Xbox Series X controller: Lower latency, better ergonomics and compatibility

With every new console, we look forward to a new game controller. It’s part of the unique console experience. So far, the Xbox team has been very transparent with plans for the new Series X. They also shared juicy details about their controller.

The new Xbox Series X controller. (Image: Xbox)

On the surface, it may look like the Xbox team just reused an Xbox One controller and call it Series X. In this case, similarity may not be a bad thing. Rather than a complete overhaul, Microsoft made subtle changes to the Series X controller that should improve gameplay without modifying what was already good.

In an Xbox Wired Q&A, Senior Designer at Xbox, Ryan Whitaker, answered some questions about the changes made to the new controller and how it will affect gaming.

What shall it profit a console to have a powerful processor but an unwieldy controller? It seems Microsoft considered this with their new design. Series X controller was designed to fit more hands. By using hands similar in size to 8-year olds, they claim to have improved ergonomics, especially for people with smaller hands. Whitaker said the changes won’t affect gamers with larger hands. The ergonomic adjustments resulted in more rounded bumpers, slightly smaller and more rounded triggers and sculpted grips.

Compatibility and connectivity were significant themes that guided the entire Xbox Series X design, and the controller is no exception. Just like the games, the new Series X controller will work with Xbox One consoles. The compatibility doesn’t stop there. The Series X controller has Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE), so paring will be more seamless with PCs, Androids and iOS devices. Also, the controller remembers several devices so you can switch between your phone, Series X and computer. There’s also a USB-C port for charging and data connections. 👍🏾

The Xbox team also made improvements to latency. Its system-wide Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) aims to reduce latency by sending data more frequently between the controller and the console. Microsoft claims DLI will then match the exact frame of the on-screen game with the signals from the controller.

The redesigned D-pad. Image: Xbox.

There’s a new D-pad. Series X controller takes inspiration from the Xbox One Elite controller. Sharp vertical and horizontal movements are critical in certain games. The new D-pad features a unique circular outer design with distinct up, down, left and right buttons that should be easier to feel. Whitaker said “Gamers will notice a performance boost right out of the box.”

Speaking of buttons, the Xbox team added a Share button to the new controller. The latest addition will help gamers quickly share gaming screenshots or videos across the myriad of social media platforms or on the Xbox platform.

There are new bumps on the triggers. (Image: Xbox)

Lastly, the new controller has dots and bumps on the triggers and bumpers. These should provide grip and improve the overall feel of the device.

An excellent controller is essential to an enjoyable gaming experience. Microsoft has had years to refine its controllers and the upgraded ones seem to be the best ones yet (Elite Gaming aside).