That being said, it wasn't until E3 2019 when the Elite Series 2 (hereafter referred to as the Elite V2) was officially revealed with a November release date. At Gamescom, I had the opportunity to get hands-on with this new controller pre-launch and what I saw definitely piqued my interest with the new features that had been revealed being easy to work with on the show floor.
The controller is now available to buy, but before you decide whether it's right for you, here's my review of the unit as a gamer without sight.
They can be removed the same way as their previous counterparts, either by cutting carefully with a blade or removing them with a fingernail. In the case of this review, running a fingernail in the thin gap actually broke the seal.
With that done, accessing the inside of the package is as simple as lifting the section of the box with the hanger carefully upwards and away. I suggest having the box on a soft surface whilst doing this and, holding the top section in both hands, lift it until the bottom of the box slowly moves downwards and eventually releases from the top.
Lift the controller case free with both hands and it should come away easily, revealing a hole in the cardboard holder underneath. Use this hole to lift the now unnecessary cardboard free as well.
The cardboard holder lifts away to reveal, firstly, a long rectangular box for the USB C cable, with flaps open at both edges. Putting a finger through one of these should allow you to poke the cable free.
There is also a glossy card folder of sorts which can be opened by carefully sliding the oblong tab towards you and upwards, though this did prove a little complicated. The folder contains information on the elite V2's features, safety and regulatory information and a 14-day Xbox Game Pass Ultimate code, all in print.
Look around on the back of the elite controller's case and you'll find a rubber seal. Lift this up to reveal the USB C port on the back of the charging stand for the Elite that comes as part of the case. Plug the USB C cable in and you should be good to go, though, in my case, Windows gave no notification as to any charging occurring in the first place.
After waiting a while and seeing no notification, as well as not wanting to have no charge in my controller when I started testing it due to an unintentional error, I decided to plug the cable directly into the controller, which then delivered the USB device connected sound as you might expect.
The material can be carefully removed by folding it between a thumb and finger and pulling it gently away from the dock, leaving behind no trace that it was ever stuck there with adhesive in the first place. From this point forward, should you wish to charge the controller, using the dock in the case is now an option.
Inside the case, much like the previous model, you'll find a number of parts, including differently shaped thumbstick tops, and a more standard D-pad as opposed to the circular one that comes on the controller by default.
You'll also find something that, at first, might look like a paddle for the controller, but is actually, once lifted free, a small circular object with a point on one side. This is the thumbstick adjustment tool, which I'll cover later in this review.
Gripping the controller is improved thanks to an all-round rubber texture meaning that, all being well, your controller should never slip out of your hands again. Much like the Kait Diaz Gears 5 controller that comes with the Gears 5 Limited Edition Xbox One X and is also available separately, the triggers are also lightly textured, making your gaming experience just a little less prone to sliding.
The controller is well-weighted and feels very solid, certainly a testament to the amount of time and effort the folks at Microsoft have put into to improving on their previous efforts.
Playing Gears 5 with this new hardware was, unsurprisingly, a very smooth experience. Once I'd mapped everything to my liking, specifically triggers to the shorter paddles and bumpers to the longer ones, I found I could almost entirely eliminate their physical counterparts from my routine after a little practice.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection on PC, via the Xbox Wireless Adaptor for Windows 10, also worked very well and responded smoothly whether using paddles or the triggers to aim and shoot. I found that having the trigger locks on full, as opposed to medium certainly made shooting less taxing, though it did feel rather unusual having so little travel having been used to the way triggers work on standard controllers for so long.
I also experimented with different thumbstick tensions and, though I still need to play more titles with this controller, it definitely has the potential to improve your experience if you're having trouble with, say, turning slightly too much in shooters.
The end result is a relatively smooth process even without sight, though I must admit it will definitely take some practice before I completely get the hang of it. However, given it's designed to be a semi-fire and forget idea in the first place, the ease of adjustment is certainly a great feature whichever way you look at it.
Though I'm not totally sold on the idea of internal batteries, preferring the ability to replace them if they run out for example, the performance of said battery and the controller in general cannot be understated.
If you're a gamer looking to elevate your skills on a hardware level, or just want to have an easier way of hitting reload in those stressful firefights, the Elite V2 may be just what you're looking for.
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