Xbox Wireless Controller (2020) review

2 months ago 34

The Xbox Wireless Controller has seen immoderate improvements implicit the years, but its astir caller is the champion yet. The Xbox Series X|S gamepad offers a much premium consciousness without the terms tag, with improved tactile textures and refined geometry resulting successful a much accessible and comfy gaming experience. However, we privation the controller was susceptible of recharging without having to acquisition an other add-on.


  • +

    Premium feel

  • +

    Works connected a scope of devices

  • +

    Improved textures and geometry

  • +

    Impulse trigger consciousness great


  • -

    Share fastener tin beryllium awkward

  • -

    Not rechargeable without add-on

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Xbox Wireless Controller - One-minute review

The Xbox Wireless Controller feels acquainted successful the manus yet subtly different, with improved tactile textures and refined geometry making for a amended playing experience. We're besides blessed to spot Microsoft yet instrumentality a dedicated Share fastener to its gamepad, making it considerably easier to instrumentality screenshots and videos mid-game. 

The Xbox Wireless Controller feels acquainted successful the manus yet subtly different, with improved tactile textures and refined geometry making for a much ergonomically affable (and comfortable) playing experience. We're besides blessed to spot Microsoft yet instrumentality a dedicated Share fastener to its gamepad, making it considerably easier to instrumentality screenshots and videos mid-game. 

It seems that Microsoft's caller gamepad takes inspiration from the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, offering immoderate of the premium controller's top-notch plan features successful a much affordable-feeling form. The effect is simply a sleek, affordable and accessible controller, which conscionable feels bully to use.

Xbox Wireless Controller: terms and availability

Xbox Wireless Controllers – Electric Volt and Daystrike Camo

(Image credit: Microsoft)
  • Xbox Wireless Controller price: $59.99 / £54.99 / AU$74.99
  • Available successful galore colors

The Xbox Wireless Controller terms is $59.99 / £54.99 / AU$74.99, but it's worthy noting that each Xbox Series X and Series S console comes with a controller successful the box.

You'll lone request to bargain different controller if you're looking to prime up a replacement, oregon a 2nd (or third, oregon fourth) for co-op play astatine home. You shouldn't person excessively overmuch occupation uncovering further units either, with the Xbox Wireless Controller readily disposable astatine galore large retailers, some online and in-store.

Available successful Carbon Black and Robot White, the Xbox Wireless Controller besides comes successful a head-turning Shock Blue. Since then, we've seen the scope unfastened up importantly and if you're consenting to wage the small other for customization, you tin adjacent plan your ain colour scheme, acknowledgment to Xbox Design Lab.

Xbox Wireless Controller: design

XBOX Controller successful  beforehand   of an RGB keyboard

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • Feels acquainted successful the manus yet subtly different
  • Improved tactile textures and refined geometry
  • New Share button

On the surface, the Xbox Wireless Controller doesn't look similar adrastic departure from its predecessor. It sports a akin signifier and keeps the accepted fastener and trigger layout. On person inspection, though, you statesman to announcement the subtle differences Microsoft has implemented.

For a start, the gamepad's exterior present sports a matte decorativeness that intimately matches the caller consoles' designs. While this surely looks sleek, it does travel with drawbacks – the achromatic controller that comes with the Xbox Series X easy picks up scuffs and scrapes that are noticeable.

Considering the magnitude of hands-on clip controllers are subjected to it's imaginable that you'll find it hard to support yours looking successful tip-top information for years to come. Other colour variants of the controller are disposable though (you'll request to bargain these separately, portion a achromatic mentation comes included with the Xbox Series S), and immoderate whitethorn beryllium little prone to scuffs.

That's a insignificant quibble, though, and wide we recovered that the Xbox Wireless Controller resembles a much premium controller, some successful look and feel. The revised pad present has a tactile texture connected the triggers, grips and bumpers, which we recovered made the controller consciousness much unafraid successful our hands.

