The Elite 2 is the very best controller Microsoft have actually ever made, an accomplishment of engineering that sets a brand-new requirement for premium-grade gamepads on any platform. The brand-new gen-two style consists of more functions, much deeper customisation and smart animal conveniences that make the Elite 2 a satisfaction to utilize. Here’s why we like it – despite the fact that it’s not for everybody.

First off, let’s resolve the rate. At £160 in the UK and $180 in the United States, the Elite 2 expenses 3 times the rate of a basic controller; and it’s really the exact same ballpark rate as a brand name brand-new Xbox One S All Digital. That implies it stays a high-end product that just does not make good sense for all however the most invested Xbox and PC owners. Thankfully, this rate differential is at least shown in the depth of the function list and construct quality of the controller, with that premium sensation beginning with the minute you take it out of package.

While the Elite 2 is available in the exact same soft shell case as its predecessor, the swelling of foam that supported the controller prior to has actually been changed by a hassle-free charging stand – which matches the brand-new rechargeable (however regretfully irremovable) battery perfectly. Remove the material cover, and pins on the wedge-shaped battery charger will line up perfectly with contacts on the back of the controller. You can even plug a USB-C cable television in through a specifically created flap in the back of the case, permitting you to charge your Elite 2 while keeping it totally covered.

As well as the detachable battery charger, you’ll discover a toolkit that consists of 4 replacement thumbsticks, 4 paddles, a more conventional four-way d-pad and a curious product that appears like a guitar choice crossed with a SIM card elimination tool. Pop off the thumbsticks, and you’ll have the ability to utilize this to change the stress of each stick, with 3 levels to pick from: the basic loosey-goosey feel and 2 tighter settings that press the stick back to centre more assertively. The replacement thumbsticks are wild too, with a set of taller, flatter and less textured options, a double-height stick and one with a ridged, convex top. I switched in between these routinely throughout screening, ultimately winding up with a flat stick for motion and the convex choice for accuracy intending. Combined with the clickier face buttons, this produced the most easily responsive controller I’ve ever evaluated – and the depth of alternatives here imply that it must work for a large range of players.

As well as being an advancement of the Elite line, the Elite 2 likewise consists of the modifications made to Microsoft’s latest generation of requirement Xbox controllers. This implies Bluetooth connection is now on board, lastly permitting an Elite controller to be utilized with mobile phones like mobile phones and tablets – especially beneficial for playing Xbox titles on the go with Project xCloud. It likewise offers a brand-new connection choice for Windows PCs that ameliorates the requirement for the £20/$20 Xbox Wireless Adapter – although the fundamental latency of a Bluetooth connection implies that major PC players need to still most likely get the faster 2.4GHz cordless dongle if they can spare the money. The unibody style from the brand-new controllers has actually likewise been rollovered, with an almost flush Xbox button and a 3.5mm port for linking earphones. It was strange purchasing the costly first-gen Elite in 2019 and feeling that the basic controllers were more advanced in some methods, so it’s terrific to see this fixed with the Elite 2.

Looking at the 2 Elites side by side, another distinction is clear: the size of the textured grips. On the initial Elite, this just extends down the rear end of each arm of the controller, however on the Elite 2 the grippy texture is discovered on front and back, extending as much as satisfy the sides of the shoulder buttons to cover a much bigger area. Even the triggers are textured in a comparable method, assisting to stop sweaty fingers slipping off in a frenzied firefight. Comfort is at an all-time high here, which is great news for anybody that plays enough to validate an exceptional controller like this one.

The hair triggers have actually likewise been updated, with a brand-new travel range in between the 2 extremes presented by the initial Elite. I didn’t discover this enormously beneficial – complete range for racing and a hair trigger for action video games like Nioh was currently enough for me – however I do not mind the additional choice as it does not interfere with the style in other places. Finally, the 2 profiles of the very first Elite have actually ended up being 3 on the Elite 2, with the basic switch traded for an LED and button combination. There’s even a brand-new faster way – hold down the profile button, and the controller will go back to a bog-standard setup that disables the bottom triggers. That’s beneficial if you’re setting the controller down and do not wish to unintentionally slash a friendly NPC, or you’re handing your mate the controller and do not wish to puzzle him with your unconventional setup.

The initial Elite controller stopped working to make our unquestionable suggestion.

To really established your profiles, you’ll require to endeavor into the Xbox Accessories app on Xbox One or Windows. From here, you can remap any button on the controller (apart from Xbox, Start and Select). Each button can likewise alter its mapping when a shift button of your picking is held, permitting the paddles to be utilized for 8 various functions rather of 4. Elsewhere, you can change each stick’s level of sensitivity, set dead zones for each trigger, deny or disable vibration in 4 zones and even change the brightness of the Xbox button. It’s a reasonable plan, and one that permits much deeper and more instinctive customisation than the first-gen Elite, which does not have Shift performance and the capability to map buttons to system functions like beginning a recording or taking a screenshot.

While nailing the physical style and providing qualified software application are remarkable accomplishments that Microsoft need to take pride in, they handled that last time around too – and regardless of these strengths, the initial Elite stopped working to make our unquestionable suggestion. After all, regardless of a price often times higher than a basic controller, users of the original Elite gamepad reported a list of issues with the gadget – like grips falling off, shoulder buttons jamming and sticks wandering. Many users went through several replacements in the period of a year, recommending these concerns weren’t limited to the very first batch of controllers, while others went with third-party repairs like additional adhesive to fix what seem style shortages. Of course, some Elite controllers have actually stood the test of time. I chose one as much as evaluate twelve months earlier, and I’ve had no concerns whatsoever regardless of durations of heavy usage in racing sims, Souls-like titles and parlor game. No one however Microsoft truly has the information to state whether the initial Elite has a greater failure rate than other gamepads, however an exceptional controller should be much better built and more trustworthy than one that includes the console, not less.

This chequered history indicated that the Elite 2 deals with a greater level of analysis. We have not recognized any construct quality worry about our specific system, however a thread on the /r/XboxOne subreddit with 3000 comments and counting recommends that this model has its own gremlins, with a plethora of users reporting sticky face buttons and thumbstick drift that Microsoft has actually guaranteed to examine. These issues are covered under the controller’s service warranty, which runs 90 days in the United States and Canada and one year in the UK, however selecting a significant seller that provides no quibble returns or replacements might be a smart relocation.

With luck, these quality control concerns will be repaired and all future Series 2 controllers made will provide the dependability that befits a premium choice. After all, the Elite Series 2 is otherwise a standout controller with a deep function list that offers a class-leading sensation of accuracy and control – a fitting option for the next generation of Xbox consoles and PCs.