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PowerA Fusion Controller Review: An 'Elite' Xbox One controller with a low price

Last year, PowerA launched the Fusion Pro Controller for Xbox One, an Elite-style controller. Its successor, the Fusion Controller, has just arrived with a lower price and new visual design. How does the Fusion Controller stack up against other Elite-style Xbox controllers? Read on to find out!

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Design

PowerA Fusion Controller for Xbox One

The Fusion Controller is a black, wired controller for Xbox One and PC. It features the same basic shape and layout as a standard Xbox One controller. The USB cable is non-detachable, features an attractive gray and black fabric, and includes a Velcro cord wrap. The wrap is nicer than the old Fusion Pro Controller's weird rubber one.

Another big difference between this one and its predecessor is that of textures. This one has notches molded all the way around the hand grips, with a PowerA logo on the front of each grip. These don't feel nearly as nice as the real Elite controller's soft textured grips. But they should improve grip all the same. The non-grip portion of the controller back bears a unique hexagonal texture that primarily serves an aesthetic function.

PowerA Fusion Controller for Xbox One

The Fusion Controller's D-Pad and Triggers have a striking gold chrome finish. This goes a long way towards prettying up the controller without veering into gaudiness. I fear the chrome will eventually show wear, especially given the low price of the controller.

The D-Pad itself is nice and clicky. Although it doesn't feel as perfect as that of the Hori Pad Pro, it's still one of the better directional pads you'll find on a third-party controller. The Triggers have a great level of resistance too, making them a pleasure to use. One of the triggers on my Fusion Pro Controller eventually lost some of its responsiveness, but hopefully that won't happen here.

As for lighting, a white LED below the Xbox button lights up during use. An orange PowerA logo located at the top of the controller face lights up as well – a unique touch.

The bottom of the controller has a 3.5mm headset jack. As with all third party controllers, there is no data port, so you can't use the Chatpad accessory with this controller.

Analog Sticks

PowerA Fusion Controller for Xbox One

The Fusion Controller brings a significant feature to the table that its predecessor lacked: swappable analog sticks. Three sets of sticks are included: sticks with oversized tops, sticks shaped like a standard Xbox controller's, and PlayStation-style convex sticks. Whichever sticks you prefer, they perform excellently. PowerA sticks always have the right amount of resistance.

The swappable sticks come housed in a small disposable plastic tray — there's no carrying case like you get with the the Elite controller. When swapping them out, be sure you push them in until they make an audible click. Otherwise, the sticks might fall off unexpectedly.

Note that the Fusion Controller's sticks have a different internal shape from the Elite's. That means you can't use Elite sticks with this controller, which is a bit of a shame. Maybe Microsoft imposed the restriction; who knows?

Programmable buttons and trigger locks

PowerA Fusion Controller for Xbox One

The Elite and most similar Xbox One controllers feature four programmable buttons, allowing players to perform various functions without removing their thumbs from the analog sticks. The Fusion Controller bucks the trend slightly by including only two programmable buttons, both on the rear side of the controller near the grips. A button on the top rear of the controller handles programming tasks.

Two buttons might seem like a downgrade from four, but think of how often you'd actually use more than two extra buttons. Two is fine for my needs, and most players get by with standard controllers that have no rear buttons anyway.

You'll also find a lock switch for each trigger on the back of the controller. Activating these switches limits how far the trigger can be depressed. The benefit is that players can potentially shoot more rapidly in some games, especially those that don't rely on the analog nature of the triggers. I rarely use trigger locks, but it's nice to have them.

The bottom line

PowerA Fusion Controller for Xbox One

The PowerA Fusion Controller offers some compelling features and performance at the low price point of $49.99. You get swappable analog stick, two programmable buttons, and trigger locks – all with a superior aesthetic design compared to the more expensive Fusion Pro Controller.

The choice between this one and the similarly priced Hori Pad Pro won't be tough for most users. The Fusion Controller's sticks and triggers are far superior, even if its D-Pad can't compete. You might buy the Hori for fighting and 2D games, but most games will play better with the Fusion. It's a strong affordable alternative to the much more expensive Elite Controller.

