Last month we reported on a new Xbox One controller design from Controller Modz, a UK-based controller modding specialist. The company basically allows users to buy authentic first-party controllers for a variety of consoles and choose to have them decorated with a variety of custom paint jobs and designs. The service doesn't come cheap, but Controller Modz promises professional-quality results.
Reading about the Controller Modz service via press release is one thing, but as a controller enthusiast I was eager to get my hands on a custom controller for review. Controller Modz offers 19 unique Xbox One designs to choose from, as well as a "Build Your Own" feature for greater customization. For this review, I went with the "Sticker Bomb" design that features a colorful combination of racing-style livery across the front of the controller.
Controller Modz' Sticker Bomb controller is a genuine Microsoft Wireless Controller for Xbox One whose face panel has been modified with a unique design. The controller comes in the original green retail box, emblazoned with a Controller Modz sticker on the front of the box. Inside are the box's original contents: the controller (now prettied up with the user's choice of design) and 2 AA batteries.
The Sticker Bomb
Although Controller Modz offers some designs that span both the front and back of the Xbox One controller (including full-body chrome designs), the Sticker Bomb only affects the front of the controller. The shiny top portion and matte black back portion of the controller look identical to those of a stock controller. I wouldn't have minded having the Sticker Bomb design stretch across the back as well, but it still looks great with a black back.
This particular design is made up of numerous racing stickers/images overlaid across each other on top of a white background. The design I got varies a little from the one shown on the Sticker Bomb product page. Given that the assortment of stickers is placed randomly in the original design, it's kind of cool for that randomness to carry over to individual controllers.
Hydro dip design
The random pattern seems to stem from the modification process. This is no do-it-yourself paintjob. Custom Modz applies the unique artwork by hydro dipping the controller shell. According to Wikipedia, hydro dipping is also known as water transfer printing or hydrographics. The printing method allows designs to be applied to three-dimensional objects, such as controllers. The result is a beautiful and complex design that won't come off or fade over time.
Although hydro dipping sounds like the best way to apply custom designs like those offered by Custom Modz, the controller I received does betray some minor flaws. The face of the controller has several tiny pinhole-sized bumps scattered over its surface. These appear to be air bubbles or a similar type of imperfection resulting from the water transfer process. They're difficult to see unless you closely study the controller, but can be felt by running one's fingers over the controller surface.
The "air bubbles" in this Sticker Bomb controller wouldn't be present in a Microsoft-produced design such as the Titanfall Limited Edition controller, but otherwise the Sticker Bomb is indistinguishable from a store-bought controller. The colorful design is just what I hoped for – this controller stands out in a crowd.
Some people love for their electronics to have a uniform and plain appearance, but others will enjoy the opportunity for personal expression offered by Controller Modz' many designs. The catch is that these custom controllers don't come cheap. Each controller starts out as a retail Xbox One controller before going through the professional modification process. UK-based customers can opt to provide their own controllers in order to cut down on the price.
Assuming you don't send in a controller, the Sticker Bomb rings up at £69.99. UK customers get free shipping, while shipping to the US costs £8.00. Enter coupon code "ecko" during checkout for a ten percent discount. That brings the total to £77.99 for US customers, which equals $130.14.
If you want a truly unique looking controller and can afford the Controller Modz service, you won't be disappointed with the results. Controller Modz even offers a 14-day 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.