Xbox Sequence X Wi-fi controller evaluation

During the last seven years, I’ve used no controller greater than the Xbox One controller. Due to its ease of use and ubiquitous assist in PC video games, it has pulled double responsibility, bouncing between the console in my lounge to the gaming PC in my workplace and again once more. I’m very keen on the Xbox One controller. It’s a real workhorse.

So when information got here out that the up to date model of the Xbox gamepad was striving for quality-of-life enhancements over an unlimited overhaul, I used to be completely tremendous with that. And after enjoying all kinds of video games with it over the previous few days, I’m nonetheless completely tremendous with this measured strategy. The query is whether or not “completely tremendous” is sufficient nowadays.

The very first thing I discover when choosing up the brand new Xbox controller is that it feels a lot smaller within the hand in comparison with the outdated Xbox One controller. The handles on the brand new design are narrower, which suggests my fingers can wrap round extra of the floor space. It’s not a dramatic distinction, however the smaller measurement is noticeable. I choose controllers with smaller handles, as they provide a safer grip, so I contemplate this an improve. Others with bigger palms might choose the unique Xbox One controller’s barely bulkier really feel, nevertheless it’ll come down to non-public desire. Fortunately each the outdated and the brand new controllers are supported by the Xbox Sequence X and Sequence S, so people preferring the outdated methods needn’t fear about lacking out.

Xbox-X video game console photographed on a dark grey background

Picture: Henry Hargreaves for Polygon

Talking of grip, the brand new Xbox controller’s handles are coated in textured plastic. That is one other departure from the Xbox One controller’s easy outer end. As soon as once more, I contemplate this an improve. To not get gross, however after a number of hours of gaming, a easy plastic floor can flip right into a slippery ice skating rink. The brand new, bumpy floor gives further friction and grip, making certain that the controller doesn’t go flying in a heated second.

The brand new D-pad can also be a pleasant enhancement. Reasonably than the acquainted cross, the brand new Xbox controller’s D-pad is a concave circle with the cross embossed on high of it. Written out, this sounds … terrible? However in observe it really does really feel like a standard D-pad, simply with extra versatility. Reasonably than having to separate the distinction between two factors on the cross for a diagonal, there’s a spot for my thumb to push down, making certain I’m getting the precise enter.

It must be famous that Microsoft experimented on the Xbox 360 controller with this round D-pad concept, which was mushy and horrible. Against this, this D-pad feels clicky and exact, able to dealing with combating video games and platformers with ease. This new D-pad design was first launched on the favored Xbox Elite controller, so it’s good to see it lastly come to the lots.

X-Box S console and controller

Picture: Maddy Myers/Polygon

On the subject of controllers, clicky is sweet, proper? A clicky button lets you understand, indubitably, that your enter has been accepted. However maybe there’s an untold draw back to clickiness? As a result of holy cow, this new Xbox controller is loud. Each button press, whether or not it’s the face buttons or the D-pad, echoes all through my condo like a Smith Corona. (Effectively, perhaps extra like a contemporary mechanical keyboard, however yeah, it’s loud.) If you happen to’re at house, alone, no biggie. However in the event you occur to cohabitate with somebody, it might get grating fairly shortly. And in the event you’re enjoying with somebody on-line, the clicks might simply come by means of alongside your voice chat, which isn’t enjoyable.

My older Xbox One controller’s buttons are considerably quieter, although not dramatically so. It’s attainable that, by means of use, the brand new controller’s clickier edges will get smoothed out, making me much less despised inside my condo, however proper now it’s just like the Wheel of Fortune in right here.

One other facet that will change over time are the triggers. Straight out of the field, the triggers on the brand new Xbox controller are significantly stiffer than they had been on the Xbox One controller. It looks like pulling the set off on the brand new Xbox controller takes about twice as a lot pressure as I want on the older mannequin. The stiffer triggers aren’t essentially a nasty factor, as they provide extra accuracy when discovering a candy spot (like when feathering the gasoline round a decent nook in Forza Horizon 4), however in the event you’re extra delicate at hand cramping, it’s possible you’ll discover that holding these triggers down are a little bit of a ache.

Xbox Series X video game console photographed on a dark gray background

Picture: Henry Hargreaves for Polygon

However make no mistake: You received’t discover any enhanced know-how throughout the triggers themselves. The adaptive triggers within the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller, which let video games range the quantity of pressure required for a set off pull, are absent on the brand new Xbox gamepad. The rumble know-how can also be unchanged from what was contained in the Xbox One’s controller (as in comparison with the brand new haptic know-how within the DualSense). Whereas the Xbox One’s rumble was spectacular — particularly when video games took full benefit of it — the DualSense controller’s enhancements are literal game-changers, able to providing immersion that’s past the attain of the brand new Xbox controller.

This new Xbox controller looks like a modest enchancment over the already-great Xbox One controller, nevertheless it additionally performs issues very protected. When a redesigned D-pad, barely smaller handles, and a devoted share button — no, I didn’t speak about this however, uh, it’s a share button — are the standout options in your new piece of {hardware}, it’s exhausting to view this controller technique as something however “don’t change horses in midstream.” And perhaps that’s OK for a controller that’s already so beloved. However after seven years, perhaps it’s time for one thing with a bit extra giddyup?

The Xbox Sequence X can be launched worldwide on Nov. 10. For this evaluation, Polygon examined an Xbox Sequence X (and the brand new controller) supplied by Microsoft. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These don’t affect editorial content material, although Vox Media might earn commissions for merchandise bought by way of affiliate hyperlinks. You’ll find further details about Polygon’s ethics coverage right here.

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