Scuf Instinct Pro Xbox Series X/S Controller: Kotaku Review

Picture of the Scuf Instinct Pro controller with a beautiful purple interface.

Giant hands blocker. Normal size console.
Photo: Mike Fahey / Kotaku

Since 2011, Scuf Gaming has made a name for itself by producing some of the best third-party console consoles and owning a massive number of console patents. The Scuf Instinct and Instinct Pro are the company’s first stab at creating an elite-level console for Xbox Series X/S consoles, and they’ve largely succeeded.

What are Scuf games?

We’ve been writing about Scuf’s controllers Kotaku For years now, testing both Its PlayStation 4 consoles And his answer to the original Xbox Elite Wireless Controller. We’ve also covered the patent infringement case against Valve and the Steam console, which Valve has been in Skov pay order four million dollars.


Scuf Gaming is an Atlanta-based peripheral manufacturer that was founded in 2011 and does two things. First, it makes highly configurable and usually expensive consoles for Xbox and PlayStation consoles. Second, gaming patents collect as if they were baseball cards. The company holds more than 100 patents, including the rear buttons or paddles on game consoles, side “sachs” buttons, and trigger stops, which limit the distance that console triggers need to activate. The company owns A whole page of her website is dedicated to her patents. Do you know the Xbox Elite controller from Microsoft? Most of the technologies that make them elite are licensed from Scuf.

Scuf was acquired by Corsair Components in 2019, making it an integral part of Corsair’s sinister gaming hardware empire, which also includes Origin PC and streaming hardware maker Elgato.

What is the Scuf Instinct Pro Controller?

The Scuf Instinct Pro This is a wired and wireless controller designed for computers and Xbox Series X/S consoles. It’s Scuf’s newest way to make its own Xbox Elite Wireless Controller. There are actually two forms of instinct. There is the $200 Instinct Pro, which comes with trigger stops and a textured grip, and the $170 Non-Pro Instinct, which lacks both of these features.

Rear view of the Scuf Instinct Pro controller, showing the new back buttons.

Without the metal paddles it looks a lot less like a meat slicer from behind.
Photo: Scuf ألعاب Games

Both Instinct models feature four buttons on the back of the console. These are Skov’s beloved children. They used to be long metal paddles, but now they are cute little buttons that are easy to activate with your middle fingers. Under the battery compartment—yes, the Instinct Pro uses batteries instead of a rechargeable battery pack—there’s a button for quickly switching between three different button configuration modes. Small silver switches next to the battery compartment lock the triggers of the console so they don’t have to travel to activate, which is good for shooters.


Image of Scuf's Instinct Pro with green interface.

There are a lot of interface colors for this thing.
Photo: Scuf ألعاب Games

The front of the Scuf Instinct Pro looks a lot like the standard Xbox Series X/S controller, right down to the share button and the one-piece directional dial. There is an additional mute button dedicated to headphone users, which is nice.

How does the Scuf Instinct Pro controller feel?

What really sets the Scuf Instinct Pro apart from the standard Xbox Series X/S consoles is the removable faceplate. It not only allows you to switch the look of the console with different covers and rings for the analog stick, but you can also swap out the analog sticks with different sizes and shapes. There are a couple of convex sticks included in the package, which I immediately threw away because the convex sticks are rubbish.

Picture of the Scuf Instinct Pro Controller with the white flip cover removed.

Don’t look at it there, it’s embarrassing.
Photo: Scuf ألعاب Games

Aside from those adorable little back buttons, the Scuf Instinct Pro controller feels like an official Xbox console with a firm grip. The form factor is very similar to my standard Xbox Series X/S game consoles. Despite its modular design, the Instinct Pro has a nice, powerful feel. The weight is nice.

I was worried that the little buttons on the back wouldn’t be as satisfying as the metal paddles from the old Scuf models or Microsoft’s Elite Wireless Controller, but they’re actually decent and unobtrusive. You can feel them there, but they don’t feel like they are in their way.

Is the Scuf Instinct Pro controller better than the standard Xbox Series X/S controller?

If you’re looking for additional features, more buttons, and customization options, the Instinct Pro has the original Xbox Series X/S controller. If you don’t need any of these things, the standard console should do just fine.

Is the Scuf Instinct Pro controller better than the Elite Wireless 2?

This is a much more difficult call. First, Microsoft’s Elite Wireless 2 costs $20 less than the $200 Instinct Pro. The Elite Wireless 2 has many hair breakpoints unlike the Instinct Pro, which are either on or off. And the Elite Wireless 2 has adjustable analog stick tension, which the Instinct Pro doesn’t.

Photo of the Scuf Instinct Pro controller in a giant mutant hand.

Seriously, my hands are huge.
Photo: Mike Fahey / Kotaku

However, I prefer the little buttons on the back of the Instinct Pro, and my custom facepad is much nicer than the Elite Wireless 2. If you want to make a statement with your controller, the Instinct Pro is the way to go.

Should you buy a Scuf Instinct Pro Controller?

Look guys, I’m not going to tell you what to do with your money. If it were up to me I would have spent everything on transforming robots from Japan shipped straight to my door. What I’m going to say is if you drop $200 on your new Xbox Series X/S and/or PC controller from Scuf, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. It’s a powerful console for professionals that sounds like something Microsoft might make, and not just because Scuf holds most of the patents on what Microsoft makes anyway.

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