Xbox Elite Controller

Best Controllers for PC Gaming Windows Central 2019

Keyboard and mouse may be the preferred method of input for PC gamers, but some games just don't suit it. For others, a good controller is what you need, and for that you should be getting the Xbox Elite Controller.

Best overall

Xbox Elite Controller

The Ferrari of controllers for PC or Xbox

Microsoft really knocked it out of the park with the Xbox Elite Controller. At its core, it's the same great design that arrived with the Xbox One, but with a "pro" makeover, which means grippy, soft-touch finishes, interchangeable rear paddles, thumbsticks, D-pad and trigger locks.

Who should buy the Xbox Elite Controller?

Anyone looking for a well made, comfortable-to-use controller for Windows PC gaming will enjoy the Xbox Elite Controller. As it's an official Xbox controller, full support is built into Windows 10 and the companion Xbox Accessories app is there to customize your experience. It's also a great idea for people who might want to disconnect it from their PC and use it for Xbox gaming.

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Is it a good time to buy?

Rumors of a new version of the Xbox Elite Controller coming out proved to be unfounded. Instead Microsoft simply released a white color variant. With no imminent signs of a true replacement, so it's still a great time to buy.

Reasons to buy

  • Customizable paddles
  • Excellent build quality
  • Rubber grips
  • Interchangeable sticks and D-Pad
  • Fully supported by Windows 10

Reasons not to buy

  • Quite expensive
  • Fairly heavy
  • Needs additional dongle for wireless play

The best there is

"Pro"-grade customizable controllers aren't a new idea, but the Elite is Microsoft's first take at that tier. Every single part of the Xbox Elite Controller oozes quality — from its sleek, soft-touch exterior to the metal thumbsticks and D-Pad via the removable paddles on the rear. This is gaming your way, and it's good on both Xbox One and Windows 10 gaming.

This is gaming your way on both PC and console.

Since Microsoft added native support for officially licensed Xbox accessories into Windows 10, there's zero hassle to get going. You plug it in and you start playing; it's that simple. If you prefer a wireless approach you will need the extra USB dongle, but that's your call.

Through the free Xbox Accessories app for Windows 10 you can configure the button layout of your controller, remapping things to your own personal tastes. You've got the ability to store two profiles on the controller at once, which is great because it helps limit the amount of time you need to spend going back and forth into the app! Set up all your favorite profiles and load up the two you're going to use at any one time.

The components are all made of a higher grade material, so they shouldn't wear out nearly as quickly under heavy use. Right now, this is the Ferrari of controllers for the Xbox, and with Windows 10 natively supporting it all you have to do is just plug in and play.

The Xbox One controller is a fabulous controller in its own right; it's well-designed and very comfortable to use. The Elite Controller is all that good stuff but with an added kick in the pants to make it something very special. It's not the cheapest peripheral around, but you can't argue with its value.

Best for PC/PS4 owners

Scuf Impact

A great controller for doubling up with PS4

If you play games on a PC but also a PlayStation 4, an Xbox controller won't be as much use to you. The Scuf Impact is the best PS4 controller ever made and it's also pretty handy for PC gamers too.

The Scuf Impact controller might not work with some Microsoft Store games, but pretty much everything else works great. You've got a sleek, comfortable design, removable paddles, and a ridiculous number of customizations to really make it your own.

Best for Steam

Steam Controller by Valve

The choice if you're all in on Steam

The Steam Controller is pretty unique among its peers in both design and approach to controller-based gaming. The big idea is that it makes keyboard- and mouse-focused games easier to play from the couch.

The innovative trackpad has a learning curve to it, there's little doubt of that, but for those who are willing to learn, it's pretty effective. And don't be fooled by it's somewhat cheap looking exterior.

Best budget

Amazon Basics

If you're simply looking for a cheap, solid controller then this one from Amazon Basics will do the job nicely. You don't get any fancy features like paddles, nor is it wireless, but it only costs $25.

It's not exactly the same size and shape as the regular controller, but it's pretty close, all the buttons are in the right place and there's headset jack on the bottom if you also want to use it with a console. No frills, but great value to play with.

The bottom line

For Windows PC gaming with a controller, it's hard not to recommend something from the Xbox One family. There are plenty of official and third-party options out there, but you simply cannot beat the Xbox Elite if you're looking for the very best you can get.

Best overall

Xbox Elite Controller

The Ferrari of controllers for PC or Xbox

Microsoft really knocked it out of the park with the Xbox Elite Controller. At its core, it's the same great design that arrived with the Xbox One, but with a "pro" makeover, which means grippy, soft-touch finishes, interchangeable rear paddles, thumbsticks, D-pad and trigger locks.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Rich Edmonds is a staff reviewer at Windows Central, which means he tests out more software and hardware than he cares to remember. Joining Mobile Nations in 2010, you can usually find him inside a PC case tinkering around when not at a screen fighting with Grammarly to use British words. Hit him up on Twitter: @RichEdmonds.

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