Games

Microsoft's modular Xbox One Elite controller: Hands-on

Microsoft's modular Xbox One E...
Gizmag goes hands-on with the new Xbox One Elite controller
Gizmag goes hands-on with the new Xbox One Elite controller
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Gizmag goes hands-on with the new Xbox One Elite controller
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Gizmag goes hands-on with the new Xbox One Elite controller
The controller feels high-end and responsive
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The controller feels high-end and responsive
The Elite controller is a high-end variant on the (already terrific) Xbox One gamepad
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The Elite controller is a high-end variant on the (already terrific) Xbox One gamepad
Back of the Elite controller, with some paddles attached (there are two paddle slots on each side)
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Back of the Elite controller, with some paddles attached (there are two paddle slots on each side)
Collection of parts that will ship with the controller
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Collection of parts that will ship with the controller
Replacing the D-Pad on the Elite controller
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Replacing the D-Pad on the Elite controller
Back of the gamepad
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Back of the gamepad

We're on the ground at E3, and just got our first hands-on with the new Xbox Elite controller. Read on for Gizmag's first impressions.

The Elite controller is aimed at enthusiasts, who want the absolute best gamepad experience on Xbox One and Windows. At US$150, it's priced accordingly.

Pick it up, though, and you'll see that this controller is a cut above the standard Xbox One gamepad (which, itself, is no slouch). It has a high-end fit and finish, with the metallic bits made of polished stainless steel. The buttons and sticks feel highly responsive, and Microsoft tells us the parts are designed so that they won't wear down over time (a tall order to live up to, but at least that's the promise).

The controller feels high-end and responsive
The controller feels high-end and responsive

The first big draw here, though, is the ability to swap out parts. The two sticks, D-pad and back paddles can all be customized. If switching parts sounds a little clunky, have no fear: Microsoft included magnets, to let them snap into place. Magnets isn't actually what holds the parts in place; they're simply there to make snapping them in as easy as possible.

The unit ships with a collection of sticks (both convex and concave) in two different heights, two different D-pads (the classic convex cross design as well as a concave one) and two options for paddle sticks.

Collection of parts that will ship with the controller
Collection of parts that will ship with the controller

The other big draw is that you can create user profiles, with degrees of sensitivity, which are stored on the controller's firmware. You can create a virtually unlimited variety of profiles – like, for example, different settings for driving and shooting. But only store two at a time on the controller. A switch lets you toggle between the two in-game.

We tried two different profiles that Microsoft had set up, and noticed an immediate difference in the feel while playing a demo.

A Microsoft rep told us that the default kit is just the beginning, with third-party options eventually arriving to turn this into a truly modular controller.

Replacing the D-Pad on the Elite controller
Replacing the D-Pad on the Elite controller

The Xbox Elite controller arrives this October for that $150 price point we mentioned. It's compatible with both the Xbox One and Windows.

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