Xbox Elite Controller Series 2: Everything you need to know

Xbox Elite Series 2
Xbox Elite Series 2 (Image credit: Windows Central)

Finally unveiled at E3 2019, Microsoft gave us an upgraded Xbox Elite Controller, dubbed "Series 2." This new controller addresses major pain points with the previous design, at least in theory, while baking in tons of new features. With 40 hours of listed battery life, a charging dock, tension-controllable thumbsticks, and more, will this $180 peripheral prove itself worthy of your cash? Here's what we know so far.

Related: Hands-on early impressions with the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2

Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 History

Leaked via Chinese site Baidu and later confirmed by The Verge, the new Xbox Elite Controller looks to be an iterative update on the original controller, which came with a range of premium features (and at a premium $150 price point (opens in new tab).

The original Xbox Elite Controller supported Xbox Wireless, but only supported USB for PC connectivity. It sported two separate profiles for configurable button mapping, as well as locks for the triggers, making them activate more quickly. It also came with four additional buttons on the reverse of the controller in the form of paddles, which could be configured and removed at will. Additionally, the joysticks on the original Elite controller came with extra options, both from first and third-party vendors. Longer joystick options increased the distance from the pivot, for example, allowing for more precision without sacrificing turn speed. The directional pad also came with more robust options too.

After some leaks and patent filings, Microsoft officially unveiled the new Xbox Elite Controller at E3 2019.

The new Xbox Elite Controller seemed to be a little more of an "evolution" rather than revolution, but after going hands on, the volume of improvements make it an extremely meaningful upgrade.

It appeared that the codename for the new Elite controller appears to be "Spider," for a time, perhaps in reference to the elongated paddles on the reverse side looking almost like spider legs. Later we learned this codename was in fact designated to something else, but Spider sounds way cooler, damnit.

Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 Features and specs

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 (Image credit: Windows Central)
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System requirementsWindows 10 via Bluetooth, USB, or Xbox Wireless adapter. Windows 7 or 8.1 via USB. Xbox via Xbox wireless. Mobile devices via Bluetooth.
AudioIncludes 3.5mm stereo headset jack.
Haptic feedbackFeatures Impulse Triggers and rumble motors.
Weight345g (added 15g with 4 paddles, faceted D-pad, and standard thumbsticks attached.)
Thumbstick control3-stage adjustable tension using included turn-key.
BatteryInternal, rechargeable battery with up to 40 hours of battery life per charge.
Other featuresHardshell carrying case. Additional optional thumbsticks and components. 3-stage trigger locks. Included docking station for charging. Included USB-C cable for connectivity and charging.

The feature set for the updated controller includes a three-stage hair trigger lock. This means that you will be able to adjust the amount of trigger depression far more than previously, which only supported a single on/off stage. When the triggers are locked, it means activation is much faster, which can be advantageous when using handguns and burst rifles in games.

Another feature confirmed or the new Elite controller is tension control for the joysticks. Microsoft filed a patent specifically to allow users to control the tension of joystick movement previously. This will allow users to control the amount of resistence you experience when you push the sticks. This will enable for greater precision without losing speed, in some scenarios.

Some confirmed feature includes an additional configuration profile, making for a total of three. USB Type-C connectivity, longer key travel for the reverse paddles, and revised rubber grips, that should remain more robust than the previous controller. At least in theory.

Xbox Elite Controller S2

Xbox Elite Controller S2 (Image credit: Windows Central)

Confirming our previous leaks, Bluetooth support is in for connectivity to PCs and mobile devices. The most recent versions of the regular Xbox controller support Bluetooth, so that's a bit of a no-brainer. However, more interestingly, the new Elite controller has built-in batteries too, complete with a USB-C charging port and a charging dock, that itself can dock inside a revised carrying case.

Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 Launch date and pricing

The Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 will launch on November 4, 2019, for a price of $180 USD. It's available to preorder now.

Will it actually be good?

We're still working on our full review of the controller, paying close attention to build quality. Many users reported shoddy craftsmanship from the previous Elite controller, which suffered immensely from wear and tear over time. For a $180 device, that's not exactly something to look forward to.

In our early impressions, it certainly seems as though Microsoft has spent a lot of engineering hours revising and iterating to improve on these criticisms. We'll work hard to let you know if their efforts paid off as we head towards the full review. Early signs are very encouraging, though.