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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!

19 Comments
  • An appropriate price. It looks cheap and thankfully is. I've gotten to the point where I dislike wired controllers so I'll just keep saving up for an Elite controller.
  • I almost picked an Xbox elite, for £179, just because it had the Elite controller with it. Can't really justify the extra, when I am after a Scorpio next year, Mrs P would end me! As for this controller, predictably thorough review by the way, I'm not keen on the look, and the wires bit is a pain.
  • £99.99 at Argos yesterday for elite pad. I too am saving for Scorpio. Just Hope I don't have to donate organs for it
  • I've had mine since the day the Elite console bundle came out, and I've never loved a controller like I love the Elite. Everything just feels right about it, to the point where the standard controller feels wrong. I can not recommend it enough. My only reservation is that I think the warranty should be longer, though thankfully I've yet to have a single issue with it.
  • Not bad, but I really wish MS would just let these other companies produce wireless controllers.
  • Ugly!
  • Look at it on best buy. The one they have their glows green.
  • Guys, I was at Best Buy and saw the Power A Fusion Xbox controller. It has buttons on the back, I think a way to lock your trigger buttons, and cool LEDs.
    The best part is that it's only $35 as of now.
    https://www.windowscentral.com/e?link=https%3A%2F%2Fshop-links.co%2Flink...
  • That is a nice price for a similar controller. :)
  • This controller sounds fantastic for the price.
  • It ain't pretty at all but it looks half decent, for what it can do so I'll most likely pick one up as an alternative controller.
  • If someone has $50 to put towards this thing then they should just hold out for the Elite. They'd be 1/3 of the way to getting one. I have the Elite and I won't use any other controller. Elite or nothing.
  • I dig controllers like this, but the wired component is what gets me (dogs cause them to come unplugged ALL the time). Thanks goodness there are soo many solid options as pertains to controllers these days though.
  • Yeah, it's a shame that Microsoft won't allow wireless third party controllers. They need to let up on that restriction (and also allow third party controllers to have data ports for the Chatpad).
  • build quality looks cheap especially the back, I have a feeling after long usage hands dirt are gonna stuck in all those grip lines~ Price isn't specially cheap, but it does comes with extra back button and sticks.
  • I don't think third parties are allowed to make wireless accessories. Do you have a source?
  • @Paul Acevado:
    I have actually used this controller. I have to give it a 3.5/5 for its D-Pad alone. The D-Pad has been a bit spongy for me yet still responds decently. I liked the other features, but the D-Pad eventually became very annoying and now I'm rocking the PDP Wired Camo controller. Its D-Pad is MUCH better (I don't know how it compares to the Hori Pad Pro as I haven't used that) and a lot of other things. One downside to the PDP controller: the headset settings are done from the controller itself, so don't expect to be able to adjust your headset settings from the XBox OS itself. This adds a major con to the controller: There is no option to adjust the "Mic Monitoring" setting whatsoever. You can still adjust between chat and game sound balance along with volume, but don't expect to be able to adjust your mic sensitivity. Maybe when I can I'll create a review in the forums.
  • That's weird that the system doesn't recognize the headset through normal means when using the PDP. It's something I don't usually think to test, but I guess I'll have to start looking out for it.
  • That's because the PDP wired controller has the headset button at the bottom right of the right thumbstick. You have to hold it down in order to adjust your headset settings. Press it twice to mute/unmute yourself. You'll know you're muted when you see the white LED active. I have to assume PDP had done something on that front. Another downside of it is that sometimes you have to adjust the headset settings after you plug your headset back in. Here's the link for the product: http://pdp.com/en/shop/controller-camo-wired-controller-for-xbox-one-pc Note however, that even the Titanfall 2 wired controller they sell along with a few others have that same hardware design within. Off topic: It would be nice to be able to see a space between written bodies within our comments. Guess I'll have to submit this through the Uservoice.