The standard Xbox controller is also, well, the standard for PC games that aren’t great for a mouse and keyboard. And Microsoft’s Elite series is an incredible upgrade: a Lambo to the standard controller’s Corvette, if you will. While dedicated players have had access to custom color combinations via the Xbox Design Lab for several years, Microsoft just added the Elite Series 2 to its online customization tool. You can order your own design, like my Iron Man-inspired hot rod red version, right now.
The Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 adds premium materials and custom options to the standard Xbox controller design: tension-adjustable thumbsticks, rubberized grips, and easy switching between three layouts on the fly. With the upgraded kit you get a wireless charging base, rear add-on paddle buttons, three swappable thumbsticks, a swappable old-school D-Pad that can replace the base “grid” version, and a carrying case for all of it.
The Design Lab lets you choose from a wide variety of colors for the controller’s primary front and rear body, shoulder buttons, thumbstick top, bottom, and border rings, the D-pad, face buttons, and rear paddles (if you add them), plus an optional short engraving. Unfortunately the textured grips come only in black, which limits the creative options a bit. Prices start at $149.99 for the base model, and go up to $220 for the full kit plus engraving.
I’ve used Microsoft’s Xbox Elite 2 myself for a couple of years, and I find myself missing it whenever I go back to a standard controller, even though I don’t really need the extra paddle buttons. If you’re looking for a unique gift for a gamer who tends to buy everything for themselves anyway, I highly recommend it.