The 4 best third-party Xbox Series X/S controllers of 2021 – Dot Esports
Microsoft has a reputation in recent years for being highly accessible and consumer-forward, but it still hasn’t extended that openness to third-party controller manufacturers.
The Xbox Series X/S uses a proprietary wireless technology that Microsoft has thus far refused to share, even with companies that have officially licensed hardware for the system. So, any third-party controller you find is going to be wired only. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of great, affordable options out there if you don’t mind a cord. Many of them rival the features of Microsoft’s own Elite controller and for quite a bit less money.
Here are some of the best third-party Xbox Series X/S controllers of 2021.
Turtle Beach Recon Controller
Photo by Turtle Beach
Turtle Beach used to be top dog in the gaming headset market before getting dethroned by a slew of competitors, but they still make solid accessories. The Recon controller takes Turtle Beach’s history of audio hardware and incorporates it directly into the controller with an audio panel. The audio panel adds volume, mic mute, and EQ buttons for those wanting quicker control over their Xbox audio settings, but also adds what Turtle Beach refers to as Superhuman Hearing. The Superhuman Hearing button will crank up the quiet sounds in a game’s audio with the intent of making it easier to hear footsteps and quieter noises while gaming. The handles are also fitted with rubberized grips and the back has two programmable buttons, and offers options for changing thumbstick sensitivity on the fly. If you game with headphones then the Recon is a great option to add a ton of audio-based features right at your fingertips.
PowerA Fusion Pro 2 Wired
Photo by PowerA
PowerA has sort of moved into the third-party accessory vacuum left in the wake of companies like Mad Catz as the default budget controller brand, but not all of their offerings are strictly budget hardware. The Fusion Pro 2 offers a lot of the features found on the Elite controller at less than half of the price. It has three-way locks for changing the actuation point of your triggers, replaceable thumbsticks, and four programmable back buttons that look nearly identical to the ones on the Elite controller. In addition to that it tacks on a mute button to make up for its lack of wireless support, as well as throwing on rubberized grips for good measure. It’s just about everything the Elite controller offers, but for a lot less money and using slightly more affordable materials.
Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma
Photo by Razer
Razer doesn’t just make PC gaming accessories; they have a sizeable history of fight sticks and controllers in their repertoire as well. The Wolverine V2 features Razer’s signature RGB (customizable in a specialty app), has triggers locks for customizing actuation distance, and touts a highly tactile d-pad and set of face buttons. The thumbsticks, like Microsoft’s own Elite controller, are removeable and it come in multiple sets.
The real treat though is the back button configuration. Instead of paddle style buttons that extend from the handles, Razer has fitted the Wolverine with a set of four center-mounted buttons. For those of you who want that programmable back button experience but struggle with hand placement, having them center-mounted could make all the difference.
8bitdo Pro 2 Wired (Xbox Edition)