KontrolFreek are probably best known for their stunning thumbsticks, ranging from the low-rise stick covers, right up to the larger, higher rising thumbsticks that bring about an increased amount of precision and control. KontrolFreek do however also deal with another piece of kit which aims to increase the length of time you can spend in a frantic gaming session. The KontrolFreek Grips.
Created for Xbox One, the KontrolFreek Grips are padded, textured, black add-ons which stick firmly to your Xbox One controller, right in the spots where your hands get in hard contact with the controller. With a very subtle design, the KF logo that is adorned on just the one Grip is barely noticable, blending into the background nicely and ensuring that the Grips in question don’t run to the rooftops and scream ‘look at me!’.
Instead, and in a complete contrast to the stunningly bright thumbsticks that KontroFreek produce, the Grips sit in place and do the job that they are produced to do well in a stealthy way.
Coming in a basic cardboard packaging, one which has the instructions printed on the inside in order to cut down on waste paper, I have to admit to finding the KontrolFreek Grips somewhat troublesome to apply. With a super sticky back covered with just a plain wrap, peeling them off is relatively simple, but getting them lined up on the controller ensuring that they are fitted in the exact place is a more than tricky and a lot more frustrating than it should be.
My only other experience with grips of this nature are those produced by SquidGrip and if I were to compare the two, then the installation process is like night and day. The Squids are added easily and fit superbly well first time, with the inclusion of a number of well placed holes giving confidence that the grips are in the right spot. KontrolFreek however have decided that a couple of large cutouts are the way forward and lining these up with the seam on the controller is obviously quite simple. However, the sheer width of these means that the precision needed, and that found on the rival brand, is lacking – something which becomes a hell of a lot more evident once you begin to wrap the Grips around the front and rear of the controller. You may get lucky and place them perfectly first time, but it took me many minutes more than it should have done to get my Grips in the optimum spot.
Thankfully, although the Grips come with a very sticky rear surface, they can be removed, adjusted and replaced very easily, with absolutely no residue being left on your precious Xbox One controller. That’s a bit of a god send too because in my struggles to fit the Grips properly, I had to remove them time and time again. Once in place though, they don’t interfere with battery covers, buttons or anything else that may be of importance.
Once on, then all is great. There is plenty of ‘sponge’ in the foam cushioned layer and whilst there is no sign of anything moulding to fit your hands, the grip that they bring is stunning. I guess part of this is down to the honeycomb-stamped Polymer outer layer that just begs to be held, wicking away any moisture from your hands as you do so, but in the month or so that I’ve been using the KontrolFreek Grips, other than an initial five minutes of a strange enlarged feeling that they bring, they’ve been outstanding.
For review purposes, I’ve taken off the grips to compare the feel of the standard wireless Xbox One controller both before, during and after using the grips and I can quite honestly say that gaming sessions are a much more enjoyable, and comfortable affair with them firmly attached. For that reason, they are now right back on and in pride of place.
Aside from the difficulty I’ve endured in trying to fit the KontrolFreek Grips to the controller, I have no other issues with them. Personally, I’d like the logo to stand out a little more, but then I prefer the overstated, colourful look over the plain style. Perhaps an option to purchase further colours would be nice.
Are the Grips a must have? For the price they are certainly not going to break the bank and for that reason are difficult to not praise. They do exactly what they are meant to do, staying stuck for a long old time – if only they were slightly easier to install correctly, then would most definitely be highly recommended.
If you’re in the market for something to ensure that your long hard sweaty gaming sessions are just that little bit more enjoyable, then by all means check out the Grips from KontrolFreek.
Just prepare for a bit of initial shouting!
Related – Watch our unboxing video of the KontrolFreek Grips