The Xbox One Elite Controller was launched by Microsoft back in 2015 and to date, it is one of the best controllers that money can buy. We have already posted an article about DualShock 4 vs. Xbox One S controller and now here we are, taking a deep look at the Xbox One Elite Controller.
The Xbox One Elite Controller comes with great features like customizable button mapping and replaceable thumbstick and D-Pad. You can also add paddles to the controller to use the controller to its maximum functionality.
Let’s talk about the controller one by one featuring its key elements and then explaining them.
The Xbox One Elite Controller has the same shape and features of a normal Xbox One controller but it is only when you hold it and then you will feel how well it is built and how sturdy it is. It has a weight and heft to it but these aren’t annoying at all. The first time I held my controller, I felt like I was holding some kind of Xbox Controller that was tailor-made for me.
The build quality is just amazing. The triggers are all built out of metal and they are attached to the controller using magnets. This allows for on the go trigger replacements and you can use the triggers that work the best for you. This is something that the standard Xbox One controller doesn’t provide.
Both, the D-pad as well as the left thumbsticks have been changed on the Elite controller. While the left thumbstick is a good change, not everyone likes the new D-pad but guess what, you can easily take it off and replace it with the traditional D-pads thanks to the magnets.
The grips on the Elite Controller are quite good and they feel better than the standard Xbox controller for sure. The standard controllers have a kind of a surface which feel slippery when you use them.
Turning on the controller will inform you of the new haptic engine in the controller. This is a HUGE upgrade from the one on the Xbox standard controller and this one feels more realistic and real time. By real-time, I mean, it instantly powers up when there is some sort of haptic related action going on, on the screen. You won’t see any kind of lag or delayed response here. It is the little things like these that make the games you play using the controller much more immersive and enjoyable.
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Coming to the Customization part of the controller. Microsoft is simply giving you all the power to use your controller however you like.
Replacing the triggers, thumbsticks and the D-pads are easy thanks to the magnets on the controller. Inside the box, you get the following things.
- Carrying case
- Set of 4 paddles
- Set of 6 thumbsticks: standard (2), tall (2), and domed (2)
- Set of 2 D-pads: faceted and standard
- USB cable
- AA batteries
You can easily choose from any of the 6 thumbsticks or the 2 D-pads and use the ones that you find works best for you.
Coming to the software part of the customization, you can take advantage of the Xbox Accessories app and it will let you download and set pre-programmed controller layouts for specific games. You can also go ahead and map your own controls so you have the full power over your controller.
You can easily change things like haptic feedback intensity, the response time of triggers etc. right from the app itself.
There’s also a switch on the controller itself which will help you in switching between two control schemes on the go. Let’s say you need a different layout for a racing game and a different one for an FPS game. You can easily switch between the two profiles using the hardware switch on the controller.
There is also a very easy way to turn off the hair triggers function if you don’t really need it in a game. Hair triggers are used in games of the racing genre where how hard you push the trigger makes some sort of difference but in a game where you don’t need them, you can simply choose to disable the hair triggers for ease of use. This results in better precision and faster response time.
Let’s take a look at the back of the controller to find the paddles and the hair trigger switches. I’ll be honest, paddles aren’t for me and I always find it very hard to be working with them in a game.
While using the paddles on the controller, you will notice that most of the time the whole load of the controller falls down on your pinky fingers since the other ones holding the grip are more involved in using the paddle. This results in fatigue on your hands and this is something that not every game is fond of.
But who said you HAVE to use these paddles? You can easily take them off since they’re held by magnets anyway. You can easily take them off and put it back when you need them.
As mentioned already, you can replace the D-pad and thumbsticks as well. For the D-pad you can choose from the default one or you can go ahead and put one that looks more traditional. About the thumbstick, there are 6 options to choose from. You have the short thumbsticks and you also have the taller ones here. You can choose any one of the provided thumbsticks to find out which one works for you.
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All the extra triggers and switches you can easily carry in the case that comes with the controller.
The controller is powered by two AA batteries which in 2018 sounds like a bad deal. I mean, who wants to buy batteries for gaming?
Microsoft decided it was a good idea to sell the Play and Charge accessory for another $25 which comes with a rechargeable battery and a charging cable. Unless you want to keep changing batteries on your controller, you better get one of these things to help your game without any hindrance.
There are some minor things that I didn’t like about the controller though, but I am just nitpicking now. I personally feel that the thumbsticks are a bit on the heavier side and in a situation in-game when you quickly need to maneuver the thumbstick to a different direction, you might feel a bit of the heft. But it is something that you get used to in a while of using it.
I tried using the standard Xbox One controller after using the Xbox One Elite Controller for a significant amount of time and the standard controller now feels like a knockoff. Of course, it has to be that way, $149 for a controller isn’t very economical and if you are a casual gamer who just games every once in a while, stay with your standard controller and let the Elites have their go at the Xbox One Elite Controller.