Since Microsoft decided to keep controllers mostly the same for the Xbox One to Xbox Series X|S transition, you’ve got a lot of choices. You can use the old Xbone controllers, get new wireless controllers with a fancy share button, look for a premium Elite controller, or save some money with PowerA. A newer option comes courtesy of Nacon: the Rig Pro Compact Controller.
Coming in at $49.90, the Pro Compact costs a little less than the official wireless Xbox controller, while still offering more than the controllers you’d find on sale at WalMart. It comes in black or white to match your Xbox of choice. The three big features it advertises are its ergonomic design, customizability, and support for Dolby Atmos. Overall, it delivers on all of these admirably, even if nothing blew me away.
The “universal ergonomics” of the Pro Compact’s design, on a simplistic level, amount to making the controller smaller and the buttons bigger. I have mixed feelings on this. The smaller size just isn’t for me, and in particular I wish the grips were a little longer. That’s a personal preference, of course, and many shopping for a compact controller know what they want. On the flip side, the button and joystick size/placement are wonderful. I’m a huge fan of the flatter A, B, X, and Y as opposed to Microsoft’s more rounded approach. The shoulder buttons on the Pro Compact feel great, as well.
Like many third-party controllers being released these days, the Pro Compact supports customization. Using an app from the Microsoft Store, you can program button and stick settings as well as trigger sensitivity. It’s a robust set of options for a budget-minded controller – you might be surprised to find just how much you can tweak considering the lower price point.
Dolby Atmos is an interesting addition to a compact controller – or any controller, really. Nacon said in a press event that it’s a world’s first. I’m not much of an audiophile, so I can only speak in broad terms about how this affected me. It’s supposed to allow for 3D surround sound, which is pretty cool from a $50 controller. The sound was good for me, but I can’t say it was a revelation. Also, you need to plug wired headphones into the controller to get the Dolby Atmos features, so if you’re like me and prefer wireless headsets, there’s a tradeoff.
The Rig Pro Compact Controller does offer a lot for its humble price. I’ll probably go back to my Microsoft controller just for the size, but if you’re looking for an affordable controller that can be customized, this is one of the better options.
A Rig Pro Compact was provided by Nacon for this review. It’s available now in most electronics retail stores and on Nacon’s site.
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