My PlayStation 3 has certainly been getting a lot of attention this holiday season, and over the past week I have been given the chance to test Subsonic’s new Camo Edition Pro Controller. It offers a pleasant soft touch grip, precision analog sticks, a built in lithium-ion battery, vibration support, and curved triggers. Overall, the design is slightly bigger than the standard Sixaxis controller, which helps it fit comfortably into your hands by fitting more firmly into the shape of your palms. The analog sticks have a nice gripping texture, with a thumb cupping shape similar to the Xbox 360 controller’s sticks. Plus, as an added bonus, Subsonic’s controllers are compatible with PC Games as well. Standing at the same price level as the Sony Sixaxis, does this controller offer gamers the same level of quality, precision and comfort? Lets dig a little deeper and find out…
The controller comes in the standard sealed plastic packaging, containing the controller itself and a small wireless detector that resembles a USB flash drive, that plugs into your PlayStation 3. Unfortunately, there is no charging cable included with the controller, but it’s compatible with the cable that came with your console. This was a slight disappointment, but shouldn’t be a major issue for most gamers.
Setting the controller up with your console is as simple as plugging the wireless detector into the front of your PS3 and turning it on. I didn’t run into any problems, and the controller should sync up rather quickly. This might be slightly problematic for gamers who have already filled the front two USB ports on their consoles with their PlayStation Eye, DJ Hero connector, or charging cables. But sacrifices must be made, and chances are that you will rarely have a need for a third USB port.
When it comes to gaming, the controller feels great in your hands, and offers a great deal of comfort. The soft grip coating provides a nice smooth surface, and I also enjoy the look of the digital camo. I became quite accustomed to the shape and feel of the analog sticks, but sadly I can’t say the same for the D-pad. If you are into fighting games, you might find this D-pad to be faulty, imprecise, and difficult to use. It still beats the Xbox 360’s D-pad, yet is far from the best. The battery stays charged for a decent length of time, and is quick to charge. However, if you are like me, and you normally game with the lights off, the red light on the center of the controller which blinks as you charge and play can be an annoying distraction in your peripheral vision.
The overall quality of the controller is its largest shortcoming, as the design it self seems solid. While other controllers tend to feel solidly constructed, the Subsonic controller feels much more hallow. Buttons, including the above mentioned D-pad, don’t seem to have the same snappy feeling that I am used to, and instead feel looser and less responsive. I have already run into problems with the right trigger getting stuck whenever I pull it too hard (those Skyrim Dragon Shouts…), so that I have to pause the game and pull it back out, with a troubling snap sound. There is this resonance that seems to echo and shoot through the whole controller whenever a button is solidly pressed, or a joystick is pressed to the solid edge of its movement. So for example, when I press the square button, you can feel the slight vibration in your left hand. This might not bother some gamers, but I noticed it almost instantly.
In conclusion, this is a decent controller. The joysticks and overall shape have been solidly designed, and might suit some FPS gamers preferences over the Sixaxis. The smooth coating feels good on your hands, and you always feel like you have a solid grip, but the overall quality is really what makes it lose most of its points. It would make a fair alternative for someone looking for extra controllers if it were a lower cost than the Sixaxis (which also has motion support), but sadly it has been priced at $39.99. It is one of the better off party controllers I have tried, yet sadly due to the price, I wouldn’t really recommend it.