PowerA Fusion Pro Xbox One Controller Impressions

Fusion Pro Front
Fusion Pro Front. PowerA

Microsoft's Elite Controller for Xbox One is a fantastic idea for hardcore gamers who want to level-up their game with more precise hardware.  There's just two problems, however - 1. They're $150, and 2.  They're sold out everywhere.  Luckily, third-party peripheral maker PowerA has a solution, the $80 Xbox One Fusion Pro Controller.  It doesn't quite have all of the same features as the Elite, but it does come with customizable lights (seriously, I'm pumped about this feature) and handles pretty well when it counts.

  See all of the details here.

Features

The PowerA Xbox One Fusion Pro Controller has a lot of similar features to Microsoft's Elite controller.  It has locks on both triggers so you don't have to pull them very far to register shots, which allows you to shoot more quickly.  These are physical locks you just slide back and forth into place, so they work well.

It also has four programmable buttons on the back of the controller.  Unlike the Elite or Razer's Wildcat controller, however, that offer paddles or extra trigger pieces to help you push these extra buttons easier, the buttons on the back of the Fusion Pro are almost flush with the controller (see the back of the controller here).  They are also somewhat stiff and hard to actually press down consistently with your middle / ring fingers (especially the ring fingers, I didn't realize my fingers were so weak ...).  You do get used to them eventually, and the more you use them, the stronger your fingers will get in the process.

  Programming the extra buttons is very simple - you just hold the "program" button on the front of the controller until the lights blink, then press the button you want to map (it can be any button and even the stick buttons), and then whichever button on the back you want to map it to.  It is easy and fast to program and works like it should.

The Xbox One Fusion Pro doesn't have a couple of other key features, however.  You can't swap out the d-pad or analog sticks for pieces with different sizes / shapes like on the Elite, which is a bummer.  It also doesn't come with a fancy carrying case like the Elite or Razer Wildcat.  It also is wired instead of wireless (it has a 9' cord).  All of these things are also why it is a much cheaper $80 instead of $150 like the others, however, so it is hard to complain too much. 

One feature it does have that the others don't is gimmicky lights on the front.  I'm not kidding when I say this feature is actually appealing to me and part of the reason why I wanted to cover it (What?  Wanting purple lights on your controller is a crime now?).  The lights are turned on or off with buttons on the back of the controller and you can also  change the brightness and color.  The lights are in a "V" shape around the Xbox gem and navigation buttons in the middle, and also in circles around the analog sticks.  They look cool.  I like them.

The only thing I don't like is that the analog sticks are humongous compared to standard XONE controllers.  The tops of the sticks got smaller on the official controllers from the X360 to the XONE, and I have found I prefer the smaller XONE sticks over the last two years.

  The tops of the sticks on the Fusion Pro are even bigger than the 360 sticks, which means they're MASSIVE.  Maybe Microsoft has a patent on normal human-sized thumbsticks or something.  I don't know why else PowerA would use huge sticks like this.

Bottom Line

The real question here, however, is whether the Xbox One Fusion Pro worth the $80.  That is $15-20 more than a standard Xbox One controller, though that is still obviously significantly less than competing "Elite" controllers.  Is it worth it?  The thing about these "Elite" controllers from the start is that they aren't really meant for everyone.

  Frankly, most gamers don't need the extra buttons and bells and whistles and can play shooters just fine.  These controllers are generally aimed at hardcore competitive shooter (you know, Star Wars Battlefront, Halo 5, Black Ops III, Destiny, Gears of War, etc.) players who actually can see some benefit from being slightly more precise and not having to move their thumbs for even a millisecond.  Normal players (which the vast, vast majority of us are) won't notice a dramatic improvement.

With that said, however, the $80 price tag does make the Xbox One Fusion Pro an appealing impulse buy for those wanting to see if they can notice a difference.  The trigger locks and extra buttons on the back (even if they're hard to press at first) work just as advertised and can potentially help your play.  It is solid enough in comparison to the standard XONE controller and the extra features (lights, trigger locks, extra buttons) are probably worth the extra cash.  I wouldn't recommend it over the standard controller for everyone, but if you're curious and have some extra cash you can do a lot worse than the PowerA Xbox One Fusion Pro.