Gaming Product Reviews

Xbox One Elite Bundle Review

Dave LeClair 31-12-2015

We’re pretty far into the current video game console generation, with both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 finally seeing a respectable lineup of quality games. We’re also seeing plenty of bundles coming for both consoles, especially since it’s the holiday season. But there’s one Microsoft console bundle that’s more than just the system with a game thrown in, and that’s the Elite Bundle.


It comes with an Elite console, with some very small changes to the normal version, and the Elite Controller, which is the really interesting piece of the puzzle, as it would cost $149 on its own.

Is it worth spending the extra money to get this $499 bundle? Does the 1TB hybrid drive and Elite Controller make it worth it?

Introducing The Xbox One Elite Bundle

The Xbox One Elite bundle is Microsoft aiming at the most hardcore of hardcore gamers. It’s looking for people who are willing to spend some extra money for a nicer controller and a slightly faster drive in their system.

Xbox One 1TB Elite Console Bundle(Discontinued) Xbox One 1TB Elite Console Bundle(Discontinued) Buy Now On Amazon $545.91

While the standard Xbox One bundle sells for $349 ($399 is the normal price, but Microsoft is running holiday specials), the Elite sells for $499 (it’s available for $449 for the holiday season). The standard bundle comes with a 1TB HDD, while the Elite comes with a 1TB hybrid SSD (though what percentage of that 1TB is actually an SSD is unspecified). Oddly, the Elite console doesn’t come with a game packed in, while the standard, much cheaper bundle, does.


xbox one elite - front

However, what it does come with is the Elite controller, which by itself sells for $150. No, that wasn’t a typo, I said a controller sells for $150 alone. This is really the standout part of the package for the Elite bundle, as we’ll get to later.

Sony doesn’t really offer a direct competitor to the Xbox One Elite, either in the console or controller department. The PS4 only offers its standard $349 bundle, and it has no premium controller on the market. This puts Microsoft in an interesting position where it has the market cornered as far as “premium” consoles go. But is there a reason to spend the extra money, or is the standard console more than enough for most?

The Console Itself

Let’s start off by talking about the console itself. We’ve already done an in-depth review of the Xbox One Microsoft Xbox One Review And Giveaway The console wars are officially raging, and we've had sufficient time with both of them. That begs the question: how does the Xbox One compare? Read More when it launched, and not too much has changed from a core gameplay standpoint. Tons of games have released (some good, some bad), and the graphics of said games have improved slightly as developers figured things out, but it’s still an Xbox One.


You probably already know whether or not you’re interested in the Xbox One or the PS4 from a broad standpoint, and I’m not really going to go heavily into comparing the actual consoles. There’s more than enough of that happening on every video game forum 4 Message Boards to Talk with Other PlayStation Fans If you're a PlayStation fan with nobody to talk to, let us show you the best online communities with people who share your passion. Read More on the Internet. What we’re more interested in is whether it’s worth getting this console compared to the other Xbox models if you’re a new Xbox buyer (or a current Xbox One owner looking to upgrade to the improved model).

xbox one elite - ports

The main thing Microsoft cites as the reason to get this console is an increase in speed. Specifically, Microsoft claims that users will see a 20% increase in launch time for the console. That sounds like a lot, but when you’re talking about a console that boots up in less than a minute from quick on mode, and around two minutes from being off all the way, you realize that you’re talking about a savings of just a few seconds. At the full 20% promised, you’d save at most 12 seconds.

Microsoft also promises an increase in speed for games, as the console will learn the things you launch most frequently and cache it to the SSD portion of the hybrid drive. The effect on load times in Destiny –a game with unfathomably long load times in some cases– was negligible. We’re talking about a matter of a couple of seconds, and not enough that you’d actually notice a difference unless you’re comparing side-by-side with an original Xbox One.


xbox one elite - controller overview

In spite of coming with a price that’s the same as the launch day Xbox One, there’s actually no Kinect included here, so you can forget about controlling the console with your voice. If there was anytime we’d expect Microsoft to look to bring the Kinect back, it would be with this bundle, and the fact that it didn’t is a pretty clear sign that it has given up on the peripheral.

