The basic Xbox One controller is already a splendid game pad. Buttons, triggers and sticks all feel responsive. The game pad fits my hand perfectly and I have always liked the asymmetric stick layout of the Xbox controllers. That is why I wasn’t so hyped about the Elite controller when it was released. The initial feeling was that I already have a great controller, why would I pay about three times the prices for controller that does essentially the same thing? Ouh, how the Elite controller proved me wrong.
The 150 dollar price tag may sound like a lot, but Microsoft delivers top-end premium controller to match the price. The first thing to notice is the case that controller comes in. Even the case is top notch. It is sturdy and has specific holes for each additional component that comes with the controller. All is sealed with a zipper so that your precious controller doesn’t fall off from its case.
Whereas basic Xbox One controller have a great layout of buttons, sticks and triggers, Elite controller offers a customization to match each and every players needs. You can choose with three different sticks all with different heights. Triggers can be adjusted to smaller range so that you can pull the trigger faster, for example to shoot in a FPS game. Then you flick a switch under the controller, and the triggers have regained its full range of motion. There is a individual switch on both triggers so that left one can have full motion and right one is restricted – of course other way around works also. Even the d-pad is changeable. The options are the traditional cross or more Xbox One like plate with all eight directions. To have even more control, there are four fully customizable triggers on the bottom of the controller. They can be mapped to every button or removed individually if there is no use for them in a specific game.
Microsoft have gone great lengths to make Elite controller feel as good as possible. After all the customization options, I’m also amazed by the plastic and rubber finish of the controller. Bottom side of the controller is coated with rubber to keep the hands from sweating during long game sessions. The rubber also gives a very firm grip. Cover of the controller have a matte plastic finish to give it a nice premium feel over the basic Xbox One controller. It looks fantastic. Elite controller also feels a little heavier than the basic controller. That might be something to do with sticks, d-pad and additional bottom triggers being metal, not plastic. Either way, the little added weight feels good and it deepens the premium feel of the controller.
When Elite controller is first connected to Xbox One via included charging cable an update will be automatically downloaded. After that, all the customization options for example button mappings can be done straight from the Xbox One dashboard. Basically only complain is that Elite controller doesn’t include battery. That is a weird decision because charging cable is indeed included. That is of course needed from updating, but still at 150 dollars, battery would have been a nice addition.
All and all, Microsoft have made a magnificent controller, maybe the best game pad in history. It is pricey but it also gives a lot for the paid price. As skeptical as I was, all that faded away within a first hour. I was mesmerized by the thoughtful finish and the customization options. Everything worked perfectly right from the box.
Verdict: Why are you still reading this? Go buy the best game pad there is.