Which is the best pro gamepad for you?
When it comes to professional-grade Xbox One controllers, you’ve really only got two options if you want the best of the best.
There’s the Microsoft own Xbox One Elite Controller, which is a fully customisable pad with metal trimmings. But then there’s also the SCUF Infinity 1 from a well-established third-party manufacturer. But it’s another customisable pad that’s strongly worth your consideration.
We’ve put the two pads through their paces to make sure you’re spending your money wisely.
Related: Xbox One vs Xbox 360
Xbox One Elite Controller vs SCUF Infinity 1: Price
The biggest hurdle for upgrading to an enhanced gamepad will be the price. If you’re still classing yourself as a “casual gamer”, a controller that’s over the £100 mark might seem like a massive waste of money.
But the more hardcore and professional gamers among us will think that’s the price you have to pay in order to get the type of controller that serves all your gaming needs.
The Xbox One Elite Controller retails for £129.99 RRP, but it’s proving rather difficult to get your hands on, with most retailers currently sold out or with limited stock.
The SCUF Infinity 1 pricing is a little more complicated. Prices start at £95.99 for the basic black and white versions, but once you start personalising and customising the Infinity 1, prices can reach a lofty £202.50 if you go for all the bells and whistles.
Those available without personalisation are priced at a maximum of £127.99, though.
Related: Xbox One backwards compatibility explained
Xbox One Elite Controller vs SCUF Infinity 1: Design
But if you’re willing to spend some serious dosh, the design of your professional controller will really swing your decision.
Whether it’s the triggers, rear paddles, button mapping or the analogue sticks that are really important to you, there’s a ton of difference between the SCUF and Microsoft pads.
Customisation options aside, there are some basic differences in the overall design. The Elite pad is kitted out with metal on the triggers, bumpers, D-pad and the shafts of the analogue sticks.
The rest is finished with a matte soft-touch plastic and a monochrome colour scheme, making for a far more sophisticated and mature look.
The SCUF Infinity 1 is also finished with a soft-touch matte plastic, which comes in a variety of colours. The analogue sticks are a glossy plastic, as is the D-Pad and triggers/bumpers.
In the build-your-own tool on the SCUF website, you can make your Infinity 1 as garish or as understated as you like – or even pick an eSports team’s colours.
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Related: Best Xbox One Games 2015
Xbox One Elite Controller vs SCUF Infinity 1: Triggers
When it comes to games like FPS titles at a competitive level, the speed of your triggers for aiming and getting that kill in really matter.
The Xbox One Elite Controller features new Hair Lock Triggers, which allow you to restrict the travel of both triggers independently. You do this by flipping the shiny green switches on the back of the controller.
It’s quick and easy to do, and makes sure you have immediate control over your trigger travel – even on a per-game or mid-game basis.
Adjusting the Trigger Stop Mechanisms on the SCUF Infinity 1 requires a little more DIY. You’ll need to adjust the Trigger Grips with a special tool, tightening the screw and loosening it until you’ve got the depth you require.
However, you’ll need to do this for every single game if you want to go for the full personalisation option.
The Xbox One Elite Controller is certainly easier to adjust on the fly and feels more responsive.
Related: Best Xbox Live Games 2015
Xbox One Elite Controller vs SCUF Infinity 1: Paddles
Both the Xbox One Elite Controller and the SCUF Infinity 1 feature four rear paddles for providing alternative button options at the touch of a finger (rather than a thumb).
The SCUF Infinity 1’s paddles all hang vertically down the back of the gamepad from a boxy panel. They’re stiff, responsive, but sometimes feel a little out of reach.
They’re not permanent though, as you can remove them from the rear of the controller, meaning they’re not going to dangle there if you don’t want them to.
The SCUF Pad comes with the paddles automatically mapped to the face buttons, but in order to remap them you’ll need to have added the Electro-Magnetic Remapping feature during your build and then use the Mag Key to switch inputs.
It’s a little complicated to do, as you need to remap each button individually using the magnets and button pressing.
The Xbox One Elite Controller paddles on the other hand are all removable. Everything attaches using magnets and it’s just a case of flicking the paddles out of their rear sockets – which you’ll be tempted to fiddle with at first like a child with a loose tooth.
They’re much better positioned for your fingers, so you don’t have to adjust the position of your hands.
And it’s a lot easier to remap the Elite’s paddles. It’s done via the Xbox Accessories app available for Windows 10 and Xbox One and can be done on a per-game basis. I particularly like using them as alternatives for the L3 and R3 inputs.
Xbox One Elite Controller vs SCUF Infinity 1: Grip
If you’ve ever felt like the Xbox One controller lacks that gripability, you’ll be pleased that both the Infinity 1 and the Elite come with enhanced grips.
The Xbox One Elite Controller’s monochrome colour scheme is broken up by grey, faceted matte rubber grips on each handle. They mould into your hands and make sure that, regardless of your sweaty palm situation, the controller stays put.
The standard option on the SCUF Infinity 1 features soft rubber grips, but when you build your SCUF pad, you have the option to add FPS grips to the controller.
For the extra £11.99, the FPS Grips also add Adjustable Hair Triggers and the Trigger Stop Mechanism, along with the circular SCUF logo detailing that adds extra grip.
