Why I'm not sold on the Xbox Elite white controller

Microsoft recently unveiled its latest revision of the Xbox Elite controller, three years after the initial release of the premium Xbox accessory. Framed as Xbox One's high-end gamepad for passionate gamers, its $150 price tag brings advanced customization and a heavyweight design. The newest model promises the same draws of the original enthusiast controller, reworked in a sleek white finish.

The revised Xbox Elite controller looks stunning in white, there's no doubt about it. However, with its launch quickly approaching, I still have reservations about the next Xbox Elite controller. Similarities to the original raise concerns, while its future plans leave me hesitant to place an order.

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Getting with the times

Xbox controller

Xbox controller (Image credit: Windows Central)

Earlier this year, rumors of an elusive Xbox Elite "V2" controller surfaced online, with images showing a full revision of the accessory. Since paired with the codename "Spider," the leak highlighted numerous additions, indicative of fully modernized successor nearby. Anticipation for the next major update is high, even without official word from Microsoft.

Three years later a new Elite is on the scene – but it's not what fans were hoping. The Xbox One Elite white variant is a new colorway of the three-year-old design, otherwise sporting an identical feature set. This means skipping refinements of the third-generation design introduced in 2016. Bluetooth is a major omission, and while Xbox Elite controller owners can still purchase a standalone adapter for PC, it's not ideal for an all-inclusive premium accessory. If you're charging top-tier prices aimed at enthusiasts, it shouldn't forgo features universally adopted across entry-level alternatives.

Peeling grips, broken bumpers, and more

Durability has been a major issue with the Xbox Elite controller since 2015 and still remains prevalent today. Widespread reports of defects haved surfaced, with users documenting peeling rubberized grips, loose bumper buttons, among other issues. It's essentially become a weekly thread on the Xbox One subreddit and related comments flood posts on the new variant.

Microsoft's response, or lack thereof, has been disappointing, overshadowing the otherwise great feature set of this controller. We've seen users receiving exchanged controllers, however, only with replacements demonstrating similar flaws. And after reaching out for clarification if these issues had been addressed, the situation is still unclear, with a Microsoft spokesperson providing the following statement:

Microsoft puts all of its products through rigorous quality assurance testing to make sure it is up to our high standards and we continuously strive to improve the quality of our products.

If this issues had been addressed, we'd assume Microsoft would market these improvements, or at least acknowledge them in some capacity. We've heard rumors of fixes at a manufacturing level, but official word isn't looking hopeful. Especially when framed as a "premium" variant, it may be smarter for reviews to surface.

Elite 'V2' could be on the horizon

Xbox Elite Controller

Xbox Elite Controller

While the white Xbox Elite controller undeniably looks sleek, rumors of a major successor are still circulating. Leaked images corroborate rumored features for the second major version, adding further functionality upon the original.

As detailed in our complete roundup of the Project Spider, the rumored Elite V2 is expected to pack a lot of promsing features. Three-stage hair trigger locks could allow for finer depression management, tension control may offer configurable joystick movement, and an additional profile allows for more presets. Bluetooth support, USB Type-C charging, revised rubber grips, and internal batteries are all among the potenital additions.

While many of these features are promising, we still have little idea about its launch. We originally hoped for an E3 or Gamescom in 2018, yet both have passed with no mention. And with the new white colorway set to launch soon, the next Elite may sadly be some time away. However, for those still undecided on this new white accessory, it may be best to wait for further developments.

Your thoughts on the Xbox Elite white controller

The Xbox Elite white controller is set for an October 16 release, with preorders priced at $149 via the Microsoft Store. Are you planning to pick up the new colorway? Drop into the comments section below with your thoughts.

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Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.