New XBox One Controller Review
|Product Name:||XBox One Wireless Controller (New Edition)|
|Platform:||XBox One, Windows 10 PC|
|Features:||Precision controller compatible with Xbox One, Xbox One S and Windows 10. Includes Bluetooth technology for gaming on Windows 10 PCs and tablets. Stay on target with textured grip. Get up to twice the wireless range compared to previous Xbox One Controllers (tested using the Xbox One S Console).|
Microsoft was not gun-shy during their press conference in E3 2016, with a promise of new hardware and an extended game experience across different Microsoft-based platforms. The latter note is an interesting one as they have made it so that you can enjoy your favorite games regardless of where you are playing it. Definitely good news for players on both a Windows 10 and XBox One console.
With this extended experience, a common question that may have been asked seems to be an integral key for really enjoying this cross-platform play: What is new with the Xbox One wireless controller? And it is a logical question, as there are games from both the console and PC’s that can be enjoyed better using a wireless controller, so the first step to making this possible may perhaps be the most logical and obvious – and that is connectivity.
Into the Blue(tooth)
I have always wondered why Microsoft opted to use their own wireless protocol instead of the more conventional Bluetooth. For me, it felt logical to use Bluetooth for pairing as its frequency was very consistent and looked to improve with every implementation by ensuring minimal input lag regardless of distance from the console.
Perhaps Microsoft had felt that Xbox Wireless’ connectivity proved more sufficient for the interim, and that they would be able to provide a more reliable connection. And come to think of it, the Xbox Wireless connection did not risk any interference or conflict that would risk loss of pairing, so I guess it was a good decision to keep it like that for many years.
But now that XBox games are now available for the Windows 10, consumers may be looking to jump in immediately through their PCs without having to worry about buying a USB adapter or cable to provide the same quality connection. Furthermore, recent PC’s do have more standardized wireless options that would not cause any grief in pairing.
With this, the new Xbox Wireless Controller comes with Bluetooth!
You read it right – Microsoft has decided to place both antennas into their controller. This allows gamers to quickly pair the controller to their PC and jump straight into the action. The seamless pairing brought by this essentially makes it a 2-for-1 controller, which is definitely great news for those who like playing on either platform.
From an economic and pricing standpoint, I think this is brilliant – it gives me one less accessory (wireless adapter for the PC) to purchase that only serves a singular purpose. You will still be assured of responsiveness from input regardless of distance from computer, as the current Bluetooth version is very stable – something that the new controller will definitely leverage.
Truly goes a long, long way
Picking up on the wireless connectivity, a key aspect of wireless controller is the fact that you could pretty much sit at a considerable distance away from your console without having to lose fidelity in input and response. In a living room scenario, it feels great to be able to play from across the couch without having to worry about someone stepping and disconnecting the cord.
But in cases where a gamer’s setup has the console/TV area much farther from a comfortable seat (like having a large enough TV that you could literally be playing a room away), it would definitely be nice to maintain that same fidelity. Fortunately the new Xbox One controller increased its wireless range to around 40 feet, something they claim is twice the amount of previous controllers.
In this case, you could practically be playing anywhere in your home (provided you can still see the screen, of course!).
While this may not necessarily apply to everyone, I think this is a very good move. Newer, larger TVs pitching at 4K quality are better enjoyed from a reasonable distance without straining the eye (and neck), so it would really be nice to sit back comfortably anywhere in your home and still enjoy frags, buckets, and other in-game achievements.
What else does the new controller offer?
They say that “if something’s not broken, don’t fix it”. In the case of the Xbox One controller, if it works well, then let’s make it even better. It’s fortunate that we have a great starting point, as there is a lot to like with the Xbox One controller to begin with, especially in the field of ergonometrics.
In the case of the new controller, there have been additional enhancements that make using the controller more enjoyable. Xbox claims that this new controller has a sleeker and more streamlined design. Perhaps it may be hard to see the difference at a glance, but credits to Microsoft for providing a more svelte profile to the new controller compared to the original one.
A surprising inclusion to the controller (and a very pleasant one, at that) is the inclusion of a textured grip. In a similar vein to a product I wrote about in the past, this serves a tremendous benefit for the gamer, as this kind of grip prevents slippage during gameplay because of sweat and moisture. Slipping from a grip becomes one less thing to think about when playing and gives you more time to focus on winning your game.
Having a textured grip adds additional comfort as well – the Xbox One controller’s frame, while very sturdy to the hands, can also wear on your hands especially when you tend to play for extended periods of time. The extra grip lessens the amount of pressure on the arcs in our grip, providing a bit of ease in the hands during gameplay.
Added the fact that this is already designed into the controller (as compared to external accessories that cover parts of the controller), it feels more seamless and natural feel that makes it more enjoyable to hold.
Overall, I think this new controller will come to the benefit of current and future Xbox gamers. The fact that it becomes compatible even with the upcoming Xbox One S means that this product becomes truly forward compatible (and multi-platform, too).
In terms of supporting accessories, though, that remains to be seen – the new controller still uses AA batteries to power it up, which means that charging docks / rechargeable AA batteries are still viable products to have lying around to go along with this controller. I wonder if Microsoft will ever consider having internal batteries in the future, just like Sony has with their DualShock?
It is interesting how Microsoft has also provided a Design Lab, where you can fully-customize the new controller’s colours – from the face plate to backside, to the sticks and buttons, gamers will be able to choose the colour they want for their controller AS WELL AS have a custom-etched name at the bottom to round out the concept of making your controller truly your own. Truly some great additional stuff.
In fact, here’s a video below (courtesy of Xbox’s Youtube channel itself):
All in all, it looks very exciting, and I can’t wait to see the welcome reception this controller is going to receive when it releases at the end of August, 2016. If you can’t wait, you can definitely pre-order the product at USD 59.99!
Let me know what you think of this product in the comments section!
Learn More About The New Edition of the Xbox One Wireless Controller and What People Think of This Product!