P3000 Wireless Pad & Docking Station – PC – Review

Saitek’s P3000 Wireless
Pad and Docking Station offers terrific options and freedom for PC gamers.

The phone sits across the room from the
computer and decides to ring while you are embroiled in a crucial gaming
moment. In the past, you could either ignore the phone, or break the ambience
by putting the game on pause and answering it.

My, how far the world of gaming has come.
Option three is now available, and that is continuing to play while walking
across the room and answering the phone. This is the age of wireless and
Saitek has come up with a handy little gamepad that not only gives players
the freedom of distance from a computer, but has also incorporated a bit
of a break from having to replace batteries.

The P3000 Wireless Pad and Docking Station
is the ominous-sounding name of the device. But let’s break it down. This
is a wireless gamepad with a holder. Not only does that holder serve to
set the frequency of the unit, and uplink it to the USB port on your PC,
but it also acts as a battery charger for the interchangeable and rechargeable
nickel hybrid battery packs.

The device is a breeze to install. Consider
it a four-step process: unpackage it, install the drivers, plug a battery
into the front of the docking station and plug it into a USB port on your
PC. All in all, a relatively quick process.

The battery charge is displayed by a red
light on the docking station. When the battery pack is charged, the light
goes off. Unclip and remove the charged pack and snap it into the gamepad,
put the battery pack that needs charging into the docking station.

Of course, check to see if your system
has found the gamepad in control panels, and test the system set-up.

From that point on, just launch a game
and enjoy yourself.

The pad features six programmable buttons
on the front and two shoulder buttons (also programmable). It also has
a shift key, two thumbsticks and an eight-way D-pad. There is a LCD screen
for a quick glance at battery life and keypad features. First problem,
the LCD screen has an overlay that was on crooked and it rather hard to
read in a dark room.

The pad itself is comfortable and the buttons
are all within easy reach. You won’t be doing finger gymnastics to get
around on this pad. To test the pad, two EASports titles, NHL 2003 and
FIFA Soccer 2003. First out of the box was the hockey title.

The P3000 performed amazingly well. Even
from 20 feet away, the reaction time was if not instantaneous, then close
to it. The controls were easy to manage and the game played very well.
FIFA Soccer was almost similar. The battery was starting to wear down (you
can expect several hours of play from a charge), and occasionally the game
would jump into the pause menu. Because the pad still was accepting commands
though, it produced a humorous situation. The player-controlled defense
had just stolen the ball from the CPU’s offense about 14 yards from the
goalmouth. The fullback was looking in the direction of the goalkeeper.
The game jumped into pause. Buttons were mashed in an effort to avoid crossing
back over the PC to use the mouse to hit the ‘resume game’ button. Ah well,
a short trip over to the computer ensued and ‘resume game’ was tabbed.
Oh-oh, one of the buttons mashed during the pause was the shoot button,
which was retained in the controller’s memory. Game unpaused. He shoots,
he scores ­ an own goal.

The P3000 Wireless Pad and Docking Station
is a comfortable control system that removes the wires. It is definitely
a well-designed package that performs well in fast-paced gaming situations.
Granted, the device does not have rumble or feedback, but it does give
gamers the freedom that six feet of cable doesn’t allow.


Wireless makes a big difference when playing
a game. You can sit back with your feet up and not have to worry about
accidentally disconnecting at a pivotal moment. The controller feels good,
and has a solid features package.


The LED display didn’t perform in a manner
that was convenient or user-friendly.

Verdict: 9

The range and setup of this device is
very good. The rechargeable battery packs are also an excellent idea that
will make any game player’s day. The gamepad is comfortable and the buttons
are all easily accessible. This is a very good gaming device.