When it comes to custom console controllers, Scuf is perhaps one of the most well-known names, and their latest is Instinct and Instinct Pro for Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, and PC. The level of customization makes them unique, and the addition of professional features like mappable palettes and interchangeable controllers also makes them more useful, but it comes at a high price. We used the new Scuf Instinct Pro wireless performance controller. Be sure to watch the video below to see all the details.
Out of the box
The Scuf Instinct Pro box includes a manual USB-C cable for wired gaming, additional controllers, and two AA batteries.
One of Scufs main selling points is the ability to customize the look of your accessories. They even transfer it to the H1 headset. The unit Scuf sent has a black and red colourway with red triggers, red bumpers, red shifters, and a red d-pad. It’s also the pro unit, which means there are instant triggers and upgraded grips.
Otherwise, the controller looks a lot like the original Xbox controller. There are recognizable menu and share buttons, bumper buttons and also a microphone mute button near the bottom of the controller with an LED light that indicates the current palette profile.
For the Instinct controller, Scuf modified the paddles of some previous models. Instead of the longer paddles, the Instinct uses more of a rocking configuration. For me the most comfortable way to hold the controller is to place my middle finger between the paddles, then I can push back and forth to activate the button.
The paddles also require a bit of force to activate, which prevents me from accidentally pressing a button. P1 and P4, which are the larger paddles built into the handles, sit right under my middle finger and are easier to operate. I ended up mapping jumping and crouching on these while playing Destiny 2, as these are the ones I want to be able to tap the fastest.
Scuf Instinct Pro: video
Now I’m still more used to the Xbox Elite Controller, and I really like this paddle setup. The paddles are right under my fingers when playing FPS games and are very easy to operate. And if I’m playing a game that I don’t want the paddles on, I can easily take them out. I spent some time trying to get used to Instinct, but I think for my playstyle the Elite is better suited.
That being said, the Scuf Instinct’s paddles are absolutely an improvement over the standard Xbox Wireless Controller. And for me, they’re easier to reach than those on the Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma that we recently reviewed. Your mileage will vary with the rear paddles depending on your hand size and playing style, but I find them much more usable, thanks to their placement under my middle finger.
Up to three palette profiles can be saved to allow quick and easy swapping between different button cards on different sets. It’s also easy to map a button to a palette. Simply navigate to the profile you want to edit by quickly pressing the profile button, then long press until the light starts flashing. Then hold both the palette and the button you want to map to the palette at the same time. The light will turn white, indicating a successful card. Then press the profile button again to exit the editor.
Scuf Instinct Pro: interchangeable analog sticks
Scuf includes an additional set of analog sticks in the package which are easy to swap out. First, remove the location of the magnetic face, then remove the controllers and replace them with a different configuration. When customizing a controller, Scuf offers both tall and short concave and domed sticks.
How does that feel?
Overall, the Scuf Instinct Pro controller is very familiar. The shape is similar to the stock controller as well as the Elite controller. While I haven’t tried the Normal Instinct, the Instinct Pro’s performance grip is comfortable and easy to grip, thanks to the rubberized texture.
The other feature that separates the Scuf Instinct Pro is the performance triggers. Rather than just shortening the trigger pressure like most professional and performance controllers, flipping the switch on the Instinct Pro turns the trigger with the click of a mouse. There is audible and tactile feedback, and the trigger moves very little.
For FPS games looking for the fastest reaction, that means quick actuation simply because the trigger doesn’t have to travel that far. Much like paddles, there is quite a bit of force involved there so I never found myself accidentally shooting guns while playing. I also found myself leaving the standard left trigger for ADS when playing Destiny 2, but I appreciated the shorter squeeze on the right trigger.
Disadvantage of Scuf Instinct Pro: the cost
Unfortunately, all of these customization and performance improvements come at a price. The Scuf Instinct starts at $ 170, the Instinct Pro starts at $ 200. The unit I have here with the cosmetic upgrades and options costs just under $ 270. That’s a lot for a controller. It’s completely customized, and I’d be surprised if there was another controller exactly like this, but it’s a lot.
If all you’re interested in is a custom color, you can also check out Colorware. They offer premium custom products like the Xbox Series X | S controller starting at just $ 100.