Despite a fetching bone-white color change, this is exactly the same gamepad as the already brilliant Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2; albeit sold at a lower price.
The original Series 2 now retails for around $163 / £160, whereas the Xbox Elite Wireless Series 2 Core Edition is on sale for $110 at Amazon — at time of writing, it’s reduced from $130.
So why the price cut if the two controllers are essentially identical? Accessories, that’s why.
The Series 2 comes with a fancy case that houses a charging dock, but its key advantage over the Core Edition are the swappable components it comes boxed with as standard.
Swap 'til you drop
The Series 2 gives you two additional pairs of thumbsticks that you can swap out for the default classic concave design ones that come installed by default. Pleasingly, switching them out is a breeze, as they’re simply held in place by strong magnets. You also get an extra satellite-style D-pad, and the big one: four metallic rear paddles that snap to the rear of the gamepad.
The Core Edition misses out on all of the controller treats, which is annoying, but understandable when you consider it’s being sold for considerably less than the Series 2.
I can go without the replaceable thumbsticks, but when I recently bought my Core Edition, there was no way I was going to miss out on those rear paddles.
Happily, every swappable component that comes boxed with the Series 2 controller works just fine with the Core Edition, so snapping those rear buttons on the less premium gamepad is a doddle. I just had to find a third-party set of paddles, and I was off to the races.
I recently bought these XINKEEN Elite Controller Paddles for $12.90 on Amazon, and they feel exactly the same as the paddles on my old Series 2 that I recently sold (along with its paddles). They sport the same metallic finish as Microsoft’s components, so they definitely don’t feel like a downgrade quality-wise.
I use these rear buttons for pretty much all of the best PC games I play these days. They’re technically called ‘P1’, ‘P2’, P3’ and ‘P4’ and you can assign any button on your pad to them via the Xbox Accessories app. Personally, I always use P3 as the Xbox controller’s A button — the input that’s most pressed in the majority of games — as I simply prefer the click of those paddles to the regular face buttons.
So if you’ve recently purchased a Core Edition controller, I’d definitely recommend picking up these sturdy paddles.
Whether it’s been Eldin Ring, Read Dead Redemption 2 or Cyberpunk 2077, I’ve used them across some of the best Steam games, and these little accessories have levelled up my enjoyment at every turn. Nothing beats their oh so satisfying click.