Look, we exist. There are PC gamers preferring a controller over a keyboard and mouse for almost all of video games, significantly in titles like Rocket League or racing video games. The high-end gamepad market has gained traction over the previous few years, with customisation changing into a key characteristic as manufacturers compete for our sweaty paws. The newest model to toss its hat into the ring is Thrustmaster, and its candidate, the ThrustMaster Eswap X Professional, is a $160 / £150 Xbox and PC-compatible pad with a modular design. Might this make our listing of the perfect PC controllers?
The standout characteristic of the Eswap X Professional controller is its modular ecosystem, which Thrustmaster cash ‘T-MOD’ – which means the thumbsticks, D-pad, aspect grips, and triggers can all be swapped to totally different positions, and with the extra buy of color packs, it’s also possible to tweak change the look of the controller.
Upon opening the field, I used to be pleasantly stunned with the construct high quality, feeling simply as stable as my trusty previous Xbox One controller. Included within the field is the 10-foot braided cable (which you’ll want to make use of as there’s no wi-fi connection right here), a neat carrying bag, and a pair of alternative convex thumbsticks, harking back to these discovered on the previous PS2 and PS3 controllers.
First impressions will be deceiving because the Eswap X Professional initially seems like every other third-party controller in the marketplace, however it’s obtained that modular trick up its sleeve.
Most customisable controller you’ll discover
High construct high quality
No wi-fi connectivity possibility
Buttons as an alternative of paddles on the rear
Not like plenty of garish third get together sport controllers, the Eswap X Professional’s design is comparatively sensible in its commonplace color scheme, regardless of it wanting wildly totally different to the usual Xbox controller. Positive, it doesn’t scream ‘premium’ in fairly the identical means because the Xbox Elite Collection gamepad, however regardless of a number of too many traces and edges, it’s typically understated.
In the event you’re used to the usual Xbox One controller then the elevated measurement of the Eswap X Professional may make adjusting difficult, however should you’ve obtained massive arms then it’s an incredible match. In case your arms are smaller, it’s possible you’ll discover the controller just a little too massive – particularly when attempting to achieve round to the additional programmable buttons on the rear.
You’ll additionally discover a headphone jack on the underside with quantity and microphone controls, excellent if you wish to hook the perfect gaming headsets by means of the controller.
Relating to the modular facet of the pad, all elements will be shortly swapped round by pulling on their magnetic attachments, bar the triggers, which will be eliminated with the included crosshead screwdriver. There’s no want to fret about elements falling off throughout gameplay although – the magnets are very sturdy, and I couldn’t see any means for these to be pulled unfastened unintentionally whereas taking part in.
modularity means in case your thumbsticks put on out, you’ll be able to prolong your pad’s life by buying new ones
Thrustmaster despatched us over its blue color pack, too, which normally prices £45 / $50, together with new thumbsticks, a D-pad, triggers, and aspect grips. To be trustworthy, I desire the glossy look of the unique bronze colors, however it’s strictly elective. The actual magic right here is that the modularity means in case your thumbsticks put on out in a number of years time, you may give the pad a brand new lease of life by simply shopping for a brand new thumbstick, reasonably than chucking out the controller you’ve spent a lot cash on.
You may change the thumbsticks on the Elite Collection pad, too, however should you get an issue like stick drift then typically the thumbstick housing is the actual downside and because of the Eswap X’s modular design you change the entire thing for a clear reset.
Heck, you possibly can technically even swap out your D-pad for a 3rd thumbstick, which, whereas being a neat get together trick, is totally pointless. It might be good to see just a little extra choices within the accent lineup, too, like a disc-shaped D-pad much like the one on the Xbox Elite Collection.
|Thrustmaster Eswap X Professional specs|
|Connection||Wired Micro USB|
|Haptic suggestions||Impulse triggers + Rumble motors|
|Audio||3.5mm jack w/ mute and quantity management|
|Structure||Ps or Xbox|
The wired-only connection was a deliberate selection by Thrustmaster, to be able to obtain “near-zero response instances”. Though, I can’t say I’ve observed any enter lag by myself wi-fi controller, which I’ve been utilizing with my PC for years, and I missed the muddle free feeling of a wi-fi controller. Microsoft’s Xbox Elite Collection controller is marketed for aggressive gameplay too, however nonetheless has the choice to attach wirelessly. On the plus aspect, there’s no means the detachable cable will fall out throughout gameplay, with a locking mechanism for the cable and controller port. And also you gained’t ever be fishing round for a pair of AA batteries mid-clutch, like I’ve finished extra instances than I’m keen to confess.
