Controllers have to feel good in the hand. That's rule one of any controller when you're required to use one for a game. It could be for a console or one for the PC; but it needs to feel intuitive enough so that landing counter-attacks in
, or the last-minute strafe and one-hit kill in
is easily achievable thanks to the controller.
However, there are times where the first-party controllers from Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft and other vendors simply don't meet the requirements of the player. It could be because of feeling uncomfortable holding one, or you're simply used to one layout of buttons rather than another.
The kind people at NACON have put these thoughts towards a new controller that launched today, in the form of the
controller for Xbox and PC.
We've been taking it through its paces through a wide berth of games, and while its 'Dolby Atmos' feature is something to admire, it's a product best left for the second player once we're allowed to have someone come visit and play local co-op of
Design - Score 85
The controller is certainly 'Compact', with a height much lower than the official Xbox controller.
All the expected buttons are here, while the 'Start' and 'Share' buttons are in a much better position than Microsoft's controller I'd argue, with much easier access to quickly 'Pause' or grab a screenshot when in an intense match.
While this controller is wired, it also means that it can be plugged into a PC without having to go through the monotonous Bluetooth settings that Windows 10 provides. Here, it's a simple plug and play, install the 'Nacon App' from the Microsoft Store, and you're good to go.
It's worth mentioning the app here, as its customisation is very welcome. Here, you can update the firmware, customise the buttons and the analogue sticks, even changing the DPAD from 8-way directions to a 4-way for retro platformers for example.
While the controller is certainly 'compact' and comfortable, we can't help but feel that the grips just feel odd for any hand. We gave the controller to others (in the same household for anyone wondering for COVID reasons), and they also mentioned that while the controller fit their hands, holding it was off, due to the grip. Whether it's because of how short the grips are, there's times when you need to re-adjust your hands.
It's hard to explain, but if the grips were extended slightly, it would be a much more comfortable fit, while still being 'Compact'.
Otherwise, playing games like Crash 4, Dragon Ball FighterZ and even Sonic Adventure was good enough, with the analogue sticks feeling accurate and even well-made from the material here.
Sound - Score 90
It may be a strange section to read for a controller, but for the Pro Compact it's justified, with it featuring 'Dolby Atmos'.
This is something of a partnership between NACON and
, this technology is essentially a 7.1 surround sound experience, but with another '3D Sound' attached, giving the user a way of hearing the games in a much clearer way.
Of course, this depends on whether the game itself is supported on PC, but when used on an Xbox Series X, the difference was night and day when the headphone jack was used in the Pro Compact.
The audio was incredibly immersive and clear, especially in games like
Call of Duty
Resident Evil 3 Remake
. As long as you see a game that supports 'Dolby Atmos', you're essentially good to go.
- Great buttons
- Dolby Atmos is fantastic
- Great price
- Grip feels too short
- Wireless would be welcome for Xbox
Overall, it's short but sweet here regarding the
. It's a fantastic controller for the second player or as a backup for when the main controller needs to charge up.
Its design is great, but the grip feels too short to be held for a significant amount of time. It's great that it's wired, especially if this is going to be used for a PC, but for Xbox, it would be good to see a wireless variant someday.
At 49 euros, it's a fair price for what it offers, especially when you factor in Dolby Atmos here. The sound is crisp and incredibly immersive, and you'll be looking to see which game supports it from now on.
You can't go much wrong with this controller; it has few aims but does them well.