Microsoft Xbox Elite Controller review:

Luxury gaming and customization, at a price

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Microsoft Xbox Elite Controller

(Part #: HM3-00001)
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CNET Editors' Rating

1 user review

The Good The Elite controller is an ultra-satisfying, high-end Xbox One and PC controller that offers an impressive amount of customization on its analog sticks, D-pad and triggers, and introduces back paddles. The Xbox Elite app allows for even more personalization, including the ability to remap every button on the controller.

The Bad It's tough to justify that hefty price. The back paddles are very easy to hit accidentally if you're not accustomed to them. Rechargeable batteries would not have been too much to ask.

The Bottom Line Its $150, £120 or AU$200 price tag certainly puts it in an exclusive class, but the Elite controller is one of the most customizable, comfortable and luxurious controllers we've ever used.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Performance 8.0

The Elite Wireless Controller for Xbox One and PC is one of the most comfortable controllers I've ever held. It's head and shoulders ahead of other controllers for Microsoft's console and other platforms. The only problem is its eyebrow-raising price: $150, £120 or AU$200.

Odds are you probably don't need to spend that kind of money -- two and a half times more than a regular wireless pad -- on an Xbox One controller. But for the privileged few, the Elite is an indulgence that delivers in ways no other controller can.

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It's immediately noticeable how much heavier the Elite is than the original Xbox One controller. It feels substantial and luxurious. Every button on the controller operates with flawless tactile feedback and satisfying smoothness. A matte rubberized coating wraps most of the controller, with the grips getting an extra textured detailing. It feels like you're holding a really high-end gadget. The included molded carrying case demands it not be left on a coffee table or couch.

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Impressive build quality aside, the Elite controller's main selling point is the massive amount of customization possible with the analog sticks, triggers, D-pad and more. It comes with three sets of magnetic, stainless steel analog sticks that can be easily swapped in and out. Two sets of concave-topped sticks, one of normal height and another twice the height, and one set of domed sticks can be mixed and matched to your specific taste.

The analog ball joints feel really solid too and they have a certain buttery springiness that the original controller just doesn't offer. I enjoyed using the taller concave right stick for first-person shooters -- it makes precision aiming much easier.

There are two D-pads included with the Elite, a traditional "plus" design and a circular, almost octagonal shape that makes hitting diagonal directions a bit easier. Both easy swap out with magnetic fittings.

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