anything else. The high level of responsiveness from your inputs is of particular note, as I mentioned above.
The next level of customization comes in the form of mappable buttons and paddles. A handy and easy to use interface, which you can use right on your Xbox One or on Windows 10, allows you to adjust everything from the button functions, the sensitivity of your analog sticks, the haptic feedback, and the dead zones on your triggers. If you can think of it, you can likely adjust it. You can only store two presets on the controller itself at a time but as long as you have an internet connection you can load them and switch them up with ease. As well, Microsoft has included quite a few presets for some of their first party games from Sunset Overdrive to Forza to Halo 5: Guardians. Now, you can switch buttons on a standard Xbox One controller now but this high level of customization is only available on the Elite controller.
For anyone who hasn’t used a high end controller before, especially one with paddles, it will most certainly take some time getting used to. Seeing as this review coincided with the release of Rise of the Tomb Raider I immediately went to work using the paddles for Lara. I added the sprint function and the survival sense function to two paddles as I used them constantly. It’s easy to remove the paddles so I took the other two out. It took me at least an hour of play to adjust to not only just using the paddles but to avoid hitting them when I didn’t want to. Regardless, after some time it became fluid and very convenient.
“This controller is worth every penny and anyone who holds and uses one will likely want one for themselves. It might just be hard to swallow for a more casual gamer who doesn’t take full advantage of the customization suite on offer.”
There’s quite honestly no debate that the Xbox One Elite Controller is a high level, quality build. Everything from the materials, the extra weight, the customization and more screams luxury. The problem is that unless you are a fairly serious gamer you won’t really get enough out of the controller to justify the cost. Does that mean it’s not worth it? Hell no. This controller is worth every penny and anyone who holds and uses one will likely want one for themselves. It might just be hard to swallow for a more casual gamer who doesn’t take full advantage of the customization suite on offer. For that reason I can’t quite recommend the Elite Controller as an absolute must have but if you’ve got a spare $150 lying around (because who doesn’t, right?) you won’t be disappointed.
- High level of customization
- Snappy and responsive inputs
- Build feels exceedingly sturdy
- Easy to use interface
- High cost of entry
- Not for the average gamer