Side-by-side: Xbox One gamepad vs Xbox 360 gamepad
11th Jun 2013 | 11:50
A photo comparison of the Xbox One and Xbox 360 controllers
That's why we gave the Xbox One and Xbox 360 gamepads an impromptu photoshoot at a Microsoft E3 2013 event last night.
Thanks to to our hands-on time and fondness for lugging around our seven-year-old controller, we can share the Microsoft vs Microsoft match-up with you.
All of the tweaked buttons, grips, ports and tighter dimensions of the Xbox One controller over its out-to-pasture predecessors can be easily contrasted.
Xbox One vs Xbox 360 analog sticks
The Xbox One's redesigned analog sticks are the most eye-catching change on the front of the new gamepad vs the Xbox 360 controller.
These thinner joysticks are surrounded by a micro-texture grip on the edges, meaning it's much more difficult to have a case of thumb slippage. That's vital for marathon gaming.
Just as important is that the analog sticks take 25 percent less force to move them. Dead zone has been tightened to the point that the slightest amount of movement can be registered by developers.
'One' heck of a better D-Pad
Microsoft representatives admitted that the Xbox 360 controller's D-Pad was severely lacking at the E3 event.
That's why the company redesigned the directional pad to register distinct presses. After all, it did just unveil Killer Instinct for Xbox One after the fighting franchise's 17-year hiatus.
The sleeker, concave Xbox One D-Pad fits this game and other fighters perfectly thanks to the ability to perform sweeping movements.
Face, Xbox Guide button tweaks
The final changes Microsoft made in designing the front of its Xbox One controller are so slight you may miss them.
The four face buttons have been moved closer together. Now X, Y, A, and B are easier to access when a game requires twitch button presses during those overused quick time events.
While the face buttons are tighter together, the Xbox Guide button is out on its own at the top of the controller. No more accidental presses of this slow-to-boot menu button.
In the center now are what Microsoft calls the View and Menu buttons, replacing the back and start buttons that have been there since the first Xbox controller.
This 'One' tops all
Checking out the top of the Xbox One controller shows that the trigger and bumper buttons are completely different than what is found on the Xbox 360.
The right and left trigger buttons are much wider on the Xbox One, while its left and right bumper buttons are obviously more pronounced, rising out of the controller.
The trigger and bumper button area has been expanded so much that they are actually adjacent to each other, making your finger overlap between them feel much more natural when gaming.
Also, you'll notice that the top, next to the sync button, is a micro USB port instead of the Xbox 360 Charge and Play cable connection.
Coolest feature yet to come
The top of the Xbox One controller also contains infrared sensors that the always-on Kinect picks up.
This makes it so that when a second person picks up a controller, it knows to automatically sync them as player two.
Even better is a feature that hasn't been built into any games yet, but sounds pretty amazing.
Split-screen multiplayer could theoretically change sides using the Xbox One's IR sensors and 1080p Kinect by determining where the controllers (and by extension players) are in a room.
That's the type of innovative feature more developers need to get behind - along with split-screen multiplayer again.
Microsoft is really hyping its impulse triggers that "bring games to life" and are "a whole new canvas for [developers] to work on."
Disregarding the marketing, force feedback in the right and left trigger buttons does make a game more enjoyable than the last-generation rumble.
Microsoft had a demo of this available at E3 2013, buzzing during various game-like instances like when firing a gun or accelerating and braking with the right and left trigger buttons.
Xbox One controller battery
Believe it or not, Microsoft is still going with two AA batteries tucked inside a sleeker controller back, and selling a separate Xbox One Charge and Play kit.
However, this next-generation console's rechargeable battery pack is lithium-ion, which the company promises will cut the charge time in half compared to the Xbox 360's NiMH battery packs.
Likewise, it is said to run hundreds of cycles so gamers can play and charge over and over again without battery wear.
The Xbox One Charge and Play kit will come with a 9-foot micro USB cable, Microsoft confirmed to TechRadar.
Even better, the company said that you can use your own micro USB cable to make the Xbox One wireless controller a wired gamepad at any time.
This contrasts with the Xbox 360 controller that had separate wired controllers no one wanted, and more expensive wireless controllers.
The expanding video game market means that Microsoft is out to please everyone with its new Xbox One controller, specifically improving the comfort and design for a wider range of hands.
Testing it out in Japan, Germany, the U.K. and U.S., the company changed the contours on the controller with smaller hands in mind. Female gamers were mentioned as an example of this market research.
Everyone should also appreciate the fact that the Xbox One feels more lightweight than the Xbox 360 controller, making the process of holding a controller an afterthought - without actually forcing players to go controller-free with Kinect.
The bottom of the barrel
The bottom of the Xbox One controller is where the less exciting expansion port and high-speed radio are located.
The expansion slot allows for faster data transfer between the controller and Xbox One console, so sound will be clearer than it was on the Xbox 360.
This is especially important for gamers who use Xbox One game chat. Those very people will be interested in knowing that Microsoft unveiled a new chat headset that snaps right into this port. It includes a familiar voice and mute button.
- There's a lot more to see of Xbox One in our first look.