Have you ever wondered if its worth taking that cheaper option and buying an unbranded controller for your Xbox? Given that the official pads still retail at £24.99, I wouldn't be surprised to find that almost all of us have.
But most of us remember those experiences in the past. The ones where the pad seems OK, you plug it in and it plays OK - then just as you get used to it, Kablooie. Yep, 2 months of use and the anaglogue stick stops working, the pad pulls to the right on all your games and the fire button gets stuck on autofire. Nothing more annoying.
So when represented with the choice, we end up realising that £25 for something of quality is worth the money - when you will buy 6 at £10 of the unbranded version.
But then you get something like the Logitech controller come along. Time to test it out.
The pad looks much like an official Xbox pad from a distance, although this one is certainly smaller than the originals. I've only seen them in black (non of this funny see through stuff that just puts me off!). With a green logo in the middle of the pad where Microsoft would normally have their logo, it actually looks like a carbon copy imitation.
The buttons are all here, the left and right triggers, the A, B, X and Y buttons, all with the correct colour code. This is something that is actually more important than you realise as a lot of the games will flash a button sequence on the screen and the colour matching helps you get them quick. Nothing more offputting than those pads with a different colour Y button that entices you to press A instead... always when you're winning your training on Rocky @:-)
There is one thing I noticed though. Compared to the original Xbox pad, this one appears to be a little flatter - but I will cover that in Aesthetics.
Not to break the flow of the review, lets get stright down to the feel of the pad.
I just mentioned that it looks flatter than the original pad, but it's no pancake. The side 'arms' of the pad still stick out, but they aren't at such a steep angle. This means that holding the pad becomes a little more horizontal. Now this may be a minor change to some, but it can really affect the game of a regular player. Fortunately, it seems to be in a good way.
By flattening the angle at which the pad is held, the player can reach the trigger buttons easier. For racing games, this is a great bonus as most use these for accelerate and break. Not so crucial in fighting or football games, but it is noticable.
However, the downside to this is that the A, B, X and Y buttons become a little harder to reach. My hands are not the size of a gnomes, but I don't have the hands of Michael Jordan either (wish I had his Nike endorsement fees!), but I have to twich my hand slightly to the left every time I wish to press a button. On the original pad my thumb glided easily over the buttons. It's nothing to write home about, but at the end of a 4 hour session, you can feel the ache in your thumb. I'm sure Wayne Rooney's medical team would have a fancy name for it...
Some may also notice that the start and back buttons are on the left-hand side of the pad. As these are rarely used for anything other than pausing, it's no biggie. They are still out of the way so you don't hit them accidentally, which is all that matters.
The Logitech Pad is one that I wondered about as the price would suggest it's the typical unofficial pad I referred to earlier, 2 months and it's dead. But presently surprised that my current 2 are still going after 8 months, without a hint of trouble. The neighbour was so impressed, she bought one as well. Now 8 months may not sound much, but in my household, the Xbox only goes off for Big Brother or the Footy. So it gets extensive use. For a pad to last 8 months is exceptional - the official lasted approximately 2 years, so if I remember, I will update this review when these ones finally give way.
One thing to note though, the rubber that is on the top of the analogue sticks has begun to rub away somewhat. This is mainly through extensive use of one of the pads on Tiger Woods, where the analogue stick is the be all and end all. Indeed, so many balls have been bashed, I'm surprised it hasn't worn away sooner. My official XBox pads also did this, so its no great shock. When the rubber goes, you are left with the plastic stick, which is still just as easy to use and won't affect the gameplay too much.
The price of this pad is what grabs most peoples attention, if only for a minute. At £9.99 in most high street stores (I bought mine from Gamestation in Dundee), it's well worth the price. I haven't really looked online for it, but by the time you add P+P I would find it hard to believe that anyone would beat the £10 price tag anyway.
Compared to the £25 for the official pad, £35 for the official wireless pad and anything from £15 to £20 for other unofficial pads, this one certainly comes out as the best of the unofficial bunch. It's also the cheapest, which is an added bonus for anyone.
I'll accept your thanks for finding you yet another Xbox bargain in my comments section @;-)
For the price, part-time gamers can get value for money that will enable them to still play their games. For more dedicated players, the pad offers excellent gameplay for racing games. However, I would advise against it for other games due to the thumb problem, don't want any ligament damage now do we? @:-)