A second look at the Xbox One Elite Controller
Microsoft announced the Elite Controller for the Xbox One back at E3, but at Gamescom we got to spend a little more time with it.
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.
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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