Razer Sabertooth Elite Xbox 360 Controller: The Kotaku Review

In 2010 Razer introduced the Onza, an Xbox 360 controller with enough extra bells and whistles to get it banned from Major League Gaming tournament play. Expect the same treatment for the Sabertooth, a refinement of the Onza that adds even more bells while removing select whistles.

It's not about cheating; it's about versatility. When the MLG banned the Onza from play, many professional players were up in arms over the possibility of programming macros into the controller. Thing is, you can't program macros into Onza. It's just a comfortable alternative to the standard Xbox 360 controller with a pair of additional trigger buttons that can be assigned to any other controller function. It's just remapping. Want your jump button on the shoulder of your controller? It can do that. Want rapid-fire? Move your finger faster.

The Razer Sabertooth ($US79.99 at Razerone.com), revealed to the world-at-large today but in my hands for the past couple of weeks, is an improvement to the Onza design. Instead of two programmable buttons there are six — two re-positioned triggers and a pair of removable rockers underneath the controller.

The shoulder button placement is one of the Sabertooth's biggest improvements over its predecessor. Where the Onza had two horizontal buttons on each shoulder with a trigger button underneath them, the Sabertooth nestles its programmable buttons between the shoulder and triggers towards the centre of the unit. This makes it much harder to accidentally hit the extra bits, without making it difficult to tap them on purpose.

The pair of two-way rockers on the underside of the unit take a little getting used to. At first I was tempted to simply remove them using the included tool and forget they ever existed. Then I started playing the PC version of Kotaku's Game of the Year contender Spelunky and had trouble mixing up my jump button with my action button.

This brings me to the coolest new feature on the Sabertooth, the tiny OLED screen on the bottom of the unit. The button to the left of the display opens a menu, allowing the user to quickly map the additional buttons, control LED lighting, toggle force feedback and test each of the controllers inputs. It also allows for two different saved button profiles, switched via the button to the left of the OLED screen. It's incredibly intuitive for a menu system with such a small text window.

Razer Sabertooth Elite Xbox 360 Controller: The Kotaku Review

With just a few quick button presses I mapped my Spelunky jump button to the underside of the controller, leaping through the air with a twitch of my ring finger. I'll probably just loose the tool to remove the switches, even with the moulded carrying case Razer includes with the Sabertooth.

The hideous sectioned directional pad of the Onza has been replaced with one similar to the classic PlayStation design, immediately making it more suited to most fighting games than the standard Xbox 360 controller. The braided controller cable disconnects from the unit, a feature with little benefit above making me feel like I am assembling a weapon when I remove the unit from its case.

My favourite features of the Onza — the comfortable rubber coating and the hyper-responsive mechanical face buttons - top off what might be one of the best third-party Xbox 360 controllers I've had the joy of using almost exclusively on the PC because I can't stand corded Xbox 360 controllers. I leave that to people that don't have to worry about toddlers and cats leaping gracefully into their cables.

The Razer Sabertooth will not necessarily make you a better game, but it might just make you feel like a better gamer, with the added bonus of making Major League Gaming unnecessarily nervous.


    Can you give me yours Mike. My onza is broken T_T

    Btw its 119.99 (exclude shipping) in Razerzone AU

    Last edited 04/01/13 3:03 pm

      Not anymore, just bought it from iiBuy for $74

    Does it also break in a month like the previous controller?

      I loved my Onza. I loved it. Except the right stick kept centering to the top after a month. So I got a replacement. And I loved it. Except the right stick kept centering to the right, after about four months. Shame really. Because I loved it. But I can't recommend buying one.

        Same Here. Got the first one replaced for free. Used the second one a fair bit in Halo:Reach, then realised that the trigger travel was really too long resulting in slow firing, so went back to standard 360 controller.

          At least they are replacing them, my Lycosa has been dodgy since the day I got it and Razer ignored every email I ever sent them (multiple). I'll be buying SteelSeries next!

            Did you purchase direct from razor, or from a store. If from a store, take it back there, they have to replace it under consumer law. I bought my onza direct from razer online. It took a bit of to and fro and I had to send them a picture of my original onza with the cable cut before they'd send a replacement.

              From a store, but it's out of warranty now unfortunately. How I never thought of that is beyond me, I guess I got too caught up in those giant DEAL WITH US DIRECT FOR WARRANTY cards that Corsair put in everything..

    Also, AU$20 discount from Razer store if you own an Onza/TE by putting in the serial code for your Onza on their site.

    MLG would ban anything that is considered aftermarket/generic, regardless if it gives you a edge or not.

    i like it, need to replace my current xbox 360 controller anyhow

      Don't waste your money, they're garbage.

        my original x360 remote is garbage, only 2 months old and the right stick is broken, hardly even used it

    I've been through one onza already, the right trigger shit itself after a few months and I haven't been bothered chasing it up and getting it replaced because I honestly don't fucking care and I'm not a kotaku trolling scum fuck that sooks about pricing on a daily basis like my existence depends on complaining about pricing. BUT I WILL BE ALL OVER THIS MOTHER FUCKER! I can't wait, I love razer products :)

    I've had 2 onzas and they were fantastic for the first few weeks, then 2 of the face buttons got stuck on one and the d pad stopped working. Got the second one and the right trigger stopped working and then the right stick kept moving left. They are garbage, they would have to be massively improved before I'd consider buying one.

      I had two as well and similar problems. First the Right thumbstick wouldn't center and the second the right trigger stopped working. I loved the control and how it felt in my hands but I could never recommend it to anyone. Combined I think the 2 lasted 3 months.

    The Onza is the second worst controller Ive ever used.
    Definitely wont be looking at this one.

    I've loved both my Onza and my Onza TE - unfortunately they've both died within 3 months of me getting them and so I've given up on Razer controllers. Sucks because when they do work they work so well.

    Also had an Onza TE. Stick buggered up after a few months. Replacement also stopped functioning. They really were a terrible product and completely put me off the Razor brand.

    I Just want a controller with a rubber grip is that too much to ask?!


      These things are golden and cheap as chips, I highly recommend :-)

    I got my Sabertooth about a month ago. I ordered it when my Onza started giving me problems. I found the saber tooth a little hard to adapt to but after a week or two I was really loving it. I really loved the stick tensioners of the Onza. When Playing COD I would make the aim stick stiff and it helped me with getting head shots. Since the Sabertooth didn't have the tensioners I took a chance and bought some Modsticks. I have to say that Modsticks + Sabertooth is a winning combination. I use the under triggers to run, jump and crouch/prone. I use the right shoulder button to reload and the left one to change weapons. I have the left modstick stick set at the lowest height and the right one at the highest. I love this setup. I hope this Sabertooth holds up better than the Onza and I think it will. I also hope I can use it on the XBone; If I decide to get one that is.

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