It’s hard to find a good game controller these days that does it all. This never ceases to amaze considering that any one worth its weight only need to nail three core ingredients – in our opinion – to be successful: comfort, convenience and customisability. For as simple as all these main components are, however, you’d be amazed by how many third-party accessories get it wrong. PowerA’s FUSION line of game controllers is one that’s thankfully managed to dodge much of this criticism up until now. And while it would have been nice for the Pro 2 to come wireless, it still offers Xbox players a lot of benefits. Some even better than Microsoft’s own first-party effort.
The first thing that hits you about the FUSION Pro 2 Wired Xbox Controller is just how smart and well put together it is. PowerA always do an exceptional job on the packaging for most of their products, but here the sleek-looking box is styled beautifully with well laid out details and some funky art sprawled out either side. Such premium quality is also found in the controller itself, you’ll be pleased to hear, which may be a bit bulkier than the official Series X controller but still feels natural to hold in the hands. A lot of this is also down to the Pro 2’s rubberised grips and overall matte texture. There’s simply a great feel to it all.
Of course, this being a fully customisable controller means you’re also never limited on style. As much like previous iterations the FUSION Pro 2 features a fully swappable magnetic face plate, which is especially a welcome edition in this case because the Black and White options included perfectly match the Xbox Series S and X - you’re catered for regardless of which next-gen Xbox console you own. The faceplates aren’t just for keeping up appearances, though, as both colours offer alternate anti-friction ring resistances. This allows competitive FPS players to quite literally find their groove.
Other eSports features included is the four-way mappable pro pack and three-way hair trigger locks. Are both factors expected in a self-proclaimed “pro” package like this? Probably, but even still both are easy to customise on the fly. The pro pack, in particular, offers four programmable buttons as opposed to the two you’d find in other third-party controller solutions, and they never get in the way of your grip whenever a game demands precise controls. As for the trigger locks, adjusting the distance you’re required to pull down LT and RT couldn’t be more simpler, and the Pro 2’s central volume dial provided added convenience without ruining the controller’s appearance.
What impressed me most about the FUSION Pro 2 in terms of features, however, were the dual rumble motors packed in under the hood. You see, whereas most Xbox controllers would simply pack in standard vibration and call it a day, here the implementation of ‘Dual Rumble’ is a fantastic call. We tested the controller most in games like Gears 4 and Dirt 5, and actions like active reloading and drifting had a massive impact in helping us stay immersed in the game. Dirt 5 especially was a great showcase for the rumble, as driving alongside different surfaces like ice, mud and rock roads all felt different with the FUSION Pro 2. It’s unlike any other type of vibration we noticed in either the PS4 or Nintendo Switch FUSION Pro controllers we reviewed previously.
As mentioned in the introduction, the only real area where the FUSION Pro 2 Wired Xbox Controller falls down a little is in its lack of a wireless connection. Instead PowerA provides you with a braided USB cable that’s at least a nice size (10ft), being enough to suit most people’s Xbox setups. Plus, it’s not like this is an issue for just PowerA, as the Nacon Pro Compact controller we tested recently was also wired. Could Microsoft be looking to retain the right to stay wireless in its own console eco-system? Possibly. Either way, while the strictly wired functionality was an initial disappointment it’s in no way a deal-breaker.
What it lacks in wireless-ness it more than makes up for with price. Because at just £10 more expensive than the official Xbox Series X controller, the number of extra bells and whistles here makes it a worthwhile consideration for any dedicated gamer. The FUSION Pro 2 Wired Xbox Controller apes so many of the same benefits you’ll find in Microsoft’s Xbox Elite Series 2 – programmable buttons, trigger locks, textured grips and so on – yet here it retails in the UK for just £79.99. Sure, you’ll need to keep the gamepad always plugged in, but at least you save money on batteries.
Overall, the Pro 2 Wired Xbox Controller is our favourite entry yet into PowerA’s exceptional line of FUSION third-party gamepads. It easily rivals Microsoft’s first-party gamepad in terms of comfort and function, so much so that you can forgive its lack of wireless compatibility. We can easily see the Pro 2 now becoming our preferred choice of Xbox Series X controller from here on out, largely due to the excellent part the Dual Rumble motors plays in better immersing you in games. A general premium quality feel and so many extra customisable options help further seal the deal, too.
- + Pros
- Excellent rumble feedback
- Smart and sleek-looking design
- Great value for money
- - Cons
- Lacks the ability to play wirelessly