Power A Controllers Rundown: Which Ones Are Best For You?
Power A has been making pretty good peripherals for some time now, cranking out quality controllers for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and the Wii alike. We recently had a chance to sample some of their latest products, just in time for the holidays. These include the Mini Pro EX, the new AirFlo models for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and, best of all, the new Batarang controllers, perfectly timed for release alongside potential game of the year, Batman: Arkham City.
So, without further ado, let’s see what’s being offered here…
Mini Pro EX (Xbox 360, $29.99)
The Mini Pro EX lives up (down?) to its name, as it’s a smaller controller than most, built for smaller hands, like those of younger gamers or those who aren't comfortable with normal-sized controllers. This controller features a pretty adequate green build, and is comfortable to grip, particularly with the buttons on top. It also lights up, so you can keep a close eye on certain buttons even in the darkest of surroundings. It also features dual rumble motors, so you feel every bit of what’s happening in game.
There are some downsides, however. The controller does feel a slight bit iffy over time, due to the “plasticky” build. Also, those with bigger hands might be inconvenienced by where certain buttons are placed. Lastly, the controller is wired. That's not really Power A’s fault, as all third-party 360 controllers require wiring.
Overall, it’s a decent controller, one better suited for younger players or someone who just can’t stand trying to play a game with your Razer Onza. The price is pretty reasonable, too.
Pro Pack Mini Plus (Wii, $39.99)
Where most Wii remotes are sold separately for around $40 a pop, Power A’s Pro Pack Mini Plus comes with both a Wii remote and a Nunchuk, which some might see as a value. However, there are a few things you should know about this controller.
It’s smaller than the traditional remote, making it slightly easier to lose grips with, especially during harder game sessions. (Get that strap wrapped around your wrist.) It does however support Wii Motion Plus, which makes it ready for games like Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, right out of the box.
The performance of the actual remote and the Nunchuk performs admirably, even though it feels slightly cheaper than the one Nintendo produces. To the controller’s credit, the remote does light up and comes with seven different colors to choose from, which kids should like.
Though there are better Wii controllers out there, the Pro Pack Mini Plus is a decent value.
Air Flo Controller (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, $24.99)
This is actually a pretty innovative idea for a controller. If you’re playing for a long session, there’s the possibility that your hands could get sweaty from everything that’s happening. Now, rather than take the time to wipe them off, why not keep cool with your controller? That was Power A’s idea behind the Air Flo, which has a sturdy build and comes with built-in fans, so your hands will stay cool as the action heats up.
Both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 Air Flo controllers work pretty well when it comes to cooling, with three different speeds available and the light-up ability making it easier to see what buttons are where if you’re playing in the dark.
There are disadvantages, though. First, the controllers are a little bulkier than most, so those with smaller hands should probably skip these. Secondly, the PS3 one is wired and doesn’t come with built-in motion technology, so you’re screwed if you’re playing something that supports twisting and turning. Lastly, the D-pads feel a little mushy.
Still, if you prefer innovation to traditional controller design, the Air Flo might just be what you’re looking for. Also, its lessened price won’t kill your wallet.
Power A Batarang Controller (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, $49.99)
Finally, we come to a controller that many Batman fans will probably enjoy – the Batarang. Now, while it doesn’t really look too much like a traditional Batarang (thus making it not-so-suitable for throwing), this controller is the best of the Power A bunch.
The Xbox 360 edition is wired, but it comes with a great deal of functionality, and you can change between various color types, depending on your, um, Bat mood. However, the PS3 one takes the cake, delivering wireless technology, and built-in motion controls, making it perfect for action games that require that sort of use. It lights up too, and comes with a helpful recharge cable.
Not everything is ideal, though. The controller itself is built bulky, so, again, smaller hands probably don’t need apply. Also, the bottom of the controller is a little pointy, so beware if you’re trying to slam it down or grip it in a certain way. The face buttons, shaped like a Bat emblem, may be a little hard to access with bigger fingers – you might hit two buttons instead of one. Finally, the PS3 version is built like a 360 pad, with the analog and D-pad swapped around. Not that it’s a bad thing, just something you should be aware of.
Overall, for $49.99, this is a great value to Bat fans, and the perfect accessory to go along with your forays into Arkham City.