So, removing the controller from the equation, I have a hard time recommending the console on its own merits when lined up against the $150 cheaper 1TB standard-HDD bundle that also comes with a game. However, removing the controller from the equation is irresponsible, as it’s really the main selling point of the bundle. Microsoft isn’t making up the speed improvements, as they are there, it’s just that they’re not enough to completely change your experience. Does the controller carry the bundle enough to make it worth picking up?

Elite Controller

The controller is what makes this bundle really special. I’ll make this really simple: the Xbox One Elite controller is the best I’ve ever used. By a large margin. Even without all the extra paddles and interchangeable joysticks, just the feel of the controller is better than anything else I’ve ever put my hands on.


xbox one elite - controller kit

The handles of the controller have a nice rubberized grip texture, while the standard Xbox One controller is just plastic. When things get intense in a game and your hands start sweating, you’ll realize how nice having that extra grip is. While it might seem like a small change, it really does enhance the experience of using the controller, and it’ll make it hard to go back to using one without the grips.

xbox one elite - controller paddles

Microsoft has included two different d-pads and three joysticks that affix to the controller with magnets, which means you can swap them easily. For the d-pad, there’s the standard four-point option and the crazy looking one that offers a lot of flexibility for hitting combos in fighting games. For joysticks, there are standard length concave and convex options, and an extra long stick for those who like that sort of thing (I never got the appeal of longer joysticks, but that’s just me). Personally, I stick with the standard concave sticks, but it’s nice to have options.

xbox one elite - contgroller front

The Elite controller also comes with four paddles that attach to the back of the controller. Using the Xbox Accessories app, these can be assigned to any button. So, if you were playing Call of Duty, you could assign your grenade button to the paddles so you never have to take your hands off the joysticks. It could give you a bit of a performance edge against your opponents without cheating in any way!

xbox one elite - paddles close up

There are also short throw triggers, which can be turned on and off independently via switches on the back of the controller. For shooters, you’ll probably want the short throw, as it’ll let you pop off more rounds in less time. For racing games, on the other hand, you’d want to turn it off, as you’ll want the extra control. These feel great, and being able to turn them on and off is nice when compared to most custom controllers Evil Controllers Xbox One Master Mod Review And Giveaway The controller is the first point of contact between a player and the game, but we took issue with the Xbox One's new controller. A company called Evil Controllers is here to fix that. Read More where the short throw triggers are always on.

xbox one elite - tall thumbsticks

Sticking with the theme of flexibility, you can take these paddles off easily yoo. If you’re playing a game where you don’t need quicker access to a button, you can just pop them off and store them in the included carrying case.


The case is nice and sturdy – it holds all of the joysticks and d-pads, as well as the paddles. Of course, the controller itself also fits perfectly in it, so you can bring everything with you everywhere you go. For competitive gamers who go to tournaments, this could be quite convenient.

While the controller is really, really good, it’s still hard to justify spending $149 on it. For new Xbox owners, it’s a little easier to stomach as part of this bundle, but to just go out and spend that much (especially when the thing is nearly impossible to find How to Get a Limited Xbox One Elite Controller Right Now The Xbox One Elite Controller is so popular that it's out of stock almost everywhere. What can you do if you want to buy one right now? Read More ), is tough. However, I’m not a competitive gamer. Those who are should be able to justify the cost better. This is not a controller meant for the average player, and it hits all the marks for those looking for that, well, elite experience. If money is no object, it’s easy to recommend based purely on quality.

The New Xbox Experience

Since we originally reviewed the Xbox One Microsoft Xbox One Review And Giveaway The console wars are officially raging, and we've had sufficient time with both of them. That begs the question: how does the Xbox One compare? Read More , Microsoft has given the interface a bit of an overhaul. Many of the things we complained about back then have been addressed.

