3. Scuf Instinct Pro – Best for Custom Controls
Scuf is arguably the leader in custom controllers, especially in the world of eSports where professional gamers need the best performance possible from their controllers. On the surface, Scuf offers everything that Microsoft’s Design Lab offers – custom triggers, a variety of colour options, buttons, analogue sticks, etc – but there’s much more on offer.
One of the more notable changes compared to recent Scuf controllers is the switch from traditional rear paddles to something more akin to regular triggers, placed perfectly near the rear grips of the Instinct Pro so you’re not scrambling to hit buttons in those tense online shooter moments.
Those that have used recent Scuf kit will know about the tech that allows you to change the paddle functions on-the-fly with the use of an EMR key. It’s a great feature – as long as you don’t lose the key, which must’ve happened a lot because Scuf ditched the system with the Instinct line.
In its place, there’s a button on the rear that lets you switch between three profiles, indicated by an LED beneath the mute button. Pressing the button cycles you between your profiles, and pressing and holding the button takes it into remapping mode. From there, it’s as simple as holding the rear trigger and the button you’d like to remap it to. For us, it’s one of the best upgrades compared to previous Scuf tech.
Perfect for budding eSports stars, Scuf’s trigger stop has been a staple of its custom controllers for years. The tech allows you to add a trigger stop with a flip of a switch on the rear of the controller, and it has been upgraded to provide an experience more akin to the click of a mouse than the pull of a trigger with the Instinct line, reducing reaction times and making shooter games feel more responsive.
Don’t assume you’re locked into the design of Instinct Pro you choose when you purchase either; the controller features a magnetic faceplate, so you can swap it out for something entirely different for the fraction of the price of a new Scuf controller, and you can swap out the analogue sticks too. You get a second set in the box, and you can pick up additional sets separately.
There only real disappointment is in the battery department; rather than featuring a built-in lithium-ion battery, like with its predecessors and Microsoft’s Xbox Elite Controller 2, the Instinct Pro requires 2 AA batteries for use. That means the included 10ft braided USB-C cable certainly comes in handy!