Scuf Instinct Pro controller review: premium Xbox Elite replacement?

The first wireless controller from a third-party manufacturer on the Xbox Series, the Scuf Instinct Pro is clearly a high-end, customizable model, with functions that place it directly in front of Microsoft’s Elite 2 model. But is that enough to justify such a high price?

Microsoft has locked down its Xbox One and Xbox Series to only let its own controllers access wireless mode on its console. A policy that forces manufacturers like Thrustmaster, Nacon, Razer, Turtle Beach or PowerA to offer wired models, which are less attractive to the general public. However, the controller we have in our hands today is an exception with a connection in all respects identical to that of the Xbox Series controller
basic. Identical to the point that consoles from Microsoft, Mac and Windows PCs, or operating systems like Android or iOS do not even see the difference with an official model.

Scuf’s secret to trump all other manufacturers on this point: use the original controller’s electronic card to build your custom model. Clearly, the Instinct Pro is an Xbox Series controller to which Scuf adds its touch of customization. And this operation has a significant cost. Count more than 200€ for a standard model, and more than 300€ for the model with all the options. It remains to be seen whether this price is justified, both for the lover of beautiful objects and for the player in search of performance.

Technical characteristics of the Scuf Instinct Pro

Compatibility Xbox One, Xbox Series, Windows PC, Android, iOS, Mac OS
Connection Type Wired USB and Bluetooth
Action buttons 8 + 4 pallets
analog sticks 2
Touch pad Nope
Vibes Yes
Battery Nope
Weight 285g

Buy the Scuf Instinct Pro on Amazon

A good level finish in a format without surprises

In addition to starting from a known electronic base, the Scuf Instinct controller offers a grip almost identical to that of the Xbox Series controller. Same shape of the handles, same placement and format of the buttons, of the directional cross, and a priori triggers and slice buttons coming out of the same mould. Clearly, the Scuf Instinct Pro offers completely comparable ergonomics, without taking into account its additional paddles, with simply a different grip for its handles, made up of thicker reliefs for a slightly higher grip. The finish is the same level as the original model for most elements and only the analog sticks seem to be made of a different plastic, with a slightly coarser texture.

Scuf Instinct Pro controller review: premium Xbox Elite replacement?Scuf Instinct Pro controller review: premium Xbox Elite replacement?

We also notice a slight difference in the adjustments between certain plastic parts, in particular at the joint with the triggers. Nothing surprising, the latter can be removed to access the base of the sticks, even though it has no lack of flexibility or instability once in place. You really have to want to remove it to separate it from the magnets that hold it. As for the graphics that can be added when ordering the controller, it benefits from a good quality of printing and a varnish that gives it a very pleasant appearance to the touch, for a result of the most beautiful effect.

Eventually he emerges from the Instinct Pro a real sense of build quality, but nothing that fundamentally distinguishes it from the Xbox Series controller, and we would even put its finish a notch below that of the Elite 2 controller. The controller is also delivered with two alkaline batteries and a USB-C connection cable that is far too short to be used comfortably in game. Note that the controller cannot be charged in this way, the battery being optional.

Scuf Instinct Pro controller review: premium Xbox Elite replacement?Scuf Instinct Pro controller review: premium Xbox Elite replacement?

Interesting additional functions

Let’s start with the top of the Scuf Instinct Pro which brings up an additional button just above the headphone connector. A button that is simply used to mute the microphone and which ultimately duplicates most of the gaming headsets we come across. There remains the advantage of having this function at hand in play, with a faster action than raising its stem or accessing a switch on the headset.

In back, 4 additional palettes can be assigned on the fly to each of the front buttons as well as to the four directions of the directional cross. They can also each be disabled independently. The method for assigning a function to one of these palettes is simple: press the profile button on the back, then the palette, and finally the target key. Nothing could be simpler, knowing that it is possible to store up to 3 profiles in controller memorylike on Elite 2.