I love the face buttons on this, which boast an extremely tactile, clicky really feel that’s far more exact than the usual Xbox pad. They’re low-profile and provides a satisfying and apparent click on very like you get on a high quality mechanical keyboard change. They don’t simply really feel good although, they assist out in combating video games like Road Fighter V, making it completely clear after I’m hitting every enter and finally making it simpler to string combos collectively.
Flicking the 2 switches on the again of the controller halves the journey of the triggers, giving them a extra analogue, tactile really feel. In FPS video games the place you don’t must modulate the quantity of set off you’re utilizing, I did desire having that brief journey for aiming down sights and firing. Then, in fact, it’s a easy flick again to the total set off journey that’s wanted in racing video games like Forza Horizon 4 – no want to leap out and in of the software program.
The thumbsticks on the Eswap X Professional are Thrusmaster’s personal S5 NXG, which the corporate additionally claims have double the lifespan of its earlier sticks. In comparison with an ordinary Xbox controller, the sticks really feel lots smoother, and appear to spring again to the middle extra aggressively.
The thumb grips themselves are fairly totally different too, however they nonetheless can’t beat the supreme consolation and grip of these on PlayStation’s DualShock 4 and DualSense controllers. The D-pad then again, is merely okay in comparison with the up to date dish-shaped D-pad on the Xbox Collection X controller, which feels a lot better to make use of and is a 3rd of the value.
Thrustmaster’s ThrustmapperX software program is used to tweak the pad, letting you customise two profiles for the controller that you may change between on-the-fly. Within the software program you’ll be able to regulate vibration throughout the controller, add useless zones for the triggers and thumbsticks – helpful should you run into drift a number of years down the road – regulate the sensitivity of the thumbsticks, and remap controller buttons. I didn’t discover myself tweaking round within the software program an excessive amount of, although, because the pad felt just about excellent out the field – and for the video games the place I wished to regulate sensitivity, I simply modified it in sport.
You can too assign the 4 programmable rear buttons both by means of the included software program, or with the mapping button on the controller itself. Thrustmaster has chosen to not go for bodily paddles like we’ve seen on most different professional stage controllers, choosing buttons as an alternative, which looks like a little bit of a missed alternative when most different controllers in its value vary have them – and there’s no choice to get paddles as an add-on, both.
the advantages of those programmable rear buttons turns into clear whereas taking part in shooters
Nonetheless, they perform the identical perform, and the advantages of those programmable rear buttons actually turn into apparent whereas taking part in shooters like Name of Responsibility: Black Ops – Chilly Battle, letting me reload, bounce, and change weapons with out having to depart the thumbsticks. They’ve simply the correct amount of resistance to cease unintentional presses, whereas nonetheless being straightforward to activate in a fast-paced shooter.
I additionally assigned the rear buttons in Forza Horizon 4 for altering gear, which feels far more intuitive than utilizing the usual X and B buttons. You may change between two totally different mapping profiles with buttons on the controller, as an alternative of getting to launch Thrustmaster’s mapping software program each time you wish to change, which may be very handy.
The Thrustmaster Eswap X Professional is a stable, premium selection if you wish to improve your PC gamepad. It ticks nearly all the identical bins as Microsoft’s Xbox Elite Collection controller and Razer’s Wolverine Final at a really related value level, however goes a step additional with it’s modular design letting you change thumbsticks to get a number of extra years out of your controller, and the flexibility to undertake both a PlayStation or Xbox thumbstick structure relying in your choice.
It’s a disgrace that there’s no means to make use of this wirelessly, particularly given the hefty price ticket, so it’s onerous to see this as an excellent possibility for lounge gaming. Smaller arms may additionally wrestle with the scale improve over the usual Xbox pad and even Elite Collection controller. It’s positively a viable different to Microsoft’s premium pad, however should you desire ergonomics and aesthetics then the Elite Collection remains to be the pad for you.