The Xbox controller is easily among the best controllers ever made in the history of gaming controllers. The current design was introduced in 2013 with the Xbox One, and it has been refined over the years. The all-new controller for the latest Xbox Series consoles barely takes away the already-successful flavor of the Xbox One consoles. It doesn’t pack any significant features like adaptive triggers or motion sensing. However, we get to see very subtle improvements over the established design. But, this is nothing to be mad at Microsoft as the Xbox controller is a great device for gaming, and I am fine with Microsoft improving their formula instead of giving players something new.
Pricing and Editions
The Xbox controller is available in several colors and special editions. The pricing of these editions varies wildly. Xbox also has an Elite controller which is the absolute best they make. Apart from these, potential customers also can design their own customized Xbox controller from the Xbox Design Lab.
These are all the editions of the Xbox Wireless controller sold by Microsoft currently. All of them function identically, except the Elite Wireless controllers. The various iterations and limited-edition versions of the Xbox controller mainly have cosmetic differences.
The Xbox Design Lab is quite dope. The immense customization options, including one to engrave your preferred name tag, lets you truly express your personality through your controller.
We have the Robot White edition of the Xbox Wireless controller for review with us today. Let’s have a look at the packaging, and unbox the all-new Xbox controller.
The Robot White variant of the Xbox Wireless Controller comes in a minimalist white and green box made of paper and cardboard. The use of recyclable materials is highly appreciated on Microsoft’s part.
The bottom of the box contains info on the importer and seller. The top and the right side of the box contains product information. The side contains some artwork, and the back of the box has a brief user guide.
On opening the box, a bed containing the controller rises. This makes the unboxing feel very sophisticated. Kudos to Microsoft for designing such a satisfying unboxing experience.
We also get two high-quality AA batteries. The branding on them says they are from the cell manufacturers Duracell. These batteries will be enough to run the controller for the first time. However, these are not rechargeable, and you will have to buy more AA batteries once these run out of juice.
Apart from that, you also get a user guide, a warranty guide, importer information, and a leaflet containing a code for 14 days of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
A Closer Look
The all-new Xbox controller feels quite like its predecessor, but it is subtly different. The white edition comes bundled with the Xbox Series S while the all-black controller comes bundled with the Xbox Series X. All of them can be purchased separately from the official Microsoft website or other participating retailers.
Moving on, we find a total of 19 buttons on the controller. These include the X, Y, A, B buttons, the four buttons of the D-pad and their combinations, the two thumbsticks (which can be pressed), the right and left shoulders and triggers, the share, view, and menu buttons, the pair and the Xbox button. Microsoft has done little to improve this controller over its last-gen counterpart when it comes to buttons. The Share button is an all-new inclusion, however. It can be used to take screenshots when pressed, and it can also be used to record video when pressed for three seconds. When recording is on, this action will stop the recording.
Ports and Connectivity
This controller has three ports in total. These include a USB-C port at the top for connecting the controller to your console or PC through a wire. Microsoft’s move to USB-C is appreciated because they are way more durable and can withstand significantly more insertions as compared to Micro-USB.
The bottom of the controller has two ports. These include a 3.5mm AUX jack for your headphones, and a proprietary port for connecting an Xbox Chatpad. Although Microsoft discontinued the Chatpad last year, the presence of this port might hint at the launch of a revamped version of the original Chatpad.
Feel and Build Quality
The all-new Xbox controller has a hardened plastic shell around it. But, the plastic seems sturdy on hand, and it is extremely high quality. The textured grips do an awesome job at gripping the controller sturdily, and even after hours of gaming, the controller does not feel slippery. It has a matte finish, and the ridged lip around the Xbox button is now gone. This makes the controller look even more minimalist, and we prefer it.
Upgrades Over the Xbox One Controller
- Shrunken Bumpers and Triggers: The overall size of the bumpers and triggers has been reduced by a few millimetres. This was a smart move from Microsoft’s side as the older controller was an absolute behemoth (although smaller than the original Xbox controller). This new design allows the controller to be gripped firmly. However, it benefits people with small hands the most.
- The All-New D-Pad: This controller also comes with a hybrid D-pad. It is kind of like a middle-ground between the old D-pad and the highly sophisticated design found on the Elite Series 2 controller. This new design means the controller looks and feels far subtle on hand. But, for the first time, the D-pad buttons sound extremely loud. This wasn’t the case with either the Xbox One controller or the Elite Series 2 controller. However, the click sounds extremely satisfying, and it is much like the sound of Cherry MX Brown switches found in mechanical keyboards. However, if you are not accustomed to a mechanical keyboard, you might find it annoying.
- Texturized Bumpers and Triggers: Also, the bumper and the triggers have been texturized to prevent slipping. But, this change is pretty subtle, and it makes almost no difference during gameplay unless your hands get real sweaty (probably during a session of Dark Souls).
- All-Black Xbox button: The Xbox button also has been made all-black in every edition of the controller. This small change does very little in defining the characteristic of this controller, but it makes the design look a bit more uniform.
Comfort and Experience
The controller can be configured via the Xbox Accessories app on both PC and Xbox. The app comes pre-installed on the Xbox, but it requires an additional download on the PC. The app is available on the Microsoft Store.
The software experience is pretty much the same as the last-gen. The particular unit we used for the review needed an update before we could configure it. The update process was extremely easy and it took around 5 minutes to complete.
The customization options are very limited. The left and right triggers cannot be customized. The other buttons can be remapped to any other button on the controller other than the two triggers. However, the dearth of customization options is concerning. The options let you swap sticks, swap triggers, invert the axes of the sticks, and turn vibration on or off.
The gaming experience on the Xbox Controller is overly satisfying and great. The vibrations are on-point. We tested the controller in Forza Horizon 4 and 5. The vibrations in these games are dependent on the surface you are driving on. Also, if you are on the manual gear shift, each gear shift gives a subtle vibration which is pretty dope.
However, in games like Forza Horizon which involves a large number of controls that can involve several combinations, controllers start to fall pretty short. When you switch to full manual mode, most of the controls can’t be accessed via the controller. So, we can confirm that the controller is only recommended if you are playing the game just for fun, the controller will be fun. Otherwise, if you want to play the game seriously, a wheel is recommended.
However, in shooters like Call of Duty Warzone and open-world titles like Cyberpunk 2077, the controller feels amazing. The vibration, feel, and comfort of this controller can be experienced at 100% while playing these games. I played Cyberpunk 2077 for four hours straight, and the controller felt too good. It caused zero pain or discomfort.
The Xbox Series controller is one of the best controllers out there. It is a great package for the price, and although it does not pack any crazy next-gen features, I am pretty good with Microsoft fine-tuning their already proven formula. But, Microsoft can still work on the software experience and improve the customization options.
Overall, the all-new controller is a great option for your old Xbox One too. The all-new Share option and the fine-tuned D-pad make a difference over the classic Xbox One controller. For PC, this controller is probably the best option on a budget. I say this because the DualSense controller is not supported by every game natively. This is because Sony’s controller still uses the old DirectInput API as compared to the Xbox One Controller which uses the much newer XInput.
I would recommend the Xbox Series controller to anyone out there looking for a decent option on a budget!
Xbox Series Wireless Controller Review
Xbox Series Wireless Controller is one of the best gaming controllers money can buy. However, it still lacks something, especially in the software department. If you are okay with that, it is probably your best bet.