XBox Pulse Red Controller on an Xbox One S Review

©️ Phoebs Lyle

The next generation consoles for Xbox and PlayStation have been out since November, but while many people have either one of the two consoles, it’s still a distant dream. Like me, some of my readers might still be using one of the last generation Xbox Ones, so in this blog, we’re going to be looking at how accessible the next generation controllers are, and how they stand up for people who are waiting a wee bit longer before upgrading to the current generation.

So starting with the box, you see the Xbox logo on the front, above a picture of the controller itself, which stands beside the words Pulse Red.

Front of Xbox Pulse Red Controller box © Phoebs Lyle

As you start looking at the sides, you’ll see some information telling you what you get inside, and at the back, some more about what you get with this controller.

Most of the features this controller gives you have been around for a couple of generations now, such as the textured grip and the hybrid D-pad, which was included with the Xbox Elite Controllers – although you do have a choice not to use it on that controller. But the one new thing that you do get on this controller is the new share button, so if you want to share a moment of your gameplay with your friends, you can.

The box is easy to open – much easier than the keyboard case I looked at last week – and you’ll see the controller as soon as you open it. But the only other thing you get in the package is two batteries, which now seem a bit pointless because you should instead get some rechargeable batteries.

Once I got using the controller, I found the buttons much easier to use than the buttons on my Elite Series 2 controller, but it might just be with it being a newer controller that I haven’t been using for the last year.

Some other information about this controller is – depending on what controller you’ve had before – it may be smaller, but for me, as someone who has been playing on the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller in Co-Pilot with the Xbox Adaptive Controller, I think the Series X/S controller is actually bigger. As the controller is built with Backwards Compatibility, you can use it on the Xbox Series X and S, as well as the One X and S, Windows 10 and on Android, with iOS support coming in the future once XCloud gets run out to the web extension for Apple fans who want to use XCloud.

But how accessible is the controller overall? Well, starting from the what I like about it side, I think the buttons are easier to press than on the Elite Controller, I love how I can now share clips of my gameplay – which is something I’ll start using more as I bring out more gaming videos, and if you prefer using your controller with the Swap Sticks option on, your settings will automatically be saved from what you had it set to on your last controller, plus it still works very well in Co-Pilot. I also like how you can still plug it in and play, if you have rechargeable batteries.

But even then, there are some things I don’t like about it. One of these things is that it doesn’t let me use the right stick for navigation until I’m signed in to my account, which makes it difficult for me to sign in because I’m right-mouthed instead of right handed, and sometimes when I’m trying to hold down the home button and trying to turn it off, it takes a long time. I’m not sure if this is something that only occurs when you use it on the Xbox One, but could someone please tell me if it is? Other than that, I don’t have any complaints about it, and even the white back doesn’t annoy me as much as I know it has some other people, because I use mine on a clamp and I play with my mouth.

So overall, I would say this controller is accessible, but some small features still need to be sorted.

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2: How Accessible is It?

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Welcome back guys to Technology Reviews, and today I will be reviewing the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2! This is the latest update of xbox controllers in Xbox’s Elite range, working on Xbox One and other consoles, including the upcoming Series X, and which was voted the best of E3 2019 by Hardware/Peripheral when it was released late last year! Although I needed help getting it set up to work with co-pilot which took a few months because as always I can’t be bothered using my brain (I’m being sarcastic guys _ disabled people do have a sense of humour) I got it set up a few months ago, and have had an easy enough time with it since. I won’t be talking about the set up in this review though, but if you want, I could do a separate blog on it in the future.

But before I start this review here’s a reminder of where you can follow me on social media. You can follow me on Twitter at @Phoebslyle and you can follow this blog on Twitter at @TechReviewsUK_. You can also follow me on Instagram at: therealphoebslyle, where if you also want to follow Technology Reviews it is: technologyreviewsuk, and you can also follow me on Soundcloud at: Phoebs Lyle, where I’m trying to set up a podcast.

But now let’s get in to my review of the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2.

The first thing you see when you get the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 is the picture of the controller itself on the front, as well as the black handle on top of the box for opening it. As we head round the back, you see a couple more details, and at the back there’s two diagrams _ one for the limitless customisation you have on the front of the controller, and another diagram showing the durable components, along with more information, including some about the rechargeable long life battery that extends your gameplay. All this information is available on the xbox website, and in many different languages at the back.

When you open the box, the first thing you’ll see is the case _ which in itself is important because you can charge your controller in it _ then when you open that, you get your controller. (We’ll have a closer look at the controller later). Under the controller, you’ll see all the different thumbstick and d-pad options you have, and this is something I find very helpful because when I discovered I couldn’t use the circular d-pad already on your controller when it arrives, we were able to change it to the included magnetic original d-pad which I can use fine.

