Controllers are actually larger enterprise than they’ve ever been. Extra curiously, although, the form of the marketplace for further console enter gadgets has shifted. Particularly, it feels as if the age of third events delivering featherweight plastic tat that you simply’d give to your least favourite mate to make use of has been supplanted by the other: high-end, all-singing, all-dancing – the sports activities automotive of controllers. And as of late, there’s fairly just a few of them to select from.

Xbox and PlayStation have their official choices, in fact, however now third events are additionally getting in on the motion. Thrustmaster’s entry into this profitable enviornment is the eSwap X Professional, a premium pad with a variety of options that goals to outdo the official Xbox different with some distinctive options – although there’s a serious caveat there we’ll come to in a second.

Anyway, from the second you first raise it out of the field, it’s clear that the eSwap X is a premium piece of package. It’s weighty, agency, and lush-feeling. Even the field goes some solution to attempt to promote that premium really feel, with a magnetic opening mechanism and a mushy inside to softly maintain the controller and its numerous add-ons in place.

Earlier than we get into the controller’s large gimmick and promoting level, I truly assume essentially the most attention-grabbing factor to speak about right here is how the form of the controller differs in comparison with what’s develop into fairly customary on Xbox. By mild iteration from the 360 up till now, Microsoft has managed to just about good that specific type of controller, and most imitations come up fairly poorly in consequence. So Thrustmaster has gone the opposite method, with a chunkier controller design with each a bigger foremost physique and elongated grips in comparison with the official providing.

This can be a matter of style, in fact, however as somebody who’s pretty long-fingered, I prefer it. I’ve by no means had a problem with the Xbox controller anyway, however that is completely different in a delightful method, and I can instantly see how for sure kinds of recreation this form could be preferable and fewer of a pressure. So, that’s good – it’s a fine condition, particularly for these of us with bigger arms. It’s most likely not the perfect controller for youngsters – however no youngster needs to be paying $160 for a controller anyway. That is for grown-ups with cash to burn. That’s established. So, what of these bells and whistles?

Properly, the clue right here is within the identify. The eSwap is all about with the ability to swap round controller elements. The key aspect of that is the D-pad and analogue sticks – which may be lifted out of the controller with relative ease and snapped again in place in no matter configuration you select.

In case you’re enjoying an old-school platformer or combating recreation, as an example – or simply somebody who prefers the PlayStation type format – you would flip the d-pad up into the highest left place, as an example, and have two symmetrical analogue sticks beneath. Equally, you would have each analog sticks on the left, should you’re some type of absolute freak. The selection is yours.

There’s additionally an aesthetic aspect to this. You possibly can transfer stuff round for utility, however it’s also possible to purchase different bits in what Thrustmaster generously calls “a vast modular system on the crossroads of design and efficiency”. What this actually means is that if you wish to purchase blinged-out sticks, you’ll be able to. A special-shape or type of d-pad can be theoretically potential. Panels on the facet of the controller additionally clip off in the identical method – and so you’ll be able to change the plain black with one thing extra creative should you select.

All of those swappy parts are held in place by magnets, they usually’re highly effective, firm-holding ones. I did a few drop assessments on the controller and located, surprisingly, that no items flew away. In case you drop an Xbox Elite analog stick heads and the d-pad fly throughout the room. Not so right here. Actually, they’re held so firmly the controller ships with a specialist device for extracting the d-pad.

The opposite options of this controller are, I really feel, pretty customary on this class. There’s three-phase settings for every of the triggers which bodily lock how deeply it may be pulled – so in order for you a responsive hair set off, you simply set that to be a extra shallow squeeze. There’s additionally 4 further programmable buttons on the again of the controller – although I feel these are small and poorly positioned when in comparison with the paddles on the Xbox Elite pad.

There’s additionally a headphone jack on the bottom of the controller, full with quantity up and down and microphone mute buttons – helpful to have on the precise controller. Three extra discrete buttons assist you to set and flip between management mapping presets.

This all sounds good, although, and is fairly good worth for lower than the Elite controller. Besides – right here’s that caveat – that is wired. The wired answer is as elegant as it may be, with a sensible design that ‘sinks’ the wire into the controller physique as soon as plugged in, plus a 3 meter cable that’s a pleasant, braided, premium factor that received’t fray or break simply – however you continue to have to just accept that regardless of being an officially-licensed Xbox pad, you’ll be tethered to the console.

Thrustmaster’s justification for that is easy sufficient to know – it is a pad for these critical about gaming, and frightened about lag. Consequently, wired made sense. Actually, all of it strains up – within the arms it truthfully looks like a controller constructed for shooters first. I’m not an unlimited fan of the shallow-feeling face buttons, as an example – however the triggers and bumpers are just about chic. That’s shooter and motion recreation led design, and that’s okay – the eSwap is trustworthy about what it’s. All the pieces about its design screams esports credentials. Even the identify.

How does it finally stack up in opposition to its formal rival, the Xbox Elite Sequence 2? Properly, I feel the reply is sophisticated. It relies upon what you’re after, in some ways – there are issues every does higher than the opposite. The eSwap’s stick and d-pad flipping gimmick is a big promoting level, nevertheless, particularly for many who desire a symmetrical format or just play lots of video games they like to make use of the d-pad for. It’s an amazing, high quality product – and has one characteristic that’s massively distinctive.

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