Xbox Series X | S: What is Microsoft's new controller really worth?

Xbox Series X | S: What is Microsoft's new controller really worth?
At Microsoft, we have ideas. After providing its Xbox Series X with an interface similar to that of the Xbox One, the American manufacturer is equipping its console with a new controller that is very reminiscent of the old one. This is not necessarily a bad idea, as the pads on Xbox consoles enjoy an excellent reputation with gamers. Although discreet, the alterations are present and further improve the grip. It's time to put your finger on all the details of the device.

Xbox Series: We discover the new Xbox controller in video.

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Calibrated to win

When you grab the Xbox Series X controller for the very first time, it is its great resemblance to the Xbox One pad that is immediately noticeable. The general design is almost identical to that of the previous controller: the main sticks and buttons are placed in the same places, and the colors have not changed. The first differences that we see come from the coating used on the handles and on the rear triggers, more gripping. The handles are also a bit shorter. However, they retain ergonomic curves that naturally make the controller fall into the hands. The sticks are identical. We may notice a slight difference in tension in the springs which resist a little more than those offered by the One controller. Unfortunately, it is difficult to assess the improvements Spencer and his teams put forward regarding DLI (Dynamic Latency Input) with the material available to us at the writing. We can only attest to the extreme responsiveness of the commands, especially on 120fps softs. Never has a game like Gears 5 felt so responsive.

Key reassignment Like the Xbox One, the Xbox Series X has a tool for configuring controllers and reassigning keys.

A cross that goes in the right direction

Like what the DualShock 4 has been offering since 2013, the Xbox controller now includes a “Share” button located under the “Show” buttons and “Menu”, where the Elite Pad Profile Selector is located. It provides the ability to take screenshots and video clips with just a few taps. The directional pad is probably the element that has received the most work for this device for the next generation of Xbox. Halfway between the directional disc of the Elite Series 2 and the d-pad of the One controller, this matte directional pad is very pleasant to use. Benefiting from four additional contact points assigned to the diagonals, it is highly recommended for the practice of the fighting game. We nevertheless notice a much more angular profile of the edges of the main directions. Prolonged use can therefore potentially prove a bit tiring. The click produced with each press is dry and full, which, coupled with a well-calibrated stiffness, gives an appreciable impression of solidity.

The premium experience

This impression of design “ premium ”is applied to the buttons placed on the slices as well as on the triggers. As such, the “LB” and “RB” buttons are much better anchored in the structure of the pad. The clicking sound is just as sharp as that of the arrows, while the keys don't wobble. The “LT” and “RT” triggers benefit from a very pleasant “grip” coating that covers the area where the index finger naturally lands. Just like with the sticks, the tension of the analog triggers offers slightly more resistance, which we found much more comfortable to adjust the throttle on DiRT 5. In terms of connectivity, we are on the same basis as the One controller, with the only difference of the micro USB port replaced by a Type-C. Please note, no USB-C cable is supplied in the console box: if you want to spend long hours in front of your screen, you will need to provide your own cables or stock up on LR6 batteries. Those who are used to Xbox One controllers will simply use their Eneloop rechargeable batteries. The socket for connecting an Xbox microphone / headset (or a chatpad) as well as the 3.5mm audio port are still in the game. Finally, the controller is bluetooth, which makes it an ideal accessory for xCloud sessions.

If visually it is difficult to distinguish the differences between an Xbox One controller and an Xbox Series X pad, it is in the grip that it is easy to notice improvements. Whether it's the different textures used, the new directional pad or the button responsiveness, everything about the Xbox Series X controller exudes control. Microsoft therefore succeeded in offering a more sophisticated device than the original model, which was not necessarily a given. A small change, certainly, but welcome, just to benefit - finally - from a capture button. There are only the LR6 batteries which we would have liked to see replaced permanently by a rechargeable kit. If by chance this new pad does not suit you, you will still have the possibility to connect the old Xbox One controllers to the console. At all good.

To read also: Xbox Series X: We were able to dissect the beast and here is our opinion Is the Xbox Series X noisy and does it heat up? Here are our Xbox Series X results: The “new” interface scrutinized

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