For many, the Xbox Elite Controller is the pinnacle of controller tech. Utilising the standard form honed by the Xbox team with the Official Wireless Controller, and then adding in button mapping and rear-mounted paddle options, for anyone who is really serious about their gaming, the Elite is always something to consider.
But for as good as the Elite controller is, there’s certainly room in the market for other third parties to deliver their own take, with much of these coming in at a more reasonable price point. One of those is the PowerA FUSION Pro 2 Wired Controller – whilst it’s not perfect, it’s definitely one to consider.
We’ve recently spent a great deal of time waxing lyrical about how good the PowerA Spectra Infinity Enhanced Controller is, but the FUSION Pro 2 is equally worthy of consideration. Granted it doesn’t come with the fancy light show that the Spectra is capable of, but in turn it is much more aligned to the Elite way of life, with mappable presets, rear-mounted paddles and more in place.
Pretty much weighing in on a par with the official Elite controller (we’re looking at 370 grams here whilst the Elite is roughly 343 grams) and of similar size, the FUSION Pro 2 Wired is a clever piece of kit. It goes without saying that all the usual Xbox-related goodies that you would expect of a pad are here – standard face buttons, thumbsticks, D-Pad, triggers, bumpers, Nexus Button and the array of screenshot and menu options are all in place. For the most part these all feel and work as you would expect; there’s nothing major to write home about in terms of those.
Also on the front surface is PowerA’s proprietary volume control switch. Similar to that as found on the Spectra, this comes into its own when you plug a 3.5mm jacked headset into the controller, allowing you the chance to turn up, turn down and mute audio and voice comms with ease. We’ve found it to be a well placed switch too, one that ensures removing your hands from the controller to mute your sounds whilst in the deepest of sessions is rarely needed. It’s something we’d love to see on all controllers going forward.
It’s around the back though where the FUSION Pro 2 Wired Controller’s magic happens. Switches are present to limit the actions of both triggers, letting you set one of three defined presses for both the left or right trigger independently of each other. We’ve heard of gamers who absolutely adore this as a feature, giving them more customizability and personalisation than before. That’s great and if you feel the need to restrict your trigger movement, the solution that PowerA are using works well. For us, it’s neither here nor there – we love to feel the force power of our triggers so rarely ever limit their movement.
Additionally and situated exactly where the Elite controller has it’s paddles, is a mappable Pro Pack. This fits into a slot on the back of the FUSION Pro 2, clicking into place and giving the user four additional paddles – all within easy reach as you hold the controller. How these are set up is completely unique to the user and by pressing the program button on the back, and then selecting the button and paddle of choice, it’s a cinch to remap these as you see fit.
It’s not an utter game changer, mostly as it’s something we’ve seen on the Elite for a good few years, but if you find your wallet cannot stretch to those Elite prices but reckon you still need paddles to help with your gaming prowess, this is the way to go.
What’s better still though is that this Pro Pack is removable so if you just want to go back to the standard controller setup, whipping it out and replacing it with a blank is easy. Honestly, as strange as it sounds, we’ve preferred using the FUSION Pro 2 without the pack installed, if only as we’d find ourselves hitting the paddles accidentally when in-game; that was causing issues. We’ve used Elite controllers for a few years, so are totally used to the feel that the paddles bring, but have found that those on the FUSION Pro 2 just stick out a little too far away from the body of the controller. This affects hand placement ever so slightly and so for our use, have decided to run it naked; ditching the Pro Pack. That’s not to say it isn’t good – for when you need it, it’s brilliant – but it’s not necessarily an option we need in our lives.
The only other downside to the PowerA FUSION Pro 2 Wired Controller is found in that name – Wired. Yep, whilst Microsoft have honed the wireless battery powers of their Elite, PowerA are preferring to keep gamers tied up to their console with a full power cable. With one end sitting with USB-A (the end that plugs into your Xbox console), and the other end that of USB-C, there’s obviously a direct connection that you need to be concerned about. It’s not really too much of a problem though, with the included cable running at a good 10ft in length. Just remember that you’re going to need to be wired up if you want to use the FUSION Pro 2.
That may or may not be a consideration for many, but what is in no doubt is the way the FUSION Pro 2 looks and feels. Whilst it’s a relatively heavy controller – especially when you put it up against the likes of the Victrix Gambit Tournament Controller – the textured rear feels nice in the hand. Round the front it is equally as nice, with similar texturing and grip present on the two arms; precisely where your hands sit. Further to that, whilst the main front body is of a soft touch black shell, this is fully removable, with users able to replace it with a sharper white front with green detailing. The front plates connect via a series of magnets on the underside, and changing them takes a matter of a couple of seconds. We have to admit that the white front looks great – especially with the green detail – but the overall feel and vibe of the soft-touch black is our preference.
Taking that front plate off also allows for the removal of both the left and right thumbsticks. As standard a decent set of concave sticks are in place, and these have proven to be our preferred route to gaming glory, but if you need to add in a concave sniper stick with slightly longer reach, or a convexed top stick for great feel, you can. The sticks themselves just pop on and off with ease, stored away nicely in the hardcase which happily houses the full controller and cable as well. It’s a nice little package that PowerA have put together.
In all, PowerA have created a pretty damn solid alternative to the official Xbox Elite controller. Whilst some may freak out at the need to run a cable to their console, and others may not immediately get on with the feel of the Pro Pack paddles on the rear, for the most part this is a wicked option to have – especially true when you consider the overall feel when the black soft-touch front is in place.
We’ve absolutely no issues in recommending this if you’re in the market for a new controller – particularly if you’re looking for one with a little twist and glorious £79.99 price point.
Huge thanks go out to PowerA for providing us with the FUSION Pro 2 Wired Controller for review. If you wish to pick one up for yourself, hit them up direct. You’ll also find the FUSION Pro 2 on Amazon.