Different from the original Xbox Elite Controller, this one has 3 profiles you can use to customise your gameplay whatever way you like _ first introduced with the Xbox Adaptive Controller which is a controller hub for people with disabilities. Some other features you have are the rubberised grips going round the back and front, whereas before it was only around the back, an included key, which let’s you adjust the stiffness of the sticks, and most of all it has an internal battery and a long battery life. On the back, you still have your triggers and bumpers, and these triggers can be customised whether you want to be able to hold them down completely, hold them down half way, or just tap them. But as I game only using the front of the controller in co-pilot with the adaptive controller because I use my head and a chopstick in my mouth, I can’t really talk about the back controls in detail. Saying this, depending on if you can still use your hands and fingers and how much control you have, there is a chance you could still use this controller.

Also in the case _ as already hinted to _ is a charger brick… or clamp. If you set the charger clamp the right way and plug a usb into it before putting your controller on it, it charges like that, but you could also put the controller directly on the clamp, close the case and stretch a usb-c through the case to charge it. Alternatively if you want to still game while your controller is charging, you can plug it directly into your xbox console, or as I discovered a few weeks ago, if you’re sitting near a plug, still want to game and can’t move for any reason (say you’re a disabled gamer and it would be difficult to move), it still charges and works if you plug a USB into your controller and one into the nearest plug. Most days when I game at the minute I’m in one of the arm chairs at my house, so that’s easier for me.

Most of your customisations you do electronically in the Xbox Accessories app, e.g if you want to use the swap sticks function _ possible with the Elite Controller by swapping over your axis _ or if there’s any more button remapping you want to do. All your customisations will then show up in gameplay, which for me makes it easier because I play primarily using the right stick. The only bit of improvement I think Xbox could possibly add to their customisation options though is having an option for the stick clicks as that is something I find difficult.

So how accessible is the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2? For those with physical disabilities who are still able to press and hold, it might be accessible enough. Some of the buttons are slippery so they can be hard to hold on to, but like other accessories, it depends on what you can do. Although I can’t use the back buttons, I like how much you can edit them _ good for some people _ but my favourite features has to be how you can change your d-pad to whichever one’s easier, among others.

Selling for around £180, the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 can be bought at any Microsoft store, Amazon store, game store, or at other shops.

WHY I DON’T LIKE THE NINTENDO SWITCH

Nintendo is another of the big technology giants, which owns some of the biggest video game characters and consoles. In 2017, they launched the Nintendo Switch _ a hybrid console that can be used as a stationary and portable device. Coming with a Switch console; left and right joy cons; joy con wrist straps; the joy con grip; the Nintendo Switch doc; an HDMI Cable, and an A/C Adapter, it is designed to give gamers an independent gaming experience.

The joy cons act as the left and right sticks, and while some of the buttons, like A, B, X, and Y are on the front, others, which are needed to operate action, are on the sides. This is what I feel sends a message to me that _ although I want to play the same games as my non-disabled peers _ I’m not allowed to.

So why don’t I like the Nintendo Switch?

For years, I was a fan of everything Nintendo _ watching out for every updated product from the DS to the Wii U. When I first heard about the Nintendo Switch, I felt exactly the same way, but when I found out it wouldn’t be accessible for someone like me, I was disappointed. Not having any way to attach adaptive switches or joysticks makes me feel like I’m not allowed to enjoy it, and with Nintendo continuously ignoring calls for any accessibility features, makes me sorry to say that they’ve lost a costumer. My ideal hope is for them to create a Nintendo Adaptive Controller, but if they didn’t want to do that I would happily support them following PlayStation’s example in allowing you to change the accessibility features. One thing I will point out is that Microsoft have moved in making their platform more accessible, Sony _ while not perfect _ are at least moving towards making PlayStation more accessible, so what is Nintendo doing?

Rating: ⭐️

PDP One Handed Joystick Review

The PDP One Handed Joystick is a joystick developed by Performance Designed Products (PDP) and for the Xbox Adaptive Controller. It has buttons at the side which are programmed to work as AB and XY controls, but which, like the Adaptive Controller, can be reprogrammed.

The PDP One Handed Joystick Comes in a Box, Telling Us What’s Inside and What It Can Be Used On.

The box that the PDP One Handed Joystick comes in has a green top, with a picture of the one handed joystick in front, and some more information in the corner. On the side, it tells you a bit more about it, and like other products, there’s the same information in other languages on the back. A picture of the joystick itself is included on another side as well.

Inside, you’ll see the Joystick itself hidden in bubblewrap, with a lead and USB already attached. You get warranty, but nothing else.

So what do I think about the PDP One Handed Joystick overall?

The PDP One Handed Joystick is better designed than other joysticks I’ve tried, and although I don’t use the buttons, I find them easy enough to press. The joystick is easy to move, but where it falls short is when it moves every time I try to move it. Therefore, I would love if companies were to start developing cases for these types of joysticks, so they are accessible for people who can’t use their hands.

