As is expected, with new consoles comes a new controller, although old Xbox One controllers will also work on the Series X and Series S. We’ve taken a look through everything you need to know about the latest iteration of the Xbox controller, and gathered the most important information for you right here.
- Evolution of previous design
- Will fit smaller hands better
The main element to stress here is that the new Xbox controller looks like an evolution of previous versions, not a totally redone piece of kit. It’s not throwing out the design elements you love, but rather refining on previous versions.
Xbox controllers down the years have always had a certain chunkiness to them – it’s been part of their design DNA, you could say. After its superb work on the Xbox Adaptive Controller, though, it would seem that the Xbox team is keen to continue making sure that its controllers can be used by the widest variety of people possible, without any hassle. Hence the new controller is apparently designed to fit smaller hands better.
Plus, throughout the design, buttons have been changed to matte finishes, while the triggers have gained tactile dots to help you grip them. All this, according to the Xbox team, will help make the controller easier to use for more people.
- Pad has a dish shape
- Designed for responsive play
Probably the most immediately noticeable change on the controller is the new D-pad, which is a hybrid between the Xbox One controller’s four-directional pad, and a rounded diagonal pad.
It’s got a dish-shape to hold your finger or thumb comfortably, while its designers say that you’ll need hardly any leverage at all to get a button pressed, making for responsive play.
This sort of hybrid D-pad is an interesting choice – for most players, it will probably be completely fine, but we’ll have to wait for the release to see how it holds up for expert platformers and fighting game players, who typically favour clearer directional delineation.
Of course, they can always revert to the Xbox Elite Controller 2, which lets you choose your preferred style of D-pad.
Connectivity and battery
- New wireless radio standard to work with phones including both iOS and Android
- Bluetooth Low Energy
- USB-C port so you can charge and play
On the technical side of things, Xbox is also making a few changes to the way the controller works, which should all be clearly for the better. For one thing, the controller will work with existing Xbox One systems, just as Xbox One controllers will work with the Xbox Series X and Series S.
Microsoft is using what it’s calling Xbox Wireless Radio as a standard to ensure that the new controller will also work with iOS and Android phones, as well as with people’s PCs. It’ll also use Bluetooth Low Energy to do so more reliably and quickly, apparently.
One big bit of news is that the controller with have a USB-C port to let you charge and play at the same time. However, the controller will stick to the tried-and-tested battery pack system of AA batteries that Microsoft has used before, so you’ll need to buy a rechargeable kit if you don’t want to be replacing them all the time.
Finally, the new controller also has a system called Dynamic Latency Input which matches your button-presses to frames on-screen to minimise any possible lag, making for input so fast that you should never notice any delay.
Sharing is caring
- Share button now on the controller
One more addition to the new controller is a share button, right in the middle of the unit, below the white Xbox button. That’s an interesting change, which brings Xbox into line with the Playstation 4, along with the Nintendo Switch in having a way to take a screenshot with one button press.
Of course, it could do more than that, including letting you share your screenshots and recordings with friends and social media networks.
Price and availability
- Launches with consoles on 10 November 2020
- Can be pre-ordered now
The contoller is now available for pre-order alongside the new consoles, meaning we know that it costs £54.99 or $59.99, which means that it’s still a good deal cheaper than Microsoft’s more fully-featured controller, the Xbox Elite Controller 2.
Writing by Max Freeman-Mills.
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