Microsoft made very little changes to its controller for the launch of the Xbox Series X (and Xbox Series S). As for the interface, the Redmond firm relies on continuity to convince.
A video game console is nothing without its catalog and its controller. In the eyes of some, the accessory that you hold in your hands when you indulge in this passion is a very important criterion. And, as often, two camps are opposed. On the one hand, there are DualShock enthusiasts eagerly awaiting the PS5’s DualSense. On the other, there are those who swear by the Xbox pad, which has achieved a form of excellence on the Xbox One generation.
For the move to Xbox Series X – and Xbox Series S – Microsoft has decided to ensure continuity. Therefore, if you put an Xbox One controller and the new controller side by side, you will see a stunning resemblance. The Remond firm would not be the first manufacturer to use a satisfactory design, since Sony waited for the PS5 to make its revolution. After a fortnight in the company of the Xbox Series X, we can undoubtedly say that Microsoft did well not to change anything.
By pulling out a magnifying glass, we can see that the new controller is not quite the same as the previous one. Microsoft still wanted to modify certain elements, in order to refine a little more the ergonomics that we knew. More specifically, the multinational has taken up certain arguments of the excellent Elite Series 2 controller to benefit a less demanding audience. The new pad recovers the grip on the triggers, which fall better under the index finger, and a directional cross hollowed out in a solid circle (which produces a real “click” when you press, a big plus for purists). There is also a more pleasant and grainy grip on the sleeves, which grip the palms better. Despite these few changes, regulars will quickly find their bearings and that’s an excellent thing.
Regulars will quickly find their marks
We can still highlight other welcome changes:
- A few millimeters of grip on the buttons located on the edge (subtle and effective novelty);
- A more refined, less sculpted appearance (softer design);
- The appearance of a USB-C port.
There is nothing deeply revolutionary, for a preserved grip and a feeling that we take pleasure in rediscovering. Never held an Xbox controller in your hands? You will quickly be convinced, especially since its shape is neither too big nor too small. As for asymmetric sticks, it should be remembered that this is the most natural arrangement. Too bad for the aesthetic harmony of the object, with impeccable finishes (mat plastic exudes confidence in terms of durability) and the weight ideally distributed.
A new button, and that’s it
As the ergonomics have remained more or less the same, the biggest addition of the new Xbox controller is to go to the side of the share button. New on the old model, it makes it easier to immortalize and distribute screenshots or clips. It saves time and will avoid having to get lost in the menus dedicated to this feature born on the previous generation. On this point, Microsoft has copied Sony and Nintendo, which already offer a Share button – respectively on the DualShock 4 and the Joy-Con.
The key feature finally remains the ergonomics
Otherwise, we find exactly the same buttons, the same vibrations, this daring choice to stick to batteries in 2020 (optional removable battery) or even the same compatibility with a multitude of devices (PC, Apple TV, Android and iOS smartphone …). Microsoft has opted for full backward compatibility, which allows the new controller to work with its older consoles.
We can probably regret the absence of a key feature hair-raising. Especially since the DualSense of the PS5 intends to go further in the immersion with a haptic feedback (more precise vibrations) and adaptive triggers. If the developers really take advantage of it, then it will be a real shortfall for the Xbox controller – whose key feature finally remains the ergonomics.
Should you buy an Elite Series 2 controller instead?
The Xbox Series X is compatible with the Xbox One, which means that you can reuse your Elite Series 2 controller – acquired for the modest sum of 180 euros. What is the new Xbox controller worth compared to the best pad ever released by Microsoft? It loses the premium finishes, the integrated battery and the possibilities of customization (directional cross, sticks, stroke of the triggers…). Sold three times more expensive, the Elite Series 2 controller is more complete, but remains designed for an expert audience.
In view of the small changes made to the Xbox controller, we will no longer necessarily recommend the Elite Series 2. The 120 euros difference is less justified because of the excellence of the new pad associated with the Xbox Series X. Strongly the Series 3 .
Note indicative : 5/5
Microsoft had no reason to change a winning team. By taking more or less the same design as before, the controller associated with the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S is a continuation. In terms of ergonomics and comfort, it is difficult to do better.
Despite everything, the new Xbox controller still manages to refine itself by playing on some welcome details, in the wake of the grip on the triggers or the new Share button. It only has one big flaw to get rid of: the battery, which remains optional.
- You shouldn’t change
- The grip on the triggers
- The Share button, finally
- Batteries, in 2020
- The PS5’s DualSense is more revolutionary
- The less relevant Elite Series 2
The continuation in video
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