Hardware Review: PowerA Xbox 360 AirFlo Controller



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 79-815-028-11the 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!


22 responses to “Hardware Review: PowerA Xbox 360 AirFlo Controller

  1. I only bought 3rd party controller for Wii actually and never got problem with them, though, the quality seems a little less important about the design and sometimes pression you need to have over the inputs. But works well for a wiimote

  2. Currently I have and STILL use, a Saitek X-45 Hotas stick and throttle. I have owned this piece of kit for going on 10 years now, and apart from a few tiny dents and scratches, it’s still operates as good as new. On the other hand I have owned two microsoft 360 wired controllers and they have BOTH gave up on me after only a few months of use. Frustrating to say the least, as most games these days being console ports, really do benefit from the easier gamepad control versus my much prefered keyboard and mouse. I really thought that the Microsoft brand quality would have stood up, but apparently not in my case. So I trundle on with my keyboard and mouse, adapting as best as I go. 🙂

  3. I’m using xbox controller like this one. Maybe i could buy the original one but it was a little expensive. The other controller that i’m using has a little less quality but it’s working like the same with xbox. I think that’s enough for me.

  4. The first set of third-party hardware I had was an old madkatz controller for the original Xbox. It was… Not very good. I would play games with my older brothers and get stuck with that controller, and it would just be a hassle to use. Hopefully they’ve stepped up their game recently, as 3rd party controllers are a bit cheaper that the original, usually.

  5. Had a weird chinese controller that I wasn’t sure i could change the key bindings with, I was really young. It had a weird number pad…never used it after dino crisis

  6. Many years ago only i had a gamepad of some unknown brand, even i don’t remember it now although it is still here somewhere, but he didn’t last long.
    He was similar to the Mega Drive controller, the 6 buttons on the right version, and had triggers in the middle to select normal or turbo mode for each of the buttons. The problem is he didn’t held up to much time. After a while it stopped working and after that never got a new one.
    Now i would like to get a new one but i’m wary of it’s durability so that’s a bit of a issue for me. When i get the money to buy one i’ll check this one you reported with more attention 🙂

    If possible, if the controller starts having trouble send a notice to the people so they can know and evaluate for themselves if it’s worth the price or not.

    Thank you for the article 🙂

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