I haven’t had time to try setting it up yet as I’ve been busy in the few weeks since I got it, but there will be a part 2 of this review once I get round to setting it up and playing around with it.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Xbox Adaptive Controller Review

The Xbox Adaptive Controller was announced by Xbox in May 2018, and is made and designed solely for people with physical disabilities who have limited mobility and motor functions. Upon its release, Microsoft said it would give people easier access to the games they love, and had worked with charities such as AbleGamers and Special Effect to help make it possible. It is automatically upgradable for all new and upcoming Xbox systems.

What is the Xbox Adaptive Controller?

A long and flat gaming device, the Xbox Adaptive Controller takes all the buttons and controls of a normal Xbox Controller, and changes them to being switches, USBs and more. On the front it has 2 large black switches which are programmed to act as A and B, but can be changed to whatever you like, and a Home button; View button; Menu Button; D-Pad and Profile button. This Profile button allows you to create 3 different set ups for each category of game, but if you run out of space you can still play by plugging switches and joysticks or other in. At the back you have 19 3.5mm jacks to act as every button and action on the controller, and a 20th one is on the left side to act as a Headphone jack. Also on the left side you have a USB port for a left external joystick, with another one on the right hand side for a right one. You can also use the built in Co-Pilate option, which, while meant to be used to let 2 players play as one, I use to let myself use all the front controls, but use switches to help with the ones I can’t reach, or have to hold at the same time. But all of these can be easily changed to suit the needs of whoever is playing, by changing switches over.

What is There to Say About the Box?

The Xbox Adaptive Controller comes in a box that includes accessibility features in itself.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller comes in a box that features accessibility in itself, being slim and easy to open.

The box for the Adaptive Controller has the Xbox Logo on top, with a picture of the controller below, and the product title in the bottom left corner. Some more information can be seen on the side, and this is where Microsoft have really thought of accessibility because the box comes with a handle to help the gamer to open it.

The handle included on the controller’s box makes it easy for physically disabled people to open.

Inside, the first thing you’ll see is the Adaptive Controller, which is on a plastic handle so it can easily get pulled out. Some added information about starting it up is included beneath, but I think the box design was definitely really thought out. I can’t appreciate all angles of it too much because I am paralysed from the neck down and can’t open boxes, but I was able to pull it out easily.

So What are My Thoughts of the Xbox Adaptive Controller Overall?

Before the Xbox Adaptive Controller came out, I wanted to play video games, but I could only do so by mirroring them from my iPad and phone to my tv. I’ve only been using it from Christmas, but already I’ve got to experience so much, and while there are still some games that are easier to play than others, I’ve still been able to play every game somehow. Everything from the box to the design and game play has been fantastically thought out, and if you’re using external switches like I do, all you have to do is swap them in to whatever jack you use at the back. The only bit of criticism I have is that I find the D-Pad quite hard to press, but I can press the one on the actual controller easy enough. Lastly, All I have left to say, is thank you Xbox for changing my life!

The Xbox Adaptive Controller can be bought through Microsoft for £74.99, but all the switches and joysticks you’ll need are sold separately. It also allows you to use handmade switches and joysticks.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Xbox One S Minecraft Edition Review

The Xbox One S Minecraft Edition is a games console released by Microsoft through their Xbox brand, alongside Mojang who owns Minecraft. Coming with a 1TB Hard Drive, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, HDR Gaming and Video services, and the ability to play backwards compatible Xbox 360 games _ the Xbox One S Minecraft Edition is suitable for ages 7+, but includes fear and partial violence, with the degree depending on what games you play.

What Does the Xbox One S Minecraft Edition Come With?

The Xbox One S Minecraft Edition comes in a box with the Minecraft game, rating and organisation information on the front and back, with information about what all you get in it on the side. Inside, you get a white Xbox One S console, a wireless controller, a 1 month Xbox One Game Pass and 14-day Xbox Live Gold trial, a High Speed HDMI cable, Wireless Networking capacity _ and as this is the Minecraft Edition _ digital downloads of the original Minecraft game, the Minecraft Explorers Pack, and Story Mode. (WARNING: THE 4K AND HIGH HD FEATURES ONLY WORK AT THE TOP EXTENT ON 4K AND HD TELEVISIONS).

What are My Feelings About the Xbox One S Minecraft Edition Overall?

Part of my reason for getting the Xbox One S Minecraft Edition is because of the release of the new Xbox Adaptive Controller _ which Xbox released last year to widen their markets to people with less mobility and motor movements. As someone who is into Visual Effects and Graphic Design to an extent but not overly, I feel like I am satisfied with the image, though some scenes in some games are harder to see than others. Otherwise, I find it extremely easy to get around, and can download games and apps quickly with ease.

Microsoft also offers softwares for Xbox to enable deaf and blind people to play video games, but I don’t know enough about them to include them in this review. Please contact Xbox through either the Xbox or Microsoft store to find out more!

The Xbox One S Minecraft Edition can be bought at £249.99 from Game and Microsoft.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️