Hardware Review: XBox 360 Controller for Windows

Original Article Here


The XBox 360. The love child of Bill Gates and the Console world. Part two. And, if Microsoft are to be believed, the console to “bridge the gap” between PC’s and Consoles. As part of this drive, Microsoft have done a very clever thing, and released a joypad that can be used on both the PC and the XBox360 console. But, how does the pad fare on the PC – is it just a gimmick or is the 360 pad truly a cross platform achievement?

Suprisingly, yes. Nowadays, more and more games are being released on Multi-format, and some – like platformers, are best played with a controller. You’ll spend many hours with sweaty palms (stop giggling in the back) and, thank goodness, the XBox 360 pad is very comfortable to use. Unlike the original XBox pad, which was bulky, uncomfortable and, at times, downright painful to use, the 360 pad sits snugly in your hands, and you’ll keep a sturdy grip for many enjoyable gaming hours. Mircosoft seem to have learned a lot more about ergonomics as the triggers sit nicely near your fingers, just at the right point to press them quickly should the need arise.

Firstly, and something you’ll notice from the photo, is that it looks cool. I’ve no idea what it is about the colour white, but it sure looks sleek no matter what sort of desk this pad sits on. Microsoft may occasionally release buggy software, but if there is one thing they can get right, they can really make things look sleek, especially with that X in the middle (which also doubles up as a button on the 360). Indeed, it is – for want of a better phrase – a “sexy” pad. The pad feels sturdy too, you can tell that this pad can probably take a few knocks, unlike a lot of PC game pads.

Most people will tell you, the best controller to use for PC is a PS2 one, with a converter to PC – simply because it feels “right”. The XBox 360 pad proves a real contender to that fact. An almost perfect weight, not too heavy, and not too light. The buttons feel smooth to the touch, and the thumb sticks feel like a new home for your thumbs, with the little indentations on said sticks meaning your thumbs aren’t going to be sliding from their positions in a hurry. The triggers too, go in enough to give a satisfying click when pushed in all the way, however they can feel a little too eager to spring back at first, which takes some getting used to if you’re not used to a triggers on a PC pad.

In the games tested, the pad was highly responsive, and didn’t miss a beat while I tried to compelete a level of Prince of Persia T2T as fast as possible. Every jump. run and slash felt very satisfying with this pad, and the rumble is just right, giving a real sensation of weight and,indeed, force to your actions. This is thanks in part to the drivers. Being Microsoft, they incorprate into Windows easily, and the included driver disk, as you’d expect is a doddle to use. You can be twiddling your joysticks in about the same time it takes to have a cup of tea – in fact, it took me longer to get it out of its packaging than it did to install the thing.

XBox 360 Controller

A minor niggle would be that the D-Pad doesn’t feel quite right. It’s not that it isn’t flimsy, it’s more that it uses a single mould, which, in this reviewers opinion, feels a little tacky and cheap, although it can’t be faulted on its actual performance. Of course, your mileage may vary. wink – Other minor niggles include the fact that the green light – that makes that X symbol in the middle of the pad glow like a happy fun ball – doesn’t work in all games. Additionally, the 360 logo, which doubles up as the power button on the 360, doesn’t work on the PC, so you may feel a little disappointed about that.

Overall, Mircosoft have released something special, a pad that works as well on the PC as well as the console it was designed for, and indeed, the XBox 360 pad stands proud on its merits purely on its own as a fine reccomendation to those looking for a gamepad for use on the PC.

Final Score: 92%

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