Scuf Gaming hasn’t been around that long but it’s revolutionized the gamepad market in this short time. Not only did it bring us the innovation of paddle switches on the back of gamepads – as seen on this example and the Xbox Elite controller – but it patented them too, meaning any gamepad that uses rear controls has had to license the idea from Scuf. No wonder Corsair snapped up the company a few years back.
The company’s bread and butter, then, is premium gamepads (variants on the latest Xbox controller, as well as DualShock 4 and DualSense 5 versions) that incorporate rear buttons and many other extras, as well as fully customizable color schemes. The result is some seriously sky-high pricing.
The Scuf Instinct (Xbox variant) is available in either a standard version (from $170) or Scuf Instinct Pro version (from $200), with both including four rear paddle buttons – two each per side, for use by the fingers of each hand. They also include a profile switch for switching between three button-remapping configurations, an interchangeable thumbstick, and a removable faceplate. The Pro version adds switchable triggers to swap between long-throw analog mode and short-throw digital modes and a rubberized grip area.
Opt for a standard black color scheme and you’ll get those starting prices, but add different color options, and the price ramps up. Change the color of every component and you’ll add $50 to the price, while a further $10 will get you the removal of vibration – a downgrade in immersion but potentially useful for professionals not wanting to be distracted.
The pricing is a bit alarming, even compared to the price of the Xbox Elite controller, but the cost is largely justified. The build quality of the Instinct Pro we tested is superb – despite the various interchangeable elements, there’s not the slightest bit of wobble or flex. Small touches such as the magnetic battery cover are great too.
The design is very much akin to a standard Xbox controller, so in terms of comfort and grip styles it reaches the same heights, but it feels like a serious step up in most other areas. The Instinct Pro’s rubber grips also make for a really secure purchase that’s ideal for situations when many of your fingers are engaged with operating buttons rather than holding the controller – ideal for alternative grip styles.
Meanwhile, the usefulness of the rear paddles can’t be overstated for certain games. While many gamers resort to using alternative grip styles to efficiently access more buttons at once, with four extra buttons on the rear, there’s seldom a need to make such compromises, so your thumbs never need to leave the thumbsticks.
The rear button setup is slightly different from the Xbox Elite controller, though. Here, the rear buttons are most naturally activated by your middle finger and require a reasonable amount of travel to activate. Comparatively, the official Microsoft XBox Elite Controller’s buttons sit under your middle and ring fingers and are hair triggers. The latter is better for the most efficient control, while the Instinct is a little more forgiving of accidental finger flicks.
In terms of connections, you get wireless and wired options, with a USB Type-C port at the rear for the latter. Like the official Xbox controllers, the Scuf Instinct Pro uses AA batteries and doesn’t charge them in-device. Also, bear in mind that the Scuf Reflex is one of the few licensed alternatives to the Sony DualSense 5, if you prefer that design of gamepad.
Scuf Instinct Pro pros and cons
- Masses of features
- Fantastic build quality
- Loads of custom color options
- Very high price
Scuf Instinct Pro specs
The Scuf Instinct Pro specs list is:
|Connections||USB Type-C and Bluetooth|
|Button layout||Xbox style (Scuf Reflex offers Sony DualSense style)|
|Extras||Four rear paddle buttons, profile switch, interchangeable front panels and thumbsticks, instant triggers|
Scuf Instinct Pro price
The Scuf Instinct Pro price is $200 (£190) making it a feature-packed but very expensive controller.
Price: Expect to pay $200 (£190).
Scuf Instinct Pro review conclusion
The Scuf Instinct Pro is certainly expensive, even considering its build quality, features, and customization options. As such, it’s hard to really say its price is fully justified. However, it categorically does feel every bit like the best gamepad you can buy, and that title comes at a premium.
For our pick of the best game controllers, check out our best PC controllers guide.
Superb build quality and control accuracy, loads of features and colour options aplenty, for a price.