What Is The Xbox Elite Controller? 2018 Comprehensive Review

It's been awhile since the release of the Elite controller. With all the buzz about the gamepad created by gamers and critics, is it worth the money?

2018 Xbox Elite Controller

Over 2 years ago Microsoft blew up the gaming market with the news about the development of a new Xbox controller that was supposed to meet the needs of any pro gamer out there. Upon the release, Xbox One Elite gamepad has proved to be nothing but a luxury gadget with the looks that left the competition no chance and the time-leading technology featuring a variety of top-notch customizations offered in addition to standard options.

A combination of soft plastic and steel, an ability to choose the attributes for your rear paddle buttons, sticks tops, d-pad designs, plus an option to personalize everything from button mapping to triggers sensitivity made this wireless controller stand out in its class.

In 2015 the product firmly established the leading positions in the video games and accessories market. Back then, Scuff brand was the only closest competitor to the Elite Xbox One as there were hardly any other brand controllers offering swappable components and endless customizations. In 2018 the situation changed and more gaming accessories brands are hard on its heels now.

Despite a high $150 price tag that is actually an average price for a premium segment gaming controller, it’s worth every penny. Being a hardcore FPS gamer, I will mostly highlight how the controller delivers from shooting games perspective but a few words about its exterior belong to this review.

Right off the bat, the device feels times better than a standard Xbox 1 controller although it features a very similar shape. A smooth finish, rubber grips and velvet feeling thumbsticks add to the level of sensation arising when playing with the gamepad in the first year. After one year of usage, cosmetic things start going downhill. The most common issues, few of my friends and I have experienced, were a bumper issue when the part either came out or broke down, thumbsticks becoming too loose and grips rubber starting to peel off. Just to be fair, you may get a better luck if you don’t spend your life in front of the screen like I do.

Elite Xbox One - Front Profile

Moving on to the hardware part, Xbox One Elite wireless gamepad can be used with your gaming system or PC and comes with a variety of attachments aimed at improving your gameplay. But do they really help? The only two perks that I found to be particularly useful is Xbox 1 hair trigger locks feature that allows shortening the trigger travel distance. This is a great option for FPS games where you need to add more precision to your movements while aiming or making a shot.

Xbox Elite Controller - Back View Paddles Attached

Programmable interchangeable paddles also improve the performance in any game where you benefit from pressing buttons underneath of your controller while having both of your thumbs on the stick. The paddles are the new feature to be introduced on Xbox One controllers allowing for up to four parts to be installed on the gadget at one time. If four paddles become feeling too bulky and start to interfere with your normal gameplay style - just take them off. Microsoft has thought out the details and made the feature easily removable. My winning configuration includes two paddles on top position while leaving bottom ones blank.

The controller comes with magnetized interchangeable thumbsticks of three different styles so Microsoft has got you covered on this one as well. You will get to select from Xbox One concave thumbsticks, domed sticks that are more of a Playstation 4 style, and tall concave thumbsticks. Depending on what gaming situation you are in, every stick type can be less or more beneficial.

Xbox Elite Controller Swappable Components

Swappable d-pad comes in two versions, a standard one and a satellite dish style d-pad. The later wasn’t very convenient to use at first making me miss the right spots and completely lifting off from one side when pressed hard. Once I got used to it, it felt super crisp and gave me the satisfaction I was looking for.

Here comes the software part of the review. The software available through Xbox store or PC via the Xbox Accessories app allows you to create customizable profiles that are easy to edit and swap between. In these profiles, you are welcome to change tons of things like button mapping, LED brightness, even thumbstick or trigger sensitivity. The main drawback is that PC version has some prominent flaws like no labels on the graphs and console only games pre-set configurations.

