Razer and Microsoft got off on a good start with customizable controllers, where the Wildcat and Xbox One Elite made quite the stir in the gaming industry.
This goes without saying, but the two companies gave their best shots to give gamers what they need to play titles such as Halo more competently. With the pair of controllers going neck and neck, it's going to be one hard decision to choose between them, but here are a couple of points that can help with that.
To start things off, the Wildcat appears to be more focused on function rather than design. In other words, it's not exactly a sight for sore eyes.
It's pretty easy to hold, though, especially when the neon-green rubber grips are fitted on it. However, those supportive pads are attached using a sort of "cheap" adhesive substance, not to mention that Razer even says that they won't probably stick again once removed. On the other hand, the Xbox One Elite has a soft-material coating and better form, making it a lot better to hold.
As for the thumbsticks, the Wildcat has optional grips for better control, but the movement is a bit on the rough side. Meanwhile, the Xbox One Elite provides a much smoother experience.
Microsoft's controller just has an overall better feel to it. Though, it's a bit heavier than Razer.
The Wildcat has four programmable inputs, where the M1 and M2 buttons are positioned for easy access at the top and the M3 and M4 at the rear.
Going over the M3 and M4 triggers, they are screwed in to make sure that they stay right in place even during intense matches. At first, this design seems good, but compared with the Xbox One Elite's magnetically attached rear paddles; it becomes more of an inconvenience.
On the plus side, mapping the extra buttons is practically effortless, and players will be able to use the pad's profile switch button for up to two custom button configurations. Also, the controls can be remapped anytime, even while gaming.
Moreover, the Wildcat has an edge over the Xbox One Elite: the Quick Control Panel. Located at the top of the controller, this button allows gamers to conveniently adjust the game and chat volumes, and mute the headset's microphone. To do this on the Xbox One Elite would require Microsoft's Stereo Head Adapter, which costs $25 a pop.
However, the Xbox One Elite wins in the customization department, as any button on the controller can be remapped and the sensitivity of triggers and thumbsticks can be adjusted via the Xbox Accessories app. The Wildcat only lets players map the extra M keys, which limits the possibilities and potential of the controller.
While the buttons on the Xbox One Elite are simply more satisfying to press, the buttons on the Wildcat are more "mechanical" with a shorter travel time to activate, which means that button-mashing only demands little or no effort.
Moreover, the buttons on the Wildcat are placed where fingers usually rest on, and getting used to them will only take a while. The trigger locks on the controller also let players shorten the travel on triggers, and it can be readily activated via a switch. On that note, it's recommended to enable hair trigger mode along with the feature to increase its sensitivity, otherwise it'll be quite hard to use them.
As for the D-pads, Razer opted for an independent four-directional layout, and it could provide pinpoint accuracy in shooter games. Microsoft chose to implement a connected D-pad for smoother executions, making it the greater choice for fighting games.
The Xbox One Elite comes with three sets of swappable thumbsticks, two different D-pads and four optional paddles. Even though it functions wirelessly, Microsoft packed in a 9-foot cable for wired gaming along with a nifty carrying case.
Aside from the aforementioned grip support materials, Razer provided a carrying case for the Wildcat too, including the tool to screw-in the M3 and M4 triggers.
With both priced at $150, you can pick either one without the need to adjust your budget. To reiterate, the Wildcat is better for shooters, whereas the Xbox One Elite is more versatile.
To boil things down, the Wildcat just doesn't feel like a $150 controller - or a premium controller - but it's lighter and better suited for marathon gaming. Considering the magnetic design and overall better feel, the Xbox One Elite is just more a bang for the buck.
In the end, the Xbox One Controller comes out as the victor against the Wildcat. Nevertheless, Razer's controller still provides a lot to offer, but when it's compared with what Microsoft brought to the table, it just doesn't seem like it can hold a candle to it.
Photo: Marco Verch | Flickr