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PowerA's Fusion Controller Is the Best Budget Pro Controller You Can Own

Illustration for article titled PowerAs Fusion Controller Is the Best Budget Pro Controller You Can Own

When it comes to finding the perfect pro gaming controller, Alex Cranz said there’s three criteria to judge for: customizability, comfort, and cost.

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It was easy for companies like Microsoft, SCUF, and Logitech to manufacture super comfortable, highly customizable controllers. But a budget-friendly price, eluded them all. The PowerA Fusion Pro Wired Controller is an unbelievably good stand-in for the Xbox One Pro Controller for half of the price.

For those unfamiliar, pro gaming controllers offer a ton of built-in customization options and additional buttons. These nifty features can give competitive gamers the edge that could be the difference between glory and ... well, the other thing.

PowerA Fusion Pro Wired Controller
PowerA Fusion Pro Wired Controller
Graphic: Tercius Bufete
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Of course, pro controllers aren’t a new phenomenon. Gamers, for several years, have gone to great lengths to tinker and tailor their gear to fit their specific need. That, more often than not, meant shelling out a serious amount of cash. For instance, the Xbox One Elite Series 2 Controller costs nearly $200 (that’s the price of an Xbox One S system with a standard wireless controller, by the way) or a SCUF Prestige controller for $160.

But PowerA’s Fusion controller offers an affordable alternative with negligible compromises.

Designed for the Xbox One and PCs, PowerA’s controller offers most of the perks the Xbox One Pro controller; it’s got those super-helpful, mappable underside buttons, swappable joy sticks, and adjustable trigger sensitivity.

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A 3.5mm jack is built-in near the base of the controller, so it’s easy to get your headset connected. It comes with a travel case, which is nice, and can come in handy if you intend to take your controller on the go, for tournaments, or couch co-op parties. For me, it just became a place to store all the spare parts.

The soft touch material that covers the top feels premium and quite nice. It’s surprisingly hefty, too, even without a rechargeable battery. And, yes, that’s a concession PowerA chose to make. It’s wired-only, which might be a deal-breaker for the few cordless loyalists out there.

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But many pro gamers choose a hardwire connection to eliminate any possible input lag. PowerA opted for super-long, locking 9.8-foot braided cable which should be long enough for most home theater setups. If you ever lose the cable, you’ll be glad to know it uses a microUSB cable to connect—so it’s easily replaceable.

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The D-Pad isn’t swappable, though, unlike the Pro Controller but I don’t mind. I find that option negligible in its usefulness.

To put it through its paces, I decided to play Overwatch on PC. I figured, it’d be a fun experiment to see if I could keep up with those wielding keyboards and mice.

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And, well, it worked out ... for the most part. Aiming was, yes, still more difficult than with a KB/M setup, but I discovered that using my ring and middle fingers to trigger the paddles (mapped to ABXY buttons) instead of moving my thumb on and off the joystick makes a world of difference. The paddles allow for simultaneous aiming and hopping around.

It’s magical. I don’t know how people played FPS games on consoles (or on PC, with a controller) without paddles before.

Whether you’re talking Cuphead or The Witcher III, some games are simply a tighter experience with a controller in-hand. And, if you’re not bothered by a wired-only setup, the PowerA Fusion Pro Wired Controller is an absolute steal.

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Alternatives

Already own a few controllers and don’t want to buy a whole new one? In that case, there are a number of accessories you can pick up for added functionality.

PlayStation owners can take home a Back Button attachment for about $30 (though they are tough to find out in the wild because of their popularity) and an Xbox owners can pick up the Collective Minds Xbox One Mod Pack for $35.

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