The Xbox Elite Controller 2 feels great, but it needs to be durable

This story has to have a different ending

There are two inevitable conclusions about the Xbox Elite Controller, and sometimes they’re at odds with each other. First, it’s an incredible gamepad (which it better be, considering the $150 price tag). It’s hefty and quality and springy in all the right ways. It cheapens other standard controllers, making them feel like inadequate plastic toys.

But, it’ll probably also break down at some point. The rubber grips will come loose. Maybe the bumpers will snap off inside the casing. The Xbox Elite Controller has a reputation: It’s fantastic up until the moment it all goes to hell through nothing more strenuous than normal use. It’s a real bummer realizing that your $150 controller didn’t live up to the long-term investment you hoped it’d be.

That’s why the second iteration of the Xbox Elite Controller has to come up some raised eyebrows. It’ll be an improvement in several ways, but will it actually improve where it needs to? This needs to be a durable controller. Full stop. Anything less is unacceptable.

We’ve gone hands-on with the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 during a recent demo of Gears 5‘s new cooperative Escape mode. As you’d expect, it felt great. The grips extending around the front of the gamepad added a little more texture in a satisfying way. The weight was nice (although it was slightly extra heavy due to being tethered to the station so people couldn’t steal the controllers.)

Here are a handful of additional features that we couldn’t test: Bumpers that are redesigned inside the controller, Bluetooth functionality, adjustable tension settings on the thumbsticks, new thumbstick shapes, a third profile preset, a USB-C port, an internal battery that boasts a 40-hour life on a single charge, a third shorter trigger lock position, and new paddle shapes. This controller does a lot. 

You don’t need a preview to tell you this controller feels incredible. It’s basically a foregone conclusion at this point. It’s impressive from an engineering perspective, and it’s impressive as a gaming peripheral. However, that all goes out the window if the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 has the same chronic problems as its predecessor. It’s another thing we couldn’t test during the demo. Will it hold up through hundreds of hours of regular use? It needs to because $180 isn’t chump change. That would get you three standard controllers.

It’s tough to get too excited about the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 based solely on the history of the first iteration. Anyone who has had that gamepad fall apart on them knows exactly what I mean. It’s smooth sailing until it’s stormy seas. It’s heaven until it’s hell. If the new controller is durable, then Xbox has an undeniable winner on its hands. That’s what needs to happen. But, we won’t know when it releases on November 4; we’ll know months later when everyone has the chance to really put it through the paces.

Brett Makedonski
While you laughing, we're passing, passing away. So y'all go rest y'all souls, 'Cause I know I'ma meet you up at the crossroads. Y'all know y'all forever got love from them Bone Thugs baby...