A second look at the Xbox One Elite Controller

It's hard to believe we're still a couple of months away from getting our hands on it, too. Set to launch in October for $150, not only have we now had chance to fondle it some more, we've had the chance to actually use it.

For a little background check out the video above. At E3 we got chance to hear about the birth of the Elite Controller. How Microsoft spent countless hours examining pro-gamers and then designing a piece of hardware to fit their needs.

The quality is evident the instant you pick it up and hold it in your hands. It's about 25% heavier than the regular Xbox One controller, but then you're also getting better quality materials packed into it as well. Replacing the parts is a doddle with magnets helping you snap the different D-Pads or thumbsticks into place. And the rubber grip is, well, very grippy. To coin a phrase, it feels great in the hand. But that's important for the audience this is targeting. Microsoft isn't going after the casual gamer with the Elite Controller, so you want something that feels good to hold for several hours at a time.

The combination of resin and metal for the thumbsticks is well done, too. Microsoft says that wear and tear is minimal since friction is much less than on the standard controller, and the motion is more fluid. The real test, of course, will be getting it on sale and seeing how it stands up to the rigours some of the most hardcore of Xbox gamers can put it through.

Another thing we particularly like is the switch on the rear that changes the amount of travel you have in the triggers. You can have them set to either full, or half, and when you're in the latter setting you feel a 'click' as you reach your maximum. As a big racing fan I can see this being particularly useful on the brake trigger, for example. Instead of grabbing at the trigger, just a half press to dab the brakes and off you go. And they're independent of each other, too, so you can have them on alternate settings.

Oh, and I said I had chance to actually use it, and I did. The Forza 6 demo at the Xbox Media Showcase was set up with Elite Controllers for all. The best thing I can probably say is that I'm really happy I've got on pre-ordered. I like the extra weight, and with a game such as Forza 6 (while a steering wheel is still the ultimate way to play) the fluidity of the thumbsticks is a worthy weapon. And maybe its a placebo effect given the price of it, but it really does feel better to play with.

Yes, it's expensive, but to those who will truly benefit from it it's not that expensive. The fit and finish is excellent, right down to the braided microUSB cable that comes in the box. This is an extra long cable because Microsoft also hopes to capture some of the Windows 10 gamers who prefer a controller. And it'll still require the wireless dongle to use with Windows 10 without a cable.

The Elite Controller won't be for everyone. But here we're all in agreement. Those that get it will love it.

Pre-order the Xbox One Elite Controller (opens in new tab)

Xbox One Elite Controller

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. 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 steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine

  • so soft and good looking...!
  • I have noticed how the first comment at WC always gets replies not in context.
  • @backlashsid, Oh, the irony.
  • Pick any article here and you shall know...and yes...the sarcasm too !! (attached a sample)     http://i60.tinypic.com/1zmjbfb.png
  • I don't know what you mean? Tomorrow I'm gonna drive gokart with my nephew, and after that a couple of friends and I are going golfing.
  • Because people want to feel important. Comments system is so broken but what can you do. People are like that. I'm going to wait for the price to go down then I might buy one of those controllers.
  • is it still the controller you are talking about???
  • Looks like the new chat pad won't fit this. Thats to bad. Would've been a nice addition for even more flexability.
  • Major Nelson confirmed that the chat pad will fit all Xbox One controllers.
  • But does that include xbox one Elite controllers. Semantics.
  • Elite is based on the latest iteration of the standard Xbox One controller (with the 3.5mm jack) so I don't see why it wouldn't fit? Perhaps if you've got the paddles on there'll be some conflict, but then, they come off. Suppose you gotta compromise somewhere.
  • Elite controller is an Xbox One controller, so yes?
  • I see nothing about it that would make one think that.  The levers on the underside don't extend past the back.  Should fit fine. 
    I plan on getting both though that may make for one overly-weighty controller.
  • All you need to get is som gud gaming chair, 400$ headset, this controller and you'll find yourself on CoD pro scene in no time.
  • Is it customizable? Meaning can I switch the sticks so that I can play southpaw in games that somehow forget to include that option?
  • Sticks and d-pad come off and can be replaced with the others in the box. Paddles can be on or off.
  • You can remap the entire controller and have different remappings for different games. You do this with an app for Xbox One and Windows 10 and can save 250 mappings in the cloud. You can have two different mappings on the controller at once, and there is a quick toggle on the controller to switch between them.
  • pls do a contest to win this bad boy
  • I can neither confirm nor deny that may possibly one day happen. Maybe.
  • The only reason I want this is got the flippers on the back for the face buttons. But I don't know how on earth I can justify $150 for a controller unless I was playing Esports.
  • I hope the D pad is improved. The original stock is OK, but the new Cammo limited edition D pad is TERRIBLE.  
  • Hopefully they add gold champagne color -but I doubt it¬_¬-. Customization here I come
  • Ordered
  • Cool, but I already have to drop $120 on the Master Chief and Forza 6 controllers. Also, a braided cable? I hate those freaking things.
  • Got mine pre ordered on the awesome deal that popped up on Amazon UK earlier. October is gonna be a good month!
  • I'm more excited about this than the two flagship fails that just got leaked.
  • Getting one on release day!
  • Got one on pre-order too.
    It's that just a box in the bottom picture or a carrying case?
    I travel a lot and my controller just gets thrown in my luggage. A free case with it would be awesome.
  • Comes with a carry case (the one in the picture) as standard.
  • Why is Dan Rubino wearing a football goal keepers jersey? I own that exact jersey lol!
  • Any word on the thumbsticks being a bit stiffer?? like the 360......Please, Please make that happen. It's really my only complaint about the xbox one controller....well that and the random disconnects...really anoying.
  • Man, my Day One controller already has upward drift. Noticed it responding badly in Trials Fusion but assumed it was just me. Realised that it is the left thumbstick, which has got quite bad. I wish I had a spare couple of quid for this bad boy. My Mrs would shoot me if I waxed the RRP on this. Even the £75 Amazon offer price is out of the questions.
  • I'm in my third controller now. Day One and a second controller I got a couple weeks later got the same problem (left stick upward drift). Called MS support multiples times and they say there is nothing wrong with the controllers, but Xbox forums says otherwise. http://forums.xbox.com/xbox_forums/xbox_support/xbox_one_support/f/4677/... I not going to get the elite and I'll recommend any one I can and listen not to get one.