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..That's right, I said the "greatest!"
Microsoft have boasted 40 new improvements to the Xbox One controller over its predecessor, a number which will have Xbox gamers going weak at the knees. Widely regarded as one of the most complete games controllers, the Xbox 360 model was nigh-on perfect. But has the new offering reached absolute perfection? And will the countless hours gamers will spend with this device in their hands meet expectancy? Let's have a look at the evidence...
The controller has a matt black finish, with some triggers and D-pad set in a shiny sleek looking black finish. The main Xbox guide button has a dimly lit white light, matching up neatly with the same lights on the main console and Kinect sensor.
From a distance you'd be fooled into thinking that this was just an Xbox 360 controller. Generally the layout is the same, the four "letter" buttons are the same colour as the previous handset and shape-wise its almost identical, apart from the slightly redesigned area between the triggers.
The controller is wireless as standard, with a 30 foot range. The Xbox guide button on the controller is pressed to switch on the console and automatically detect the controller.
On the bottom of the controller is the expansion port, which resembles a mini USB port. This is used mainly at the moment, for the wired headset (included in all Xbox One boxes) and "Plug and Play" kit from Microsoft. Microsoft stress that the port is a "high speed" port for faster and better data transfer, so we can only assume that some interesting add-ons are on the horizon to fully utilise this.
Feel and function:
Feel - The controller feels as though it is made from high quality materials, although still plastic, the matt-finished plastic just feels comfortable to hold. All the buttons, triggers and thumb sticks sit perfectly and before you know it begins to feel like an extension of your arm!
The way the weight is distributed over the controller makes it seem a great deal lighter than the previous Xbox 360 model.
The battery pack (still housing two AA batteries) is less obtrusive on the back of the unit, meaning the weight of the batteries is more in the core of the controller.
The grips have been designed to fit a wider range of hand sizes, and I must say it's the most comfortable feeling controller I've used.
Triggers - The triggers on the top of the controller are very soft and feel cushioned when they are depressed, meaning when pressed down, you retain your grip on the controller, making it a lot more comfortable to hold. This also gives greater precision during game play.
The triggers also have motors underneath, meaning any vibrations from game play reach your fingertips. Couple this with the enhanced ergonomic feel of the controller, and you have a great deal of interaction with the game.
Thumb sticks - The thumb sticks feel incredibly precise compared to the previous model. The heads of the sticks are slightly smaller, and feature an ever-so slightly rough edge around the rim.
XYBA Buttons - These buttons feel cushioned, and are set both closer together and closer to the surface than the previous Xbox 360 model. You don't have to put to much emphasis on pressing them, so you can concentrate more on what you're doing in the game.
D-Pad - The direction pad is the small + sign button on the bottom left of the controller. On most previous games I've played it seems to suit to be used as quick menu or quick select button, but it has been improved upon so maybe it will play more of an active part in future games.
Battery life - I use bog standard Duracell batteries, and so far I've been getting about 2 weeks of life per pair of AAs. I'd imagine the younger gamer, playing 'til the early hours will get significantly less battery life. If you feel the need to save some cash on batteries in the long run, then the Play and Charge add-on may be of benefit.
Overview and availabilty:
Comfortable to use, intelligently designed and well built, this controller really does improve on the Xbox 360 model, and add a lot to general game play. With the potential for new and exciting add-ons on the horizon, there seems to be no limits to where Microsoft may take us!
At around £44.99 per controller, kitting out your console for many users may be a little costly. Microsoft are generally stubborn when it comes to dropping prices of accessories, so maybe the "pre-owned" section of your local game shop may suit your budget more.
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