Time was, you were lucky to get two buttons and a D-pad on your console controller. Oh, how times have changed. Here’s our guide to the best Xbox One controllers you can buy today.
Now, in this world of e-gaming and customize-your-kit-until-it-explodes upgrade options, there are more input options for your Xbox One than USB hubs in a second-rate computer hardware store. From steering wheels to cameras, there’s no end to the litany of interfaces that can litter your living room floor.
What if, though, you just want one really, really good controller? A gamepad to cut through the chaff and faff, and deliver a delightfully precise Xbox gaming experience?
Look no further: we herded a host of Xbox controllers into a room and made them engage in a joystick tussle of epic proportions. Oh, and don’t forget to check out our guide to the best gaming headsettoo.
Xbox wireless controller
The Xbox 360 controller was as close to perfection as joypads got, back in 2005 – which was no mean feat, seeing how the one that shipped with the original Xbox felt like you were holding a dinner plate.
So, how do you improve on a classic? Very carefully, with just a few minor tweaks. Think grippier joysticks, a more sensitive D-Pad, more efficient Wi-Fi syncing and, most important of all, vibration motors in the triggers.
These make all the difference in racing games, letting you feel when you’re losing grip from a standing start, or locking your brakes by carrying too much speed into the corners. OK, so you still need to keep it stocked with AA batteries, which feels positively Victorian compared to the PS4’s rechargeable DualShock 4, but the refined shape, asymmetrical thumbsticks and precise triggers are as good as it gets.
It works flawlessly with your PC games, too, either over USB or with the official wireless adapter.
Xbox Elite Wireless Controller
If you’re sick of using standard controllers where the buttons stick, triggers squeak or thumbsticks wear out, then the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller is quite simply the best Xbox One controller.
It’s built for three things: performance, durability and customisation. It feels great for gaming, it’ll last years without the components wearing out and it can be near-endlessly tweaked to give you the edge over the competition.
The Elite Controller exudes quality from top to bottom. Every stick, button and trigger is incredibly responsive and, if you don’t like them, chances are you can easily swap them out.
The package also includes convex and concave sticks, circular and square-shaped d-pads and optional paddles that sit under the pad by your fingers. The reason? Well, it’s quicker to press those than it is to squeeze the triggers, which could be the difference between life and death in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.
If you are wedded to the triggers though, you can also set the lock to a halfway point, saving you valuable time. You can even download presets for games such as Battlefield 1 and Gears of War 4.
Scuf Infinity1 Xbox One controller
Look, the Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller is currently going for £99 with a free game, such as Forza Horizon 3 or Halo 5: Guardians. That’s an unbeatable deal for the Scuf Infinity1 to compete with, unless you’re really into the ridiculous array of gaudy customization options available online. Judged on its own merits, this is still a good pad for serious gamers that adds several welcome tweaks to the original Xbox One controller.
From the ability to swap out its thumb sticks, to an adjustable hair trigger mechansims and an array of four paddles on the back of the pad for additional inputs, the Infinity1 is yours to modify as you please. As we’ve already mentioned, you’re going to need to play a lot of Overwatch for this kind of stuff to make a difference, but its good to have the choice. Even if it only ups the more average player’s killstreak up a notch.
While the rumble on this pad didn’t feel as refined as with a normal Xbox One controller, I did appreciate the rubberised backing that runs along the Infinity1’s arms. That extra grip was reassuring to have when sniping across the distance of a Battlefield 1 arena.