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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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab). 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

Matt Brown is Windows Central's Senior Games 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.

27 Comments
  • My right bumper recently decided to break off in a middle of my fortnite match and I only had it for a year and the grips are ready to come off. Won't be buying another at full price
  • I purchased mine day one and it's still in mint condition and functions perfectly.
  • The grips fall off after a while and it actually has a sharp piece of plastic beneath that cut my finger. Load of rubbish for a so called quality item.
  • I had to stop using both of mine due to the trigger sensitivity being messed up, no matter how many resets or adjustments I made I could not get the triggers to full press down, in some games I could not shoot weapons, in any games with vehicles I was always the slowest.good to see it wasnt just me
  • Had the same issue on 2 of mines in less than a year. Ultimately got a third party wired one that glows in the dark. Couldn't be happier. And half the price.
  • I'm hoping for revised thumbstick mechanics (read: better) before I buy again. Stick drift killed my original Elite.
  • I have the V1 controller and I like it a lot. My only complaint is the right joystick is now stuck in the forward position. This is actually understandable ass that is the most used direction for the games I play, but I think they should offer a quick, inexpensive repair part to fix it. WHITE! Really? They'll have to make it waterproof so you can keep it clean.
  • I'll be waiting for V2. I love my elite controller, but the connectivity is terrible. If the battery isn't fully charged, the connection cuts in and out. Hopefully V2 addresses that and the build quality.
  • yes I noticed this I got a wireless headset and it cured my woes and the headset seems to be better build quality than the plug in kind. (I have tb stealth 500s)
  • That's a lot of money for a controller that doesn't last much longer than the standard controller.
  • I'll pass. So "peeling grips, broken bumpers" were both issues I dealt with. And finding replacement grips took months because they were sold out everywhere. Meaning that many others had the same problem and were buying them all up. Finally fixed one grip only to have the other side peel a month later. My left bumper was the last thing to go before I got fed up and sold it as is.
  • I have the original, replaced the bumpers twice now and the left grip once. I find it interesting that for an overwhelming majority, it's the left grip that fails, also noticed that the two metallic green nibs on the underneath that allow for trigger travel, on mine (left hand side)... the green metallic coating has worn down to a plain chrome finish, "only" suggesting that the majority of people use more pressure on that left grip when playing. At least the parts are easy to find and install. BTW... yeah, you need to replace the entire rubber grip, there is no glue in the world that will repair that rubber sheeting around those plastic contours without not sticking and/or buckling in places and making your life miserable. BUT, (notice the big but there...) I wouldn't buy another Elite controller until they redesigned the bumpers. that plastic span/bridge between the two bumpers themselves should be some type of metal that'll retain its spring action without breaking from fatigue or a drop. Second, lose the rubber grip and give me some texture either modeled in or preferable laser etched in.
  • 😶... They were doing so well on the xbox front.... I hope we see the elite controller v2 sooner than later. I certainly won't be paying that much for a controller that omits features found in a standard controller i.e bluetooth. Massive oversight imo... If they launched the first elite controller in multiple colours including white then it wouldn't be much of an issue... But now and especially if there are zero improvements? What are they thinking?
    This is going to backfire and will be used as another yard stick to tar Microsoft with.
  • I have had my Elite controller repaired twice and had the peeling of the pad. I'm not a hardcore gamer and go weeks without touching my Xbox. I think that quality control is pretty bad for such an expensive controller. I'll pass on this one until it has some time on the market to see if the quality has improved. I'm also troubled by the lack of Bluetooth.
  • I'm on my fourth.
    First one: the charging port failed.
    Second one: Charging port, and grips peeling off.
    Third: Grips peeling off, Right thumbstick loose, and lower left paddle working but not clicking.
    Not sold on White.
  • LOL What is it with XB (and their fans) about controllers?
    It's not like there are many couch multiplayer games around but MS fans just keeps buying them...
    Many of the comments here was about how their controller failed.
  • There are heaps of couch multiplayer games, I have over 50. And that isn't anywhere near all of them.
  • @Sin
    You can't deny that couch multiplayer or games with splitscreen is a lot more rare than what we used to have say 10-15 years back. The games you're talking about are probably sports games or smaller indie game and these smaller indie games isn't really what sells the most.
  • True couch co-op in AAA games has lessened, but it's not non existant, I play quite a few games multiplayer with my housemate (Gears, Halo MCC, A Way Out, Call of Duty series, Divinity: Original Sin, every Lego game).
  • What's with Playstation fans and their consoles? Sony puts out so many console skin variants and people keep on buying those (Consoles cost a lot more than controllers). Also, controllers are a wear and tear item that actually do eventually need replacing -- consoles are not wear and tear and should last much longer. So, at least Xbox fans are more justified in buying new controllers often than Sony fans are for spending much more to buy new consoles just because the latest one has Spidermans logo on it.
  • Really? Do you seriously think that people just buy consoles with different skins because they just want to collect consoles? Don't you think these people have needs? For many it might just be their first console.
    I think people on PS4 just buy games. I don't think I've ever seen someone say they had 4-5 PS4. I often see people here say they have had XB1 2013, XB1s and XB1x and have more than 5-6 controllers.
    Controllers are a wear and tear item? I don't know about that. Last gen all my controllers lasted the entire gen and beyond. This gen I'm still using my original controllers of 2013. Well, maybe the XB1 controller isn't made to last...
  • You live a sheltered life if you don't think that some people are buying those special edition Playstations just because. And do you know what "wear and tear" actually means? It certainly does not entail that in every case the item will need to be replaced in a certain amount of time. It means that it is an item that does get regularly physically used/handled and with said physical use CAN wear down and diminish over time. A console simply sits in place and is not regularly handled physically.
  • I know dozens of people that collect consoles.
  • My guess is that The White Elite will release at a marked down price (maybe $99.99) and with Bluetooth and better grips on the same day as The Elite V2 ($150). The $light difference in price will draw many to just spend the extra $50 and upgrade to the V2. Those who have always wanted an Elite but were tighter on cash will see the price drop and added Bluetooth/better grips as a reason to go for the White. MSFT makes money on both fronts. Investors are happy.
  • I have 2 elite controllers that both have the grips coming apart. I find this completely unacceptable for the price that these things cost.
  • Ive had mine since the beginning, and i game alot. I love my elite and ive never had an issue. The right joystick is starting to stick however so thats my only complaint. I will definitely be getting the white one. Sweet as hell!
  • The Elite is a fantastic controller and I'd be happy with the V2 if Microsoft did one simple thing: use better internal parts. I've had to move to my SCUF controller, which is an Elite controller with a few visual changes and accessory options, because I got stick drift on my $150 Elite controller. Yes - for $150 the controller still suffers from stick drift just 2 years after purchasing. It has the same life span of a normal $60 controller and that's not OK. I'd also hope that the trigger buttons would be revised. I love the option for 4 extra buttons being mappable but I think Microsoft needs to use more durable/different trigger pads (my default B map trigger button wore down and has a different engagement threshold than a new Elite controller would have from using that button solely), and the ability to map more than just X/A/B/Y to the triggers would be nice. If Microsoft wants to attract more diverse/deep RPG games that might have a lot of control options, having 2-4 extra buttons that can be unique from the X/A/B/Y would be critical. They can be triggers or just buttons that are built into the grips. And make sure the grip pads are better suited for longterm use. Mine aren't peeling, yet, but my friend's is and it's kinda stupid to have to glue them back on. The Elite controller is otherwise a fantastic option. It's not worth $150 but until another company can build a great competitor for $100 or less, it's the only great option in its class.