I’m not much for third-party controllers. I almost always find them to feel ‘off’ when compared to official ones. This also applies to those that are “officially licensed” by console brands as well. It’s hard to explain, but it either feels cheap, loose, or just not up to what I’m expecting with controllers. That being said, the company PowerA has been the exception. Producing high quality, well-made controllers, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by their controllers every time I pick one up. This time around they are attempting to rival the ridiculously priced Xbox One Elite controller. But do they pull it off?
At first glance the presentation of the PowerA Fusion Pro Xbox ONE Wired Controller is staggering. Tucked inside a durable, high quality shell case, the controller looks more like a black market weapon than a gaming peripheral. Even the zipper feels heavy duty and well made. Complete with extra thumbsticks, attachable back panel with map-able pedals, and a extra set of anti-friction rings, the overall presentation is fantastic, and is what you would expect to accompany a high-end controller.
The controller itself has a lovely weight to it, and is covered in a smooth, yet grippable finish that I honestly prefer to the official Xbox feel. The buttons are responsive, crisp, and feel great. Both triggers also have three settings that allow the player to adjust the amount of movement that is needed for the button to send input, letting you go from a full squeeze to a hair trigger in a simple slide of the switch.
Thumbsticks are tight and well placed, with an overall feel smooth. While I only played with this controller for maybe 12 hours so far, I can’t see any drift or sticking happening anytime soon. The edges have a great grip design that again, feels better than the original Xbox ONE controller.
A small, but important detail I want to highlight is the micro-USB cord. Opposed to the usual cheap, short cords you no doubt have piled around your home by now, the Fusion Pro comes with a very long, extremely well-made weave cord that is built to last. I know this sounds like a tiny thing, but I am beyond tired of companies charging you hundreds of dollars only to provide a cable that is so poorly made it breaks in a month. (Looking at you Apple.)
I was most intrigued by the attachable back panel that adds four mappable pedals to the controller. The panel pops in easily enough, and the controller allows for super easy mapping of these pedals. I used this with Gears 5 and while I didn’t really find them that helpful, I could see them being extremely useful if used with other multiplayer games. They could easily be the difference between getting a kill or being killed by saving just a fraction of a second.
Overall, the PowerA Fusion Pro Xbox controller is without a doubt the best third-party controller I’ve ever used. It is a well-made, heavy duty controller, that easily rivals the official “Elite” controller at a fraction of the price. If you are looking to upgrade your controller without shelling out over one hundred dollars, give the Fusion Pro a whirl.