The Razer Wolverine Ultimate is a solid wired controller for Xbox One and PC, but it has some problems. It falls just short of the Elite controller is almost every aspect.
When it comes to video game peripherals, few names grab your attention quite like Razer. Whether you’re looking at mice, keyboards, headsets, or controllers, Razer makes them all and then some.
For Xbox One and PC gamers, Razer has the Wolverine Ultimate, which is its attempt to compete with Microsoft’s Elite controller. Both controllers come with hefty price tags–the Elite retails for $150 and the Wolverine Ultimate goes for an even more expensive $160. But does Razer justify its higher cost than the Elite? Is it the controller to own for your Xbox One? Let’s dig in and take a look, and at the end of this review, we’re giving one away to one lucky reader!
Razer Wolverine Specs and Features
Before I give you any of my opinions on the actual controller, let’s just run down the core specifications and features of the Ultimate so you can see where your hard-earned money is actually going.
- Wired controller
- 2 extra buttons & 4 triggers
- Razer Chroma colored lighting
- Trigger stops for short trigger throw
- Swappable D-Pad and joysticks
- Quick control panel for on-the-fly mode switching and mic control
- Rubber grip (comes already installed unlike the Wildcat )
- Switch-feel face buttons
- Razer Synapse app on Xbox One for customization
- 5mm audio port for standard headphones
- 10-foot USB cable
- Carrying case
You wouldn’t think we’d need to have a section dedicated to setting up a controller, but the Wolverine isn’t your run-of-the-mill controller. Its extra features and options means you’ll have to spend a few minutes getting things up and running (thankfully, the process isn’t as painful as Razer’s previous high-end controller which required manually sticking grips on).
To really take advantage of what this controller can do, you’ll want to download the Razer Synapse for Xbox One application. You’ll use this to customize the functionality of the additional buttons, adjust the 16.8 million color pallete featured within the Chroma settings, and tweak the controller functions. It’s a fairly robust application, and it’s where a lot of the customization for the device comes from.
In the box you’ll find the controller, extra buttons, carrying case, instructions, annoyingly-shaped USB cable (the shape prevents you from using most other cables you have kicking around) and all the other goodies you’ll need to get things up and running.
Extra Buttons and Features
When it comes to a controller like the Wolverine Ultimate, it’s all about the extra features and buttons. You’re spending money on a premium controller because you want extra performance, and Wolverine Ultimate is packed with extra stuff that you won’t find on a standard Xbox One controller (and even some you won’t find on the Elite).
For extra buttons, there are four on the back of the controller and two extra shoulder buttons on top, bringing the count up to six.
The extra buttons are all attached to the controller, so if you don’t like the way they feel, you’re stuck with them. The Wildcat offered rear triggers that could fold inside of the controller, and the Elite lets you remove them completely. This feels like a step backward, as the other thing that really makes these premium controllers stand out is customization.
There’s also switches that allow you to enable a shorter throw for the triggers, which is fantastic in shooters where the faster speed is optimal. It’s a standard feature on most of these sorts of devices, but it’s still nice to see here.
The face buttons are actually different than a standard controller, and they offer a more mechanical, clicky feel. It’s a change from the squishier face buttons on other Xbox One controllers, and it’s something you’ll know immediately whether you love or hate it.
Wait, There Are How Many Sticks?
The Wolverine Ultimate comes with two additional joysticks and one additional d-pad. The joysticks are a real letdown, as there’s only one long stick, one convex stick, and two standard concave sticks. If you want to use two long sticks or two convex sticks (something you can have with the Elite), you’re going to be disappointed.
The options for d-pads are better than the joysticks, as the two types you’d want are both included. While both directional-pad options are okay, neither feels amazing, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
But It Feels Nice in Your Hand
Another feature you find with most premium controllers is the grip, and the Wolverine Ultimate is no exception. It offers a more subtle grip texture than most other controllers on the market, but it still has more grip than a standard controller that’s coated only in plastic.
