This year the Xbox One has received not one but two luxury controllers: Microsoft's Elite Wireless Controller and the Razer Wildcat. Both offer a number of features you won't find on a regular controller, such as extra programmable buttons and trigger locks. But they also ring up at $149.99 a pop, which will break many a gamer's bank. Wouldn't it be nice to have a more affordable option in advanced controllers?
PowerA (makers of the Mini Series Controller and a bunch of Star Wars controllers) have just the thing for gamers who can't or don't want to spend one-and-a-half Benjamins on a luxury Xbox One controller. The Fusion Pro Controller is a wired controller with many of the same features as the Elite and Wildcat. The big difference is that it only costs $79.99. Read our detailed review with video to find out whether the Fusion Pro Controller can stand up to the big boys!
Wrap that cord
Unlike the Elite Controller and Razer Wildcat, the Fusion Pro Controller doesn't come with a carrying case. PowerA has to keep costs down in order to sell the controller at such a low price point, after all. You could always buy a generic controller case (opens in new tab) if you really want one.
That said, the Fusion Pro does at least come with a decent cord wrap. The black rubber wrap features the PowerA logo. It has a number of grooves which can slide over two orange pegs, keeping the wrap in place. Although the wrap is a good idea in concept, the actual design doesn't stick the landing…
The portion of the wrap with the PowerA logo doesn't have any grooves, which creates a large area that can't connect to the orange pegs. Basically, you can't tighten the wrap as much as you'd expect because of the logo area. It's still good enough for wrapping the entire cable up during transportation, but not great at wrapping only a portion of the cord during use to reduce clutter.
As for the USB cable itself, it can't be detached like the Elite and Wildcat cables. But it measures a generous 9.8 feet and features a break-away end. And it's braided, so it should outlast standard rubber cords.
Body, Sticks, and buttons
The Fusion Pro Controller's body closely resembles that of a standard Xbox One controller, albeit with sharper angles on the front of the hand grips. The bulk of the controller consists of matte black plastic with a mild texture. The front left grip wears an embossed PowerA logo.
The traditional glossy black plastic area at the top of the control shows up as well, but with a rather unique design. Here the glossy plastic on the front forms a rounded Reuleaux triangle shape and does not extend to the actual top of the controller. The bumpers and triggers still use glossy plastic though. Naturally these glossy areas show hand grease, so I'd prefer an all matte design.
PowerA has always made a decent D-Pad, and the Fusion Pro's is no exception. It closely resembles the standard Microsoft directional pad, although I find this one slightly stiffer. The only downside to this D-Pad is that it doesn't stand out like the unique pads of the Elite and Wildcat.
The analog sticks do stand out, however. Their necks are noticeably thicker and about 1mm taller than those of the Elite. And the tops measure a whopping 20mm wide, about 9mm greater than the Elite's default stick tops. Their textured edges won't collect dirt like Microsoft's stick tops.
Do analog stick tops need to be two centimeters wide? Probably not, though I don't mind. Rather than keep my thumbs planted in the center of these pizza-sized tops, I keep them a few millimeters lower. People with small hands might just find them too massive, but I expect most will adjust as they'd do with any new controller.
The Fusion Pro has one standout feature that neither the Elite nor Wildcat can claim: colorful lighting! Like PowerA's previous Spectra Controller, this one includes three lighting control buttons on its back. The first turns on a light along the lower rim of the triangular area at the top of the controller face. The bottom button lights up both analog stick bases. And the middle button switches between four brightness levels.
Pressing the triangle or stick lighting buttons additional times will toggle between lighting modes:
- Color cycling pattern 1
- Color cycling pattern 2
- Green 1
- Green 2
- Green 3
- Green 4
- Blue 1
- Blue 2
- Blue 3
- Blue 4
- Blue 5
- Blue 6
- Purple 1
- Purple 2
- Purple 3
The lighting has its ups and downs. Compared to colored lighting options found in computer peripherals, you get far less colors here, and most are variants of the same colors. Also, the controller doesn't remember lighting settings. So if you turn the console off or unplug the cable, you'll have to turn them back on the next time you use it. The Fusion Pro does save custom button settings, so it seems like an oversight that the lighting patterns don't save too.