The biggest issue I had with using the Xbox One all this time was the party system. It was clunky and downright terrible. Microsoft made it much better in the new version of the Xbox OS. It’s not perfect, and I still think it was easier to work with on the Xbox 360, but getting together with a group of friends is now far less tedious than it used to be.

The actual interface is still based around tiles, as it’s actually a modified version of Windows 10. Instead of going left to right, the new interface is more vertical in design. Personally, I’ve found that getting to the game or app that I want is a little easier than it was in the old interface, but the difference is negligible. It still seems to take a few too many steps to get to games that aren’t the ones you’ve played recently.


One change to the interface that I absolutely adore is a quick way the access to console’s Settings app. You can now press your joystick to the left from the home screen, and at the bottom of the pane that pops out is a gear icon that will quickly take you there. Before, you had to scroll through My Games and Apps or use Kinect to get there, which was a pain. It’s a small change, but one that enhances usability a great deal.

The NXOE also speeds up the console a tad. It’s a change I noticed on both the new Xbox Elite and my launch day console. Again, we’re talking about a second or two difference here, but it does make everything feel a bit snappier, and that’s always a good thing.

Microsoft has definitely made the Xbox One interface better with this update. It still has a ways to go before it’s perfect, but any improvement is always nice. While this interface isn’t specific to the Elite console, new Xbox owners who purchase this will definitely enjoy the more streamlined navigation experience.

Should You Buy The Xbox One Elite Bundle

If you already own an Xbox One console, there’s literally no reason to buy the bundle. The seconds you save off loads and booting just aren’t worth it. Plus, you can connect an external hard drive to your existing console if space is an issue Everything You Need to Know About Xbox One External Hard Drives Here's our breakdown of how to use an Xbox One external hard drive, plus some tips and recommendations for you. Read More . The Elite controller is available on its own, so you also just buy that and use it with your current console.

For new Xbox One owners, the decision is a little harder. If the controller appeals to you, and you’d consider buying it anyway, then getting the Elite bundle is a smart choice. If it doesn’t, you should save your money and get the standard 1TB bundle, as it comes with a game and the same amount of storage (albeit slightly slower).

Our verdict of the Xbox One Elite Bundle:
Buy it if you don’t already own an Xbox One and want the fantastic Elite controller, otherwise there’s little benefit to upgrading – just buy the controller separately.
8 10

Send your products to be reviewed. Contact James Bruce for further details.

Related topics: MakeUseOf Giveaway, Microsoft, Xbox One.

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  1. Austin Reed
    June 26, 2019 at 4:49 am

    That was actually very helpful lmao

  2. Michael
    February 11, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    i appreciate a free xbox one console

  3. lol
    January 19, 2016 at 10:39 am


  4. Daniel
    January 19, 2016 at 4:29 am

    I have a feeling the name "Clumpy L" is going to be disqualified and they'll draw again lol.

  5. Steven Lopez
    January 19, 2016 at 1:06 am

    Aww good for you! winner!

    January 18, 2016 at 5:12 am

    It's been three days guys! When will the winner be announced? #stress

  7. Tejas
    January 18, 2016 at 3:12 am

    Who is the winner????

  8. Emir Senpai
    January 17, 2016 at 8:20 am

    How do you know if you've won or not??

  9. Steven Lopez
    January 17, 2016 at 12:46 am

    OMGOMGOMG its over #Tension

  10. Sherry Keef
    January 16, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    I have fingers and toes crossed to win.

  11. Federico
    January 15, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    So many giveaways wow
    where's the catch? XD

  12. xD
    January 15, 2016 at 3:34 pm


  13. Janet Padilla
    January 15, 2016 at 7:58 am

    thank you for the wonderful chance. This would be awesome to win!

