The best feeling controller I've ever used.
FUSION Pro Wired Controller for Xbox

Much like its FightPad sibling, the Fusion Pro Wired Controller for Xbox One is also an officially licensed product from Microsoft. That is about where the similarities end between these two drastically different peripherals. Where the FightPad is focused on just one specific genre, the Fusion Pro is built to take on all types of games.

This controller features a soft touch plastic faceplate, rubberized back, metallic accent rings, the same snap-lock USB cable from the FightPad, a 3.5mm audio jack on the bottom, injected rubber grips, dual rumble motors, magnetic impulse triggers, View and Menu buttons, functional Xbox button, and all of the usual features you expect from an officially licensed Xbox controller. While much of what I just mentioned is standard fare, the Fusion Pro does include a couple of bonuses that more than make up for its $79.99 (USD) price.

First off, the Fusion Pro includes a "Mappable Pro Pack." You can snap this attachment on to the back of the controller. This then provides you with four additional paddle-like buttons. These four metallic paddles can be programmed to mimic any other button on the controller. This is all done without the use of additional software. Just hold down the "Program" button situated in the middle of the controller on the back for three seconds. The light on the front of the controller will blink. Once it blinks, just hit the button you want to be programmed on to a paddle, then hit one of the four paddles on the back, and you're done. This means that you can assign four separate buttons to the paddles if you desire. You could even, if you're feeling wild, assign all four paddles to be the same button.

FUSION Pro Wired Controller for Xbox

These paddles allow you to keep your thumbs on the analog sticks at all times. If, say, the A button is used to jump in a game, you can assign that button to a back paddle where the rest of your fingers are already situated when holding the controller normally. You can now jump while still maintaining camera control on the right stick and character movement on the left stick. Anybody who has tried an Xbox One Elite controller or even a Steam Controller knows how useful these paddles can be in practice. As a bonus, these paddles will keep their button assignments even if the controller is unplugged from a power source. That is a very welcome feature there.

Use of this Pro Pack is optional and can be removed quite easily. When not in use, the area on the back of the controller where the Pack typically goes is covered by a flat piece of plastic that locks into place. You can also remove individual paddles from the pack if you desire. Maybe you only want one extra paddle or just one paddle on each side. You can do this. Though the paddles can be removed easily, their locking system ensured that they never once came out when used during normal gameplay.

In keeping with this customization theme, the Pro controller also has a removable faceplate, just like the FightPad. This faceplate is soft to the touch but still made out of plastic. One small drawback to the faceplate is the fact that it makes smudges big and small stand out like a sore thumb. Fortunately, they do wipe away easily with a cloth. Being able to remove the faceplate also makes cleaning the controller a breeze should you ever need to. Just like with the FightPad, this one is also held on to the body with some strong magnets. Once the faceplate is removed, you have a couple of different components that you can replace. First, you can swap out the default silver anti-friction rings with a pair of green ones that are included in the package. These are only for the holes where the analog sticks go. The silver accents around the face buttons and the d-pad seem to be built into the controller base itself and are not customizable.

With the faceplate off though, you can also optionally replace one or both of the analog sticks with a couple of bonus sticks that PowerA includes with this. One of the optional sticks is a slightly taller variant of the already present concave (dips down) design. The other included optional stick is a slightly taller convex (looks like a dome) variant.

FUSION Pro Wired Controller for Xbox

I can certainly see the appeal of having these sort of customization options available. I know that I used to love having grips on my Xbox 360 controller that gave them just a tad bit more height. They provided me with some additional control, especially in games that required more precise aiming. Having that added height just built in to an optional stick is actually great. That said, I do have to wonder why they do not just include two of the taller concave sticks instead of one tall concave and one tall convex, or even just two tall convex sticks, or two normal height convex sticks.

