Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 Review

An extravagant peek into the future of Microsoft’s controller design

Alex Rowe
Alex Rowe
Jan 22, 2020 · 11 min read
Image for post
Image for post
Photo taken by Alex Rowe.
Image for post
Image for post
Official Xbox Series X Promo Shot, https://www.xbox.com/en-US/consoles/xbox-series-x
Image for post
Image for post
A sticky “A” Button seems to be the most common complaint about these online, but so far mine’s working well. Photo taken by Alex Rowe.

OVERVIEW/BUILD PARANOIA

The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 retails for $179 and comes in black. The white controller variant for the original Elite model is nowhere to be seen, and given that it’s so late in the Xbox One life cycle, my guess is we won’t see new colors for a while.

Image for post
Image for post
I totally love the weird bowl d-pad. Photo taken by Alex Rowe.
Image for post
Image for post
The controller is a champion at picking up dust, unfortunately. Photo taken by Alex Rowe.

COMFORT/GENERAL USE

For this review, I spent 10+ hours with Borderlands Game of the Year Edition, another 10 hours with Borderlands 3 (long overdue reviews of both coming soon!) and several hours each with Skyforge, Warframe, Need for Speed Payback, Assassin’s Creed Origins, Black Desert, Star Trek Online, Fable Anniversary, and Dragonball Z: Kakarot. And I also played a dollop of Midway Arcade Origins at the end for some good d-pad workout time.

Image for post
Image for post
The paddles are my favorite feature. Photo taken by Alex Rowe.

THOSE WONDERFUL PADDLES

The four rear paddles are the main usability feature that separates the Elite controller from the regular model. You can remap then to anything you’d like, and you can also use one as a shift key to enable a second set of mappings.

Image for post
Image for post
The metal analog sticks have a satisfying heft, weight, and smoothness to them. Photo taken by Alex Rowe.

STICKS

After numerous tweaks and rounds of testing, I settled on using the “Classic” sticks with the movement tension set to its highest level.

SOFTWARE

The Xbox Accessories app is available on both the Xbox One and inside the Windows 10 Store, and it allows you to remap the paddles and most of the other buttons on the controller, save for the Menu, View, and Profile buttons.

Image for post
Image for post
This little plinth in the case serves as both a magnetic holder to keep the controller secure, and as a charging dock. Photo taken by Alex Rowe.

BATTERY/ETC.

Traditionally, Microsoft has relied on either AA batteries or user-replaceable batteries for their controllers, but with the Series 2 they’ve gone to a fully integrated design. The only way to get the large 2050 milliamp hour battery out of the controller is to rip it apart.

Image for post
Image for post
The Elite Series 2 and my second-favorite Xbox One controller, the Hyperspace Special Edition. Photo taken by Alex Rowe.

FINAL THOUGHTS

After somewhat-hating the original Elite controller, and spending months being worried I’d buy a broken Series 2, I’ve had a great time with this controller.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +756K people. Follow to join our community.

Alex Rowe

Written by

Alex Rowe

I do radio voice work by day, and write by day and night. I studied film and production. I love audio, design, and music. Also video games.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +756K people. Follow to join our community.

Alex Rowe

Written by

Alex Rowe

I do radio voice work by day, and write by day and night. I studied film and production. I love audio, design, and music. Also video games.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +756K people. Follow to join our community.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store