If you’re looking for an alternative to the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one better than the Scuf Prestige. For $159, the Scuf Prestige offers a comfortable design, a long battery life and unique ways to tune and customize the controller.
Despite everything going for it, the controller feels cheap, there’s no USB Type-C charging and only half of the back paddles are comfortable to use. The Scuf Prestige could have been a (more) affordable alternative to the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, but at a $20 delta, you might as well buy the real thing. However, you don’t have to gamble with the Scuf Prestige being plagued by a host of hardware issues, and if you care about style and custom looks, this controller is for you.
Scuf Prestige design
When I opened the package, I was graced with the Scuf Prestige’s premium elegance, from its clean matte-black base to the luxurious gold trim on the D-pad and bumpers. Even the letters on the buttons were blacked-out like those on the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2; it's a subtle touch that makes the Prestige seem more premium. However, the glossy texture on the analog sticks combined with the Scuf logo makes the controller look a bit cheap.
When I turned the controller over, I was greeted by a gross, glossy plastic shell paired with gaudy grips covered in hexagonal protrusions. Meanwhile, the back of the controller was crowded with four programmable textured paddles extending from the top of the controller to the bottom. Surrounding the paddles are two switches that adjust the travel of the triggers. Just above those are tiny screws that can adjust the distance of where the trigger naturally sits.
It’s very much a business-in-the-front and whatever-the-heck-in-the-back kind of look. Meanwhile, the bottom of the controller features a 3.5mm headphone jack as well as an Xbox chat adapter input. The top of the controller sports gold-colored triggers and bumpers as well as a gold centerpiece that holds room for the Xbox connect button and a microUSB charging port. Yes, despite its price, you’re stuck with microUSB charging instead of USB Type-C, like what you'll find on the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2.
If you’re willing to up the price from the standard $159, you can customize the controller on Scuf’s site with all kinds of prints, from cherry blossom art to supernova skins. Once you pick your shell print, you can customize the colors of the buttons, the anti-friction rings, the D-pad, bumpers, and the centerpiece and triggers. You can also select the height of the included analog sticks. These additions can bring the controller’s price above the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2’s $179.
Scuf Prestige comfort
Let’s talk about the Scuf Prestige’s face first; the A and B buttons are pleasantly clicky and offer decent travel, however, the X and Y buttons were less satisfying to press because they were slightly more recessed than the others. After a moment investigating the controller, I discovered the issue: the faceplate. I realized that the removable faceplate was magnetic, and since it wouldn’t snap in, a small gap was left between the hardware and the plate, causing this issue.
After messing with the analog sticks for a while, I found them smooth, albeit not as resistant as I would have liked. The rubbery texture looked and felt cheap, but kept my sweaty thumbs attached to the joysticks. The D-pad provided solid clicks and travel, but its position felt a little awkward, almost as if my thumb went further out of its way than usual to reach it. If you’re a hardcore D-pad user, it might take some getting used to. The rest of the face buttons felt fine.
There wasn’t anything unique about the triggers, which is good but not Elite controller great. However, I was impressed with the bumpers. No matter where I applied force on the controller, I was provided with a solid, comfortable click with little resistance. The bumpers are certainly on par with the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2.
Despite how cluttered the Scuf Prestige is in the back, the controller itself is comfortable to hold and play with for hours on end. Some may even appreciate the non-slip surface on the grips, but I wasn’t a fan because it made me sweat more than usual. My hands get super clammy while gaming, mostly when I’m playing nerve-wracking games like Dark Souls, but I noticed that my hands would start to sweat upon playing for just a few minutes. I never experienced this with the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 or even a standard Xbox controller.
The back paddles are a bit stiff and offer shallow clicks, which is unpleasant. However, the outer paddles were easy to get used to and incredibly useful when playing fast-paced games. I was most comfortable using those two paddles with my middle finger, and I never ended up touching the inner two paddles. When reaching for them with my middle finger, my thumbs on the analog sticks felt unbalanced, and I couldn't comfortably throw my ring finger into the mix. On the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, I could spare my ring finger because the paddles protrude off the sides instead of the middle. However, with the Scuf Prestige, only half of the back is usable to me.
Scuf Prestige features and customization
Similar to the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, the Scuf Prestige has swappable analog sticks and remappable buttons. In the box, you get two additional thumbsticks, one of which is identical to the other sticks. The one unique analog stick is slightly taller and features a face that curves outward instead of inward.
