Is the Xbox Elite Wireless controller worth the extra money?

Xbox Elite Controller
Xbox Elite Controller

The Xbox One controller is fantastic. Its design is perfect, and often even the PlayStation crowd can be heard longing for Sony to replicate it. The offset analog sticks are more comfortable to use than Sony's side-by-side config, and the overall shape and feel of the Xbox One controller is hard to beat.

But while Microsoft has perfected the design, the build quality is a little more questionable. I'm sure I'm not the only one with creaks, rattles or just plain broken parts. My super fancy Design Lab controller barely gets used and yet the frame already squeaks and moves when I'm playing a game.

One controller from Microsoft where this is much less of an issue is the Elite Wireless. It's expensive, and it's also now a couple of years old and doesn't even have Bluetooth. But should you be considering investing in a new controller and you've thought about the Elite, the answer is yes. It's very much worth the extra money, even at $140.

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Build quality and features

Xbox Elite controller

The first thing you'll notice about the Elite controller is the weight and just how solid it feels. While the main body is plastic, it's covered in soft touch materials. You get metallic triggers and bumpers, metal thumbsticks and D-Pad and those removable metal paddles on the rear.

The easiest thing to say is that it's a quality product and it feels like it when you hold it, especially when you hold it next to a regular controller.

The build quality is important not just because of the price, but also because it's going to last you a lot longer. Microsoft developed the Elite alongside professional gamers, and everything is just better. The thumbsticks are smoother and more responsive but also designed to last a lot longer and take a little more punishment.

More: Xbox Elite Wireless controller review

Xbox Accessories app

The Elite is also customizable. Besides being able to use up to four paddles on the rear, you get different length thumbsticks with both concave and domed tops, and with the Xbox Accessories app you can remap buttons and truly make the Elite your own.

Then do it again and store two different profiles on the same controller.

With the regular controller, it's basically the experience you're given by Microsoft. With the Elite, it's more personal. As well as being a highly superior piece of hardware. If you've considered one but the price put you off, know that it's worth every penny.

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Not the only way

Scuf Elite

It's also worth pointing out that the Elite isn't the only way to get a pro-grade controller for the Xbox One. For starters, you can get a similar product from Scuf Gaming, with paddles, customizable thumbsticks and trigger stops, as well as a unique design with a number of wild colors and patterns available.

Scuf also has a partnership with Microsoft, so you can buy an Elite controller from them, but jazz it up a little!

See at Scuf Gaming

Razer Wolverine

Razer Wolverine TE (Image credit: Windows Central)

Another controller we love that's worth considering is the Razer Wolverine. It comes in two different versions, the tournament edition and the ultimate edition, with the former being lower priced at $120, compared to $160 for the Ultimate.

Both offer an improved experience over a standard Xbox One controller, with paddles, remappable buttons, and in the case of the ultimate edition, replaceable sticks and a built-in audio control panel. And Chroma lighting, which is important.

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Your thoughts

I definitely think the Elite controller is worth the money, as are the other controllers mentioned here. You get a substantially better product that will stand better the test of time and give you more features in the process.

If you're an Elite fan, drop your own experiences into the comments below.

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

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