A few years ago Kontrol Freeks made their debut with the Speed Freek. The small plastic attachment resided on your left thumbstick and gave it curved edges, giving your better precision in racing games. The high arches allowed you to apply small amounts of pressure to the edges for slight adjustments and they also helped keep your finger on the stick.
Now Kontrol Freeks has revamped their debut product. Called the Speed Freek APEX, the add-on combines their original Speed Freek design with the FPS Freek, which raises the joystick height. This combination turns a great attachment into a perfect one. What you get is a multipurpose and refined controller enhancer that is a must have for any racing fans.
The new base gives you better precision and more fluid movement. By raising the overall height of the joystick the application of torque is greatly enhanced, effectively expanding the range of motion of the controller. This means it is easier to make fine adjustments when coming out of tight corners or on very slightly curved straightaways.
The Speed Freek Apex comes in two parts: raised base and the classic U-Shaped attachment. The U-Shaped attachment is the same one used in the traditional Speed Freek, and they are cross-compatible with existing ones. The U-Shaped attachment clips onto the raised base, which then clips onto the thumbstick. The base has a rubberized texture, giving it even better grip then the normal Xbox 360 controller does. The U-Shaped attachment also helps to keep your thumb on the joystick, and you can also use it to press very slightly on to turn.
I have been using the Speed Freek for years and am very accustomed to its enhancing abilities. I have always wished that it combined the advantages of the FPS Freek as well, and this is exactly what the Speed Freek Apex does. In Forza Motorsport 4 there is no doubt that the Speed Freek Apex will shorten your lap times. I have been using the Speed Freek Apex daily and it feels great and makes it much easier to make fine adjustments. It’s almost like the in between of bulky and expensive wheels and the original controller.
In S and R-Class races in Forza the improvements will be especially helpful when the highest precision is needed to post good times. In DiRT3 I also find the Speed Freek Apex helpful in controlling twitchy rally cars.
Improvements will depend on the individual, but if you are a big fan of online racing or the new Rivals Mode, you will be guaranteed to place higher with this attachment. You will notice the improvement most when you take off the Speed Freek Apex and feel how rigid the joystick feels in comparison.
The Speed Freek Apex looks and feels lower quality than other Freeks. The rim of the base is very thin, which makes it hard to snap the U-Shaped attachment onto it. Once it is on the attachments don’t look like they line up perfectly. So far I have had no problem with the two coming apart but it makes me worry about long-term durability.
Unlike other Kontrol Freeks only one set is included in a package, which is slightly disappointing, but at the same time you only need one on the left thumbstick for racing games. You cannot attach other Kontrol Freeks, such as the FPS Freek or the CQC Freek to the base – trust me, I tried a bunch.
The Speed Freek is compatible with the Xbox 360 controller and PlayStation 3 controller, as well as a variety of third-party controllers. The Speed Freek Apex is the same price as the traditional Speed Freek, and while it only comes with one set, it is still worth getting over the original. Its refinement over the original will most definitely improve your times in all racing games, though you might be better off keeping your money if you play more arcade racing games like Need for Speed.
The Speed Freek Apex is available for $10 from KontrolFreek.com or Amazon.com
+ Great improvement on the original Speed Freek.
+ Will help improve your lap times, guaranteed.
- Build quality feels a little worse compared to other Kontrol Freeks.