On the right side of the face, there’s an indentation where you can lift up the faceplate and reveal the internals of the controller. This is how I was able to swap out the analog sticks and even the anti-friction rings that surround the sticks (although, those popped out on their own when attempting to put the faceplate back on).
You’ll also receive an EMR Mag Key, which is used to remap the paddles. Simply place this magnetic key against the Scuf logo on the back, with the magnet symbol facing you, and simultaneously press and hold the paddle and the button you want to assign it to. As I’ve learned, the assignment won’t register until you remove the mag key from the back of the controller.
With the included 0.9-millimeter Scuf Key, you can adjust the starting point for the hair triggers. If the travel is too deep, you can tighten the screw and the trigger will start to depress into the controller. This is a neat feature that not even the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 offers.
As mentioned earlier, the controller features two switches on the back that can cut the travel to the triggers in half, It’s similar to the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 except the Xbox version offers three stages instead of two.
While it’s unfortunate that the Scuf Prestige is stuck with microUSB charging, Scuf at least provides a 10-foot braided microUSB cable in the box. According to the company, the Scuf Prestige can last for 30 hours on a single charge, which seems to line up with my own testing.
Scuf Prestige performance
The Scuf Prestige’s gaming performance was smooth and seamless during most of my testing, but I started to notice that the Bluetooth range was very short. If I rested the controller above my desk, the controller would start to cut out. For context, my Bluetooth receiver is attached to the front of my desktop, which is located only a couple of feet away below my desk.
I beat the entirety of Hades with the Scuf Prestige by my side, so I can definitely say I’ve spent more than enough time with it. I programmed my dash to the outer-right paddle and my cast to the outer-left paddle. This was the only way I could dash and load up my Aspect of Hera casts into Coronacht, the Heart-Seeking Bow at the same time. Dashing around my opponent and unloading an arrow-full of Zeus’ might could never have happened so smoothly.
In Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age, I didn’t have to assign any buttons to the paddles because it’s not a fast-paced game, so I could focus purely on comfort. I used the D-pad more than anything, and while it was responsive, it felt odd to press. After switching between the Scuf Prestige and Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 multiple times, I concluded that the difference was how I gripped the controllers. I can grip the Elite controller tighter because the paddles are flush with the back, while the Scuf Prestige’s paddles protrude out of the backside. My grip on the Xbox Elite controller allows me to more freely move my thumb without having to worry about the shift in weight.
I also played Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time with the Scuf Prestige and really appreciated the non-slip grips as I slid and jumped my way through those dastardly Flashback Tapes levels. However, I did encounter an issue when I was grinding on a rail section and failed to drop beneath the rail after clicking the paddle. In Crash 4, you can slide by pressing RB or B, but you can only drop on rails with B. My paddle was assigned to RB, so in order to make the paddle more useful, I had to reassign it to B. I'll have to physically change it back to RB if I go back to Halo. The Scuf Prestige doesn’t have any on-board profiles, whereas the Xbox Elite controller has three. It’s definitely faster to program the paddles on the Scuf Prestige, but I would trade that feature for profiles.
Scuf Prestige vs. Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 in terms of reliability
On paper, the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 wins in almost every regard in my book. However, I’d recommend buying the Scuf Prestige over the Elite controller any day. I’ve mentioned that the Elite controller is better than the Scuf Prestige from design to features, but what I didn’t mention is that the Xbox Elite controller is a technical nightmare.
The second Xbox Elite controller launched with a host of hardware issues, including Bluetooth connectivity problems, thumbstick-drift and even sticky buttons. And this isn’t just an isolated issue. I personally purchased the Xbox Elite controller three separate times and have experienced all of the aforementioned issues, respectively. The one I currently have is my third and the B button is sticky, producing short and muffled clicks.
I would never recommend someone buying a product only to have to exchange said product multiple times to get something that works. What I can say about the Scuf Prestige is that it works right out of the box.
With the Scuf Prestige, you’re getting a comfortable design, long battery life, a host of customizable controls, configurable design and easy-to-program paddles. However, you’re kind of getting ripped off at $159. The controller’s back paddles aren’t designed with comfort in mind, there’s no USB Type-C charging, the chassis feels cheap, the Bluetooth range is short, and there are no onboard profiles.
If you want a superior controller, go with the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2. Save for price, it solves every one of the Scuf Prestige’s cons, but you’ll be lucky to get one that actually works right out of the box.
Overall, the Scuf Prestige is a solid controller. It has issues and it should be cheaper, but if you have the money, it’s a good alternative to Xbox’s premium controller plus the option to customize its look and feel.