With the launch of any new console generation, there will inevitably be new and improved controllers released alongside it, and the Xbox Series X is no exception. There are several options on the market, making it difficult to decide which Xbox Series X controller is right for you.
Of course, the new Xbox Series X controller features improvements over the old Xbox One controllers regarding its form factor and battery life. You can also purchase more expensive peripherals like the Xbox Elite Controller, which adds new features and remappable buttons to your controller. Alternatively, you can use old Xbox One controllers since Microsoft was kind enough to make the Xbox Series X backward compatible with Xbox One controllers.
Here are the best controllers for the Xbox Series X.
The Xbox Series X comes with a newly updated version of Xbox’s classic controller design. Although most aspects of the design are very similar to the previous Xbox One generation, there are a few notable updates that improve the controller’s feel and usability.
Microsoft refined the form factor of the new Series X controller. The company made it slightly smaller and adjusted the shoulder buttons’ position to improve the device’s overall ergonomics. These changes should make the controller easier to use for people with smaller hands without sacrificing the Xbox controller’s beloved design.
Microsoft also redesigned a couple of buttons on this controller. The reworked D-pad is easier to use. There’s also added textures on the triggers and a share button to the center of the device. The share button is a feature that has been available on Sony’s PlayStation controllers for a while, and it allows players to quickly share clips and content with friends with the push of a button. Microsoft’s version isn’t revolutionary by any means, but it’s nice to see this feature on an Xbox console.
In terms of charging, Microsoft made the jump to USB-C with this new generation of controllers, which is a nice quality of life change. The company is continuing to include the AA-battery insert by default. A single set of AA batteries or a single charge on a rechargeable battery should last you around 40 hours of gameplay.
You can pick up this controller in the classic matte black, a more modern white and black, or a vibrant blue.
Coming in at the very reasonable price, this controller is the best option for players looking for a controller they can rely upon for years to come.
For players with extra cash to burn and a taste for the very best Microsoft has to offer, consider the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2. This controller was originally released back in 2019 but is compatible with the Xbox Series X. This is great news for gamers who picked up this costly controller to play on their Xbox One.
The Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 is a premium piece of hardware that enhances the original Xbox controller design in several ways. It also adds customization features and extra buttons that don’t appear on most Xbox controllers.
One of the biggest features included on the Xbox Elite Controller is the ability to adjust the tension on the thumbsticks. This means that you can zero in your stick sensitivity to improve your overall accuracy. The controller also features shorter hair-trigger locks on the triggers—useful for games where you repeatedly press the triggers. Both of these features give you direct advantages over players with standard controllers.
One of the most unique features of this controller is the ability to replace the thumbsticks with six included variations. The longer thumbsticks give you more precision due to the stick’s increased travel distance, while the convex designs may improve stick some players’ precision. You can also switch out your standard D-pad with a faceted one if that matters to you.
This controller also comes with four optional back paddles—two medium-sized and two mini. These paddles attach to the back of the Elite controller, adding two extra analog input options. Back paddles were first introduced by third-party companies like Scuf Gaming, but Microsoft is the first console producer to add this option to an official piece of hardware.
The Xbox Elite Controller features a rubberized, textured grip. This grip helps keep your hands properly positioned, even if they are a bit sweaty.
This device can be connected to a PC or Xbox using the included USB-C cable, Bluetooth, or Xbox wireless technology. Like the Xbox Series X controller, the Xbox Elite Controller boasts a 40-hour battery life per charge.
The Elite Series 2 is probably the best controller Microsoft has ever made but comes at a premium. This controller retails at three times the price of the standard controller. While this controller is the best of the best, players will have to decide if the extra buttons and customization features are worth the premium.
Scuf gaming started making third-party controllers back in 2010. It was the first peripheral company to implement the back-paddle button concept in PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 controllers. Over the past decade, Scuf has continued to improve its controller designs, resulting in the latest Scuf Prestige Xbox Controller. This controller is the culmination of Scuf Gaming’s years of experience in the third-party peripheral industry.
What sets Scuf controllers apart is the ability to customize nearly every aspect of the controller to suit your needs. You can choose the color of each part, the type of thumbsticks, and you can even choose the vibration options when you order a Scuf controller directly from the website.
The controller bodies come in various colors, including gray, white, black, blue, green, and light gray. There are also more premium designs like a galaxy theme, cherry blossom theme, and many more. However, premium themes come at a premium price.
The Prestige features many of the same options as the Xbox Elite Series controllers. It has not two, but four back-paddle slots. It makes sense that Scuf would go all out on the back-paddle options, considering they invented the feature. The Scuf Prestige also has quick-shift trigger stops, which activate a shorter pull distance for maximum speed, just like the Xbox Elite Controller.
The battery for the Scuf Prestige is decent, coming in at around 30 hours per charge. However, its battery life is a full 10 hours less than the Xbox Elite Series and the Xbox Series X controllers. Another drawback to the Prestige is that it still uses a Micro-USB charger, rather than a modern USB-C option. For a premium controller, these features are a bit outdated and will hopefully be addressed by Scuf in the near future.
If you are really into customizing your controller, love back paddles, or just like the feel of Scuf controllers, this is a solid option. However, this controller is significantly more expensive than the standard Xbox Series X controller. Consumers will have to decide for themselves if the extra customization options are worth the steep price tag.
Xbox Adaptive Controller
The Xbox Adaptive Controller is a gamepad designed with accessibility and customization in mind. This controller allows disabled gamers to build their own controller, complete with custom buttons and joysticks to fit their specific needs. While this controller is not the best option for every player, it is a godsend for passionate gamers worldwide whose disabilities may have prevented them from using a standard Xbox controller.
This controller features two large, pressure-sensitive pads, a D-pad, and over twenty different ports for assistive devices sold separately from the controller itself. This controller functions as the hub around which gamers can build their set up to suit their needs using gaming-specific peripherals made by several hardware companies. This device is compatible with Windows 10 and Xbox.
Xbox’s Adaptive Controller is not ideal for every gamer, but it is invaluable to those it helps. We would be remiss not to acknowledge this amazing piece of technology on our list of best Xbox Series X controllers.
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