Windows Central Verdict
The Hyperkin Xenon is a solid, well-made controller with a punch of nostalgia from the Xbox 360 days, but $50 for a wired controller with no pro features means this will only appeal to a very specific audience for whom price is inconsequential in the quest for a bygone era. Hyperkin missed an opportunity to improve on the 360 controllers and simply produced a faithful remake, making it hard to recommend this to anyone but the most hardcore of Xbox fans.
Stays true to the classic Xbox 360 design
Range of colors
Price point is high for a wired non-pro controller
Missed opportunity to improve on a classic
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The Hyperkin Xenon is another product in a long list for the brand who are well known for keeping retro gaming alive, from everything to the Hyperkin Duke which paid homage to the original Xbox controller, to an HDMI cable specially made for the console to use with modern TVs. We've even had a glimmer of hope at one stage that the brand was looking to recreate the Zune, something that may have been a joke at first but since it's Guardians of The Galaxy cameo could become a reality...or maybe we are just dreaming.
But for now, they are back again with the Hyperkin Xenon, a faithful recreation of the Xbox 360 controller named after the consoles codename prior to its reveal at E3 2005. Is the Hyperkin Xenon worth your hard-earned cash?
Hyperkin Xenon Wired Controller: Price, availability and specs
The Hyperkin Xenon Wired Controller is available directly from the Hyperkin website and Amazon. It is priced at $49.99 MSRP in the US, and £39.99 in the UK. The controller comes in Black, White, Red and Pink.
|Category||Hyperkin Xenon Wired Controller|
|Connectivity||Wired, detachable USB-C cable, 10ft|
|Compatibility||Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows 10|11|
|Features||Share button for Xbox Series X|S|
|Row 3 - Cell 0||Precision impulse triggers|
|Row 4 - Cell 0||Vibration feedback|
|Audio||3.5mm headphone jack|
Hyperkin Xenon Wired Controller: What's good
The Hyperkin Xenon is unquestionably a good-looking controller, and it being a faithful duplicate of the original Xbox 360 controller I can see why people got excited when it was announced. Straight out the gate having four colors to choose from too means you might be stumped on which one to go for, as they all look pretty good, and I appreciate having a choice of which design to match up with my current gaming system.
As far as recreating the original Xbox 360 controller goes, Hyperkin has done a great job, it's exactly the same apart from the addition of the share button for sharing your game captures on Xbox, a standard feature of the current generation controllers.
The controller itself, as it is wired, experiences no latency at all, and is comfortable to use as are all of the current and previous Xbox controllers. The wire is also 10ft which is useful for playing on a couch, unlike the short cable of the T4 Kaleid from GameSir that I reviewed recently.
Hyperkin has aimed to recreate the Xbox 360 controller, and I commend them for doing that to a tee. The Xenon is a true homage to the original, capturing the essence and functionality of the original gamepad.
Hyperkin Xenon Wired Controller: What's not so good
I have to say, however, that the Hyperkin Xenon has a major drawback. It costs $50, and for that price, you are mainly paying for nostalgia. Is that worth it? Maybe for some die-hard fans who miss the good old days of 2005, but not for me. And I say this as someone who adored the Xbox 360, to the point where it’s part of my Twitter handle and my identity. But even I find it hard to justify spending $50 on a controller that doesn’t offer any enhancements over the original.
Hyperkin could have done more to improve the Xbox 360 controller with some modern touches that wouldn’t compromise the overall design and shape. For example, they could have added some grips on the thumb sticks that are now standard on most controllers, which would have been a nice detail that wouldn’t detract from the overall aesthetic. Perhaps even the texture on the rear to improve grip, again an improvement we've seen in the Xbox Series X|S controller. That's just it though, the new generation Xbox controllers are an improvement on the old Xbox 360 and One era controllers. As Mary Poppins would say, they're practically perfect in every way.
What is the appeal of going back to this design, other than nostalgia for a simpler time? Perhaps you are pining for a bygone era of no crushing financial responsibilities, no children, and a return to the blades dashboard? I can totally understand the appeal of a replica, but I think it should offer more than just a share button and a $50 price tag for a trip down memory lane.
The controller itself, with its light plastic, uninspiring feeling buttons and triggers, feels like it should be more affordable, perhaps around $30 in the same bracket as the PowerA Enhanced Wired controller.
You can get a wireless Xbox Series X|S controller for this price, so it doesn’t make sense to compete with your much-improved sibling at the same level.
Hyperkin Xenon Wired Controller: The Competition
If it's a nostalgia bomb you are looking for, Hyperkin has already set the bar high for themselves with their recreation of the OG, the original Xbox controller, in the Hyperkin Duke. Where the Duke stands out though, is that as well as staying faithful to the original design, it included an animated Xbox boot screen on the controller itself. The original Xbox controller was so unique and different from what we use now, that the Hyperkin Duke feels like it was worth the effort of a recreation. The buttons and D-pad also had a more tactile feel than the original pad, so the improvements it made were noticeable. The Hyperkin Duke costs $70, but we think it’s worth it for the enhancements it made on a classic.
If we are going to compare competition purely based on price point, the Xbox Series X|S controller is the most recent evolution, a controller crafted from all that has been learned from previous generations. It's the best of the best and tops our controller list. If you really want a wired controller, you can just connect a USB cable.
Hyperkin Xenon Wired Controller: Should you buy?
You should buy this if ...
- You enjoy collecting Xbox memorabilia
- You have strong nostalgia for the Xbox 360 era
- You prefer the older shape of the Xbox 360 controller
You shouldn't buy this if ...
- You don't like wired controllers
- You are expecting any improvements on the original version
This controller has a certain appeal for some people, such as collectors of Xbox controllers and memorabilia, or those who simply like the shape of the old Xbox controllers (they are out there), so I’m sure that it will find its loyal fans despite the price point. However, without any distinctive features or improvements to set it apart from the rest, I’ve had to award the Hyperkin Xenon 3 stars for being decent but not exceptional and not matching its value.
Jen is a News Writer for Windows Central, focused on all things gaming and Microsoft. Anything slaying monsters with magical weapons will get a thumbs up such as Dark Souls, Dragon Age, Diablo, and Monster Hunter. When not playing games, she'll be watching a horror or trash reality TV show, she hasn't decided which of those categories the Kardashians fit into. You can follow Jen on Twitter @Jenbox360 for more Diablo fangirling and general moaning about British weather.