For most gaming folk, the official Xbox Wireless controller is a more than capable option. For others, it’s the Elite – especially the Elite Series 2 – and the extra heft it brings that is preferred. More still will like the multitude of third party offerings that are available from a host of manufacturers.
But what if you want something different, something smaller perhaps? Well, the Nacon Pro Compact controller is one option, and the new Nano Enhanced Wired Controller from PowerA is another.
The Nano Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox is the latest to come out of the PowerA team, giving Xbox gamers the chance to grip like there is no tomorrow with a smaller than standard Xbox controller. We may not be the optimum audience, preferring the larger – read: normal – size that we’ve become accustomed too, but there’s no denying there’s some proper decentness in this one.
Coming in either black or lilac colours, the PowerA Nano Enhanced is a pretty solid offering for any Xbox gamer looking for a new option. One colour hue all over, there are no fancy lights or new buttons available on this one, except perhaps with what you find around the back.
On the whole though this is just your usual everyday controller, scaled down, befitting those who prefer a smaller touch, perhaps due to smaller hands. Immediately more portable – although we’re not sure that’s much of a selling point – with 18mm taken off the top, 21mm off the sides and lighter in hand at some 166 grams, this is certainly a controller that you can use for many gaming sessions.
If you do decide to grab it, you’ll find it pretty much replicating what you would think. The standard Xbox layout is in place, covering all the usuals you would expect to find on an Xbox Series X|S controller; usable on Xbox One should you so wish.
Standard coloured face buttons are in house, as is a big old Xbox Nexus button. From there though everything on the lilac version we’ve been sent has been hit with the purple stick; a cool shade of lilac infused to the controller base (front and rear), both thumbsticks, D-Pad and the trilogy of Menu, View and Share buttons. Frankly it’s a really good looking controller, one that PowerA should be able to sell in swathes to certain gaming demographics – at least if my 13-year old daughter and her mates had the cash to spend.
Those used to ‘normal’ Xbox controllers may find that prolonged gaming sessions become a little uncomfortable as the hours pass, but the PowerA Nano is absolutely fine for shorter term options; for those times you are looking for quick pick up and play hits.
Aside from the small size, the only real difference you may find with the Nano is in the rear mounted buttons. This may be small in size, but as PowerA are keen to point out, it’s reasonably big in features. There’s obviously the pairing of both trigger and bumpers as you’d expect, but some trinkle-down technology has found a way onto the Nano. See, usually you’ll only find rear-mounted programmable buttons in higher end controllers, but the Nano has those sitting pretty, with a super simple set up ensuring you can fly with your own style as you see fit.
Accompanied in use by a Program Button, those rear mounted buttons are well placed too, hanging around right under your middle fingers for ease of use. There are next to no complaints about how the Nano feels and works under pressure, with everything in immediate reach; very much as you would expect of any controller. There’s a 3.5mm audio port right at the front of the controller too, so whether you use wired or wireless headsets, you can run the Nano without issue.
When you include the fact that PowerA have been able to fit a couple of rumble motors into the small size and it becomes even more tasty. In fact, the only thing that is tying you down – quite literally – is the need to have the PowerA Nano Enhanced Wired Controller connected to your console via the included cable. This is of a decent length though, with USB-A and USB-C connectivity in house.
Best still is the asking price. We’ve fast become accustomed to using controllers that stretch into the hundreds of pounds, but PowerA are pushing the Nano Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox to market with a $39.99 price tag attached. Even for a wired controller – one with a detachable USB-C cable – that’s a pretty remarkable price.
On the whole and whilst the PowerA Nano Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox may not be suitable for everyone, those who are hankering for a smaller than standard Xbox controller should be more than happy with what this one brings. It looks great in its lilac skin, has a black version accompanying it should you prefer the stealth, and is well featured; the rear mounted programmable buttons being a neat little extra that you may not expect to find on a product that is so well priced.
We’re not replacing our Xbox Elite Series 2 controller with the PowerA Nano Enhanced Wired Controller, but for pick up and play sessions, it does the job intended. Especially if you’re looking for something smaller and lighter than the norm.
Huge thanks go out to PowerA for providing us with the Nano controller for review. You can pick one up for yourself from PowerA direct.