Scuf Instinct Pro controller review: premium Xbox Elite replacement?

Note that these 4 paddles come in symmetrical pairs, mirrored between left and right, with on each side a key to press falling directly under the middle finger, and another to “push” inwards with this same finger. And as much as the first type of palette is easy to access, effective in terms of the action to be taken to activate it, the second type is rather confusing and impractical, especially when used at the same time as an analog stick. For once, we prefer the solution offered by the Elite 2 controller.

Scuf Instinct Pro controller review: premium Xbox Elite replacement?Scuf Instinct Pro controller review: premium Xbox Elite replacement?

At the back of the Scuf Instinct pro, there is also a stroke reducer for the triggers with two positions: a normal stroke, identical to that of the Xbox Series Controller, and a reduced stroke. And there, the reduction is just very impressive, with a depth comparable to that of a gaming mouse switch. Enough to chain supports at very high frequency, without wasting time. Ideal for repeated shooting, and even for shooting at all. This is a real step above the Elite 2, which offers a depth that is still palpable in the short position. Just a pity that we do not find this dry contact at the level of the A, B, X and Y buttons, as at the level of the LT and RT slice buttons, like what the eSwap X from Thrustmaster offers.

A slightly disappointing change of stick

Scuf Instinct Pro controller review: premium Xbox Elite replacement?Scuf Instinct Pro controller review: premium Xbox Elite replacement?

The Scuf Instinct Pro offers the change of stick who wants to offer different sizes and shapes as an option. But beware, the change is made here with a little less elegance than on Elite 2. You have to remove the front panel, then remove the complete stick to take advantage of another format. It is less practical, and more difficult to achieve, the stick being particularly well fixed to its base rod. However, we can not complain about the good behavior of the stick once in place. For the moment, it does not move.

On the other hand, no software support to accompany this Instinct Pro, neither on PC nor on Xbox. It is therefore not possible to adjust the curve of its sticks, the dead zone of departure as the maximum threshold. For once, the eSwap X and the Elite 2 take off on software customization.

Better than the basic controller, but for a steep price

Scuf Instinct Pro controller review: premium Xbox Elite replacement?

The Scuf Instinct Pro is overall a very successful controllervery pleasant to use, with some welcome functions to improve its performance in game. It has the advantage over Thrustmaster’s eSwap X of offering a wireless connection, more accessible palettes, and a format that is very easy to get used to since it perfectly takes over the grip of the Xbox Series controller.

Stay a very high price placement, especially if you want to take advantage of a few options such as additional sticks, or if you want to afford a storage bag. Additional expenses which are a bit of a task in the face of Microsoft’s Elite 2 proposal which, for a much lower price, offers a complete configuration with completely comparable performance and real dedicated software support. There is certainly the advantage of these ultra short triggers and the pleasure of customization, but the amount to be paid seems to us still damn high. To be seen face to face with your wallet.

Buy the Scuf Instinct Pro on Amazon


Strong points

  • A good build quality
  • Super fast triggers
  • A very convincing grip
  • On-the-fly palette mapping
  • Quality buttons and sticks
  • 3 profile memories

Weak points

  • Pallets lower than those of the Elite 2
  • No battery provided
  • The price and in particular that of the options
  • No software support

The Scuf Instinct Pro controller is an excellent controller that easily sits above the original Microsoft model. It easily compares itself to the best models on the platform with a good grip, efficient functions, and a wireless connection equivalent to that of the Xbox Series Elite 2. And if it does not lack much to reach the perfection, we will especially point out its price placement which makes it a perfectly unreasonable luxury item.

This page contains affiliate links to some products that JV has selected for you. Each purchase you make by clicking on one of these links will not cost you more, but the e-merchant will pay us a commission.
Learn more.

We want to give thanks to the author of this article for this remarkable material

Scuf Instinct Pro controller review: premium Xbox Elite replacement?