If it isn’t broken, why fix it? A motto followed by many, but occasionally it’s good to break away from conventional. While there are some poor 3rd party controllers out there, in general, they have come a long way from the Mad Catz controllers we dreaded being handed when visting a friends house for some co-op action. Typically replacement controllers can range from $40-$60 US dollars depending on where you are and the style you purchase. However, companies have been trying to break away from the standard controller styles and provide something that people might want. Just the other day I was browsing in a GameStop listening to the random chatter the employees are providing and I see in the bargain bin a Power A Controller branded with Medal of Honor Warfighter. Its likely you didnt like the game, or don’t like FPS titles like that at all, but I was hunting around for a replacement controller to replace my aging wired 360 controller. What’s this? It provides air flow to my hands while I game? Well… that sure does sound interesting on paper, and plenty of times Ive had a buddy hand me a warm and moist controller…*shudder*. It’s worth a shot! The price was $30, but I decided to go search online for a better deal. I did find it for $22 shipped! Click! Ordered.
Upon showing up at my doorstep, I unbox the unit and quickly start to feel the controller to see how it compares to other 360 controllers I’ve had in the past. Slight rubberized portions of the grip are a nice touch, thumbsticks are fairly easily moved but snap back quickly into position, triggers feel nice, overall fairly pleased with how it sits in my slightly larger hands. Some things I notice right away though, is that the underside of the controller doesn’t have the very deep ridges like the stock 360 controller, partly due to the fan intake being underneath. However, it doesn’t impede long gameplay time comfort for me. I originally wrote this review but decided to hold off a bit more and spend quite a few more hours playing racing titles and some more platform titles on my PC. Overall I have no complaints, the build quality is nice, the finish doesn’t leave unsightly smudge marks and hand prints all over it when you put it aside. The triggers and shoulder buttons are also very loose in comparison to the standard Xbox Controller. The tighter triggers on the standard controller feel much more responsive especially in shooters that use the triggers constantly.
While all of the good things about the controller are in terms of functionality, my few complaints fall cosmetically with it. While the fan feature does actually provide a good amount of air flow as it’s main feature indicates, the noise the emanates from it on the highest fan setting is very distracting. At low to medium volume with my headset on, I could still hear it slightly on the high setting, none on the lowest. While this is a slight design flaw with the choice in fan type (probably not being ball bearing), it’s more of a gimmick feature anyway at the end of the day and really shouldn’t deter you from buying it (the fan can be turned off). The lighting of the controller is very subtle and not obnoxious like the multi LED PDP clear afterglow controllers that blind me while holding it, the light does tend to bleed through the plastic giving it a bit of a cheaper look. As far as longevity of how long the controller will last? I can’t honestly tell you, but for $22 if it lasts for a year or two, I will have no complaints. That is usually the problem with 3rd party peripherals. Build quality and engineering isn’t typically something put into high regard for things like this. Time will tell, and if I do end up having any issues with it I will be coming back to do an update on this article.
Tell us below what 3rd Party Hardware have you had good or bad experiences with!