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Any good wireless controllers out there?


Angel P
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I have a Logitech wireless controller, which I really could not recommend. The dpad and buttons are alright. The problems are the size (it's big) and the terrible analog sticks. They have so much play before the stick actually engages, it's really quite annoying. I only keep it around as a spare or for the occasional multiplayer sessions at my friends house.

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I've bought a number of wireless controllers, including Logitech, Mad Catz Lynx, the Wavebird, and one's I can't remember the name of at the moment.

 

Every single one of them, except the Wavebird have been very disappointing, and I've gone back to the regular wired controllers as a result.

 

In most cases, it was simply lack of attention to detail that messed things up. The weird thing is that I didn't really notice the flaws until using each one for several hours and after playing certain games. For example, the game that doomed the Lynx was Colin McRae 3 on the Xbox. The triggers are critical in this game because they are your acceleration and braking, the Lynx had tons of dead space prior to 'engagement' and then it was very non-linear as you squeeze them. Once I switched to the regular Xbox controller, I immediately felt way more in control.

 

Anyway, suffice it to say that the Wavebirds are the only Wireless controllers worth having, IMO..which of course doesn't help the Xbox at all.

 

Oh...but I haven't tried the Pelicans yet.

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If it comes to giving up the controller or the game, I choose the game every time. The only game that's caused me to question the Pelican is Top Spin. I don't seem to be able to do the quick trigger press for a risk shot, so I play that game wired, as I also do for all Live games.

 

And the Wavebird is simply the best. Why Microsoft and Sony have ignored the potential of the first-party wireless controller market is just as mystifying as Nintendo's attitude towards online gaming.

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Originally posted by adamsappel@Dec 21 2003, 01:31 AM

I'm happy with the Pelican Eclipse. Pelican is also supposedly releasing a wireless headset, on January 15, for $40.

I just bought a 2 pack of Pelican Eclipse controlers at Costco for $49 , seemed like a good deal . I haven't had a chance to try them yet.

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Pelican is also supposedly releasing a wireless headset, on January 15, for $40.

 

I'll be surprised if this hits the market anytime soon. The release date has been pushed back at least 3 times now. When it does finally get released, I'll most certainly be picking one up. As much as I don't like the analogue sticks on the Logitech, it'll be better than being tethered to the Xbox.

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Originally posted by iCamp@Dec 24 2003, 04:52 PM

A 2 pack of the Eclipse for $49?!? Damn...that's a great deal. I've seen a 2 pack of Pelican's cheapo wireless controllers (I forget the name but they suck) for $49 but not the Eclipse.

Yup Eclipse , 1 black & 1 silver. So far I'm very happy with the controllers , no complaints.

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I posted this review at another forum and copying it here for reference...

 

 

After some time I finally ended up getting a Logitech wireless controller for my Xbox (actually it was from my wife as a Christmas present, the goal being that my daughter can't run around and yank a cable). Here are some of my thoughts as to its performance and build, with comparisons made specifically to Microsoft?s awesome Controller S which for many will be the reference standard. I have never tried the MadCatz wireless controller so cannot make any specific comparisons here.

 

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Setup

 

There is so little involved setup barely deserves its own header. Pop off the back cover on the controller and install four (4) AA batteries. Plug the receiver into an open controller slot on your Xbox. Power up your console, hit the ?Connect? button on the receiver, hit any button on the controller, and you?re done. The controller is specified for 50 hours of active use including rumble. I have only been playing a short time and cannot comment on real-world performance.

 

 

Build Quality

 

Physically the unit is very well built. It has a satisfying weight that feels comfortable in the hands. The triggers, thumbsticks, and D-pad all work smoothly. The A, B, X, and Y control buttons seem to have a more positive feel then the Controller S ? there is more of a tactile click to them when depressed, whereas the Controller S feels softer in comparison (although not a knock against it). On my unit the A button sticks a bit sometimes so I may return it for a replacement (unless it loosens itself up after use). Conversely the Controller S has a better tactile click with the left and right thumbsticks. Likewise for the D-pad.

 

 

Ergonomics & Control Layout

 

The overall layout is very similar to the Controller S but still offers some key differences. Immediately noticeable is the extra width of the Logitech controller. I don?t feel it affects the ergonomics of the unit as the center portion of the controller is mostly empty space anyways; thumb access within the left and right control banks is close to the Controller S. But the overall extra width still takes a little getting used to. The Controller S is nice and compact and offers slightly better balance as a result. The depth is the same between the two controllers. What is also different between them is that the Logitech has more of an angled profile when viewed from the side. It?s a subtle difference but the result is a longer travel for your right thumb between the A and Y buttons. The A, B, X, and Y buttons are in the same diamond pattern but seem to be a little further up so your thumb is a more stretched in the neutral position relative to the Controller S. The black and white buttons are slightly recessed which seems to help against hitting them accidentally. The Start and Back buttons have been moved to the top of the controller which can actually be problematic if you need to quickly pause a game (for example, when a sneeze is pending while approaching a turn in Project Gotham Racing 2 ;) ). I feel the Controller S layout is more comfortable than the Logitech, and I have fairly long fingers. Smaller hands may find this more of a challenge. But taken on its own the layout is still very comfortable.

