Side-by-side: Xbox One gamepad vs Xbox 360 gamepad

Xbox One controller vs Xbox 360 controller photos
An impromptu photoshoot at E3 2013

The Xbox One controller has over 40 improvements over the Xbox 360 controller, and while a few are noticeable right away, it's hard to gauge the rest without a side-by-side comparison.

That's why we gave the Xbox One and Xbox 360 gamepads an impromptu photoshoot at a Microsoft E3 2013 event last night.

  • Here's out updated review of the Xbox One

Thanks to to our hands-on time and fondness for lugging around our seven-year-old controller, we can share the Microsoft vs Microsoft match-up with you.

All of the tweaked buttons, grips, ports and tighter dimensions of the Xbox One controller over its out-to-pasture predecessors can be easily contrasted.

Xbox One controller vs Xbox 360 controller comparison

The Xbox One controller is sleeker everywhere but in the sticks - and that's a good thing

Xbox One vs Xbox 360 analog sticks

The Xbox One's redesigned analog sticks are the most eye-catching change on the front of the new gamepad vs the Xbox 360 controller.

These thinner joysticks are surrounded by a micro-texture grip on the edges, meaning it's much more difficult to have a case of thumb slippage. That's vital for marathon gaming.

Just as important is that the analog sticks take 25 percent less force to move them. Dead zone has been tightened to the point that the slightest amount of movement can be registered by developers.

'One' heck of a better D-Pad

Microsoft representatives admitted that the Xbox 360 controller's D-Pad was severely lacking at the E3 event.

That's why the company redesigned the directional pad to register distinct presses. After all, it did just unveil Killer Instinct for Xbox One after the fighting franchise's 17-year hiatus.

The sleeker, concave Xbox One D-Pad fits this game and other fighters perfectly thanks to the ability to perform sweeping movements.

Xbox One controller vs Xbox 360 controller

The Xbox One controller is sleeker everywhere but in the sticks - and that's a good thing

Face, Xbox Guide button tweaks

The final changes Microsoft made in designing the front of its Xbox One controller are so slight you may miss them.

The four face buttons have been moved closer together. Now X, Y, A, and B are easier to access when a game requires twitch button presses during those overused quick time events.

While the face buttons are tighter together, the Xbox Guide button is out on its own at the top of the controller. No more accidental presses of this slow-to-boot menu button.

In the center now are what Microsoft calls the View and Menu buttons, replacing the back and start buttons that have been there since the first Xbox controller.

Xbox One vs Xbox 360 controller comparison

Wider trigger and bumper buttons

This 'One' tops all

Checking out the top of the Xbox One controller shows that the trigger and bumper buttons are completely different than what is found on the Xbox 360.

The right and left trigger buttons are much wider on the Xbox One, while its left and right bumper buttons are obviously more pronounced, rising out of the controller.

The trigger and bumper button area has been expanded so much that they are actually adjacent to each other, making your finger overlap between them feel much more natural when gaming.

Also, you'll notice that the top, next to the sync button, is a micro USB port instead of the Xbox 360 Charge and Play cable connection.

Xbox One vs Xbox 360 controller comparison

The Xbox One controller is sleeker sans the security attachment

Coolest feature yet to come

The top of the Xbox One controller also contains infrared sensors that the always-on Kinect picks up.

This makes it so that when a second person picks up a controller, it knows to automatically sync them as player two.

Even better is a feature that hasn't been built into any games yet, but sounds pretty amazing.

Split-screen multiplayer could theoretically change sides using the Xbox One's IR sensors and 1080p Kinect by determining where the controllers (and by extension players) are in a room.

That's the type of innovative feature more developers need to get behind - along with split-screen multiplayer again.

Impulse triggers

Microsoft is really hyping its impulse triggers that "bring games to life" and are "a whole new canvas for [developers] to work on."

Disregarding the marketing, force feedback in the right and left trigger buttons does make a game more enjoyable than the last-generation rumble.

Matt Swider