The Xbox Elite Series 2 controller has been available for about 10 months and as I have done with many Microsoft devices, this is a long-term follow-up. The reason why this update is important, unlike some of the others I have done, is that the first generation Elite controller did not stand the test of time.
I like to think of my time playing Xbox as “research” and “working” which helps me justify the hours I have put into the new COD game or Apex, or Minecraft Dungeons and hopefully soon, Flight Sim 2020. But I likely average about 10 hrs of gaming a week which means the controller has seen a fair bit of use; it’s certainly not a show-piece that never gets touched.
The highlights are simple, the Elite Series 2 controller is the best Xbox controller available today. It’s premium in all respects and while I do like the standard controller, it simply does not compare to the Series 2.
The most important update is that so far, I have not had any issues with the controller falling apart like the previous generation peripheral. All the rubber surfaces are staying attached, buttons are not sticking, and I have not had any stick-drift issues (although, some are reporting they do have issues with drift).
While I still am not a big fan of the battery being non-removable, it has not been an issue during my use. I have the included charging stand permanently plugged into my console and charge the controller as needed. Microsoft does advertise 40hrs of battery life on a single charge and that feels roughly accurate – I would put it closer to the 32-35hr mark based on my rough calculations but it has not been an issue during my time with the device.
I have dropped the controller a few times with no major issues but there are some scuffs and scratches on the controller too. Nothing I am overly worried about but the controller isn’t going to stay pristine forever. And it does clean up fairly well with a microfiber cloth for when the nacho residue finds its way to the d-pad.
And as of right now, there are no issues with the rubber grips falling off like the first generation device
While the Elite Series 2 is a fantastic peripheral, the biggest issue with the hardware isn’t the hardware itself, it’s the price. Microsoft is still selling the controller for $179.99 and that’s a $110 premium over the already good standard Xbox controller.
Other minor annoyances include that if you do drop the controller like I mentioned I have done above, it sort-of ‘explodes’ when it hits the ground in some scenarios. Because it’s a modular controller and you can take the thumbsticks, d-pad, and paddles off, when it hits the ground, those pieces fly off and sometimes end up in Narnia.
There were also issues with some of the early controllers with buttons sticking and Microsoft has acknowledged the problems. It appears that these defects are still on-going for some with the company’s own forums filled with complaints but others have reported buying units without any problems too – you are rolling the dice when you make the purchase.
And one last minor issue is that while keeping the flat areas clean is easy, the joints along the grips can get packed with dirt that is much harder to remove.
Without a doubt, this is the best controller available today. While it is not an essential purchase for most gamers, for those that do put down the cash and as long as you don’t have issues out of the box, you will quite like the peripheral.
Even though it’s expensive, considering this is the only part of the Xbox you actually touch, it can make gaming a little more enjoyable. And knowing that you can customize nearly every aspect of the device including button functions for the paddles, it’s easy to make the controller fit your gaming style to give you a slight competitive edge when playing online.