Ever since the Xbox 360 launched with its iconic pad, the Xbox brand has led the field for controllers. Xbox One’s packed-in controller only cemented that reputation, especially since last June with increased build quality and an integrated 3.5mm audio jack. The Xbox also boasts the best OEM controller ever made, the Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller. The Elite launched with bomb-proof build quality and a level of customisation never before seen outside of specialist offerings, like those by eSports specialists Scuf.
Well, now Razer – long-time stalwart of the PC eSports scene – enters the console fray with what could be a direct competitor for the Elite – The Razer Wildcat Xbox One controller.
The standard Xbox One controller is solid and works well, but as the success of the Elite (and other custom controllers) has shown, the future of joypad design could well be in maximising customisability. Razer have been masters at this on the PC eSports scene for some time – they’ve now set their sights on the console market.
We have been lucky enough to get our hands on the new Razer Wildcat – “The controller made for tournament play” – which has been developed with the help of feedback from the world’s best eSports athletes including Tom “Ogre2” Ryan.
When you first open the box you won’t find any packing materials – instead there’s just the stunning Wildcat’s carry case. Inside the case you’ll find the controller, Micro USB cable and a pack full of accessories.
The Wildcat comes with optional palm-grips. Once applied, though, the grips can’t be removed or repositioned – which makes applying them a rather nerve-wracking experience. Whilst it’s nice to have the option, the grips dramatically improve the comfort levels when using the controller for long periods of time – something we fully expect to be the case – so we would have preferred the grips to be installed by default. If Razer think this an option that buyers will want they should perhaps offer two versions, or employ technology that allows the grips to be repositioned once applied.
This ultimate Wildcat controller packs four additional Multi-Function Buttons over the ordinary controller layout – two bumpers at the shoulders and two removable triggers on the underside. The additional bumpers are permanent fixtures, whilst the aircraft-grade aluminium triggers are removable but you’ll need a small screwdriver (supplied in the box) to do so. All four additional buttons are nicely positioned right at your fingertips, and any other button press can be remapped to one of more of the additional buttons. You can map functions to any of the four new buttons directly on the Wildcat – there’s no need to fire up the Xbox Accessories app to do so.
From the moment you pick it up there’s something that feels ready to go about the Wildcat. It’s light and responsive, sits perfectly in the had and buttons, triggers and thumbsticks – which feature reinforced high carbon steel necks – all feel that little bit smoother than a standard controller.
Whilst clearly a cut above the standard controller, the Wildcat has some serious competition in the form of the Elite. Compare them side by side, though, and it’s clear the Wildcat has different strengths. The first thing you’ll notice is just how light the Wildcat is. It sits much more lightly in the hand than an Elite, and at only 260 g / 0.57 lbs is on a par with – or even slightly lighter than – a standard controller. Many will prefer this lightness for longer gaming sessions; Razer have maintained build quality in such a lightweight chassis by sacrificing wireless play, as the Wildcat is wired only.
The Wildcat also features Razer’s Hyperesponse technology, giving a tactile feel to the face buttons, and comes complete with a full suite of on-board audio controls.
With a grippy and lightweight feel, it’s clear the Wildcat is designed for marathon gaming sessions. There’s enough about the Wildcat that’s unique to set it apart from the Elite (despite similar price points) and carve out its own fan base.
The Lightness And Grip Is Key On This WildCat Controller
Four Additional Fully-Programmable Buttons For Personalized Control Layouts
The Razer Wildcat is an impressive eSports controller, and even if you don’t do eSports (I don’t!) it’s an impressive controller. We love the ease of customisation on offer and we’ve long been fans of on-board audio controls, so kudos to Razer for including a full complement here.
Instant Controller Response & Amazing Thumsticks
Fantastic comfy Palm Grips
Special Carry Case for Events
Need Screwdriver(Included) to remove back triggers
Palm Grips Should be on the controller default not left to the user.
Remember, the Razer Wildcat can also be used on PC.
The Razer Wildcat Xbox One controller is available direct from Razer for £119.99, and from a range of online and physical retailers.
Razer provided us with a retail-boxed sample for the purposes of this review. The Controller was tested for 20+ hours over a five day period on Fifa 16, Rocket League and The Division
A serious controller that's a lightweight alternative to the Elite
The Razer Wildcat is an impressive eSports pad that separates itself from the Elite controller through an exceptionally lightweight (wired only) design and on-board audio controls.
If you are in the market for a high-end controller, we definitely recommend you give it a test drive.