When it comes to the best Xbox controllers, Microsoft's first-party offerings top the list. But choosing between those options can be a bit tricky. The standard Xbox controller is reliable and affordable, but it doesn't have the premium features offered by some of its competitors. The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 tops out the spec sheet but also comes at a high price. The Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 Core sits in-between, offering configurable gaming and excellent battery life at a more affordable price.
The Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 Core is currently an even better option, thanks to a Woot deal that brings the controller down to just under $100. As is normally the case with Woot deals, that price is only available for a limited time or until stock runs out.
If you DO want to grab the Elite Series 2 Core controller, these paddles are from eXtremeRate are the cheapest option to re-add the functionality Microsoft regrettably removed.
The Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 Core offers the familiar design of the standard Xbox controller plus some bells and whistles. You can set the triggers to three different stages, such as having a shorter trigger distance for shooters. The joysticks can also be adjusted with an included key. Support for three profiles makes it easy to map the controller for different games.
Like the more expensive Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 Core has rubberized grips. Unlike its more premium sibling, the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 Core does not come with paddles. The more affordable controller supports paddles, but you have to buy them separately.
Thanks to a built-in battery, the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 Core gets 40+ hours of battery life.
It's important to note that the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 Core is a relatively new product. It only started shipping back in October 2022. That means that there hasn't been enough time to see if the controller will run into the stick drift issues that have plagued other Xbox controllers (including the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2).
Our Managing Editor Jez Corden mentioned this in his review:
"If indeed the Elite Series 2 Core does have identical internals, what is there to suggest it won't fall apart after a few months as well? Thankfully, there is at least a one-year warranty included which protects you against some of the risk here, but that potentially involves the hassle of sending it off to be repaired at some point, assuming it doesn't break one month beyond the intended warranty period, that is."
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org.