on December 18, 2005
As this review has been so helpful, I thought I'd provide an update as there have been a few changes since I wrote this nearly 7 years ago. :) Since I purchased this controller, it not only still works good as new, but has gotten even better. Microsoft actually addressed all of my con's, so I've updated that section below. They now have a black version, rumble works, and the Xbox Direct button works with Microsoft Live! games to bring up their menu while in-game.
And yes, I actually bought an Xbox 360 a few months after this review. All of the controllers, wired or wireless will work with the PC. If you have wireless, just get the Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows, and you're good to go. Drivers will automatically install courtesy of Windows Update.
Thanks for all of the positive comments, and enjoy!
Once I found out that the new xbox 360 controller would work for the PC, I simply had to go purchase one right away and see how well it worked for myself. And I'm quite happy to report that this controller works extremely well on the PC. While I'm sure this controller is awesome connected to an Xbox 360, since I don't have one, I'll keep comments specific to the "PC experience."
First, there is no need to buy the "PC version." Save yourself $5 and buy the xbox version. Then after connecting your controller to the PC, go to Windows Update, and download the drivers for free!
After easily installing the drivers, I first played Need for Speed Most Wanted, and it worked flawlessly. The throttle type controls at the back for brake/gas could be a little more responsive, but otherwise are a very useful feature.
Note: Also in response to another reviewer who said it was hard to find a "center" position while racing - this is due to the game itself, not the controller. I used 3 steering wheels, 4 controllers, and a keyboard, and they ALL do this in that particular game. You get used to it though. :)
I also played Colin McRae '05, BF2, COD2, Quake 4, and a few other racing games. And while I'm normally a mouse/keyboard person when it comes to FPS, I was suprised at how easily it is to use the controller in those particular games. While I certainly won't be ditching the mouse/keyboard anytime soon, it works great for racing games, and any game where you may have to drive a car/boat/plane, such as BF2. Those are places where the keyboard/mouse simply won't do.
And another thing I noticed was that after a few hours of gaming, the controller still felt quite comfortable. All the buttons, d-pad, and analog controls seem to be in the perfect place! It's very easy to press any button you may want without ever looking at the game pad. And now, I simply can't stop using it.
Just for reference, I'm comparing this gamepad to other game pads I currently own, which are the Saitek P880, Saitek P3000, Logitech Wingman cordless, and 2 gravis game pads. The only one that comes close is the P880, but the Xbox 360 controller is still easily the best out of this group.
And to wrap everything up, here is a list of Pros and cons.
- Most comfortable controller so far
- Great layout for easy access
- Throttle controls at back of gamepad
- 12 buttons (excluding xbox direct button)
- Analog controls also function as buttons
- Solid/sturdy feel
- UPDATE 7/8/12: New drivers and software now support Xbox Direct Button and Rumble.
I'm going to give this device a 5 star rating, and consider it highly recommended for PC users.
on July 15, 2012
I suggest anyone ordering a controller to avoid "Deals on Wheels". They ship a supposedly new controller that is unboxed and in a plastic bag. They say its "new" yet my controller was obviously used and refurbished. I can tell that is was used because the linings of the controller had dirt buildup, which accumulates only from usage. I suspect that the D-pad was a 3rd-party part. It did not even match up with the size of my other Microsoft controllers' D-pad and was extremely loose to the touch. Right away the A and B button did not work. The only plus side to this controller was that it is Amazon backed, so I could easily return this piece of junk.
I am not an Xbox fanboy. True, I own an Xbox 360, but I don't hold one console over the others in terms of "omggottahave." However, I am quite fond of the new Xbox 360 controller. Its design was much better implemented than the original Xbox controller that was HUGE (then just big after the S type) and clunky. It felt like a block of heavy plastic. Button spacing was weird and it just felt clumsy. Now that the Xbox 360 controller is out, I have to say that it is my favorite of the 3D-based controllers out there. But this isn't a review about the actual hardware as much as it is for the uses for it.
In short, it works perfectly for the PC. I am not a huge PC gamer mostly because I have grown up on the console side. There are some games that I do really well with the PC (RPGs, MMOs, point and click adventure games, etc.) but there are some that I'm okay with (FPS) and some that I am terrible with (Platforming, third person perspective). On top of that, I could never find a gamepad made for the PC that I liked as much as the ones for the consoles. So, when the Xbox 360 controller came out that was compatible with the PC I thought the gaming gods were smiling upon me.
Getting it installed takes just a matter of minutes; mostly, your install time involves going to the xbox.com website, downloading the drivers for the controller and then just running that application. From there, the computer recognizes the controller and when you get into a game, you can easily calibrate the controls.
I have used three games with this. F.E.A.R., Tomb Raider: Legends, and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey. Dreamfall didn't recognize the trigger buttons. The bumpers, the face buttons, the analog controls and the direction pad work perfectly, but the triggers aren't recognized. F.E.A.R. was a bit tricky, mostly because there are so many buttons that need to be used that it makes using an controller problematic. Tomb Raider worked wonders and made me happy since I didn't want to shell out $60 for a game I could get for $40 on the PC.
Also, gamers should be pleased to note that Ventrilo recognizes the controller and you can use the press-to-talk function with the controller. It doesn't recognize the triggers, but any other button on the controller is fair game. Really helps when you're playing a game that Ventrilo helps you with.
Overall, it's a great controller. I will note that you can't use a wireless controller plugged in with the plug and play charger. You have to use the standard, wired controller. But for those looking for a good controller to use with the PC, I can't recommend the Xbox 360 controller enough.
The Xbox 360 controller is just wonderful, the best console controller I've ever held in fact.
