PowerA Xbox Wired Controller Review
Are you tired of your controller batteries always dying? Do you miss the days when a 10-foot cord lay between you and the TV? Then, have I got a solution for you! PowerA has a whole line of wired Xbox controllers for sale, and I tested out three of them. The Advantage Wired Controller, the Spectra Infinity Enhanced Wired Controller, and the Enhanced Wired Controller are pretty dang decent choices. There are a few minor differences between them, but their essential functionality is the same.
Spoiled For Choice
First, the similarities. All three models are wired controllers, obviously. This is perfect for people who don’t want to fiddle with batteries and charging adapters and whatnot. The wired element also drives the price point way down. These pads are barely half the price of a proper wireless model. Which is great! If you’re looking for a guest pad or a ‘little brother’ model, these are an ideal solution. Button quality and stick-feel are pretty good across the board as well. Plus, the home button can power up the console. This seems like a tiny detail, but similar PowerA Switch controllers can’t do this. The three pads also share certain extra features.
For starters, you’ve got the programmable extra inputs. While I’ve never found a practical use for these, don’t let that discourage you. They could be perfect for arcade games, fighters, rail shooters, or even action games. Just because I find them difficult to reach (somehow!) and even harder to incorporate, doesn’t mean you’ll feel the same way. On the other hand, the 3-way trigger locks are immediately useful. Maybe pressing that trigger down all the way is adding precious milliseconds to your reaction time. Or a more shallow trigger lock just feels better. The point is, you’re free to experiment. Finally, all three models come with a share button and dual rumble motors.
The Enhanced models both have a volume dial built into the front. This works great with wired headsets, but it does nothing for wireless rigs. The Spectra model has a whole RGB lighting setup, which rules. If you want your controller to glow just like the rest of your setup? This is perfect. I’ve been using the Switch version of this same pad for years. It quickly became my standard choice, at least among wired controllers. I suspect that the Spectra Xbox model will end up equally well-used.
Don’t Sleep On The Spectra
Are these controllers as cheap as their cost would imply? Not quite! When comparing a PowerA rig to a standard Xbox controller, the sticks and buttons feel pretty similar. Although the standard model has a slightly smoother range of motion, the give and response is more or less equal. The Spectra model has a more satisfying heft, however. On the other hand, the Enhanced and Advantage models I tested felt a bit light for my tastes. The D-pads on all three models are aggressively acceptable. They do the job in a pinch, but I’d prefer not to lean on them for anything intense. But the regular Xbox D-pad is also somewhat subpar.
I recognize that my affinity for wired controllers is unusual. Most people can’t go back once they go wireless. Which I totally understand! But oh man, is it ever nice not having to mess with batteries. Between the 10-ft cords, the trigger locks, and the wealth of design options, I’m a big fan of these pads. In fact, it seems pretty simple to make a better controller than the Xbox standard. The weight can’t always measure up, true. And stick-feel is a finnicky beast at the best of times. But it’s hard to argue with that price point. If you’re in the market for a wired alternative to your Xbox controllers, good news! PowerA has a whole host of different options that are sure to treat you right.
***Retail versions of these controllers were provided by the manufacturer***
- Massive 10 ft cord
- Trigger locks are rad
- Tons of color options
- D-pad is subpar
- Limited volume functionality
- Some models feel too light