For the most part, Microsoft has tried to move people over from the Xbox One to the Xbox Series X ecosystem in as seamless as a manner of possible. The UI will be the same across both consoles, Smart Delivery helps your games come over with you, and on the surface, the Xbox Series X controller looks almost identical to the Xbox One controller. Obviously, it’s worth mentioning that your Xbox One controller will work with your Xbox Series X too.
After spending the better part of a week using the new Xbox Series X controller, the changes are minimal, but they’re welcomed, and help improve an already near perfectly designed controller. None of the changes are going to blow your mind, but I don’t think they were intended to or needed to quite frankly.
Picking up the Xbox Series X controller for the first time, the biggest change you’ll notice in your hands is that triggers and bumpers both have a matte finish, with a number of tactile dots that help you feel like you’ve got a better grip of the buttons and your fingers can more easily distinguish between them. The triggers and bumpers are also more rounded in addition to a little bit being shaved off the grip, which means that the controller will feel more comfortable for people with smaller hands. All of these things are obviously quite minor, but together, they make the Xbox Series X controller feel better than ever before.
When it comes to weight, it feels similar to that of the Xbox One controller, but not as hefty as the Elite controller. I’d happily take either, but again, I’ve never had an issue with the weight of the Xbox One controller, so it feels indifferent in a good way.
The D-Pad on the Xbox Series X controller is miles better than the one on the Xbox One controller. It’s now matte which again, helps with tactility, and it now has a design that is somewhere in between the Xbox Elite controller and the Xbox One controller. It still does have a somewhat cross style shape, but the new D-Pad gives you more room for error, which is great for browsing menus or quickly using the D-Pad to access your inventory. After a couple of days of use, I’d even go as far as saying that I prefer it to the Elite controller’s circle configuration D-Pad.
The view buttons and menu buttons are also matte, but there’s a brand new button as well in the addition of a share button. The controller having a share button is long overdue and completely streamlines the process of capturing your games. One press takes a screenshot, a long press takes a video and a double press brings up your recent captures. The other only thing worth mentioning is that the controller now has USB-C, but you’ll need to buy the optional $29.95 rechargeable battery pack to make good use of it.
The Xbox Series X controller might not have fancy adaptive triggers, or a microphone built in, but the controller is a solid as a controller is going to get from a design standpoint, and I can’t imagine anyone having any major complaints with it.