The Otterbox Antimicrobial Easy Grip Controller Shell reminds me of the Duke. A slim plastic shell that wraps around your Xbox Series controllers, it adds ridged grips, protection against scuffs and abrasions, and some serious heft. It’s available in Xbox One and Series X|S flavors for $40.
Otterbox Easy Grip Xbox Controller Shell Review
Design and Performance
The Easy-Grip Controller Shell comes in three shades: Black and silver, white and grey, and purple with glow-in-the-dark seams. On my black Series X controller, the purple added a subtle, cool sheen to the overall look.
The shell comes with two pairs of swappable cups – one with smooth ridges and another that feels more coarse – that fit your controller’s handles and give it a little extra grip. Both options felt a bit too plasticky for my taste. Otterbox says these grips will help with sweaty palms and overall slipperiness. While I didn’t notice much on the sweat-wicking front, I did think they provided a decent grip. I preferred the smoother option to the scratchy coarseness of the other. For those interested in frequently switching between the two, each of the sets of cups are cleverly emblazoned with L and R so you don’t have to guess if you’re putting it on correctly.
That being said, the shell is a little more finicky to equip than I was expecting, and it’s not uncommon to feel like you’re going to break it when forcing the clasps together. Once attached, it sits fully secure, though is still easy to remove by undoing the securing clasps.
The back of the case does not sit flush against the controller. This presumably provides better shock absorption, but it makes the controller feel so large. Meanwhile, every button on the front is exposed via the large cutaway in the front, meaning the scuff protection won’t extend to the joysticks or face buttons. Still, there is a slight ridge near the face buttons that could add to some protection in the same way an open-face smartphone case can prevent a shattered screen if it lands at just the right angle.
To test the Otterbox’s protective abilities, my 11-month-old daughter put the shell through a rigorous series of drop tests from around the two-foot range. While the controller mostly landed on its protected handles, it did fall face first several times, jeopardizing the thumbsticks. Still, there was no visible or functional damage to the controller.
In three decades of gaming, I can’t remember a time I broke a controller by dropping it on the handles and I can rarely remember scraping them up. However, I’ve spilled on controllers, I’ve worn the thumbsticks to pulp, and I’ve busted buttons by dropping them face down. Unfortunately, the Otterbox – or any case for that matter – can’t exactly protect from these elements without rendering the controller useless. That makes the $39 price tag a tough sell for me.
I wasn’t enamored with the controller’s new ergonomics – I’ve come to appreciate how svelte the Series controllers are. But our executive tech editor Bo Moore has also used the case and appreciated the new size and shape. So, if the Series controllers feel too small in your hands, the Otterbox is a decent option; you’ll get a larger controller, two types of grips, and some added protection.
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The Otterbox Easy Grip Xbox Controller Shell retails for $40 at Amazon and Microsoft, as well as direct from Otterbox.