 

The analog thumbsticks offer a very different feel from the Controller S. First off they are not indented at the top, nor do they have the little raised bumps to keep your thumbs in place. While they are covered in a very ?grippable? rubber they do not feel as comfortable (but still very good). The sticks are also a little looser than the Controller S ? some more resistance would have been nice. This is also reflected when clicking either stick to access secondary functions as they tend to move around as opposed to depressing straight down. This can be problematic when trying to use the sticks and clickable functions at the same time (MechAssault immediately comes to mind when you try to aim and shoot while depressing a stick to activate jump jets). For me the Controller S wins in this area.

 

The analog triggers are nice and squishy like the Controller S and have a similar range of movement. Brake and gas control while racing is just as natural. I would call this a draw between both controllers.

 

ADDENDUM: After more play time it is starting to feel like the Logitech has a slightly shorter throw than the Controller S, but does remain active throughout the range in my opinion.

 

The D-pads on various controllers typically come under a lot of scrutiny. For me this is not much of an issue as I don?t tend to use the pad in the games I play (aside from function selection). The Controller S pad seems to better differentiate between the different D-pad axes, like multiple buttons in one. Those who play a lot of fighting games, for example, will probably prefer the Controller S for this reason.

 

Logitech has also included a rumble feature in this controller. It works well but not as robust as the Controller S, likely in consideration of battery performance. The rumble is nice and smooth with no rattling, but does not have the impact of a wired controller. I suspect until a reliable battery technology can be developed, or a more power-friendly rumble engine is created, this will be an ongoing limitation in wireless controllers. Controller S gets the nod here.

 

 

Wireless Performance

 

The only reason someone is considering this controller is to enjoy the freedom of wireless. When successfully implemented the benefits are many: no clutter of cables, nothing to trip over, nothing for kids to unplug, ability to place the console in another room (within reason). Logitech uses 2.4GHz wireless technology for this controller as well as a system that is constantly looking for new frequencies to mitigate the problem of interference. Ultimately their design is a winner as I have yet to notice any control lag (of paramount importance in a wireless controller) or interference from this unit. I play from a distance of about 10 feet to the console and also tried from the back of my rec room which would be about 25 feet and found no ill affects. As battery power wanes it would probably become more noticeable.

 

The biggest drawback to this controller (and MadCatz wireless as well) is that there are no onboard memory/peripheral slots. Translation: if you are connected to Xbox Live you cannot use the Xbox Communicator and the Logitech together. The base station has two ports but all this satisfies is the need for a memory cartridge. I suspect one could find a third party wireless headphone system but this becomes a pain. So for the time being if you are going Live and want to chat you will have to go back to the Controller S. For me this will be a problem down the road as I will be locating my equipment in a separate room once my new home theater is complete. Hopefully by that time Microsoft, Logitech, or another manufacturer will create a new wireless controller with card slots intact. I presume there is a power issue to be considered, and probably space limitation in the controller, but with Xbox Live now a huge success this is a need that will have to be filled.

 

 

Conclusions

 

From purely a wireless standpoint the Logitech is a winner. While not cheap it offers lag free performance while letting you cut the cord. The biggest drawback is for Xbox Live and the inability to use the Xbox Communicator. For many this will be a dealbreaker. For myself I'll use my Controller S when I'm Live and I want to beg for mercy.

 

Overall I prefer the ergonomics and feel of the Controller S but the Logitech is the second best controller I?ve tried (wireless or not). Others may in fact prefer the Logitech overall. Ideally I would love to see Microsoft release a Controller S as it looks and feels in its current form but with the addition of at least 2.4GHz wireless. But there seems to be nothing on the horizon so at this time Logitech is a very strong alternative. Others who have also had experience with the MadCatz controller should offer their comparative opinions.

 

--Jay

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When will we get the equivalent of a Wavebird?

When Microsoft realizes the opportunity waiting for them. The Xbox is positioned as the most sophisticated current generation console available, so a proper wireless controller should be a natural fit. Some time ago there was a poll online that alluded to some casual market research on the viability of a first party wireless controller. I have to think it would be a hit. Right out of the gate there is an opportunity for Microsoft to trump the competition (Logitech, MadCatz, and Pelican) by simply including card slots on the controller rather than the receiver. As I indicated in my review I would be all over a wireless Controller S. And I'm sure a good chunk of Xbox owners would be as well. There's a certain luxury associated with holding an un-tethered controller while playing a game, almost a subliminal extra step closer to reality, that would be a guaranteed hit if done right. The Wavebird is a prime example of this.

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