Review

The best Xbox controller is made by Razer, not Microsoft

With its mecha-tactile switches for lower latency and programmable rear buttons, the Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma is one hell of an Xbox controller, even if you’re not a pro gamer.

Alejandro Medellin / Input

These days, Razer makes literally everything from gaming peripherals, to laptops, to cyberpunk masks, to thumb sleeves. But its bread and butter is still performance peripherals for gamers. I’ve been testing the Wolverine V2 Chroma, a wired “pro” controller for Xbox that uses mecha-tactile switches and I must say, it’s better than Microsoft’s Xbox Elite controller while being more affordable.

Alejandro Medellin / Input

$150

Price for the Xbox S/X/One/PC controller.

Alejandro Medellin / Input

Money value

Similar to the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, the Wolverine V2 Chroma is made for pro gamers. Whether $150 is a lot or not depends on the type of games you play and how much you want a competitive edge. The gamepad has the features to justify the price, but only if you’re playing shooters. For RPGs, sims, strategy, and other genres, it’s overkill.

Alejandro Medellin / Input

After many matches of Apex Legends and Splitgate, there is a lot I liked. Razer says the mecha-tactile switches underneath the D-pad and face buttons take just 10ms to actuate — 40% faster than pressing the same buttons on a standard Xbox Series S/X controller. The shorter 0.65mm travel distance should help register presses quicker, too.

Razer

🔊 Listen to the sound of these switches.

The mecha-tactile switches feel nice, but the faster actuation is nearly impossible to notice, even after switching between this gamepad and the standard Xbox one repeatedly. After all, a blink of the eye can be as fast as 100ms, which would still be 10 times slower than the actuation of the mecha-tactile switches.

I’m not saying Razer is full of it — a pro gamer might be able to discern the faster 10ms response time — but me, a regular player couldn’t. Most people probably won’t notice any difference.

Alejandro Medellin / Input

That said, the feedback from the mecha-tactile switches makes a difference. The D-pad is perfect for fighting games. I was pulling off quarter-circles and dragon punches consistently in KoF ‘98. In a platformer like Cyber Shadow, I felt like I had greater control in my jumps. Beyond being super responsive, the switches have a 3-million-tap life cycle. After hearing about faulty Xbox Elite controllers, the guarantee does soften the blow of the price.

Alejandro Medellin / Input

Surprise: Chroma

Switch actuation aside, the Wolverine V2 Chroma has a lot going for it. Since this is a Chroma product, it’s got Razer RGB. It’s configurable via the Razer Setup Controller for Xbox app — the controller is not compatible with Razer Synapse on PC. The RGB is RGB. What else can I say? You can also use the app to change controller layouts and save multiple profiles for different games.

There are four buttons on the underside and one next to each of the bumpers that can be reprogrammed. I liked the standard layout. In Apex Legends I used the bottom buttons to slide and jump. Being able to keep my hand on the joystick while sliding/jumping puts the controller somewhat on par with a mouse and keyboard.

Alejandro Medellin

The controller may have had something to do with this dub.

Though the Wolverine V2 Chroma excels at shooters, it proved equally as useful in Subnautica. I was able to use the buttons underneath to collect items and perform other actions while swimming. The buttons next to the bumper are an addition you won’t find on the Xbox Elite controller, which is a shame because their positioning and customizable functions make them really useful.

Alejandro Medellin / Input

Trigger discipline

The interchangeable joysticks and trigger locks made a big impact on my play style. The former allows you to change out the standard joystick for different options and the latter adjusts the travel distance of the trigger (short pull for shooters and long pull for driving games). The tall and domed joysticks are an acquired taste, but they have their uses — the tall one is useful for sniping and the short one for close-quarters in fighters. With the triggers locked, the travel distance is reduced, making a discernable difference in reaction time.

Alejandro Medellin / Input

The tall stick protrudes quite a bit.

Not for everyone

Let me be clear: Using the Wolverine V2 Chroma won’t suddenly make you a gaming god overnight. However, its programmable buttons and customizable joysticks will make gaming more enjoyable.

The biggest drawback is that the controller isn’t wireless. Yes, a wire eliminates latency, but wireless is where the Xbox Elite Controller has the Wolverine V2 Chroma beat. (Ironically, I had connection issues once when joystick movement was registering twice, though I managed to fix it by reconnecting the braided USB-C cable.)

If you have the money, there’s likely no better Xbox controller on the market. Pro gamers or aspiring pro gamers: you’ll love it. Like the last slice of pizza: you don’t need it, but you will enjoy it.

Alejandro Medellin / Input