SCUF Instinct Pro Controller Review

Manufacturer: SCUF
Where to buy: SCUF
RRP: £189.99

Premium controllers are far more prevalent in the current gaming age, with offerings available from both Xbox direct as well as multiple third party options. While we’ve checked out some excellent offerings over the years, today’s subject – the SCUF Instinct Pro – aims to be in class of its own. It’s pricey, but by golly it’s good.

SCUF are renowned for putting a lot of love into their controllers and the Instinct Pro shows why from before the purchase has even been made. Heading to their website allows us to simply buy a controller as is, but that little customise button is there to tempt those with a few extra quid in their pockets. Click it, and the world opens up.

From here we can choose from things like coloured or bespoke designed faceplates, as well as different colour schemes for basically every part of the controller; sticks, buttons, triggers, even the rings around the sticks can be changed to one of multiple colours. If you’ve ever tried the Xbox Design Lab you’ll be at home here, and SCUF offer almost as granular amounts detail. As you can see from the pictures on the page, we went for the Dimension faceplate, but there were many more we considered, including the awesome Illumination one.

Now let’s get it out of the way: by making the customisations in this section, the price is going to bump up. After starting at £190, our final tally was around £240, though we obviously need to caveat that with the fact we were given this for review purposes. That is a pricey controller, and we wondered whether any pad could justify such a high price. The old adage proves true though, and you get what you pay for.

From the first moment we held it we knew this was going to be good. It has an almost perfect weight balance, and the shape and feel is as good – if not slightly preferable – the official Xbox Elite pads. My poor Halo Infinite controller has been usurped at last! Obviously we’re keen on the finished look too (somehow it looks even better in person) but that feel is just excellent.

This praise needs to continue for when it’s in use too. The grips are just about right in terms of being grippy enough to hold without over doing it, and everything from the buttons to triggers and sticks feels perfect. Xbox has the best official design out there, but this SCUF effort finds ways to improve things just so, and we have been won over. We’re also a fan of the way hair triggers are implemented here, toggled on and off with a very tactile feeling switch just under our fingers. It’s easy to swap the trigger feel on the fly.

The sticks can be swapped out too, with the faceplate easily removable allowing us the option to just pop them off and put some new ones on. In the box we get two additional types to use, though more can be purchased should you need. We were granted an extra pack to check out, though we much preferred the standard feel, as we usually do.

An included USB-A to C cable allows us to play wired, or easily sync a controller to a console, though this is also possible in the standard method of wireless connectivity. Oh, did we forget to mention? The Instinct Pro is an Officially Supported wireless controller for Xbox, PC, and Mobile. That means we can Bluetooth it to our phones for some cloud gaming, but most importantly, we don’t have to have a wire trailing from the Xbox to play. We’re old enough to remember when wired was the only option, but it is nice to see third part controllers start to be allowed to use the proprietary Xbox Wireless Protocol. On the AA’s provided in the box we got a couple of weeks play out if it too, which equated to roughly 40-odd hours of play in wireless mode.

One small caveat that might deter some is that small fact; the Instinct Pro requires AA batteries to run. For us, this is actually preferable, being long time proponents of the ease of just swapping out rechargeable batteries, but there’s no denying for the price it’d have been a nice add to have some sort of built in option.

The only other small gripe – which is more of a personal preference – are the included back buttons. These are a now common feature, especially in third party options, and the Instinct Pro is no different, offering four customisable inputs. Where we’re not quite sold though is in the layout. Where we’ve gotten used to the Elite’s detachable flappy paddles, the Instinct Pro has four built in buttons, two per side. The inner of these two are nice and chunky, clicking in with a satisfying feel. The remaining two are positioned basically directly opposite to these, and this is where we need more time to get used to things. We found the easiest way was to use one finger to flick between them, using both the front and back of the fingertip. This is fine for the most part but should we need to press two at once it requires a bit of finger dexterity to achieve. Of course, we can just customise our way around this – we’re able to have up to three profiles saved on the controller, handy for swapping in and out of games – but we do prefer the official Elite’s way of doing things in the regard. Again, these are far from unusable though, and with more play we got more used to the change in style.

Conclusion

So overall, does the SCUF Instinct Pro justify its high-to-higher price tag, depending on what options you go for? For us, absolutely. Everything from the weight, feel, inputs, wireless inclusion, and customisation options make this controller easily recommended for those looking for something to up their game. As long as you’ve got the budget and don’t mind sticking with the AA crowd, Xbox controllers really don’t get much better than this.

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Hardware provided by the manufacturer for review purposes.
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Good
  • Excellent controller feel throughout
  • A wealth of customisation options
  • Wireless play on console, PC, and Mobile is a fantastic add
Bad
  • Personal preference for us took a while to get used to the back button layout
  • AA’s still required which may be a hurdle for some
9.9
Excellent
Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

1 Comment

  1. Order #: S13652196
    Seal of Approval #: 2340A6011

    I spent nearly 350 dollars for the Scuf instinct pro controller. I’ve owned it for a week. It came broken! LT button doesn’t always work. It randomly disconnects even though it says its still connected and it came with stick drift. What’s the point of the testing phase if when they send it its broken? Its like they didn’t test it. Then I tried to send it in for repairs (which for 350$ I shouldn’t have to do at all) and it was a stupid migraine of a process that i dont have time to do. Crazy that for 350$ you get a broken product. I can see the advantages of a controller like this but its clear this company is here for the money and not the quality of their product. Be cautious when buying.

    Reply

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