Once you have your stick situation sorted, it's time to take a look at the new three-way trigger locks. Both analog triggers can be set to three different activation settings. By default, there is no "lock" and the triggers can be fully depressed just like on any other controller. The first lock allows the trigger to be pressed roughly 2/3rds of the normal distance before stopping. The last lock stops the trigger from going any further down then about halfway its usual distance. This allows the trigger to be activated faster and more frequently, which is obviously a plus in games where you may need to shoot a lot. However, some games I tried, such as The Surge 2, did not play nicely with any setting but the fully unlocked option. This does not seem to be an issue with the controller, but rather with how games are coded. If the game allows an action to take place on a trigger without being fully depressed, these locks work great. You would have to experiment to find out what games do and do not allow for this. As for me, I found that I rarely used the locks outside of testing. It's just not a feature for me personally.

The Fusion Pro Wired controller is a bit of a hefty beast. By that I mean it is a fair bit heavier than my DualShock 4 controller that was my previous "go to" option when playing games on the PC. The Fusion Pro without the paddles attached comes in at 336g compared to the DualShock 4's 210g. Once you add in the weight of the cord and the paddles, the Pro jumps up to 450g. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is something you might need to get accustomed to. It's also very possible that this added weight may fatigue your hands faster than normal, though I never personally experienced this in any of my play sessions. I never used a regular Xbox One Wireless controller, so I do not know how this stacks up against that as far as balance and feel are concerned. What I can say is that this controller has now become one of the best feeling controllers I have ever held in my hands.

FUSION Pro Wired Controller for Xbox

Obviously, the Fusion Pro is not going to be able to compete with the likes of the Xbox One Elite controller and certainly not with the Xbox Elite Series 2 coming out in November. The d-pad, while great feeling on the Fusion Pro, cannot be replaced with custom options like on the Elite. It also doesn't include as many stick replacement options or have a profile switcher. The Fusion Pro also does not support wireless play like the Elites or even the official Xbox One controller. For me, this was not an issue as I was using this on my PC and with a Steam Link attached to my bedroom TV. For others, I can see how the lack of wireless could very much be a major concern.

Without a doubt, that might be the biggest disappointment with an otherwise great controller. I feel like many of these apparent shortcomings can be forgiven though when you realize you are still getting some enhanced functionality, features, and customization that you don't see on normal controllers. PowerA suggests that wired is advantageous over wireless because there is reduced latency, it doesn't require batteries or recharging, and it doesn't need to be synced to new devices. They aren't wrong, of course, but that's still going to be a hard sell for some consumers. At the very least, the Fusion Pro controllers are nowhere near as expensive as the Elite offerings from Microsoft, which seem to start at $177 (USD). Still, with the Fusion Pros being priced roughly $30 more than basic wireless Xbox One controllers, it would have been nice to see Bluetooth support included.

Despite the lack of wireless functionality, everything else about the Fusion Pro controller is excellent. The soft touch plastic on the face feels great, even if it is a magnet for very visible smudges. The hard rubber back ensures that this thing is not going anywhere during intense gaming sessions. The optional paddles with the Pro Pack and swappable analog sticks are really the icing on the cake for me. I would also like to mention here that the USB cable still has the same locking mechanism as the FightPad. However, unlike with the FightPad, this cable disconnected far more easily from the controller when testing it out. I assume the ease in which I was able to unlock this one come down to slight differences in manufacturing tolerances or maybe the cable included with this one had slightly shorter locking protrusions. I really do not know. It is just something I felt like pointing out. It is very possible that if you get one of these controllers you will not have any issue removing the cable when you try.

As of right now, the Fusion Pro Wired Controller has replaced my DualShock 4 as my controller of choice on the PC. Yes, there are many PC games where I do not care to use mouse and keyboard. Given the solid build quality, the look, and the feel of this I just cannot see that changing any time soon. If you are looking for a new and officially licensed Xbox One controller to use with your Xbox consoles or on PC, you really cannot go wrong with the Fusion Pro. One last note here: If you do not like the black color option, they also sell this in a white variant with copper brown rings and light brown buttons. Both color options do come with a custom PowerA protective case where you can safely store and transport the controller, cable, and all additional accessories. I can only assume that in the future they will start to sell accessories for these controllers so that you can buy more faceplate and stick customizations.


Score
5 out of 5 stars



Additional Information
FUSION Pro Wired Controller for Xbox One - Black - By PowerA
FUSION Pro Wired Controller for Xbox One - White - By PowerA
Starting at $79.99 (USD)

This product was provided to Total Gaming Network for review purposes.


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