  14. Laura Corrall
    January 14, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    Thanks for the chance. I'm crossing my fingers.

  15. Rodel S. Mercurio
    January 14, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    Thank you for the giveaway.

  16. wendy malone
    January 14, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    I will make use of one.x

  17. Hossein R
    January 14, 2016 at 8:42 am

    I want to win. Is it possible for Iran?

  18. Sherry Keef
    January 9, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    Happy New Year to Everyone !!

  19. Fara Ferrea
    January 9, 2016 at 6:10 am

    Too many hopes

  20. rosa maria gomez ferris
    January 8, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    que chulada

  21. Jeniffer stephen
    January 8, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    I to get a video bonus code?

    • Anonymous
      January 8, 2016 at 5:19 pm

      Go to the You tube video review for the product and then watch the video.. Somewhere along the video they would show the code on screen. Enjoy!!

  22. Miguel
    January 8, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    I wanna win one. Is this available to the philippines

  23. Karen McDonald
    January 5, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Impressive! I like it even more now I've read the review!

  24. Jimmy Mack
    January 5, 2016 at 3:17 am

    Dave - you will be rewarded with Ultimate Gamer Karma if you select me as the giveaway winner. This Karma can be used for quicker Achievement unlocking and faster hangover recovery.

    I liked the review a lot - thanks for the summary and for the chance to win it after getting me excited for one.

  25. Anonymous
    January 4, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    Not bad console, id like it to play forza.

  26. kevin
    January 4, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    would be nice

  27. Anonymous
    January 4, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    Why aren't my comments showing up? I want to win one too!

  28. Rocketboy423
    January 4, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    I really need this one !!

  29. Suleiman Orotta
    January 3, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    Hey Dave, how are you and Happy New Year. Your review was awesome and right on time for me. Over the years of our communications on make use of you might have realized that I was a hard core fan of PlayStation. When PS4 came out , I got it on the spot. After almost two years of my experience with PS4, I came to a conclusion to kick it out of my house. Surprised? :)

    Main reasons that made me stop using PS4 :

    1) No DLNA. That is right, and PS3 is superior to PS4 due to this fact.

    2) You can not play anymore CDs and movies recorded on DVD-R

    3) You can NOT save your sweet pictures and musics on PS4 hard drive and you can NOT plug in your USB driver and view media contents like you used to do with PS3......wait, i aint done yet!

    4) Not backward compatible with PS3 games, if you want these games pay to play on PlayStation Now or get your PS3, if your PS3 had been hit with yellow light of death like mine.

    5) Forget about using your SD cards because there is no reader there like ps3 "fat" and if you plug your external SD card reader, it won't work at all.

    6) Games....tones and tones of Indie games that even my kids won't look at them.

    7) continues crash of ps network. Oh yeah this will kill you when this crap happens in the middle of Fifa soccer online game ( extra controllers are must have because you gonna slam one controller when the network goes kaboom! )

    These are actually few things to tell you about ps4 today....yeah few although my list is more than 3 which makes my use of the word " few" silly , but i am using it to show you that I have lot more reasons. So I sold my PS4 cheap and I felt content. But now what. I want my Fifa, my NFS , my NBA and so one. Remember "Winter is coming" ( ok may be not this year) and I have to secure my hibernation space. We got Wii U and all the consoles that came before it. But I never ever owned Xbox because I was from the other side of the battle field, hard core PlayStation guy. So if I want to play my Fifa 16 with all its bling blings I have to have a powerful console like ps4. No PC gaming for me, I still remember the days of crazy hours spent on Counter Strike :) The only one out there is Xbox One. First I said what a dilemma. Am I supposed to change legions now and be one of those Xbox rival guys. It felt like ditching Man United and going to be a fan of Liverpool, eewwooo.....ManUnited4Ever yo :)

    For the past month, I have been reading, checking YouTube and even actually going to Microsoft stores to learn about the so called Xbox One. To my utmost surprise I found these facts about this beast console named Xbox One:

