Third Party Controllers aren’t exactly a popular hot topic to talk about. For very good reason too,I as they seem like a 50/50 situation where you could either get something amazing or something extremely bad. I felt the same way when I got to review the Performance Design Products (PDP) Xbox One Controller.
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I’m pretty sure people have handled PDP Controllers before at least once in their lifetime. It’s certainly not an unknown series of products because of the whole Afterglow effect some of the controllers had ever since the PS3 and Xbox 360 days.
PDP is certainly a known company in the industry, their headsets being the most popular items. I daresay I feel very tempted to also test those products considering this one is a rather solid product that, at some points outperforms the original Xbox One Controller.
The PDP Controller I am testing today is the PDP Wired Xbox One Controller that’s themed with a Midnight Blue skin. The reason behind this choice is the aesthetic that actually impressed me even though it was a matte skin, but that’s getting ahead of myself a little bit there.
We have to talk about the most primordial aspect of this review in general, the Unboxing Phase that allows users to see what they are going to get when they receive their controller and check what’s inside the box this controller comes with.
Unboxing and First Impressions
The Xbox One PDP Controller goes straight to the point when it comes with the stuff it comes with. The unboxing video below will allow you to see that there is not much when it comes to accessories that come with the PDP Controller. Namely the fact that we only have the Controller and the USB cable that plugs into the PC/Xbox One Console.
The USB Cable itself is longer than I expected, to be honest. The wire is six feet long and it certainly won’t force users to sit as close to the TV as possible and force them to get their eyes burned off by the TV.
Another thing I actually like about the wire is that this is a USB Type-C wire. Which allows for Data/Charging use with a lot of smartphones in the market as well as connecting other Xbox One Controllers which have a rather flimsy USB Cable themselves.
I must say, once this wire connects to the PDP Xbox One Controller it does stay connected and hangs onto the controller as hard as it can. It does take a little bit of brute force to unplug the controller from the Controller end of the wire.
As for the controller itself? Well, it delivers on the promise that the skin is a Midnight Blue Matte skin that actually has a “See-through” thing going for it as you can also see the controller’s inner machinations.
There are a lot of questionable aesthetic and design choices with this controller though. For example, there’s the fact that the A B X Y buttons in the controller are actually painted on rather than encased in plastic like in the Original Xbox One Controller.
I must say that the PDP Xbox One Controller also looks like the real deal. While it may look the part, however, the PDP Controller actually feels lighter than the original as well. It might be a little bit inconvenient for players who don’t like light controllers but I don’t really see an issue with it.
This Controller also has a thick layer of plastic as a surface on the backside of it. Which actually works against the controller itself as elongated gaming sessions will come with sweaty hands and thus, the controller will be slippery.
As far as the design and aesthetic choices go, I’d say that the PDP Xbox One Controller for the most part does what’s required pretty well. The nitpicks I mentioned are rather minor and, to be honest I don’t think it does a major disservice to the Controller as a whole.
With that out of the way, we will now move on to the part that’s actually pretty important in terms of the review. The Controller’s Functionality and how well it fares compared to the Xbox One Controller itself.
The PDP Xbox One Controller has the surprising feature of being Plug&Play. That in and off itself has actually managed to catch me off-guard as I expected to install some third party drivers through some random CD or through a Support Page in PDP’s website.
Not only that but the PDP Xbox One Controller actually runs the Xbox One Controller drivers and my Windows 10 PC recognizes the controller as an Xbox One Controller. This leads me to believe that the hardware the PDP Xbox One Controller has is actually official and as such, it’s a huge plus because any user can easily just plug in the Controller and start gaming right away.
The buttons seem pretty responsive enough to all of my inputs and I only have the 4 frames of lag that my Samsung TV offers. In other words, this controller doesn’t add any sort of lag whatsoever to the inputs of the user under any circumstance, either.
The feature that’s most advertised in the PDP Xbox One Controller has to be the fact that you are allowed to control the Volume of the audio in the headset at any time. This is done by pressing and holding the button on the lower right side of the controller.