Related: Hands-on early impressions with the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2

More resources

Update October 17, 2019: Weve updated this article with all the official information.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • Jez, that dock in the picture looks suspiciously like my "missing" Patrol Tech dock  :D Not thrilled with the idea of a non-removable battery.  Everything else looks great.  Only thing left is to send this baby to the XBox Design Lab so we can customize them.  My suspicion though, is that Microsoft will make this controller very friendly to mod, and will leave it up to third-parties for supplying the custom looks.
  • haha that was a review unit, I actually just found yours recently (unopened), it was gonna be a surprise but... :P
  • Oh NOOO!!  I ruined it. 
  • If Microsoft didn't update the mechanism for the RB/LB buttons, this controller will not be worth it. The RB/LB are the main problems with the controller. They break easily.
  • ^ This. Just replaced them last month.
  • Odds are I will grab this one, depening on the cost. I liked the first one but, I skipped over the first one because it was not an S type controller. The S controller has a greater range compared to the orignal controllers. A standard Xbox one controler, I cant even walk up the stairs to the room right above where the console is...  With a S one, I can go almost tripple the range as the orignal one......ya, know to grab a beer from the fridge :)
  • I guess Microsoft's Xbox division loves insects. The Xbox One X was code named Scorpio, and now this is code named Spider.
  • Actually this would mean the Xbox division would love arachnids not insects as scorpions and spiders are part of the arachnid family. Insects = 6 legs, Arachnids = 8 legs.
  • Insects can have more than 6 legs, that's not the reason...
  • No they cannot. If you call something insect with more than 6 legs it's an incorrect use of the word. "Insects have only six legs. Spiders, scorpions, mites, ticks, whip scorpions, and pseudoscorpions are all arachnids." "Unlike insects, arachnids have eight legs and no antennae, and their body is divided into two main segments: a cephalothorax and abdomen."
  • Hopefully your intentions were to be insightful and not condescending but you sir are correct..
  • Nice!
  • Legit question: what's a centipede then?
  • Myriapoda I think
  • Wow resurrecting an old thread. Centipedes are a class of arthropods which are invertebrates with an exoskeleton, jointed appendages and segmented bodies. So they are related to scorpions, caterpillars/butterflies, crabs, trilobites, etc. And not I'm not trying to be condescending. It's just the word insect always gets used to describe all creepy crawly things when it actually very specifically classifies certain lineages of living things. So it's weird to me, like calling a bat a bird because at glance they are similar.
  • Peter Parker must be disappointed by you.
  • He's no spider, he's Spider "Man".
  • I really wish we could program macro's into the elite controller, like RB+LB or double tap B and map them to the paddles.
  • While not an ideal solution, most games in Steam support this sort of customization. There are many other games that can be launched via Steam and can enjoy the same features. Sadly, some don't; I tried with Gears of War 4 and failed to do so.
  • Wait, if the new Elite Controller is codenamed 'Spider', then what the heck would be 'Scarlet', the codename Zac dropped in his 2018 predictions?
  • A One X with storage capacity that isn't a joke?
  • Almost guarantees a 2TB version will launch at E3. Imo
  • And... Nope. Bought a One X last week due to lack of announcement.
  • Here's what we also know : It'll be overpriced and not worthy at all. Just like the first one.
  • I can't claim this is true for everyone, but I'm very, very happy to have bought the original Elite controller. Well, actually very happy that my wife spent our money buying it as a gift for me. That's the same thing, right? I do have one issue with it, which seems not to bother anyone else: the "spider leg" paddles stick out of the bottom so that if you set it anything other than a perfectly flat surface, they get pressed. That's potentially really bad. My default move is to set on the arm of my couch when I get up, but that's curved enough that it it presses the paddle buttons. The Elite Controller is still easily worth the cost overall, but that's definitely an annoyance -- it wouldn't affect ergonomics or usability at all to make them stick out a little less. Also, the controller started on the original Xbox One, but keeps on going with the new One X, so from a cost perspective, because of the extended life, that's also a mitigator.
  • If you double tap the sync controller button the paddles disable. double press again to reenable
  • Really? I must test this lol
  • Wow.. how did I not know this?
  • LOL Yeah, not really. If you had paid 150€ for that controller, you wouldn't be so lenient with it ;) It's a nice controller. No doubt. I have one myself. But it's absolutely not worth 100€ let alone 150€. And although I haven't had any of the quality issues reported, there are MANY people reporting the controller coming apart within a very short time and build quality not being that good. Microsoft has been releasing minor iterations of the XBone controller indeed. But that doesn't really justify the price of the Elite. Specially when you consider it works with batteries (it doesn't even bring a charger kit included which, for 150€, should be included at least).   But Microsoft has been on the path of overpricing their products based on nothing but "because we want to". We can see that with the now ridiculously overpriced Surface line and the Xbox is joining those ranks (as seen by the overpricing of the One X). I guess when you can't sell enough products, better to overprice all units so that at least you make more money out of the people who buy them.
