While the Xbox Elite is currently the best Xbox controller you can buy, it has a high price of entry — around $150 at the time of this writing. But it's not the only pro-quality controller out there and fortunately, PowerA has something close to the Elite for around half the price.
This is the PowerA Fusion Pro 2 and it's a controller for the Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One with many of the same features you'll find on the Elite and even a couple that you won't. Right now this is one of the best budget alternatives to Microsoft's flagship Xbox controller, you're definitely going to like it.
Bottom line: If you're keen on an Xbox Elite controller but don't fancy the price tag then this is the alternative to get.
- Removable rear paddles
- Software-free button remapping
- Two-stage trigger stops
- Superb quality case
- Replaceable sticks and faceplate
- Integrated headset controls
- Grips get really grubby
- Paddles can come away too easily
- Only one domed stick
PowerA Fusion Pro 2: Price and availability
The PowerA Fusion Pro 2 is available to buy now with a list price of $90 on PowerA's website. It's already possible to find a discount, though. At the time of this writing, you can find the controller at most major electronics retailers like Best Buy and other third-party retailers like Amazon for $80.
PowerA Fusion Pro 2: What you'll like
The PowerA Fusion Pro 2 has a lot of the hallmarks of third-party, budget gaming controllers, but has a few features that put it in line with more expensive controllers. For example, like virtually all third-party Xbox controllers, the Fusion Pro 2 is wired, which at least means no batteries to worry about or charging. And since it uses USB-C, you'll never be hunting too long for a cable, either.
On the outside, the Fusion Pro 2 looks a lot like a standard Xbox controller. That's a good thing because it's comfortable to use and all the buttons are in the right place. As it's fully ready for the Xbox Series X|S era, you get the dedicated share button right in the middle, too. If you're looking for trigger stops, you get two stages on both sides and each trigger has a slight texture on its edge to make it easier to hit in the heat of battle.
Build quality is excellent and despite its more affordable price, it doesn't feel cheap. It's solid, but not too heavy, and has grippy rubber, er, grips on the back. If you opt for the black faceplate you'll get some front grip too, designed to help you keep sweaty palms off its soft-touch finish.
The faceplate is changeable though and while there's only black or white available, you get both in the box and they snap on and off with ease thanks to tiny magnets holding it in place. If you go for the white one, it's a harder, smooth plastic finish (not soft touch for obvious reasons) with a splash of green around the thumbsticks.
Those, too, are replaceable, and while they do require the faceplate to come off first, it's hardly a chore to pop in a domed or longer stick if you'd prefer. Likewise, the rear paddles are removable should you not want to use all of them, and if you don't want any at all, the entire module can be replaced with a simple plastic cover. And all of this comes presented in a fantastic carry case.
The paddles themselves are very similar to those you'd find on the Xbox Elite as well. Magnetic contacts mean just the slightest of touches is all that's needed to activate them and they're right at your fingertips. Remapping them is a breeze as well, with an onboard control to do it and no need for a companion app.
The icing on the cake is the integrated headset audio controls. They're basic, with simple volume and mute functions, but it's definitely better than having to manage it from the Xbox guide.
PowerA Fusion Pro 2: What you won't like
Considering what you get for such an attractive price there's not really a lot of negatives to talk about. Probably the biggest one is how grubby it seems to get, though.
I can already hear the comments; "Wash your damn hands."
I don't quite know why the grips on this controller seem to be doing worse than my now two-year-old Razer Wolverine TE when it comes to just looking dirty, but boy oh boy, they do. Maybe it's the material or the color showing it up more. I honestly don't know, but keep some wipes handy.
The paddles also have a habit of coming off if you get a bit firm with pressing them. They're not really held on by much and it doesn't take much to register a press, but if you get a bit excited it's maybe a little too easy to send one flying across the room.
I would have also liked to see an extra domed stick included. The only one you do get is the longer one, but if you'd prefer to use two domed you can't, and there's no choice to use a standard length one with a round top, either.
PowerA Fusion Pro 2: Competition
There's no shortage of good Xbox controllers but there are a couple that rise to the top of the list. The first is the obvious one, the Xbox Elite v2. Compared already in this review, it's the standard set for Xbox controllers and the Fusion Pro 2 has many similar features. The downside to the Elite is its price, but it is wireless.
There's also Razer's Wolverine V2, which is a similar price to the Fusion Pro V2. It's another that comes with the new dedicated share button but has a very different design despite being as comfortable to hold. It's also wired, but you don't get rear paddles, though there are some extra buttons on the shoulders.
PowerA Fusion Pro 2: Should you buy it?
Choosing an Xbox controller is harder than ever but in the best possible way. There are so many good options to choose from, but this is certainly one to throw into the mix.
You should buy this if ...
- You're looking for rear paddles and remappable buttons
- You're on a budget
- You like the idea of being able to change sticks and faceplates
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You really have to have a wireless controller
- Additional paddles and features aren't important
The PowerA Fusion Pro 2 is an excellent Xbox controller. The negatives really are quite small when you consider just how much you get for a pretty astonishing price. It genuinely is like a budget Elite controller and well worth your money.
Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine