Review: Hyperkin Xenon Controller - An Amazing 360 Throwback For Xbox Series X And S

The Xbox 360 controller is well-known for being one of the very best controllers ever made. Microsoft's evolution of the original Xbox 'S' controller felt like a truly refined effort for the company's second home console, and third-party accessory maker Hyperkin has decided to bring it forward for Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.

Enter the 'Hyperkin Xenon' - named after a somewhat niche reference to early Xbox 360 motherboards. Fear not though, unlike lots of those Xenon chipsets from circa 2005, Hyperkin's effort won't melt after a few hours of use.

See, we've been hands-on with this controller for almost a week now, getting a good chunk of game time in across various modern Xbox and backwards compatible titles. And to be honest, we don't really have too much to say about it other than this feels so much like the real thing that — aside from a material change to the analog sticks — we wouldn't know the difference from an official, off-the-factory-line Xbox 360 controller.

Like Hyperkin's previous revival of the original Xbox 'Duke', the Xenon is an officially licensed wired controller - using a detachable USB-C cable for connection. To be honest, we quite like this wired choice for the 360 pad remake. Going back and using wireless Xbox 360 controllers always reminds us of that awkward battery compartment trade-off that always came when going wireless, and over the years, we've begun to prefer wired 360 pads anyway. Sure, Hyperkin could have redesigned a wireless effort, but for sticking to the original designs, we much prefer the flat back form factor of this wired setup.

Review: Hyperkin Xenon Controller - An Amazing 360 Throwback For Xbox Series X And S 5

Elsewhere, you've got your modern Xbox features here like a share button and a 3.5mm headphone jack, but the rest of the pad is as you remember it. Yep, that includes the more 'mushy' d-pad that came as part of the now-classic controller, which we never minded but is something to be aware of if you prefer a more conventional 'clicky' d-pad.

While the stick tension, shape and the rest of it is like-for-like compared to the original, we must mention our only real complaint with this controller. The analog sticks on the Xenon feel quite plasticky, and less soft and comfortable than the ones on an original pad. They'll probably end up being more durable in the long run, and maybe that's why Hyperkin went down this route, but they're just not as comfy and we may end up applying some rubber grips once we pick some up that fit.

The triggers, bumpers and face buttons all feel identical to be honest, and it's been really nice to just feel and use a 'new' Xbox 360 controller in 2023. We've become super accustomed to Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S pads in the last decade or so, and both of those generations have great controller options, no doubt. Yet, the 360 pad is an absolute classic and the Hyperkin Xenon is making us question whether it really is the best Xbox controller ever.

While that debate rages on in our minds, we'll take solace in the fact that we can now play our modern Xbox games on a 360 controller with ease. Xbox fans - if you love the 360 pad, the Hyperkin Xenon is an absolute must.


Wired controllers in this day and age can often feel a little antiquated, but we think it's worth making an exception for the Hyperkin Xenon. The decision to go wired helps with the form factor anyway, and analog stick material aside, this feels so much like an Xbox 360 pad that it's transported us back to booting up Gears of War for the very first time.

This reviewer hasn't touched an official Xbox Series X|S pad since acquiring this thing, and to be honest, it might stay that way unless there's a need to rock a wireless option for whatever reason. The Xbox 360 controller is simply one of the very best, and at $50, we can absolutely recommend picking up Hyperkin's modern version to tackle your Xbox libraries - whatever generation of game you're playing.

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Is the Xbox 360 controller the best gamepad ever? Let us know if you're considering getting a Xenon!