Xbox Series X

(Image credit: Future)

In addition, portion the controller is the aforesaid size arsenic its predecessor, the bumpers and triggers person been rounded and reduced successful size by a fewer millimeters. That makes the gamepad consciousness little bulky. If you're idiosyncratic with tiny hands, past Xbox controllers person often felt rather tanky, but this elemental alteration improves comfortableness levels successful a subtle but noticeable way. 

Perhaps the astir notable changes to the controller are the summation of the 'Share' fastener and the hybrid D-pad. The Share fastener fundamentally acts arsenic a seizure button, allowing you to easy drawback screenshots of your crippled – a azygous click takes a snapshot, portion holding the fastener down for longer records a 15-second video by default (you tin set the video duration successful the Capture settings). 

This is overmuch easier than connected the Xbox One, wherever you person to property the location fastener and past X oregon Y, but we did find it a spot fiddly to rapidly instrumentality a screenshot – your acquisition whitethorn alteration depending connected however large your hands are.

The hybrid D-pad, connected the different hand, aims to supply a middle-ground betwixt the Xbox One controller's classical D-pad and the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2's changeable disc-shaped, faceted D-pad. What results is simply a benignant of accepted D-pad, laid implicit a disc. Again, this is simply a tiny but invited alteration and is intended to springiness much power and leverage implicit the D-pad – portion mostly feeling much comfortable. 

The D-pad besides gives disconnected a large click we haven't heard from a controller before. You'll either find it satisfying oregon a spot annoying - we often recovered it the second - though those utilized to mechanical keyboards whitethorn not beryllium each that bothered.

Still, there's a batch astir the controller's plan that hasn't changed. It keeps the 3.5mm audio jack and enlargement larboard astatine the bottom, its USB complaint larboard and pairing fastener astatine the top, and its View, Menu and Xbox buttons connected the face.

Xbox Wireless Controller: performance

Xbox Wireless Controller (2020)

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • Works connected a scope of devices
  • Lower latency
  • Rechargeable artillery battalion needs bought separately 
  • Remappable (but this is limited)

Alongside these cosmetic changes, the Xbox Wireless Controller brings functionality improvements too. We recovered this controller to beryllium much responsive, which is apt down to the little latency Microsoft has boasted astir (paired with much framework complaint stableness of the Xbox Series X|S), portion connecting the gamepad wirelessly via Bluetooth to a scope of devices – including the Xbox One, an iPhone 13, and a Mac – was straightforward.

The Xbox Wireless Controller again runs connected AA batteries (regular oregon rechargeable), but if you privation to debar the hassle of changing oregon charging batteries perpetually you person 2 options. You tin put successful a Play and Charge kit (a rechargeable artillery backmost which you tin usage to complaint the controller portion you're playing oregon betwixt sessions), oregon link your controller to the console via USB-C (although this will, of course, bounds your state of movement).

In presumption of remapping, you tin remap the Xbox Wireless Controller connected the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S via the Xbox Accessories app - though the level of customization is somewhat limited. 

The app allows you to remap a just fewer of the controller's buttons to your tastes and adjacent gives you power implicit aspects specified arsenic whether your controller vibrates and whether you privation your sticks automatically inverted. We recovered remapping reasonably straightforward, adjacent if determination are immoderate buttons - similar the Xbox fastener and the triggers - which can't beryllium changed. 

Given that the Xbox Wireless Controller utilizes the impulse trigger diagnostic recovered successful erstwhile iterations of Xbox gamepads - providing haptic feedback to your fingertips erstwhile you, for example, thrust the ungraded roads of Dirt 5 - the deficiency of trigger remapping is understandable.

Xbox Wireless Controller: should I bargain it?

Xbox Wireless Controller

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Buy it if...

Xbox Wireless Controller

(Image credit: Future)

Don't bargain it if...

Vic is TechRadar Gaming's Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings acquisition from IGN, Eurogamer and much to the TechRadar table. You whitethorn person adjacent heard her connected the vigor oregon speaking connected a panel. Not lone is Vic passionate astir games, but she's besides an avid intelligence wellness advocator who has appeared connected some panels and podcasts to sermon intelligence wellness awareness. Make definite to travel her connected Twitter for more.

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