Release Date: 11/22/2013
The Good: Better than the 360 controller, buttons feel amazing, improved D-pad and triggers, uses micro USB, rumble feature in bumpers is a nice addition
The Bad: High price, still uses standard batteries, no wireless option available for PC, bumpers click too loudly
NOTE: Controller was tested for 6 hours with Ryse: Son of Rome, Project Cars, and Resident Evil 6
I had by Xbox 360 controller for Windows for about 4 years and I felt it was time to finally upgrade. I won’t lie, the Xbox 360 controller is fantastic and was the best controller of the last generation, it was sturdy and extremely ergonomic. My 360 controller for PC has been through absolute hell. It has traveled with me for nearly 5 years on my gaming laptop and I played dozens of games with it from Batman: Arkham City to Need for Speed: The Run to Saints Row The Third. It’s scratched up, the four bumps on each analog stick are completely worn down, and the left trigger squeaks like a mouse. The cable is split in one area, I have taken it apart to clean it, goop got stuck down in the buttons, you name it. However, the controller hasn’t failed on me and works just fine for nearly any game that supports a controller. Any game that supports a controller since 2006 supports the controller. I have never had to use a third party button mapper for this thing. It’s fantastic and just awesome. Again, it’s time to move on and upgrade to the next biggest thing.
The Xbox One controller is actually better than the 360 one out of the box since you don’t need a specific controller for PC. Just grab any Xbox One controller and plug it up via standard micro USB, install the drivers off Microsoft’s website, and you’re golden. Of course these are $20 more than 360 controller, but you’re getting a more advanced and better feeling device. The XBONE controller is black, which is better than the 360’s off white theme. The glowing white Xbox One logo helps the aesthetics compared to the green glowing one on 360. There’s a little glossy black piece that stick out above new menu buttons that holds the Xbox One logo. This is a great new design choice as it makes the controller look sleeker. Of course the button doesn’t do crap on PC, but it’s nice to press when you’re bored I guess.
Holding the controller itself feels better than 360. The handles are tapered smaller at the bottom and are angular rather than round. This makes gripping the controller easier for people with smaller hands and it just felt better. The triggers are completely redesigned. They are softer yet glide much smoother and feel more responsive. They have a soft stop so you’re not slamming the triggers into the controller. It just feels so much better. The LB and RB buttons are a little disappointing. They are much louder and are a little harder to press. However, the bumpers vibrate for minute sensations and this is brand new for controllers. PS4 has the touchpad and speaker, and Xbox One has this new rumble feature. Honestly, I’ll take the speaker and touchpad over this any day, but it’s nice knowing Microsoft at least tried. Outside of that, the face buttons are much larger and flatter which is awesome. They don’t look so cartoony and aren’t colored like the 360. They are clear black but the letters are colored. So much better looking. Now, here’s the make-or-break part. The analog sticks and D-pad. The analog stick are actually wonderful. They are looser than the 360 sticks but you have more controller. Everything on the Xbox One controller is looser but much smoother with a “glade” feeling that just feels natural and buttery in your hands. The D-pad is something I really like. It clicks with feedback, but not like your think. This is a raised D-pad like the horrible one on the 360. It’s a in-set D-pad which feels responsive and fast.
Here’s the dumbest part about the controller. It still needs AA batteries. 2015 and Microsoft is still making controllers like it’s 1995. Their theory is you won’t run into half-life issues and have to buy a new controller. I call bullshit on that. My PS3 controller from 2009 has been charged who knows how many times and I still get 15+ hours with it. This is just a money-making scam from MS to buy the $25 play-and-charge kit for the controller. The way around this is rechargeable AA batteries which MS surprisingly doesn’t suggest. Gee, I wonder why. With rechareables you can keep two spare for a quick swap.
Here’s another downer, the controller can’t be used wirelessly on PC, at least not yet. The wireless dongle is yet to be released and will only work with Windows 10. Another stupid road block. Thankfully you can use any USB cable so the 360’s extremely long and thick cable isn’t an issue here. All in all, the Xbox One controller is fantastic and the best one you can get for PC. Just some stupid design choices get in the way of making it perfect.