Here are 10 of the best customizable controllers for your gaming needs
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So you got one of the latest consoles, huh? Loving the new games? How about the graphical upgrades this generation brought? But real talk – are you happy with your controllers? I mean, just like the headphones bundled with your phone, the included controllers are almost always the basic model.
What if you just bought a new PC? Would you use the standard keyboard that is included or would you upgrade your keyboard to something more fitting?
That doesn’t really give you much scope for the personal touch though. I mean, you can customize your Gamertag, your Avatar, even the backgrounds used on the dashboard. Why not your peripherals? Thankfully, there’s a huge third-party market for customized controllers, and some big names making their own console-or-PC-compatible controllers.
Here’s some of the best in the market right now.
Here are 10 of the best custom console controllers you can buy
Whether it’s more customization options for the design, or extra functionality in the shape of new paddles, buttons, and programmable tricks, there’s a whole world of third-party controllers that’ll all enhance your console playing experience. Here are 10 of the best we’ve seen recently.
ColorWare Limited Pro Controller 16-bit ($189)
Let’s face facts – while the Joy-Cons that the Nintendo Switch comes with are fun, for serious gaming you really need a Pro controller. Nintendo’s official ones are kinda dull though (with the Xenoblade one being the only exception), so check out this $189 16-bit beauty from ColorWare. It’s the Pro controller you always wanted, painted in homage to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Sweet, now you’re playing with power.
Oh, and if you want your Switch to match – ColorWare sells a 16-bit painted Nintendo Switch for $599… Don’t worry about damages either, as ColorWare warranties all hardware they modify, replacing the original manufacturer’s warranty. For consoles (or controllers that come with them) that’s 12 months, and controllers are 90 days, just like the original manufacturer.
Victrix Pro FS Arcade Fight Stick ($349.99)
If you love fighting games, you know that there’s no substitute for a good fight stick with Sanwa Denshi parts. The controllers that came with your console are okay, but if you really want to Hadouken your way to victory, the $349 Victrix Pro FS Arcade Stick is the tool you need. Made from a single piece of extruded aluminum, this behemoth of the arena has purple underglow, a comforting weight, and just feels fantastic on your lap.
I’ve been using mine for about a year now and it still feels as solid as the day I got it. Oh, and you can modify everything you want, as all the components are easily accessible. Swap out the stick, or go for different buttons – it’s your choice.
There’s even a limited edition version with Ryu etched on the top, that was limited to 250 units. Grab one for $399, but better be quick cause that short production run will go fast.
SCUF Vantage 2
The Scuf Vantage 2 is one of the best officially licensed Sony PlayStation 4 controllers on the market. Everything is customizable, from the magnetic faceplate, the paddles, the sticks, and the D-pad. For $200, you get a lot of options here, including Bluetooth connectivity or wired play, 20 hours of battery life, and compatibility with PS4 and PC.
There’s a reason that most pro gamers use SCUF, and that’s the ability to tweak everything to your preferences. Adjust the trigger stops, decide if you want rumble or not, use the side action buttons or take them off, and remap all your controls to where you want them.
Elite Series 2 Controller ($179.99)
Not all customizable controllers are third-party, with Microsoft creating its own for the Xbox console. The $179.99 Xbox Elite 2 controller has a wrap-around rubber grip for keeping you on the ball, customizable paddles, thumbsticks and more.
Now you can adjust the tension of the thumbsticks, tweak the trigger-stops, and even set a button to be a ‘shift’ of sorts, allowing two layers of customizable controls. You’ll get up to 40 hours of playtime on one charge, and you can recharge either inside the carrying case or outside while you keep playing.
Razer Wolverine Ultimate ($149.90)
The $149.90 Wolverine Ultimate is the latest competition-ready Razer controller for Xbox and PC. It’s got all the interchangeable thumbsticks and D-pads you’d expect from a customizable controller, with the addition of 2 remappable multifunction bumpers, four multifunction triggers, and all the Chroma you can throw a unicorn at.
Razer Synapse for Xbox lets you tweak everything to your liking, including lighting effects, and the quick control panel gives easy access to swap profiles, mute your mic and more.
X1 Evil Shift custom controller (starts at $69.99)
Evil Controllers might not have the name recognition as some of the other custom controller makers, but don’t let that put you off. I’ve got one of their Evil Shift controllers for Xbox One and it’s solid. I actually prefer the Evil Shift paddles to the competition, they’re more of extra-large buttons instead of levers, which sit perfectly on your fingertips as you hold the controller.
You can customize pretty much everything, with faceplate choices, back grip, trigger types, button colors, thumbstick heights and tensions, and more. If you want it tournament-legal, just skip the master mod section so you don’t get disqualified for using rapid-fire mods or other trickery. There’s nothing stopping you using those on Xbox Live though… Fully-configured you’ll be looking at over $300 for a just-for-you controller, or you can pick from a preconfigured array of options.
Razer Tartarus Pro Gaming Keypad ($129.99)
This is the latest one-hand keyboard controller from Razer, which comes with pressure-sensitive optical switches, for full analog movement. That’s like having a controller trigger on every key. Sweet. The Tartarus Pro is $129.99, has 32 keys that can all be mapped using Razer Synapse, and has an 8-way thumbpad for even more control. Perfect for those intense FPS sessions, or even for getting things done with some macro remaps for your most-used creative tools like Photoshop.
The onboard Chroma RGB lighting can be tweaked to give you alerts, or just paint your desk in color, and it also syncs up with Philips Hue products to make your whole house into a disco paradise while gaming. Nifty.
NACON Revolution Pro Controller V2 ($98)
Maybe you thought the realm of custom controllers was out of your price bracket? Well, I’m here to say that all the customizing you can handle is right within your grasp. The Nacon Revolution Pro forgoes wireless connectivity to bring an officially-licensed controller for PS4 with all the tweaks, for under a benjamin. Yes, that’s right, less than $100 gets you a customizable controller for your console. That’s a fantastic price for 4 customizable shortcut buttons, dual customizable thumbsticks, and a D-pad that can be tweaked from 4-way to 8-way for fighting games.
Xbox Adaptive Controller ($99)
Not everyone can hold a traditional controller, making it difficult for gamers with a disability to get the enjoyment and escapism that gaming provides. Microsoft teamed up with gaming charities like AbleGamers to create the Xbox Adaptive Controller, a $99 specially-designed hub to enable those with low-mobility to game. That’s a worthy cause in anybody’s book.
The main controller has huge pads bound to A and B, a D-pad, and a whole row of 3.5mm plug sockets, so existing assistive controls can be plugged in, making it easier to learn the control system. Everything can be remapped using the Xbox Accessories app for Xbox One or PC, and there’s a huge range of accessories created for different mobility levels.
Gamestyling Custom Controllers (from $75 or $105 for custom paint jobs)
There’s no better feeling than having something that is truly unique to you. Gosse van Dam at Gamestyling has been giving people that feeling since 2014, with his custom paint jobs that have garnered him commissions by some of gaming’s biggest companies.
You can choose from a huge selection of hydro-dipped controllers, hand-painted options, or if you really want – a controller painted to your exacting specifications. He’ll work with you to make your controller something really special, starting at $105. That’s a great deal for custom work, shipped anywhere in the world from his Netherlands home.
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