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Handling the Xbox One controller: An evolution of the Xbox 360 controller

Xbox One
Xbox One
Microsoft

Over the last decade or so, Microsoft has demonstrated that one of their greatest strengths and abilities is to make an ergonomic controller. The Xbox 360 controller is widely considered as one of the best game controllers ever made, though the D-pad was only satisfactory. Despite creating a superb controller for Xbox 360, Microsoft felt the need to redesign the controller and craft a new one for the Xbox One.

Having shaped such a comfortable controller on the Xbox 360, it is no surprise that the Xbox One controller bears similarities to its predecessor, but with a few notable alterations.

There are a number of improvements and new additions found on the Xbox One controller that were not offered for the Xbox 360. The most noteworthy changes are the vastly improved D-pad, more comfortable, rumble-enhanced triggers, smaller analog sticks, and lengthy battery life.

The analog sticks have a slight dip in the center allowing for greater accuracy and finger comfort. This level of comfort is enhanced thanks to a semi-rough outer coating, which helps keep the thumb from sliding out of place.

Unlike the Xbox 360 controller analog stick grips, which would erode over time, the material in which the Xbox One analog sticks are made feel far more durable.

As we mentioned earlier, the D-pad of the Xbox 360 was only serviceable. Microsoft has put a great deal of attention on the Xbox One’s D-pad giving it a traditional “Plus” shape design, with each direction responding with a small click.

We found the D-pad to be very responsive while playing Killer Instinct. Pulling off Ultra Combos was simple. Likewise, using the D-pad to summon a Titan in the Titanfall beta was easy and quick.

Most of the changes made to the Xbox One controller are for the better. On the other hand, the left and right bumper buttons are a cause of mix feelings. Initially, their placement feels strange and almost out of place.

As we played more games – Killer Instinct, Dead Rising 3, Titanfall beta, etc. – we gradually grew accustomed to their size and placement. After spending many hours with the controller across different genres of software, we find ourselves clicking the bumper buttons with ease, though it isn’t as intuitive as it was on the Xbox 360.

While Nintendo and Sony both opted to use built-in rechargeable battery packs in their controllers this generation, Microsoft chose to continue to offer the option of standard AA batteries. Miraculously, the Xbox One controller’s battery life is long-lasting.

A pair of AA batteries can easily last a couple of weeks before needing to be changed or recharged – if you have a set of rechargeable batteries or an Xbox One battery pack.

Thanks to the recent firmware update, players can now check and see the battery level on the Xbox One dashboard. Though a built-in rechargeable battery would have been more convenient, it appears that Microsoft made a smart move as the Xbox One controller has the best battery life when compared to the DualShock 4 and Wii U GamePad.

All-in-all, the Xbox One controller is comfortable and offers some nice improvements over the Xbox 360 with better analog sticks and D-pad.