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Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 re-review: Three months later, has it fallen apart yet?

Many people wonder how accessories as expensive as this last over time, so we've decided to do a 3-month re-review to let you know how it's doing.

Xbox Elite Series 2 Re Review
(Image: © Windows Central)

Our initial review of the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 was rather glowing, owing to its beefy battery life, convenient charge dock, ergonomic design, and customization. While it felt more durable than any gamepad that preceded it in our initial review, you can never really tell how something will survive over the long term without, well, time.

The previous Xbox Elite Controller seemed rock solid at the outset, but came with a hidden point of failure, most notably in its rubber grips which, frustratingly, would warp and fall off over time. I personally experienced that with two Elite controllers previously, so it's understandable that there have been some concerns with how this new Elite Series 2 controller would hold up.

I decided to write up my experiences with the controller three months in to let you know how it's doing. Turns out, the answer is pretty damn good.

I also purposefully haven't recently cleaned up the controller for this re-review, so you can get an idea of dusty it might look a few weeks out of the box.

Still functioning like new

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The Xbox Elite Controller has a large amount of moving parts and connective pieces, owing to customizable thumbsticks, paddles, and so on. It also has unique rubber grips that attach in a few panels around the front and the back, giving it a bit of ergonomic flair. While these features are great, they technically introduce a few additional points of failure that the regular Xbox controllers don't have. Thankfully, though, after three months of hefty abuse, every corner of my Elite Series 2 controller is still functioning as new.

Perhaps the most encouraging aspect, for me, is how firmly the grips still feel attached. Microsoft revised the process and chemistry for the rubber grips this time around, and it seems to show. It's tough to get anything underneath the seams, which bodes well for their longevity.

The paddles, triggers, and thumbsticks are all still in top-notch working order as well, eventhough I haven't really been making much of an effort to keep them clean and free of dust. I haven't had a single issue with my triggers or bumpers either, the latter of which I'd heard were problematic for some V1 Elite controller users.

Tough to scuff, tough to clean

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The material on the Elite Series 2 controller remains a smudge magnet, however. There's a strange uncanny softness to it that is easy to mark and smudge, but tough to permanently scratch. As such, it's relatively easy to clean the outer shell with a regular cloth and cleaning agent, but other parts of the controller are far less easy to clean.

The thumbsticks have this miniscule lip that makes them great for grip, but gathers dust like a sponge. Cleaning it can be a chore too, as the textured rubber seems to grip onto dirt as much as it wants to grip onto your thumbs. The same can be said about the grip seams, where you'll probably need to grab a tooth pick if you want to keep this thing clean over time. A cloth just doesn't cut it.

Battery life is holding up

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

One of my favorite things about the Elite Series 2 is the convenience of its charge dock and its monstrous battery life. In testing, over three months, the battery doesn't seem to have lost any charge whatsoever, which is a positive sign.

The fact the battery cannot be swapped out is potentially problematic for users hoping that this controller will stand the test of time, since all batteries eventually deplete. The quality of the cells used can have a big impact on how long it actually takes for those cells to deplete, though, and so far it's looking like Microsoft didn't cheap out on us here. I'm still exceeding forty hours usage on a single charge, which is beyond even Microsoft's own estimates.

Positive outlook

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

I've had a few emails here and there with reports of controllers shipping with faulty parts, stuck buttons, and so on, making me concerned that the Series 2 could be suffering from widespread issues. However, the controller is among the fastest selling gaming accessories dollar-for-dollar according to market research group NPD. I feel like if these issues were truly widespread, I'd be seeing a lot more feedback at my end about it. It's hard to know for sure what the failure rates are, but the last thing Microsoft would want is a hefty replacement bill on what is probably a fairly expensive device to manufacture.

There's no way to know how this gamepad will hold up in six months, twelve months, and so on. But I do know that I'm impressed by how well it's holding up so far, given the amount of abuse I'm putting it through. I'll check back in again in another few months to update you on the Series 2's staying power.

Related: Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 full review

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Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for 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!

17 Comments
  • I really want to upgrade but will it have a new "version" they will sell with the launch of Series X? And i wonder if they will make an option to swith the middle button as a Share button instead just like the new controller. I don't know, but it would be Nice to have that too.
  • I doubt it. After all, the previous Elite controller came out before the V3 controllers, which had built in Bluetooth, and the first elite's were never update with that feature until the V2s. That said, the share button imo wouldn't be something that you be able to access in some other means. It's way different than bluetooth, which there was no way to add to the controller. The lack of this one button more than makes up for it though, it charges with type c, the battery life is amazing, the customization of the thing is unparalleled and it just plain feels amazing to hold
  • Eventually yeah, but not for quite a while I think. The Elite Series 2 can be updated with some of the XSX features (such as the share button) which you'd be able to bind to one of the paddles. I think you're looking at 2 years minimum for a new Elite.
  • I had to return mine. The A button wasn't registering properly. Afterward, I did a little research online and decided not to buy another one. Apparently it's not an isolated issue.
  • So batteries are not swappable? That kind of things worry me.
  • Between that and the rubber will fall off eventually, I wonder why people buy these other than to say they have one. Owning the first one and after it fell apart in more ways than one. I find the standard controllers are a lot more durable.
  • They are built for people who don't care if they wear out more quickly if they perform better in the mean time.
  • I guess I was looking for quality in a $150 controller. Not just precision. My standard controller seems to do everything I used my elite 1 for and has lasted many years. It's got a fancy case I guess.
  • My original Elite is still in perfect condition and I've been using it for years now. It never fell apart.
    So IF it had a durability issue, such issue is clearly triggered by the person using it than by just time.
  • So your one controller is the exception. Congrats you have the unicorn controller. Calling people triggered because a product the spent $150 falls apart. Keep stuff like that to yourself. Seriously is this troll or brag..? Get a life man. This is an article on the durability because it's a known problem.
  • You misunderstood his comment. He didn't call anyone triggered he inferred that faults with the controller are triggered by the actions of the user.
  • Totally understood it. I guess the fact that I responded to his bigotry you found it as me being triggered. Just because his didn't break doesn't make every other elite controller that breaks the users fault. It's called poor manufacturing.
  • I think you just like using that word, because at no point did I call you triggered either.
  • Ha! Triggered by a comment that you thought was accusing you of being triggered when it wasn't. The irony is delicious.
  • Oh the irony that his controller didn't break, blames it on the user? I got it 100% the fucktard is just being troll. Silly me for thinking the $150 controller should last more than a few months.
  • I'm still really happy with my Elite version 1 (even if I did have a couple of LB repairs done). But I think I will upgrade to this once I bother getting the Series X.
  • Not worth it really i pre-ordered mine and got it by november 4th 2019, i have being using it mostly on the weekend's playing gears of war 4/5, pubg, red dead redemption 1 and started the secuel just to find out today (2/29/2020) that the right stick started drifting up/down, i just got off the phone talking with xbox support and they told me that my controller has no more warranty and to fix it it would cost me 99 more dollars, ofcourse i said no thanks i rather keep playin with my old controller wich i got for a long time it has never failed on me even though this one has being droped unintentionally ofcourse, but it still works very good, not the case for my elite series 2 never been droped before and now not working properly.
    So there you have it it's up to you if you want to spend nearly 200 dollars on a controller that might fail at you or just buy a regular controller and save your self some chash.