Hardware And Technical Specifications

Now I am going to load you up a little with some technical info you may find useful. To be able to enjoy this wireless toy and take advantage of the app features, you need to make sure your Xbox One system is in a perfect working order and your PC has Windows 10 installed (Windows 7 is ok to just use the controller). Weighted at 350 gram, the controller features 3.5 mm headset, works with all brand stereo head adapters, offers both wired and wireless connectivity and allows customization of anything from rumble motor feedback to thumbstick control via the Xbox Accessories App.

Xbox Accessories App

The app takes the customization of your Xbox Elite controller to the next level via its endless profile configurations. You are welcome to select from recommended settings or personalize various options your way. To save time, you can just create a profile for each of your favorite games and once you play it, you will just select from pre-made profiles to take advantage of custom settings.

The controller app download doesn’t require much time or memory but the software is capable of holding up to 256 various configurations in the app itself plus saving two profiles on the controller for an easy access.

As I’ve mentioned before, The App Accessories for Xbox allows you to fully customize anything from button mapping, brightness and sensitivity levels to adjusting trigger locks.

Xbox Elite VS Razer Wolverine VS Scuf

Xbox Elite Vs Razer Wolverine Vs Scuf

I’d like to briefly touch on the Xbox Elite closest rivals - Razer Wolverine and Scuf controllers.

Wolverine is a wired controller for Xbox One gaming system released in 2017 that can be connected to your console and a PC. Like other pro controllers, it’s highly modifiable and programmable. The gadget features 6 extra button paddles - 2 on the shoulders and 4 underneath, that can be programmed to any pre-set functions via the controller itself with no software being required for remapping.

The product comes with a selection of thumbsticks of a different style; magnetically attached standard d-pad that can be swapped for a rolling style one offered in a package, and trigger locks functionality for the trigger travel distance adjustment. The bottom line is that the newly released Razer product is a pretty strong contender for Xbox Elite one and you would want to have them both in your arsenal. The Wolverine detailed review is coming up next as I feel this joypad deserves a more in-depth study.

Scuf controller is the obvious outsider when compared to the two other products. It feels like comparing Mercedes C class with S class as both of them look similar from a distance but the level of the quality and performance is drastically different. Scuf offers plastic paddles, thumbsticks and the d-pad versus stainless steel parts featured in Xbox Elite model. In order to engage hair pin triggers, you’ll need to go through the hassle by removing side panels and putting them back on.

Furthermore, Scuf doesn’t have a customization app that would allow standard buttons remapping or sticks sensitivity adjustment. Given these major flaws and the fact the price for all three controllers is very similar, it makes it hard to understand why someone would even consider buying a Scuf gamepad.

Custom Xbox One Elite Controllers

Xbox One Elite Custom Controllers

Many third-party companies in the gaming market offer customization services for Xbox Elite controller. By putting the idea they can further enhance the performance of the gamepad into customers heads, they give a misleading information as this controller already comes highly customized by the manufacturer. Changing analog sticks, face buttons and grip panels to third party elements may create a cool looking controller but the gameplay quality would actually get worse as most custom buttons are not a good fit for the gadget. As I see it, the only part to be customized that would benefit the Elite controller is the faceplate as it has no effect on the performance.

If you’ve reached this paragraph of my extended review on the Xbox Elite wireless controller, you’ve got a pretty clear idea about the unit pros and cons and are ready to either give up on the product or give it a try. I would say the product definitely belongs to the premium sector of gaming controllers and if you are looking for one, Xbox Elite remote is worth paying attention to. The other important thing I’ve learned by using this gamepad is while all the advanced attachments and cool customizations add to your overall combat experience, they don’t magically make you a pro gamer. The gadget will stay worthless in the hands of a useless gamer. Comment below if you agree.


  • Limitless Customizations In The App
  • Made With Solid Materials
  • A Variety Of Attachments To Improve Performance


  • Price Tag
  • No Bluetooth Connectivity
  • No Rechargeable Batteries Included

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1 Comment
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Jaden Burden Aug 21, 2018

Really great article, couldn't decide which one to go for! Gonna go and treat myself with the Xbox One Elite controller now :)