Those looking to buy the "Xbox 360 controller for windows" should be aware that this is the EXACT same controller, so buy whichever is cheaper. The only difference is that the former comes with the software CD...whereas you'll have to download the software for this one from the website. Also, the windows packaging is far uglier...if you care. But both are USB and work with either 360 or PC.
Microsoft making this controller cross compatible is actually a pretty big deal as there may finally be a level of standardization for PC controllers, if most people being using this controller is makes it far easier on game developers to know what interface gamers are using. In fact, many games are coming with a 360 control scheme pre-installed, just as Need For Speed Most Wanted.
on March 14, 2014
Just received my used controller in the mail from Hastings also known as goHastings, DOA. Plugged it into my xbox 360, nothing. Plugged it into my computer just to double check, nothing. It's clear that goHastings doesn't test their items before offering to sell them on Amazon, so I'll avoid them from now on and suggest that anyone else considering doing business with them would do the same. Very disappointing as this is easily avoidable and is an obvious case of laziness since testing this controller would have taken a few minutes.
If goHastings makes this right, I'll consider retracting my review, but I'm pretty disappointed right now.
on January 1, 2006
I bought this controller (Windows XP version) to use with Prince of Persia - The Two Thrones. After some difficulty getting the game to recognize the controller and then some additional adjustment - this controller works great with this game and even features RUMBLE effects! To get this to work properly, I copied the xinput9_1_0.dll file into the game directory and reduced the gamepad speed to .5. After I did this, it eliminated the "drift" I was suffering and made the whole experience great. I rated 4 stars because of the difficulty in setup. But the actual controller feels great in your hand and makes game play much easier than using a mouse/keyboard.
on September 20, 2012
When this controller arrived, my first reaction was to press all of the buttons a few times to get the feel of it. I instantly noticed that the A, B, X, and Y buttons did not "click" properly like other xbox controllers when pressed down. Instead, I had to put a significant amount of pressure for the button to go down, and even then, it did not feel like the button was going down all the way. These buttons seem as if they have either undergone prolonged use to the point where they have broken, or the original buttons were switched out for cheap knock offs. Either way, I was very disappointed, but decided to plug in the controller anyways and test it out in game. Although those buttons were annoying, they at least somewhat worked. However, the left key on the d-pad completely did not function, and the joysticks were not aligned properly and off center, forcing my selection to infinitely go upwards. This controller is absolutely unplayable, and I expected more from a product which is fulfilled by amazon and sold by a seller with high ratings. Perhaps I just got unlucky, in which case I hope that I can get a refund for this product, but I would not recommend buying from Closeout Masters.
on April 28, 2016
The controllers I received "new" were packaged in bubble wrap and a green bag.
They looked clean and unused. I tested them.
Firstly, the buttons feel "off" from the two official controllers I have. I've noticed this with knockoff controllers... the left bumper clicks twice as loudly as a normal button. Makes up for how the right bumper doesn't click at all!
The right bumper in one controller works... the other it does not. Opening it up revealed the spring I guess inside of it just doesn't work. So I imagine the button in there is trash.
Cosmetically, everything looks alright. The X logo in the middle and the LEDs aren't as divided, so the light bleeds into the other regions while it's active.
Again, just cosmetic. I liked that a bit but whatever.
The analog sticks I like the shade of, but they feel a little stiff. Won't matter as I'm going to replace the inner circuitry with official controllers come tomorrow.
The drivers installed with no complications.
The wire of the controller is grey to match... but there's no breakaway dongle. It's just a USB cord.
But yeah. When it comes to knockoffs. These ones do feel sturdy. Perhaps a little "light" for one reason or another. I'm not too sure about that.
I imagine it's the rumble. I think the rumble might have lighter components to them.
Back of the label is slightly different from the official label. Mostly the official one has empty space, while the knockoff has a few more logos on it to fill this void. I didn't notice typos.
The top of the controller says "Microsoft". The official black controller says "360".
As it is... yeah they'll function, but... I'm not going to return these because finding a kit or case for the wired controller I imagine is harder than it is for the wireless. I like my wired ones.
Watch out for black controllers with grey analogs on them. :o
on July 12, 2014
Bought it in 2009 and it's still working great. Now I mostly use my PS3 controller on the PC but for playing games with friends it's great to have this as a backup. I still use it with racing games (X360 has better R2/L2 triggers being pressure sensitive, PS3 has better everything else IMO). It works natively with pretty much any modern game that supports gamepads. You can even use programs like ControlMK to use it to control your Windows desktop if you're so inclined. The D-Pad does stand out as being worse than the PS3 but it's mostly fine outside of fighting games and things like that.
- 5 years and still going
- No hassle setup. Plug it in and it will work with most Windows games.
- Very comfortable layout, better than the PS3 if you have bigger hands.
- Pressure sensitive R2/L2 triggers. Gives more variation in racing games and things where the triggers aren't used as buttons.
- Wired, limited area of range (you can get the wireless version if you want though, so it's not really a con for me)
- D-Pad is hat switch instead of button inputs. Good for menus, not for in game control.
on October 22, 2012
I bought this controller because I am the type of player who only plays on wired controllers. I prefer both the feel and dependability of these controllers and I've had a lot of good luck with them in the past. I suppose I was due for some bad luck or something, because this controller was the worst I've ever felt. The feel was completely wrong. It even felt incredibly light when I held the package for the first time. As far as the functionally goes, the controller was unplayable. The joystick felt as though it had been damaged already and passed off as "new" or something. I'm completely unhappy with the product I received. In defense of the seller, the item did ship here quickly despite being in Okinawa, Japan. I would highly discourage anyone from purchasing this controller from this seller. I basically am out the price of the controller as I am far too frustrated to deal with the arduous return process. Anyhow, buyer beware for sure.