Those complaints aside, I still love that the controller has semi-customizable lighting. It doesn't sport a ton of distinct colors, but you can set up the Windows Central blue and pink pretty easily. And it's cool that we can turn on and adjust the stick and face lighting independently. I hope Xbox One gets more high quality controllers with lighting in the future.
Triggers and locks
The bumpers and triggers of the Fusion Pro differ slightly from their Microsoft equivalents. The bumper shape makes it harder to keep your finger on both bumper and trigger simultaneously, so you end up having to move it from the trigger to hit the bumper. Not a huge deal, but Microsoft and Razer have better designs. The triggers themselves are good, though they have slightly less travel and lack the perfect resistance of the Elite's.
Fortunately, the Fusion Pro offers one of the key features of the Elite and Wildcat: trigger locks. Just flip the two switches on the back and you can lock both triggers, limiting their range of movement. This will let you fire non-automatic weapons more rapidly since you don't have to press the triggers down as far.
The Elite, Wildcat, and Fusion Pro all include four extra programmable buttons – and their implementations differ widely. Rather than paddles like the Elite controller, the Fusion Pro sports four regular buttons on the back of its controller grips.
The bottom buttons are much larger than the top ones, making them easier to tell apart by touch. The button positioning ensures that your middle and ring fingers will naturally sit over them while holding the controller. I have accidentally pressed them a few times, but only when gripping the controller too hard.
Unlike the Elite's problematic paddles, these extra buttons don't get pressed when setting the controller down, and will rarely be hit by mistake. And even if you do hit them by mistake, they do nothing by default. You have to program them to give them a function, so you can effectively disable them by deprogramming them. That said, I'd rather they mirrored the bumper and triggers by default instead of doing nothing.
Programming the extra buttons is easy. Press and hold the PowerA button found just under the Home/Guide button for two seconds and the face light starts to blink. Press the button whose function you want to copy, and then press the programmable button to complete the process. It would make more sense to press the programmable button first instead, but you get used to it.
The buttons that can be copied to the extra buttons include the four face buttons, the bumpers, triggers, and the stick buttons (clicking in the analog sticks). Disappointingly, View/Back, Menu/Start, and D-Pad directions can't be assigned to the programmable buttons. The Wildcat has the Fusion Pro beat there, but most people will only want to duplicate the face buttons anyway.
The Fusion Pro only offers a single profile for programmed buttons. Entering programming mode and then holding the PowerA button for five seconds will reset the memory to its default state.
Headset support and Windows compatibility
The Fusion Pro has a 3.5mm headset jack on its bottom, which is good. But it lacks a data port, which means you can't use the Chatpad with this controller. No third-party controllers currently offer data ports, so the absence seems to be a restriction imposed by Microsoft.
Like the Razer Wildcat, the Fusion Pro is fully compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 10. Just plug it in and install the standard Xbox One controller driver if necessary. The four programmable buttons and lighting will function exactly as they do when used with the Xbox One.
PowerA's Fusion Pro Controller presents a fine alternative to the Elite and Wildcat controllers. Don't get me wrong, the construction is not nearly as deluxe as those luxury controllers and it lacks some of their bells and whistles. But it does offer programmable buttons and trigger stops, which are the main selling points of the $150 controllers. And it stands out with some fancy lighting too.
Would I recommend you get the Fusion Pro instead of the Elite or Wildcat? If you can afford it, I still say go with the Elite. I greatly dislike the paddles, but in every other way the Elite is a perfect, standout controller. The Wildcat has the best programmable buttons but falls behind the Elite in a few other ways.
The Fusion Pro is for people who scoff at the idea of spending $150 on a controller. This one provides a strong arsenal of features for just $20 more than a standard controller. The lack of wireless and Chatpad support are its only real failings, and those both result from restrictions imposed by Microsoft. If you can live without the Chatpad, you should be very happy with the Fusion Pro Controller.
Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!
What are the true benefits of any Xbox one controller for use with a PC if you don't want the extra paddles versus a 360 controller? I dunno but I'm not jumping in just yet. This is closer I suppose but just not enough to persuade me.
Most Xbox One controllers have better D-Pads than 360 controllers, so that's one benefit. They also have better vibration. And each individual controller has its ups and downs. The Elite Controller, for instance, is the most comfortable controller I've used.
Wouldn't that all just be subjective? For instance I feel like my 360 controller is bigger and therefore fits my hands better size wise. At least from playing with them in the stores. What makes the D-pads better? I don't really use that though as I use the sticks more for the games I play. Vibration could be something but is it more jumpy like? Not so much a longer rumble but more short burst interactive?
Some parts are subjective, and some are more measurable. I can tell you the 360 controller and the Xbox One controller don't differ significantly in size - put one over the other and neither sticks out much (the 360 pad is more concave at the top though). About the D-Pads, the 360 D-pad is a large disc sticking far out from the controller. It's measurably less precise than almost any other D-Pad, so games that require specific direction presses (like how Oblivion uses the D-Pad to hotkey different functions) or require fast, accurate input (most 2D games and fighting games) will play worse with it. The Xbox One controller uses a standard cross-style d-pad that works much better. The Elite offers that option or its own new, unique D-Pad that I really like, and the Wildcat has the PlayStation-style 4-button D-Pad that's good for cardinal directions but less good for diagonals. All of these pads have their advantages and disadvantages - it's just that the 360's D-Pad was a lot worse and never got changed (other than some controllers having a rotatable D-Pad that has its own issues). Vibration-wise, Xbox One controllers have more motors or something, I forget the exact explanation, but it allows them to have a greater range of vibrations than other controllers.
I think Xbox One controller is required on PC if you wish to stream your Xbox One to PC
You can stream from the Xbox One using a Xbox 360 controller
The One controller is clearly better, but there are some hidden costs as well. First the good:
The One is just a better built controller in general. The rumble pack is far better, the buttons and triggers are less mushy and spring back faster, the controller itself has less flex when in 'stressful situations', and there is simply no comparing the sticks!
But the best thing about the One controller is just how accurate the thing is. I have used a few x360 controllers on PC, and they all suffer from drift on the sticks after a while, and need to be re-calibrated... but the One controller just works, works consistently, and you never need to think about such issues.
While subjective; As a guy with larger than average hands, I find that the One controller is a far more comfortable fit even though it is a slightly smaller device. But the One controller also has some drawbacks:
The x360 for PC controller comes with a rather awesome breakaway USB cord that is nearly indestructible, which makes it perfect for the kiddos to use. The One controller for PC comes with a rather crappy white USB cable that is much shorter. Why did they choose a white cable? Why only 3' long? And why use a connector that is so fragile that you are almost guaranteed to break the port on the controller? All of this really adds to the cost of the controller. If you bought a first gen One controller like I did, then you need to buy a wireless adapter ($40), find a friend who owns an XB1 to update the controller (Impossible! They all have PCs or PS4s!), and a battery and charger stand ($25-35) to really remove fear of breaking that dinky USB port and not constantly replace batteries... and that is all on top of a $15-20 premium on the controller in the first place. That is nearly 3x the cost of the x360 controller cost! Sure, you end up with a wireless controller instead of wired, and it is better... but 3x better? I don't think so! I'd much rather have a One controller with a more traditional x360 breakaway cable. But that is sadly not an option. Personally I could not justify that total price up front, but I have been buying accessories bit by bit which helps reduce the pain of buying all of it at once. After getting use to the One controller, it is difficult to go back to the mushy flexible x360 controller, and as I have it and paid for it, there is no real need to go back. But if I had to do it all over again? I'd probably just buy another x360 controller, or try a PS4 controller.
Re: Cord wrap...Velcro OneWrap cord wraps. Better than sliced bread. Reusable zip ties with infinite adjustability.
Agreed. I love them!
Expensive for an ugly controller.
That's what the Xbox controller would look like if my 6 year old tried to draw it. Lmao.
Doesn't look that bad does it?
No it doesn't. Maybe Ksmith is having a bad day or something.
Yep, personally I like it. I might get it after giving my advanced warfare controller away to a friend as a gift.
Or should I say your 6 year old is skilled, haha. But really im just messing with you, it's not bad but it could be better.
