Wireless gaming is a wonderful thing. Wireless controllers have been around for quite a while and continually get better and better each year no matter what console you are playing. Using a wireless controller gives you an excellent feel of freedom. Contrary to wired controllers you are able to go a long distance without having to worry about the cable reaching, getting in the way, or just plain being a nuisance. You can lie on your sofa, recline in your comfy chair, or if you really wanted to play from another room, without having to worry if the controller cord will reach or having it get in your way while playing your favorite game. Unfortunate for Xbox, Microsoft has not created an official wireless controller for the Xbox console. Because of this gamers have to purchase a controller made by a third party. Is it really worth buying a third party controller for $50-$80 when the default controllers are less at around $30?
The Logitech Precision Cordless Controller is extremely easy to set up and really only requires you to plug in and begin playing. You won't be searching through thick manuals just to figure out how to make the receiver find the controller or to figure out what half of the buttons on the controller actually do.
The package includes only two pieces of hardware, the wireless controller (of course) and the wireless receiver. The wireless receiver plugs directly into the Xbox just as a normal controller would. Once the receiver is plugged in and the Xbox is running the only action needed to connect the controller to the receiver is to press a button on the controller. Once the user does this the controller automatically becomes usable and you can begin navigation through menus and playing games just as you could with a normal controller.
For the most part the button layout of the Logitech Precision Cordless Controller is almost exactly like the Microsoft S controller. The only real difference is that the controller has a vibration button located to the right of the left joystick. This button will be new to most people that have never used a third party controller and allows you to toggle the vibration of the controller on or off. The controller is programmed to rumble when something big happens in the game, such as a rock falling on your head, or getting shot by enemy fire. Some people enjoy the realistic feel and others find it annoying. With the normal Xbox controller you have to either turn it off or on in the game settings and you have to quit out of the game in order to change it. With this the button is right on the controller and is no longer necessary, if you want it on turn it on, if you want it off you will have to use a huge amount of energy to move your left thumb about two centimeters to get it back off again.
The design of the controller is extremely sleek and fits extremely well into your hand. The controller is also visually pleasing as well as very smooth to touch. There is a Logitech symbol encircled in a green ring in the center of the controller. Another neat feature is that the joysticks are made of clear plastic (except for the rubber for grip on the top) and allows you to see the inter-workings of the joystick. So if you are waiting to join an Xbox Live game or just plain tired of the game you are playing it is quite fun to just move around with the joysticks and look at their interior.
The controller is much smaller then the original Xbox controller and probably even smaller, in terms of volume, then the S controller. Even though the controller must contain two double A batteries at all times it is able to stay so small and light because there are no memory card ports on the controller. Instead Logitech integrated the two memory card ports into the receiver. This was a great idea because having those two huge ports on the controller as well as memory cards, or other accessories, in them weighs down the controller and is not very comfortable holding for a long period of time. Also you can always have your memory cards in the slots without having to worry about them and only take them out when going over to a friend's house to play. However this poses a big problem if you want to use something like a headset.
If you are an avid Xbox Live player then you will definitely want to reconsider purchasing this wireless controller. Because the receiver can only be about three feet from the Xbox console, your Xbox Live headset will have to plug into the receiver. Because of this you will have to be that close to your Xbox to actually use the headset. This pretty much renders the capabilities of the controller useless while playing on Live with a headset. Of course you could always dish out an extra $60-$80 for a fancy wireless headset, but after you buy this and the controller that adds up to over $100 just to remove two wires.
Overall, despite the problem with the headsets, the Logitech Precision Cordless Controller is a top of the line quality wireless controller for the Xbox console. If you are in the market for a new wireless controller this controller is well worth the $50 price tag. The design of the controller fits right into your hands and the range of the receiver is unbelievable. Heck, I even stood all the way across the room, put a metal trash can over the receiver, and still schooled all my friends in Halo 2 despite barely being able to see the screen.
Final Rating: 5 out of 5.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
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