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Thrustmaster eSwap X2 Pro Controller for Xbox Review


What do you want from an Xbox controller? Do you revel in the customisation aspects, get drawn in by a host of personalisation, or prefer familiarity? Do you pick up those with all the colours in the world, or pads which are a bit more understated, complete with programmable back buttons, trigger stops, longer thumbsticks? 

Whatever your gaming habits, there’s an Xbox controller out there for out – mostly thanks to the plethora of designs and features of Xbox Design Lab or the alternatives to the Elite Series 2

But Thrustmaster have got your back too. In fact, they’ve got your back in multiple ways, with an extremely customisable, modular controller – the eSwap X Pro, either in Standard form or liveried up, steering wheel complete through the Forza Horizon 5 edition. It’s the former that they are looking to enhance some more with the Thrustmaster eSwap X2 Pro Controller for Xbox. 

Thrustmaster eSwap X2 Pro Controller Xbox Review 1
Thrustmaster eSwap X2 Pro Controller Xbox – extremely customisable

Honestly, there’s not too much new in the Thrustmaster eSwap X2 Pro Controller, at least not if you are already familiar with the original eSwap. And that means it’s going to be a hard sell to push this to anyone looking for a casual upgrade. Of course, if you haven’t ever gone hands-on with the modular controller life that Thrustmaster offer, then this is now probably your best bet. It’s not perfect but it really isn’t far off. 

It’s been a little while since we spent a ton of time with the original Thrustmaster eSwap X Pro, instead gaming with our super blingy, custom MegaModz wireless controller. But that time away, and then having a good few weeks of sessions with the eSwap X2 Pro has allowed us to fully appreciate what is in place here. Granted, once set up and running, we’ve found little to sway us into utilising all the features, but if you’re someone looking for a highly personalisable, extremely customisable Xbox controller, this is probably your best bet. 

It sits at a slightly larger size than a standard wireless Xbox controller, but the first thing to consider with the Thrustmaster eSwap X2 Pro is whether or not you can handle a cable. Historically, that’s not something that has ever swayed us one way or the other, and whilst we are fully down with the freedom of wireless capabilities, having a cable attached does have some pros to consider. With the eSwap X2 Pro, you’ll need to be cabled up at all times, running a USB-C end on the controller (thanks Thrustmaster for doing away with the old micro-USB), through a 3 metre long cable to a USB-A end straight into your console. That length of cable is pretty standard fare, and it should be well long enough for most folk to keep gaming. Of course, should you sit further away from your screen than that, the eSwap X2 Pro is going to be a struggle. 

From there, the eSwap X2 Pro has everything you would expect of an Xbox controller. Thumbsticks feel great, with the newly-redesigned mechanical D-Pad being an absolute highlight. Honestly, we’re not big fans of D-Pad movement, but the one included here is so good, so tactile, that it could almost change a habit of a lifetime. Is it the best D-Pad to grace an Xbox controller? We can’t be sure, but we’d love to see something that is capable of bettering it. 

Thrustmaster eSwap X2 Pro Controller Xbox Review 2
Everything you need – but amendable

From there, the usual trifecta of Menu, Share and View buttons are well placed, simple to hit when the time comes, with just the Xbox Nexus button moving down and away from its usual spot, requiring a bit of brain configuration before finding it. And the eSwap X2 Pro comes with some super fast travelling mechanical face buttons too. Thrustmaster mention that the activation distance of these mechanical buttons is a mere 0.01″ / 0.3 mm. Impressive stuff, no? For some, these may be god-like options, with little travel and extremely quick response speeds. For us? Well, it would be a lie if we said we didn’t miss the ‘feel’ of more everyday buttonry. Whilst those face buttons have done the job required of them, again, a bit of rewiring is required for confidence to hit as they tend to run a little on the soft side. 

And of course, textured triggers (complete with stop-locks) and some cracking bumpers sit up high, always ready to be slammed as gaming sessions get heated. We particularly like the texturing found on these, and that means that no matter how hot things get, you won’t ever find your fingers slipping. 

So standard Xbox pad stuff sorted, highlighted by the brilliant D-Pad. But what else is present here? Well, it’s there where the Thrustmaster eSwap X2 Pro controller starts to get fancy. 

Around the back are four round programmable back buttons, sitting in place, ready to be hit by your fingers as time calls. Again, for those who rely on rear-mounted buttons, these will be more than appreciated additions, sitting right under your digits as you grip the eSwap X2 Pro. 

Thrustmaster eSwap X2 Pro Controller Xbox Review 4
Rear mounted buttonry

And then on the frontside, situated either side of the 3.5mm audio jack port are further controls. You’ve got on-pad volume options for both mic and main volumes, and we’re big fans of these – so much so that it’s getting to a point where this should be a staple for any and all controller. There are also a couple of profile buttons, as well as a ‘Map’ button – using this in conjunction with the rear-mounted buttons sees you able to personalise however you deem fit. 

The thing is, whilst all those additions to the Thrustmaster eSwap X2 Pro controller are nice to have, there’s not really anything here to set this apart from the plethora of other customisable Xbox controllers on the market. I mean, back buttons and volume controls can be found in many places – Turtle Beach controllers for instance. 

But there’s one killer USP for the eSwap X2 Pro – the ability to move your thumbsticks and D-Pad around, utilising various modules via Thrustmaster’s Hot-Swap system. Again, many may not ever feel the need to do this, but if you prefer to have thumbsticks more central – a la PlayStation – the option is there. Similarly, get yourself a Forza Edition pad with steering wheel and your personal bests in the likes of Forza Motorsport may start to tumble. Each module is simple to lift out and slot in too, magnetically attaching with ease. There’s even a tool to help lift out the D-Pad if you need, but we’ve found it a simple process without. 

Further customisation and personalisation opportunities come about via the ThrustmapperX App on your console too. A free download, this lets you set up and test pretty much everything on the controller. Again, that’s nothing new, but it’s always nice to have. 

Thrustmaster eSwap X2 Pro Controller Xbox Review 3
Thrustmaster eSwap X2 Pro Controller has cracking triggers

So what don’t we like about the new Thrustmaster eSwap X2 Pro controller for Xbox? Aside from the feel of those face buttons (something which we’d suspect is extremely personal to us), and the need to be tied down with that cable, the only real problem with the eSwap X2 Pro is in the removable and replaceable apron that is on the front. We’ve found this to be extremely liable to scratching and marking; so much so that in the first hour or so of use, it was far from pristine. We like to think that we’re pretty careful with our accessories and kit, and whilst it’s nice that it’s easily replaceable, we’d like a bit more durability there. 

Aside from that, Thrustmaster very much continue their recent trend of providing gamers with some more than decent options. If you’re looking for your very first modular, customisable Xbox controller, then we’d not hesitate to push you in the direct of the eSwap X2 Pro. There are elements of this controller which are absolutely stellar, highlighted by that best-in-class D-Pad. But is it worth an upgrade from the previous eSwap X Pro? That’s much more of a debate. 

Huge thanks go out to Thrustmaster for providing us with the eSwap X2 Pro controller for Xbox for review. Hit up Thrustmaster direct if you want to pick up one of these controllers for yourself. Expect to pay £169.99. There are also a host of customised packs available for the controller too. 

Neil Watton
Neil Wattonhttps://www.thexboxhub.com/
An Xbox gamer since 2002, I bought the big black box just to play Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee. I have since loved every second of the 360's life and am now just as obsessed with the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S - mostly with the brilliant indie scene that has come to the fore. Gamertag is neil363, feel free to add me to your list.
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