This is one place where I prefer the Ultimate over the Elite. The slightly less textured grip feels fantastic.
Chatting With Friends
One place where the Wolverine Ultimate does shine is down by the headphone port. There are four buttons there, two of which are used for customizing the extra buttons on the fly. The others are used for voice chat — one controls volume and the other lets you quickly mute your mic without digging into the Xbox Settings app. These offer a nice convenience that you won’t find elsewhere.
It seems like Razer packed as many extra features as it could into this controller to make it worth the money, but sometimes less is more and it really comes down to…
You can throw as many extra features as you want on a controller, but if it doesn’t feel good, none of that matters. To put it simply: the Wolverine Ultimate doesn’t feel bad, but it isn’t amazing either.
Let’s start with the additional buttons, as that’s a big part of why you’re spending the $160 on this controller. As I said before, these buttons aren’t removable, and for me, that’s a deal breaker.
I love the Elite controller, but I only use one of the rear buttons on mine and I remove the rest. I just don’t need them for the way I play. Being stuck with them on forces me to change the way I hold the controller, and that’s never pleasant.
If you like leaving the rear buttons attached, they do feel pretty good, and I actually like their position better than the Elite controller. They’re more like buttons than the paddles on the Elite controller, and like most things with these two devices, which you prefer will largely come down to preference.
My complaints don’t apply to the extra buttons on top of the controller, as they don’t get in the way. These are perfectly positioned to grant access without changing anything about the way you use the controller. They’re setup so that you can just reach a little past the trigger and press them comfortably. It seems like such a no-brainer and it’s surprising that these buttons haven’t been used in other controllers.
I’m not in love with the way to d-pad functions, regardless of which of the two are installed. First of all, if you push too hard on either of the d-pads, they lift up from their hole. Even without pressing too hard, neither d-pad feels great for games where you’ll need to use them regularly (like fighting games ).
One thing I love about the Elite controller is weight — it’s a beefy controller. The Wolverine Ultimate is actually lighter than a standard Xbox One controller. If you’re looking for a lightweight controller, it’s the one to go with.
Here are the weights of the three controllers:
- Razer Wolverine Ultimate: 260g
- Xbox One controller: 280g
- Xbox One Elite: 348g
This is all a matter of preference. Some people prefer a lighter device in their hands and some prefer the extra weight. There’s no right or wrong, but I like the heavier option.
Moving onto the grip, I actually quite like the feel of the Ultimate. It’s less textured than the Elite, but it offers enough that it feels stable in your hand. The grip on the back is definitely my favorite thing about the controller, and while I wasn’t able to use it for months to test it, it feels durable (my Elite controller’s grips are starting to come unglued).
The Good and The Bad
I see you out there: person who doesn’t want to read my in-depth thoughts on the Razer Wolverine Ultimate controller. Here’s a quick breakdown of what’s good and bad with this high-end gaming accessory.
The Good Stuff
- Controller is comfortable to hold
- Rubber grips feel amazing
- Feels extremely well built
- Easy to remap and customize buttons
- Extra shoulder buttons
- Lighter than the Elite (could be a negative, depending on your preferences)
- Nice carrying case
The Bad Stuff
- Doesn’t support wireless play
- Shape of USB port on controller won’t fit most standard cables
- Only comes with two additional joysticks and they’re different sizes
- D-pad pops up when pushed too hard
- Can’t remove rear triggers
- Cost more than the Elite controller
Should You Buy The Razer Wolverine Ultimate?
In a vacuum, I could easily recommend the Wolverine Ultimate, as it’s actually a pretty solid controller in spite of not being wireless.
However, we live in a world where the Elite controller exists, and it’s just a little bit better in just about every way. It’s wireless, it feels better, and it’s cheaper. It remains the best controller currently available, and Razer doesn’t offer enough to knock it off the top of the mountain.
If you’re in the market for a premium controller, you should really snag an Elite, as you’ll end up getting more controller for less money and you won’t have to deal with wires.