Since the Xbox Elite Controller first launched, it has been my go-to controller for anything on the PC or the Xbox.
The changes Microsoft made to the design and feel made it an easy device to pick up and use that adapted to the games and style of play thanks to the customization and overall concept. Now, in 2019, Microsoft has revamped the controller, and somehow they have made an already amazing device even better.
Firstly, the original Xbox Elite Controller had its share of problems. It lacked Bluetooth, had issues with the rubber lifting on the grips, and still relied on AA batteries to function. Microsoft has addressed all these issues and more, trying to make a controller that not only felt like an evolution on what they set out to do, but felt like a better device overall.
The grips on the Xbox Elite ControllerSeries 2 wrap around, making it much more secure and giving it a true quality feel. It also just feels better in the hand overall. The controller seems to be less prone to absorbing sweat and even over the course of long gameplay sessions felt comfortable and maintained a level of grip you would want from this level of device.
For the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2, Microsoft has moved over to USB-C for charging. It also now includes a built-in rechargeable battery that will last through a day of gaming with ease (up to 40 hours on a charge) and can be used while plugged in. It also now has a charging stand included in the box, offering many options to keep your Elite Series 2 charged and ready to play. Even more interesting is the fact the built-in battery changes the weight of the controller, making it easier to use over long periods of time and gives it a better weight ratio making for a more comfortable gaming experience.
If that were not enough, the Xbox Elite ControllerSeries 2 now includes Bluetooth and allows you to adjust the thumbstick tension to add to the list of ways you can adjust the controller to the ways you could play. It is great being able to adjust the stick based on the game, although honestly, Microsoft has found a solid balance out of the gate in the default position—but this will be different from person to person. Adjusting the setting is done with the included tool, and just requires you to remove the stick and turning the knob under to meet the desired tension level.
Beyond these new changes, the Elite Series 2 still has everything you could see from the previous generation. There are different paddles you can attach to the bottom of the controller for more complex macros or buttons, and it includes a series of sticks to adjust the height and style for your play. It included the stops in the triggers to adjust based on your playstyle, and along with two different D-Pad designs.
One thing I would have loved to see is on-controller button mapping, but sadly—as with the Elite ControllerSeries 1—you will still need to dive into the Accessories app to change any of the configurations related to the specific game setting and button mapping. This app can be daunting for some, but once you cut through all the options, it is relatively straight forward and gives the Xbox Elite ControllerSeries 2 a new level of potential.
Jumping back to the fact the Xbox Elite ControllerSeries 2 has Bluetooth, and the versatility of the device is even more apparent. It can be used on any PC, along with iOS, Android, and even the Apple TV. It has quickly become my go-to Controller of choice for any platform that supports it. It should also be noted that that the Xbox Elite ControllerSeries 2 will work with Project xCloud when it launches, so it will be very useful when that actually makes its way to consumers.
If I have any issues with the Xbox Elite ControllerSeries 2, it would be the price tag. When a standard Xbox Controller costs under $80, it can be hard to justify the $229.99 CAD (179.99 USD) price tag. It is one of the best Xbox controllers built, but that luxury comes at a cost. That being said, it has been confirmed the Xbox Elite ControllerSeries 2 will work with the next-gen Xbox, so it will be a device that will last well beyond this generation of console.
Despite the cost, the Xbox Elite ControllerSeries 2 is one of the best controllers I have ever used. The improvements Microsoft has made address any concerns I had about past iterations, and the overall fit and finish make the controller a joy to hold and use. If you can look past the price tag, and demand only the best from your gaming accessories, give the Xbox Elite ControllerSeries 2 a look, you won’t be disappointed.