Xbox Elite controller review: Welcome tweaks come at a price

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For nearly two decades now, the game industry at large (with the significant exception of Nintendo) has only made small tweaks to the reigning dual-stick controller design standard, first set by the PlayStation’s original Dual Shock controller in 1997. Now, though, we seem to be in something of a golden age of experimentation with that design. First there was Valve’s utterly unique Steam Controller, and now we have Microsoft’s high-end Xbox Elite controller.

Microsoft’s effort throws a lot of ideas at the proverbial wall, and a few of them stick well enough that we’d like to see them integrated into every handheld controller going forward. At $150, though, the price of entry to try out Microsoft’s view of the controller’s future is a bit too steep for all but the most competitive of gamers.

Get a grip

The Xbox Elite controller’s most useful feature by far is the addition of four buttons on the underside of the controller grip; two on each side, placed for easy access by the middle and ring fingers. Add those to the shoulder buttons and button-like “clicks” of the analog sticks, and you now have a whopping 10 inputs that can be accessed without ever taking your thumbs off the analog sticks.

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