  • If I can perform ABXY action without having me to move my thumb away from analogs, it's worth it. My bag cost me 250, this is nothing.
    Plus, it has Bluetooth! I'm gonna replace my BT Xbox Standard Gamepad with Elite2.
  • Wish they would include a mic for voice control, especially since the Kinect is gone. 
  • ...let's talk quality.
  • "Everything we know?" That was really just a few rumors. Honestly, I won't touch this thing for a while, unless they thtrow me a 2-year warranty or something. The 90-day warranty onthe first was infuriating, given how many people like me have said they started to breakdown right aroud the end of the warranty. None of the added features mean anything to me right now. The quality of the sticks, bumpers, and textured grip HAVE to be vastly improved before anything else. The bumpers and grips were basically a given to fail the user within a year, and that's unacceptable. For me, the left stick also went to crap within 6 months, and was probably the most troublesome thing. The thing was $150 and had the build quality of a GameStop-brand controller, in some of its worst cases (Whicgh weren't rare enough to be excusable).
  • I is everything we know so far :)
  • I hope they use a better glue or fuse the rubber handles to the unit or do something other than what the current Elite. I'm on my 4th Elite because the rubber/glue heats up in my hands and the rubber comes away from the device. Now my latest Elite is showing first signs that it is doing exactly the same thing however this time it's taken 11 mths before happening. I do hold the controller tight with my left hand and in Australia it get hot here. I like the feel of the rubber but I would rather a texture imprinted into the base handle like the latest standard controllers. Finger crossed.  
  • It really shouldn't matter how hot it is (less than the glue's or rubber's melting point, which isn't anywhere near hand body heat with hot ambient temps), this sounds like an unacceptable issue with the controllers design. Normal use for something shouldn't break it, especially if it's not a sacrificial part.
  • If the build quality is as crap as with the first one, Microsoft can keep it. Just look at the warranty MS provides, if its anything less then 2 years, you can be sure its a **** product that will not last.    
  • Not sure if news article or native advertisement for "Controller Gear". Microsoft has some quality control issues to mitigate with the new model, the glue on the grips of the current gen eventually wears off but they are too form-fit to actually glue back on. I'm on my second controller (thank you best buy warranty) just because of this issue. I would really love to see Quick Charge added to these, and while its nice that the batteries are included, hopefully they are still swappable for when they wear out (or if your controller is going to die mid session).
  • Giving The Verge credit for my leaked pic... grrrrrr
  • The Elite Controller 'V1' is great but what I hope 'V2' improves on is the grips. The grips on V1 suck. I've been though 4 V1 controllers because the grips start to bubble and peel off the controller. I gave up on replacing it. I'm not the only gamer who has complained about that.
  • The grips are the worst part of the controller. Mine started to separate a few months ago and I am still annoyed every time I use it. I'd like to think v2 will take lessons learned and the issue will be fixed going forward.
  • Bluetooth, it has to have Bluetooth for using on Windows 10 Pro laptop.
  • I’m in no way saying these leaks are fake and I do truly hope they’re real because as much as I love my Elite controller it has some major quality issues. I baby everything I own yet I’ve been through around 10 Elite controllers since launch. Every one of them has had the sticks become very loose/form a drift and needed a replacement. In fact, some of them were actually faulty out of the box which is ridiculous. Hopefully the new rumored model is modeled like the newer regular controllers as those sticks feel much tighter and more rigid. Anyways, I noticed this back in January but never thought to log in. These leaks are being posted on multiple outlets all using the same images. But why has no one mentioned how deeply recessed the Xbox Guide Button looks? The back where the battery cover would be on the original controller is also uneven up top (left to right) so it really looks like a poor editing job. By seeing these errors you can clearly see every button including (XYAB and the Menu/Back) are also recesses. It’s almost like they photoshopped it and didn’t notice the error or the plastic shell is screwed up which as far as the latter goes seems unlikely (although possible assuming this is an engineer that’s messing with it) Here’s to hoping though!
  • ALL i want is the rubber grips to NOT peel off. Its happened on all 3 of my elite controllers and MS refuse to fix/replace them.
  • Mine is pre-order, coincidently the rubber on my OG Xbox one controller left stick just gave up last night... Can't wait it's my first elite controller