PDP Afterglow Wave Review – Gaming with a Splash of Color

GlowingPDP Afterglow Wave Controller Review

Hardware is the vessel through which the physical body of the Gamer experiences the Game. Whatever the platform, your controller (no matter its form) is essential. Today, we are looking at the wired PDP Afterglow Wave Xbox controller. It is compatible with Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.

Afterglow Wave

The main draw to the Afterglow is the lights. It has RGB lighting built into the grips of the controller. Each side has three streaks where the light comes through. Both thumbstick sockets also glow. Users can change the settings of the lights to suit their preference, as well.

The Afterglow Wave Controller also has built-in game chat audio control. This allows players to mute/unmute, increase/decrease chat audio, and even change the balance of volume between in-game audio and chat audio. You don’t have to mess with it if you don’t play online multiplayer, but options are always nice.

Once More With Feeling

The term Third-Party Controller can often be a turn off. Comparing it to the standard counterpart is unavoidable. How a controller feels will make or break the experience. Perhaps the best compliment I can give a third-party controller is that I forgot I was playing with a third-party controller. In the heat of some hard gaming, I never felt that I was at a disadvantage or held back because of my controller.

There are two paddles on the underside of the controller, similar to an Elite controller. Like the Elite series, these paddles can be remapped to mimic other inputs on the controller. The biggest difference feeling-wise might be the D-pad. It has the shape and feel of the Xbox 360 D-pad. However, it doesn’t have the distinct “clickiness” of the Xbox Series X|S controller.

I will point out that the Afterglow Wave is a wired controller. It comes with a 10′ USB-C cable, which is detachable, however it is required that the controller is plugged in.

Afterglow Wave

The Glitz and Glam

The big, glaring difference between the Afterglow Wave and the standard Xbox controller is the RGB lighting. I am happy to say that it is pretty sweet. The lights won’t distract you on any setting, but will give you a cool show if you decide to look down at your hands. There are several settings that you can switch between, which include a constant, solid light; a slow fade; a cycle through the available colors; and a setting that changes the colors in reaction to your analog sticks.

PDP Gaming has a pretty wide selection of controllers, some with a variety of functions. They also have a free Control Hub app on Windows that lets users easily change the settings of their devices on their PC. There’s good news, bad news, and good news about this app. The good news is that using the app simplifies the process of changing the settings on your controller, especially if you have more than one PDP device. The bad news is that if don’t have a Microsoft account or cannot access it for any reason, you won’t be able to download and make use of the app. More good news though; you do not need the Control Hub app, you can program your controller manually.

There is a triangular button on the Afterglow Wave called the Function button. This controls all the additional functions of the controller. All the LEDs, paddle inputs, and chat audio settings can be toggled by holding the Function button in combination the bumpers or D-pad. No app required.

Afterglow Wave

Glowing Review or Wave it By?

When it comes down to whether or not you should buy a product, you ask yourself, “is it worth it?” A standard wired Xbox controller will run you about $60. A wireless one is a bit more expensive at around $70, depending on your retailer. The wired Afterglow Wave controller only costs $45 USD.

Personally, I don’t need chat audio control. I found remapping the paddle to LB and RB to be kind of useful, after training myself to use them. The LEDs are really neat. The color options and effects are very fun to program and look at. If you just want a controller for the sole reason of playing video games, it will get the job done. All the other features are icing, to be used or ignored.

***Hardware provided by PDP Gaming for this review***

The Good

  • Inexpensive
  • Cool light show!
  • Chat audio features

The Bad

  • Always wired
  • App or manual programming required