Maybe 6 and a half. It is rough.
Great Review as always but other than the lights its ok looking imo
"Only $80" - how much money do I need to make to feel good about spending that much on a peripheral? Maybe I just need to be more into gaming. I'd really like a decent controller for my computer for around $30 for those occasional Trackmania races. Other than that, have fun.
You could probably pick up a wired Xbox 360 controller on sale for that price; I've gotten one for $30 before. But controllers come in many varieties, with some being nicer than others. For PC I wouldn't buy anything but a controller that functions as an Xbox One or 360 controller (so no Logitechs, etc.) since those have the best compatibility.
Think about how often you'll be using the controller. People underestimate how valuable they are, especially on console where they are required for every game.
I'm not a big fan of this. I do like the lower price but I'm not a fan of the large sticks. I'll keep wanting the Elite controller until it comes back in stock.
Hmm having buttons instead of paddles is a pretty cool alternative, but I'm not too fond of the design and I'm not a fan of the lights, so I'm skipping this controller. Great review Paul, so glad you're reviewing all these "pro" controllers, I had never even heard of this controller before your review.
Really nice review! I might actually get one soon. I had been wanting the elite controller but didn't want to spend all that money.
That not rubber. Its elastomer polymer or whatever apple calls their rubber crap.
What's not rubber?
I didn't realize there's such thing as luxury controller.
Btw do they significantly improve the gaming experience compared to the standard ones?
I mean, just read the review to learn what this one does that a regular one can't do. And the Elite is even nicer than this one.
No wireless :(
That ball is in Microsoft's court. But they never changed their mind on the issue in the 360's lifespan, so I wouldn't hold your breath on it changing with 3rd party controllers on the 'Bone.
Rock Bands and Guitar Hero :D
I doubt many people are going to play Halo with guitar controllers. :P
All the chatpads are defective anyway. Issue with the headphone jack. I've had a number of them and they all have gone bad. It doesn't help that MS didn't use a 90degree connector, but it doesnt matter much. I used a 3rd party adapter and it prolonged the life, but only by a few days.
My Chatpad is still going strong and I don't believe they suffer from widespread issues, but some people definitely have issues getting them into the controller for the first time.
It's shape like the OG Xbox controller
Save your money and buy the Elite, it's worth it. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
Nice! The lighting feature is kinda cool. Sets it apart from some of the other controllers. Shame they're not allowed to have the data port, though, but it looks to be decent quality for the price. All in all it's a nice alternative.
Sweet! Not as nice looking as the elite controller but the cheaper price made up for it, will have a look at it if it actually comes to my country.
Who cares, I use a 4USD gamepad for my pc and is working fine from last 2 years. And yeah it has vibration too :D
who cares? gamers who want to read reviews. Clearly you do not. This is more geared at xbox one not your pc. But it can work with your pc!
An outhouse works fine too, but I'd rather have the ability to poop indoors
Now that's a good comparison. :)
Its a nice looking controller. Im not sure if I am in the market for an elete like controller. I am a regular player. I would say alittle more then casual. I just feel I wouldn't like the cord. I do like the lights. Only if you can turn them off unlike the current xbox light on my controller blinds me in the dark.
It sure is good being able to plug a controller into your PC whenever you have a PC game to play, or plug into the console when other controllers' batteries die. Yes, the lights can be dimmed, and they are off by default.
Hey, I can't get my controller to work. I've got the driver for Xbox One controllers installed, but it still isn't working. Is there any tutorials for this controller specifically? Because I can't find any.
Have you successfully used a regular Xbox One controller on your computer? And which version of Windows are you using?
I've got the same problem. I've used both the xbox 360 and xbox one controllers on my current alienware 15 R2 and this fusion controller does not work. it'll show up on the device manager as "xbox one fusion" but it doesn't work and I can't download any drivers for it via windows update, device manager, or driver update selection.
I've used both the xbox 360 and xbox one controllers on my current alienware 15 R2 with Windows 7 64bit and this fusion controller does not work. it'll show up on the device manager as "xbox one fusion" but it doesn't work and I can't download any drivers for it via windows update, device manager, or driver update selection. It searches and returns with no drivers available.
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