The idea of enhanced controllers is something that was once considered cheating. You may find all sorts of strange unlicensed products sitting in the bargain bin at your local video game store but now, they're a trend and one well worth jumping on. Enter, the Thrustmaster eSwap X Pro Controller.
This Xbox and PC peripheral offers a brilliant alternative to the standard official Elite controller or the popular Scuf brand. Despite this, the eSwap X is not a budget product, so it is worth the cost?
Check Out Sorare - A Digital Trading Card Game For Football, NBA & MLB!
Table of Contents
The biggest thing that stood out for me before even opening the eSwap X Pro Controller was the sheer versatility it offers and that's not just in the button mapping possibilities.
This controller has a feature called T-Mod and it actually allows you to swap around the location of your D-Pad and Thumbsticks. It's mad to think that this hasn't been a priority for other manufacturers as may tend to just offer an Xbox or Playstation layout and build around it.
Here, Thrustmaster has created a product that can be used to overcome the biggest fear many PlayStation owners have about Xbox and PC, the thumbstick alignment being wrong. Better yet, it's all achieved through a simple plug-and-play system so you can change things around on the fly with no awkward game restarts or system updates needed.
Volume controls and profile selection is built into the bottom of the controller keeping them out of sight but not out of mind. Finally, you have something that should be standard in any premium controller, trigger switches. Here, when activated, the trigger compression is reduced by 50% and for twitch shooters, this can be the difference between life and death...in-game of course.
Adapting to Your Playstyle
So often when a top-tier controller is released, there is still an aspect of a fixed design that you need to adapt your playstyle to it rather than the other way around. The eSwap X Pro is the closest I feel a controller has come to be truly adaptable to any type of player.
Not only because of the way that you can adjust the positioning of the thumbsticks and D-Pad but because of the mapping option available on console.
Granted, the lack of paddles for the macro buttons on the back of the pad is where the Elite still comes good in design, but that isn't enough to condemn the overall choices made still put it above the Elite in my opinion.
The tact switches are also present in the D-Pad and face buttons and I have always been a big fan of these. Some may not like the mouse-click feel/sound but for me, they're much cleaner to use and far more responsive. It's advertised that the tact switches can withstand 5,000,000 activations while the thumbsticks clock in at 2,000,000.
The only possible downside is that the controller is wired with no wireless functionality. As someone who prefers wired peripherals on PC but wireless for console gaming, this was a little disappointing. The braided 2m cable is more than enough for the space I am using but trailing a cable across the living room floor is an aesthetic nightmare.
Your Controller, Your Look
While the base packaging only contains two alternative joysticks with a curved texture grip, the customisation options for the eSwap X Pro Controller are very impressive.
Yes, you can buy new colour packs to change the appearance of the pad which is cool, but there is also a fighting pack that is tailored to turn the controller into a much more focused peripheral for fighting games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat.
It would be nice to see some more textured options when it comes to the side panels but I understand that for many people, textured sections of a controller tend to become quite dirty very quickly and it increases the maintenance that a controller needs.
Thrustmaster's eSwap X Pro Controller is actually my favourite premium controller on the market right now. Coming in at £149.99 / €179.99 / $169.99, it's far from a budget option but is very competitive within its niche market.
It's not often that I find a product with great depth to be so easy to get to grips with but the eSwap X is accessible thanks to its plug-and-play functionality and manual that teaches you the nuances of bringing the best out of the controller.
Certain features may be missing when compared directly against competitors but what it brings to the table is well worth the price and I can't wait to find new ways to unlock its full potential going forward.