As the regular 'Dualshock 3' Playstation controller is an expensive item at £35, many gamers opt for the generic credit-crunch-beating gamepads which are available for a fraction of the cost. One such item is the 'Hama Boomerang', which can be picked up online for around £10. At this price, the controller is one of the cheapest PS3 gamepads available - and it uses a generic design that is shared by other manufacturers... basically the 'ORB' controller is identical - that is, apart from some different branding, and the fact that it is more expensive at £11.99 from Blockbuster.
Design and Appearance
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The controller is named 'boomerang' due to its curved shape which makes it reminiscent of the aforementioned Aboriginal hunting stick. The design is generally comfortable to hold, and the entire upper surface is made from a slightly rubberized plastic which feels rather nice. Unfortunately, the placement of the thumb-sticks and buttons means that the device is somewhat cumbersome in practical terms. Firstly, the shoulder (or 'trigger') buttons are located too far toward the centre of the pad, and similarly, the left and right thumb-sticks are placed too close together, meaning accurate control is almost impossible. The standard Playstation 'Triangle', 'Circle', 'X', and 'Square' buttons are actually pretty good, feeling firm to press without being too spongy.
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Of course, being an ultra-budget model, the Boomerang doesn't utiilise any sort of rumble feature or motion sensitive control - these features are reserved for the top-end models. What the pad does have however, is a 'turbo' or 'rapid-fire' button, which allows a selected button to act as if it's being continually pressed. Personally I wouldn't use this feature, but I suppose it's a good ally for those who enjoy a staple diet of fighting games. As a 'wired' controller' (unlike the Dualshock3, which connects to the console via bluetooth), the Hama boomerang features a USB cable which is over a metre and a half in length - this is probably long enough for most set-ups in an average room, but obviously doesn't provide as much freedom as a wireless model would.
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Overall, the Hama Boomerang isn't an awful controller - it just lacks a bit of common sense on the design front which makes it slightly frustrating. There's no doubting the fact that it certainly looks the part, but it's yet another example of form over function.