It’s a bit sticky with a sweaty palm, though, but still miles better than the standard Xbox One controller. The Elite just has that extra comfort.
Xbox One Elite Controller vs SCUF Infinity 1: Analogue Sticks
One of the key differences between the two pro-grade controllers is the analogue sticks, both in their material construction and the options available.
The Elite Controller comes with three different analogue stick options in the box, with the spares stored within the controller’s clamshell case. You get a set of standard concave sticks, a set of longer versions that improve reach and finally, a set of regular length domed analogue sticks.
All of the Elite’s analogue sticks feature metal shafts, with hard matte plastic pads. The rings around the analogue sticks themselves are reinforced with metal for enhanced durability.
The analogue sticks on the Elite Controller are held in by strong magnets, meaning swapping out the sticks is just a case of pulling out the current options and snapping on a different set.
With the SCUF Infinity 1, the analogue stick options are a little more complicated. When you build your SCUF pad (or choose a pre-built option) you’ll only get one set of sticks. There’s plenty of options to be had, though, with build choices including: domed long length, domed medium length, domed regular length, concave long length, concave medium length, concave regular length or the Xbox One defaults.
You can opt for different choices for each analogue stick too, if you don’t want matching. It means you won’t be able to swap out analogue sticks on the fly from the off, though.
There is the option to purchase additional options from the SCUF store. For £10.99 you get a set of three analogue sticks – either three domed or three concave (regular, medium or long). That means if you want to upgrade both of your sticks you’re going to have to buy two packs to get matching.
And they’re a bit annoying to swap out. You’ll need to use the strange hubcap-style gadget, which slots over the analogue stick and twists to remove the outer ring. You can then pull off the analogue stick, replace it with a new one and reattach the ring.
The SCUF Infinity 1’s analogue stick and rings are also made out of a hard plastic rather than the metal on the Elite. SCUF explains that they’re actually made of a “high-grade self-lubricating material” that “provides a pro-grade finish offering improved smoothness, life and feel of thumbsticks”, but I’m not convinced.
Related: Xbox One vs PS4
Xbox One Elite Controller vs SCUF Infinity 1: D-Pad
Both the Xbox One Elite controller and the SCUF Infinity 1 are available with a pair of D-pad options.
As with the analogue sticks, the Elite Controller comes with both options included in the box. There’s a metal version of the normal cross-shaped D-pad, or the rather more flashy metal faceted option that’s great for fighting games.
These also swap out using magnetic attachments for easy switching.
Again, the SCUF pad requires you to upgrade the D-pad when building. The option akin to the faceted Elite D-pad is called the Control Ring in SCUF land, and allows you to have a more lucid selection process. It’s an extra £6.99 on top of the base £95.99 price, but it’s well worth it to get this matte plastic ring D-pad.
That’s because when you don’t want to use it, you can simply prise it off and reveal a regular glossy plastic D-pad underneath.
Xbox One Elite Controller vs SCUF Infinity 1: Customisation
We’ve outlined most of this before, but it’s important to remember that the Xbox One Elite Controller comes with all the various customisation options in the box along with a clamshell case to keep it all in.
For your £129.99 investment you get the three sets of analogue sticks, two D-Pads and four paddles. There’s no worries about having to buy additional kit (unless you lose something, because at present there are no spares available to buy).
But to get the same amount of customisation options for the SCUF, you’re going to need to personalise your controller with all the top-notch features and buy some additional accessories.
The base price for the SCUF Infinity 1 is £95.99. But to get the customisation on the triggers, the Control Ring D-Pad, paddle remapping, FPS Grip and your choice of a single set of analogue sticks bumps that price up to £142.53.
You’ve then potentially got the choice to buy additional analogue stick options, which will cost you either £10.99 for one set of three, or £21.98 to get three matching sets. That’s a whopping £164.51 (and you’ve still not got a carry case).
Xbox One Elite Controller vs SCUF Infinity 1: Button Mapping
And then there’s the issue of button mapping.
The SCUF Infinity 1 only allows you to remap the paddles, which must be enabled in the build your controller menu before you buy – it’s known as Electro Magnetic Remapping. This will then allow you to customise your paddle configurations using the SCUF Mag Key included with the EMR option.
It’s a fiddly process and one I’ve not quite managed to master as yet.
However, that means you’ll need to adjust the paddle configurations for each game manually, as there’s no way to store profiles on the controller or your Xbox One itself.
The Xbox One Elite on the other hand is a fully customisable beast. To do it, you’ll need to download the Xbox Accessories app for Xbox One and/or Windows 10, and then you’re off.
The app gives you the option of remapping every button on the controller, using game specific presets, adjust various sensitivities including analogue stick respond and triggers and more.
You can also save two profiles to the controller itself, switching between them using the toggle you can see above.
Loading a new one only takes a few seconds too, if you’re playing multiple titles in one session and want to have the full customisation experience.
The Xbox One Elite Controller just has the edge on the SCUF. It features more customisation options out of the box for a lower price, is easier to customise, and has full button remapping.
Plus those metal details and the monochrome colour scheme make it feel far more premium.