The Scuf Instinct Pro is an incredible controller for both PC and Xbox Series X/S. Everything feels well put together, it’s comfortable to use, and the customisation options are plentiful. The only issues are its high price and lack of swappable features compared to an Xbox Elite Controller.
- Incredibly comfortable
- Highly customisable
- Sturdy build quality
- Fun to use
- Heavier than a normal controller
- Highly customisablePractically every element of the Instinct Pro can be customised, including the thumbsticks and the faceplate
- WirelessThe Instinct Pro connects via Bluetooth to PCs
- Xbox and PC supportThe Instinct Pro works with the Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One and PC
The Scuf Instinct Pro Controller is the latest offering from a manufacturer renowned for creating some of the best custom controllers around.
The Instinct Pro actually represents the firm’s first dive into the world of Xbox Series X/S controllers, and with a starting price of £189.99/$199 (and lots of optional extras to push up the price even further), it’s a little bit dearer than Microsoft’s own Elite Controller Series 2.
Do those credentials give it enough to become one of the best game controllers you can buy right now?
- Noticeably heavier than the standard Series X controller
- Rubberised back feels lovely
- Fully customisable to look incredible
The Scuf Instinct Pro delivers the complete package when it comes to design, providing a comfortable and satisfying experience with plenty of customisation on offer.
It’s a remarkably good-looking controller, helped along by the striking purple and orange faceplate and orange buttons to match. Of course, this isn’t how the Instinct Pro is shipped normally.
You get all manner of options at checkout, including a custom faceplate, a choice over the colour of the buttons and thumbsticks, as well as the triggers and D-pad. This results in a controller that’s curated for the individual player – as you’ll see from mine, I’m a particular fan of purple and orange.
Everything about the Instinct Pro feels nicely curated and has this noticeable charm and quality to it, even down to the texturing on the thumbsticks. Scuf offers similar options to the Xbox Elite Controller by providing a choice of either domed or concave thumbsticks at three different heights. For mine, I picked one of each, just to get an idea of both.
The unit also has a noticeable heft in comparison to a normal Xbox controller, which makes it feel well-made. The weight wasn’t an issue for me, but you do have the option of making it lighter by choosing to take out the rumble packs. Note, however, you’ll lose the vibrations when doing so. Intriguingly, Scuf tells me that this is the preference of the pros.
Much like the Elite Controller, you’ll find paddles on the back as well as oodles of rubberised padding that make the Instinct Pro incredibly comfortable, even with its extra weight.
The only thing that’s noticeably different about the Instinct Pro in contrast to the usual Xbox controller is the A-B-X-Y buttons have perceivably short travel, which can be handy for quick inputs, but does take some getting used to.
- Strong feedback and vibrations
- Great fun to use on both Xbox and PC
- Extra paddles and lockable triggers included
Having tested the Instinct Pro across all sorts of games on PC and, of course Xbox Series X, I’m happy to report that it delivers a fantastic experience.
Whether being peppered with bullets in Battlefield 1, or punting opponents in Forza Horizon 4, the controller performed admirably with some remarkably strong vibrations that also offered good placement. For instance, in Forza Motorsport 7, the side of the outside kerbs corresponded with the controller’s vibrations for heightened immersion.
The button layout was nicely familiar, and this controller felt comfortable in hand. The paddles felt intuitive and responsive to use, and can actually be configured with up to 16 different functions at a time. Their design is a little bit different to those on the Elite Series 2 as well. Where the Elite uses four paddles on the back, the Instinct Pro utilises two sets of switches that operate at two different angles.
They can be quite a clever function, if you need a snappy button that’s within easy reach round the back of the controller, especially within racing games. I mapped mine to the Shift Up and Down controls, for instance, since it provided a proper ‘paddle-shift’ so to speak. They feel firm and clicky, too.
It’s also with these added features that the Instinct Pro wins against the original Series X controller, as you also have the ability to lock the triggers to give a feeling closer to mouse clicks.
The Instinct Pro, being compatible with both Series consoles and PC, is able to connect via both Bluetooth and Xbox Wireless. I didn’t notice any latency between inputs and the end result, which is so important if you’re playing competitively.
The Instinct Pro comes with a degree of configuration available, although it isn’t as much as the Xbox Elite Series 2 offers. Some crossover exists between the pair: there are interchangeable thumbsticks bundled in the box with Scuf’s model that can be swapped out, but they can’t be changed in seconds as they can on an Elite controller.
On the battery life front, the Instinct Pro will last for 30 hours with the included batteries, while also offering support for third-party accessories such as a charging dock. Do note, though, that if you pick a charging dock that relies on using its battery covers, the Instinct Pro won’t work – Scuf’s attachment is magnetic as opposed to coming with the usual plastic clips.
You’ll find a 2-metre braided USB-C charging cable in the box with the Instinct Pro, since it works with either standard or rechargeable AAs, and can also be used with the Microsoft Play and Charge kit.
There’s also a handy mute button available if you need to step out of voice chat at all, plus the usual proprietary connectors for headphones and Xbox headsets of old.
Should you buy it?
You want a customisable controller: The Instinct Pro shines, especially for both build quality and performance. Its premium feel and the simple notion that everything about it is configurable makes it extra special.
You don’t have £250 to spend on a controller: All of that customisation does come at a premium. If you aren’t worried about that level of design and customisation, then picking up an Elite Series 2 Controller would be a better bet.
The Scuf Instinct Pro is a superb controller for both PC and Xbox gamers who want as many customisation options as possible. However, it also comes with a very high price, with the Xbox Elite Controller arguably offering better value for money.
How we test
We use every game controller we test for at least a week. During that time, we’ll check it for ease of use and put it through its paces by playing a variety of different genres.
We also check the controller’s software support and battery life if applicable.
We used as our main controller for at least a week.
Played a variety of games to test all the features.
Tested on both Xbox and PC.
Tested out the battery life.
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Xbox Series X/S and PC.
Yes, the Instinct Pro is comfortable to use for long stretches of time.
Yes, it supports wireless via Xbox Wireless and Bluetooth for PC.