The Xbox One controller is praised for its form and function, and is more than capable of handling the wear of the average gamer. But with the rise of competitive gaming, some now demand more from their controllers, causing the majority of pros to play on pricey custom controllers molded to their specific playstyles. In response, Xbox has forged a partnership with industry leader Scuf Gaming to produce the Xbox One Elite wireless controller, which releases on October 27 for $ 150.
To appeal to more than just the mainstream gamer, Xbox has made nearly every aspect of the Elite controller customizable. You can easily peel the magnetic d-pad and sticks off the face of the controller and change them out for different ones. The gamepad also features hair trigger locks, giving you more control over the triggers’ range of motion. Since the hair triggers are adjusted with a flick of a switch, the Elite has a clear advantage over Scuf’s offerings; the third-party manufacturer requires you to use a special tool to open the controller to adjust the triggers.
The programmable paddles, which allow you to use the face buttons without taking your thumb off the sticks, are also removable, but they come in handy for several games. Retraining yourself to use them is tough, but braving the learning curve is worth it. My first matches in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare didn’t go well, but soon I was raking in kills while airborne. In Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, mapping the sprint button to a paddle let me keep my thumb on the right stick and do a better job of steering Marcus through the labyrinth of waist-high walls. With Mortal Kombat X, the multidirectional d-pad offers more precise combination input, but the paddles got in my way more than they helped so I removed them after the first match.
The Accessories app allows you to further personalize the controller. Using deep customization options, you can change the button mapping, adjust the sensitivity and the ramp-up speed for each stick, set the sensitivity for each trigger, and even change the rumble intensity of each motor. You can save these configurations to your system and easily set them as the controller’s default within the app or using the built-in profile switch as you jump from game to game.
The Elite’s stainless-steel components and four paddles immediately differentiate it visually, and the rubberized grips and perfectly balanced weight make it even more comfortable to hold than the already exceptional stock gamepad. Even after long gaming sessions, the Elite still feels great in your hands.
The Xbox One Elite controller is one of the most versatile controllers ever released, but it’s meant for the hardcore gamer. At $ 150, it’s an outstanding premium option that holds several advantages over Scuf’s pads. However, if you just want a more comfortable controller and don’t plan on digging into the tuning options or learning to use the paddles, you can probably save some cash by using aftermarket products to modify your existing gamepad.
You can check out a brief unboxing, as well as a look at the Xbox Accessories app below.
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This article was originally published on October 22, 2015.