The regular Xbox One controller is a pretty solid peripheral as it is, so when Microsoft releases a new one tagged as “Elite”, it’s probably going to be pretty good. And let’s just get this out of the way in the first paragraph: It IS pretty damn good, but that’s not the real question.
The true question is: is it worth the hefty S$194.90 price tag that Microsoft is asking for it, or are you going to be like Tara Reid’s ex-boyfriend and say “well it definitely feels more robust, but I guess the money could’ve been better spent”.
The very first thing you’ll notice about the controller is the absolute lack of color. The Xbox controller was never as colorful as the N64 controller or anything, but it had splashes of color on its face buttons at least. The Elite doesn’t. It’s all sleek black and silver and the buttons are monochrome. I thought maybe they’d light up with color when I powered it on, but I was mistaken. It makes the controller feel more grown up, and I guess some people like that.
Is this worth the extra money? Not in the slightest.
Feel and build
Pick it up and you’ll feel that it’s heavier than the original. The build is definitely more solid, and you’ll be more confident that it’ll survive the impact after your roommate gets pissed off after your hail Mary pass connects for a TD in Madden (this actually happened to me before). Does the added weight bog you down after extended gaming? No. It just feels better in your hands, like an old Nokia phone.
Beyond the weight and perceived durability, the joysticks and buttons feel better too. The joysticks have a tighter springier feel too them, and I definitely felt like I had better control and it just screams “premium quality”. The triggers didn’t squeak either, which speaks volumes about its build quality.
Is this worth the extra cash? This really depends on how many controllers your volatile roommate has destroyed in the past.
A great feature of the Elite controller is that if your fingertips don’t instantly bond with the thumbsticks and D-pad, you can easily switch those out with substitute ones conveniently stored in the included carry case. Having cut my fingers changing accessories in other peripherals before (damn you Creative Warcraft headphones!), I had my doubts about this feature.
But switching them around is simple as they’re held in place by magnets instead of razor sharp plastic clips. My 2 year old daughter would have fun switching the thumbsticks around as if they were magnetic stickers in her Peppa Pig book if I were to let her near a S$194.90 review unit.
There are 3 sets of thumbsticks and 2 D-pads to choose from. I preferred the default joysticks and D-pad myself, but the beauty of it is you can just switch anytime to suit your taste for the day, like a Saudi prince in his harem.
To further customize your experience, there are switches to adjust how far back your triggers can be pulled. You could switch to quick pulls when you’re playing a FPS, or give it the full movement range for more accelerator control when you’re playing Forza.
Apps on both Xbox and Windows allow you to easily customize your control layout and adjust thumbstick and trigger sensitivity, and even adjust the rumbling intensity. I honestly can’t imagine myself doing this much though as I’ve become a fairly casual to moderate player since the kids came around.
Is this worth S$194.90? If you’re a highly competitive player who loves trash talking on Xbox Live, then yes. You will want every advantage you can get to win, because winning is everything to you.
Those new tentacles under the controller
Finally, there are those new paddles. Located under the controller within easy reach of your middle and ring fingers, these paddles are like extra buttons for you to play with. By default they’re just an extra way to access the face buttons without letting go of the right thumbstick, but with the app you can program macros into them. If you don’t like them, they’re easily removable using the same sticky magnets as the thumbsticks.
I have mixed feelings about the paddles. They’re a nice addition, but I just can’t figure out how I would use them. When I was playing Arkham Knight, they’d get in the way and I would bump them by accident and screw up my combos. They’d probably come in most handy for games that require your thumbs on both sticks like a FPS, but I didn’t find I needed them in Halo. It’s not really a big deal to release your right thumbstick to quickly reload or switch weapons. I guess it’s handy to have a substitute A button to jump, but it’s not quite a game changer.
Another possible use for the paddles is to play certain Japanese games as you can operate the thumbstick and two paddles with one hand. That’s enough to navigate a menu and select what you want to do with the anime character with only one hand, leaving your other hand free to do whatever it is you want to do. Just remember to not to leave smudges and stains on your expensive new controller. That said, these games are exclusive to the PC, and you can always just use your mouse then.
Are the paddles worth S$194.90? I’d have to say no on this one as I took them off after a while.
So the bottom line: Is this a peripheral that is worth your S$194.90? At the risk of sounding wishy-washy, the answer is really dependent on who you are as a gamer. If you’re pretty hardcore and competitive, the additional customizing options will come in very handy. If you’re not, but absolutely have to launder S$194.90, you won’t regret buying this controller.
But if you’re a regular gamer with a regular income, this might be S$194.90 better spent elsewhere. Here’s a list of what you can buy with S$194.90:
- 100 McDonald’s hash browns
- 3 normal-priced Xbox games
- Most of a Xiaomi Redmi Note 2
- About 30,000 Clash of Clans gems