The launch of Xbox 360 (now dating back to 2005) marked a turning point at home Microsoft products regarding i input devices. In fact, the controller of the American company was designed to be versatile and easily adapt to the hands of any player (thus abandoning the mammoth size of the controller of the first Xbox). Over the years it has - like gaming machines - undergone changes and evolutions. The controller of Xbox One (and sisters) is certainly one of the most successful input devices ever. The reason? Excellent grip, consistency and movement of the analog sticks (asymmetrical) as well as in fact a truly noteworthy precision. Which makes it ideal for any type of game, especially racing, adventure and sports in general.
Precisely for this reason, the Redmond-based company has continued to insist on the same concept, making minor improvements but without upsetting the basic idea as for example Sony did with the DualSense of PlayStation 5. As far as the current iteration of the controller Xbox has been further refined with the arrival of Xbox Series X and S, there are some manufacturers who think they can improve it further or create at least some sort of alternative that deserves attention. Among these we have NACON which recently unveiled the Pro Compact Controller for Xbox and that we at Soultricks.com have had the opportunity to thoroughly test over the last week.
Designed specifically for Xbox and compatible with no problems whatsoever even on Windows 10 PCs, the Pro Compact Controller from NACON seems to work as a kind of middle ground between the standard Xbox Wireless Controller and the highly customizable Xbox Elite Controller. The French company has really put a lot of effort into offering a functional product but perhaps with a slightly high price (€ 49,99), and even if it will not let you put away your trusty official Xbox Wireless controller, it is equipped with some features that make it a valid alternative.
- Official Wired Controller Designed for Xbox
- Lightweight and compact size and ergonomic shape
- Textured surface for superior comfort and optimal grip
- Programmable buttons, joysticks and triggers
- Pro Compact App available on the Microsoft Store
- 3,5mm headphone jack for audio and chat
- 3 meter braided USB cable
- Dolby Atmos For Headphones activation included
In an era that is increasingly "hands free", finding yourself in your hands controller with cable it is definitely not the best. The cable is braided and sturdy (really well made) and has a length of three meters. Unfortunately, although it is something extremely personal, it did not seem the best and most functional choice. Obviously, those who play at the desk with an Xbox or PC close together, probably won't find any problems. Plus, not having to worry about battery life is obviously a plus. THEThe problem arises for those who play away from the platform perhaps having a huge living room equipped with the latest TV and disproportionate size. For such users, a wired controller is certainly not functional nor advisable.
Another small problem is the size of the controller, which turns out to be slightly smaller (about 15%) than the standard Xbox wireless offering. The writer has normal hands and at first found it slightly uncomfortable; accustomed to the Xbox One controller, it is as if a portion on the handles is missing and it must be said that it was a bit alienating. Sure you get used to it but those with sizeable hands will find the NACON Compact Controller for Xbox quite uncomfortable especially if they are used to long gaming sessions.
Apart from these two negative aspects, and the feeling of being slightly "cheap" in terms of choice of plastics, especially as regards the backbones, NACON has managed to propose a viable option for those looking for something different from the usual.
A masked Xbox One controller?
Il Pro Compact Controller for Xbox it could, to the truly inexperienced eye, easily pass for the standard one. The front is almost identical. The levers are placed in the same position as the directional cross while to change are: the view button, the share button, and finally the menu button. Positioned differently from the official controller as well as the Xbox button a little lower and more central than usual. The choice to enter the display command close to the left stick was rather unfortunate. In fact, it is really inconvenient to reach in any situation, be it game or break in the dashboard. The levers, although the writer has been using analog covers for some time now, have an excellent recess which makes them perfect for guaranteeing the right grip to the fingers.
As for the rear, the differences are minimal. The keys RB e LB they are in their classic position and release a feedback after all not unlike the Microsoft controller although, as anticipated a few lines above, they give us the impression of being a bit plasticky. As for the triggers instead RT e LT the race is slightly shorter than the official ones but ultimately the feeling is not bad, especially if you "play" with the customizations.
In short, the Pro Compact Controller is really "very similar" to the Xbox One, too bad for NACON's choice to place some buttons a bit "at random". We would have much preferred that the design of the everyday Xbox wireless controller be respected in full. However, the manufacturer has entered a 3,5mm jack and has decided not to go to the savings in terms of audio performance (thanks to the functionality Dolby Atmos and the related App). A choice that makes the Pro Compact Controller able to withstand, net of less noble plastics, the comparison with the official device from Microsoft.
Where NACON really needs to be applauded is in Customization. The Pro Compact Controller allows you to modify, through the special "Pro Compact" application available on both PC and Xbox consoles, button types, presses, trigger sensitivity and more. It also lets you select some preset settings according to the different game genres. We tested the controller with Forza Horizon 4, Need For Speed Pro Pursuit Remastered (selecting the racing profile) e cyberpunk 2077 (setting up a stealth profile). The feedback changes and not a little. Especially with the latest CDPR title the backbones get longer and also the annoying driving mechanics, which tends to make the car slide on the ice, with the NACON controller turned out to be much better and at times even satisfying.
Furthermore, a small switch on the back of the controller gives the user the possibility to work on two settings separately, so depending on the preferences or the game situation to easily switch between them without having to enter and exit the app. Works perfectly: The app is easy to use, makes perfect sense, and allows for a great deal of customization.
Il Pro Compact Controller for Xbox from NACON is an interesting input device. Although it is a bit too plasticky (we do not know its possible resistance to a drop test), in practice, it performs well in any game situation. The customization of the keys it is a big plus and allows the user to calibrate the controller according to their needs and in relation to the game. The dedicated app: Pro Compact is easy and immediate and the presence of a small button on the bottom of the controller allows you to memorize two profiles by switching from one to the other in the blink of an eye. Too bad for the cable, which although it is 3 meters long is a little annoying especially in the most excited game situations. In any case, for us the Pro Compact Controller is promoted and we would like to recommend it to those looking for a different alternative than usual..