    YES DLNA ! YES for reading from usb driver. YES backwards compatibility with XBox 360 games. YES it can play my awesome music collection CDs and recorded movies on DVD-R . YES I will have Forza, the best sim gamer ever produced. That is not all, I can have external hard drive and I can plug my cable on it too. Dude, where was I all these times !! Caveman found the Monolith, Game Odyssey 2016 lol

    Today I read your article as if it was a university material where I would write exam on lol

    Now I don't just want XBox One but I NEED it !! :) Thank you guys for giving out one and I hope to win it. Good luck everyone and I wish all that this new year brings happiness and joy to you and to your family. Keep gaming with your families, for it brings the family really closer.

    Thank you Dave again for this awesome post, it really helped me a lot to make a final decision.

    • Suleiman
      January 13, 2016 at 7:32 pm

      Oppsss sorry Dave, I thought you were Dave Parrack and I kept saying do you remember this and remember that. Anyways that is my story :)

  30. daniel doiron
    January 3, 2016 at 10:58 am

    hope this is real so many contest on the net. maby this one is a real one and if i win,that would be such a great way to star the new years 2016

  31. Anonymous
    January 3, 2016 at 5:02 am

    Looks great

  32. Sonic
    January 2, 2016 at 5:46 pm


  33. Ryan B
    January 2, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    OMG! OMG! OMG! Another chance to win one of these bundles!!!
    I've been waiting to own one of these consoles for so long! The SSHD and Elite Controller totally make the wait worth it if I could only win!!!
    Thanks and Happy New Year!!

  34. Jan
    January 2, 2016 at 10:06 am

    cool GA ;o)

  35. Anonymous
    January 2, 2016 at 7:17 am

    Amazing! :)

  36. joanne frank
    January 1, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    i would love to win this awesome giveaway fingers crossed

  37. Michaluk Bea
    January 1, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    My man would love this!

  38. Rachel Heap
    January 1, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    Would love to win this for my son thanks

  39. Art Levi
    January 1, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    It would be nice to win something I want that I could never justify buying for myself because of the price

  40. Anonymous
    January 1, 2016 at 9:57 am

    Finally, an Xbox One Giveaway, cool, I entered.

  41. Vilda
    January 1, 2016 at 1:44 am

    I don't have any bright ideas on this one as I have never owned an xbox but would like to

  42. Krzysztof
    January 1, 2016 at 1:33 am

    Would be awesome to win and be able to play fallout finally.

  43. TC93
    January 1, 2016 at 1:19 am

    Translation, Microsoft has now made the Xbox One games pay to win by giving unfair advantages to people with more money.

  44. TH
    January 1, 2016 at 12:34 am

    Have nothing so would really enjoy this if I should win.

  45. Stanley GoFigure
    January 1, 2016 at 12:10 am

    Where in the f*** do you register to win the XBOX GIVEAWAY? No link on the main MAKEUSEOF.COM website homepage.

  46. Bob
    December 31, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    A little confusing as a title from M.S. as Elite is also a game available for the Xbox one.

    Usually their bundles carry the name of the games the hardware comes with.

  47. Cameron Stevens
    December 31, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    I'm not worthy of such luck, and my year has not been as rough as others in this world, but I could certainly use a Christmas present (belated) that I can't spend on someone else.

  48. Anonymous
    December 31, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    The only true hybrid 1TB SSHD on the market until very recently was the Seagate which has an 8gb SSD

    Western Digital has one with an 8gb SSD now also.

  49. Kristian DuBois
    December 31, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Oh my lord I will sh*t myself if I win this hahahaha. I feel like a giddy school kid watching the video. Only Thing I LOVE More than makeup Is GAMING!!!!

  50. Tomas Cruz
    December 31, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    Awesome review,Dave LeClair! This controller looks dreamy.

  51. Christina Moore
    December 31, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    My grandson would love this, thank you