The D-Pad now becomes a set of buttons that allow for control over the volume of the headset itself. You can hear the game audio once you plug in a 3.5mm hands-free headset, adjust the volume up and down, and also work on other features that I’m not so sure as to what they do. I have tried clicking on the left and right D-Pad buttons to no avail several times and nothing happened during the game or on my Desktop.
Besides that, I must say that the D-Pad itself is actually better than the Xbox One Controller’s. The Xbox One has a D-Pad that’s pretty uncomfortable to handle and also has the major problem of not responding to certain inputs, namely when doing QCF and QCB (Quarter-Circle Forward and Back) motions respectively.
Meanwhile, the PDP D-Pad is more traditional looking and feels as comfortable as the WiiU Pro Controller’s D-Pad. It also properly responds to all of my motions. It does get my thumb a little bit hurt after an extended session of playing BlazBlue CrossTag Battle and Dragon Ball FighterZ but I don’t really bang my head against the wall for it.
I have heard a lot of claims about the wear of the Left and Right sticks on the PDP Xbox One Controller. Naturally, I had to check whether or not these rumors were true as well. I ran a few tests with some games and programs that allow me to detect issues such as wear, drift and other problems that come with sticks from the factory builds and, after 2 weeks of use I didn’t really find anything out of the ordinary.
The left and right sticks have actually done their job quite well. Besides not noticing any drift, the sticks don’t get stuck in position at all and feel extremely well. The only problem I have with them is that they had to be calibrated first to have the best gaming experience but other than that I think this controller did what it needed.
The Left and Right Triggers have worked as well but I never thought highly of controllers that had Rotations in the Triggers rather than treating them as separate buttons for a variety of reasons. I don’t believe that having Triggers with outward/upward design is really that big of a deal in this situation.
Overall, I believe the PDP Xbox One Controller doesn’t really have any sort of defects that would stand out and make me recommend against buying it for the sake of purchasing an Original Xbox One Controller or an Original Xbox One Elite Controller.
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The best features of the PDP Xbox One Controller are definitely the ability to control the volume of the game you’re playing through the D-Pad. While it doesn’t work as a full-on remote (It only works with the Headsets) it definitely does its job quite well when I have my own headset plugged in to my controller.
I should also mention that I loved the Aesthetic of the Controller itself. Never have I ever seen a controller with such an elegant skin like Matte Midnight Blue and the design of the controller itself is pretty comfortable for my hands.
The only complaints I have about this controller range from the fact that the buttons are pained on rather than encased in plastic. Oddly enough, the Xbox Home button is actually encased in plastic which only makes me wonder why they couldn’t have given the face buttons (You know, the buttons the player is most likely to be using rather than the Home Button) the same treatment.
The D-Pad itself is also pretty great on its own and has almost never missed an input I have made during fighting game sessions. Since I often play fighting games with a D-Pad rather than the stick, it’s usually essential to have a good one to play with and the PDP Xbox One Controller definitely delivers.
The USB Cable is sturdy and stays connected to the Controller itself, so it allows for some rough pulling and it won’t come out or have a flimsy connection like other USB Type-C Cables I know. Which is also a huge plus for this controller because that means I won’t really have any situation where my controller accidentally disconnects while I was pulling it or something along those lines.
Finally, the price point is the most attractive quality of the whole package. $30 USD for this sort of controller really goes a long way and it only makes me think that I am getting even more bank for my buck. The PDP Xbox One Controller is a cheap alternative that sticks to the original Xbox One Controller and actually improves in some design aspects to make it a worthy purchase.
So, all-in-all, I love the PDP Xbox One Controller and I have little to no reason to recommend against buying it. Sure, the fact that it loses the Wireless Functionality that Xbox One Controllers have is pretty hefty for a lot of gamers out there. However, for fighting game enthusiasts or players who want precise inputs with little to no lag this is a controller that does what’s required and then goes a step beyond.
The Article has now been updated in 2021.
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