PowerA, a controller company known for making, well, controllers. With their latest product coming out this September, let’s check out if the new PowerA FUSION is worth its $50 pricetag, let alone its reputation to be a budget replacement for the Xbox One Elite controller.
When you take the Fusion out of the box, the first thing you’ll notice is how neatly everything is packaged. The 9.8 foot woven chord is tucked nicely behind the controller, and everything else is stored inside black boxes. It’s all well packaged, and easy to disassemble. The extra analog sticks (which we’ll talk about later) come in a molded plastic shell, making them easy to keep track of when you pull them out. Along with the controller, PowerA gives you a manual, which is very simple and easy to understand, as well as being quite short. With this, you get a large sticker of the PowerA logo, a legal information sheet, and most excitingly, the anticipated analog sticks. The new PowerA Fusion comes with a total of six analog sticks, something to compete with the Xbox One Elite controller. The sticks included are a standard pair, a large pair, and a set that has rounded tops. I found that each of these analog sticks are good for specific purposes:
Large: This set was great for anything that involved fine movements of the analog sticks, such as racing games. I found myself using these the most, as they were the most comfortable. They allowed for very minute movements, and a good grip on the center of the stick.
Rounded: The rounded analog sticks were extremely twitchy. They’d be good for any sort of game that needs quick reflexes. They also seemed to roll on the thumb quite well, meaning you didn’t need to put in as much effort to move them to their max throw.
Standard: These feel very much like the standard Xbox One controller analog sticks. They seemed to be a healthy blend of the Rounded and Large sticks, feeling twitchy, yet in control. PowerA made the analog sticks easy to switch as well. Firmly pull one of them off, and push another on, it’s that simple.
With the exception of being slightly taller, the Fusion feels pretty similar to the Xbox One controller. The textured handles provide an adequate amount of grip when gaming, even on hot days. The Menu and View buttons seem to have been lifted quite a bit, but it’s habit to reach for them once you’ve used the controller for around half an hour. The triggers seem more precise than its Microsoft counterpart, yet the bumpers seem to be slightly too sensitive. For some, this may be a sought after trait, but I found myself accidentally hitting them all to often. However, this can be fixed by slightly adjusting your grip on the controller. The controller may feel busy at times with the textured handles, but the carbon fiber-esq texture on the back plate is a nice touch, and lets you distinguish where the two extra buttons are.
Yes, the Fusion comes with two buttons located at the rear of the controller, called Pro Gaming Buttons. These buttons are mappable to any other button on the controller. Did I mention that it’s absurdly easy to map as well? Hold down the rear connect button for three seconds, press the button you’d like mapped, then press one of the rear buttons. Along with these, the Fusion controller also includes trigger locks. These limit the triggers throw to only half of what it is normally, making rapid fire shooting games much more enjoyable. In comparison to the Xbox One controller, the Fusion feels a tad sturdier, although the materials used in it’s construction do not feel as high quality. There is less flex to the controller itself, and the plastic feels thicker.The 3.5mm headphone jack is located on the bottom of the controller, making headphone access very convenient.
The controller performed better than expected, although there are a few hardware glitches that became apparent. For one, when holding down the trigger while pressing the bumper, they almost felt connected. Sometimes it would hold the bumper down, but it never happened during actual gameplay. Gradually it became less common, so it may just be wearing in. The vibration also made an odd noise during the first five minutes of gameplay, but it also stopped, so again, it may just be breaking in. Glancing over those minor downsides, the controller itself performs great. Everything is sharp and responsive, while triggers and analog sticks provide a great amount of precision. The Fusion runs on Xbox One drivers, letting you switch seamlessly from the Xbox One controller to the Fusion if you’re playing on PC.
The PowerA Fusion is an amazing controller for the price, and definitely has some features that the Xbox One controller doesn’t have. As opposed to the Xbox One Elite controller, it’s definitely one to look into if you’re on a budget.
Excellent: I’d recommend this controller to anybody who is looking for that extra customization, for just a fraction of a cost of the Xbox One Elite controller. It may not be a direct replacement, but it’s definitely going to get used quite a lot.