Small form factor. Big buttons. Bigger audio.
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The new Pro Compact Wired Controller with Dolby Atmos from RIG Gaming (now owned by NACON), is a great controller packed with a lot of features at a great price. There, that is the full review. Thank you all for stopping by to read this and we will see you in the next one!

In all seriousness though, the Pro Compact really is a great controller. I have been using it for the past couple of weeks now in a variety of games on my PC, and it is up there with some of the greats. It takes after the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S controller designs with non-symmetrical analog stick placement. There is even a dedicated share button under the Xbox logo button for those using this on the Xbox platform. Beyond that, the similarities end, and the improvements begin.

To begin with, the Pro Compact controller sports a massive 3 meter (9.8 ft.) long braided breakaway cable. This breakaway feature is a nice bonus that saved my bacon a few times when it was commonplace on my old Xbox 360 controllers. No, this is not a wireless controller, but it is a small price to pay for some of the other included features. Some of these bonus features include large, oversized face buttons and a "compact" form factor that are perfect for those with smaller hands. I would consider my hands to be of "normal" size and I still felt amazingly comfortable holding this peripheral for long stretches of time.

This is aided by the fact that the controller feels exceptionally light. I imagine that a lot of the weight reduction comes from the smaller size and the removal of any included wireless tech inside. So not only are we looking at a controller that fits the needs of those with smaller hands, but it also tackles the corner of the market that experiences fatigue from holding heavier controllers for long periods of time.

While I have the white Pro Compact, the controller does also come in black. These dual color tones allow you to match up to your controller with your white Xbox Series X or the black Xbox Series X. The analog sticks are concave and nicely textured, with the right stick being branded with a mini-NACON logo. The entire controller is made from a hard plastic material with the grips and back being lightly textured for extra grippiness.

This still all seems like standard fare, but the Pro Compact still holds a few additional tricks up its sleeve. First up, NACON has a Pro Compact app for Xbox and Windows 10 users. This free to download app allows you to customize button mapping, adjust the sensitivity of the analog sticks and triggers, invert the analog sticks if you desire, change the d-pad from 8-direction to 4-direction, and even enable and disable vibration globally.

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The sensitivity adjustments on the sticks and triggers feature several default profiles to choose from. The sticks customization options show off different response curves based on what type of game you may be playing. If you want, you can even adjust the amount of dead zone area on the sticks. By default, triggers often go from 0% activation linearly up to 100% activation when fully pressed in. You can adjust this by selecting a different profile option. For example, selecting the "FPS" profile changes it so that you only need to press the triggers to 50% to fully activate. This is perfect for those types of action games that require more of a rapid, "hair trigger" firing action.

Users are even able to quickly toggle between the default "classic mode," which acts just like a typical Xbox controller and the "advanced mode" that has all their custom profile options enabled. There is a little switch on the back of the controller itself that allows for this quick toggle back and forth. This is a handy feature to have for when you don't want to boot up the dedicated app to quickly change back to the standard controller setup.

Truth be told, while these included profiles are nice to have, it would have been better if there were fully custom profiles that you could build from scratch. As far as I can tell, you cannot manually edit any of these pre-built profiles, so you are stuck selecting from the handful of profiles that NACON has decided to include. It is a small complaint for me personally since I rarely change from the default besides for testing purposes, but it is a complaint that must be shared.

The real cherry on the Pro Compact cake though is the fact that this little guy has Dolby Atmos support built into the controller. This controller promises to deliver a lifetime of Dolby Atmos 3D spatial audio for as long as you keep using it. I will note here that there was a little hiccup at the start. The instructions said that all I needed to do was download the free Dolby Access app from the Microsoft Store, plug in the controller, and the app would automatically detect the Dolby feature built into the controller. This was not entirely true as the app will not detect the Dolby feature in the controller until you also plug in a pair of headphones or a headset into the controller's 3.5mm audio jack. Once I plugged in my headphones, the Dolby app immediately unlocked full functionality at no extra charge. To note, any pair of stereo headphones with a 3.5mm audio jack will work.

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Once everything was set up properly, I dove into some games that support Dolby Atmos and was treated to some lovely 3D positional audio. Now, I have been using DTS Headphone:X (or DTS:X) for my positional audio for a little while now on Windows 10. I tested with both my daily driver headphones, the Crossfade M-100s from V-Moda and the RIG 500 Pro HX headset from NACON (more on this in an upcoming review). I can honestly say that the Dolby Atmos 3D audio is just as good as DTS:X in nearly every use case that I tried. There are very slight differences here and there, but there was nothing that really made one 3D audio solution stand out above the other.

Some of Dolby Atmos's advantages can be found in the Dolby Access app itself. There is little in the way of customization in the DTS:X app on Windows 10. You find your specific headphones, then you select either a "Balanced" or "Spacious" mode and that's kind of it. With Dolby, you are looking at a robust set of options that allow you to choose from intelligent equalizers, use specific settings for listening to movies, music, or emphasizing voice. These are all in addition to being able to make up to three fully custom listening profiles.

Broadly speaking, it seems as though there is more direct support for Dolby Atmos across all media types. Various media streaming services specifically reference support for Dolby Atmos. Apple is even getting in on the Dolby Atmos love when they add support for native Dolby Atmos tracks this June. However, in testing I found that every game and movie that I tested that said it supported Dolby Atmos also supported DTS:X. No matter what you choose here, both of these options are far superior in quality when compared to the free Windows Sonic for Headphones that comes built into Windows 10.

That said, a license to use Dolby Atmos on its own will run you $14.99 (USD). This is a license that is built into $49.90 (USD) Pro Compact controller. That is honestly an insane value when you realize that you get a great, customizable controller and a Dolby Atmos license for less than a typical Xbox Wireless Controller (which tend to start at $59.99) on its own.

The Pro Compact controller is priced very aggressively for what you are getting. For right around $50 you are getting a well-built, lightweight, small form factor controller. You are getting the ability to fully remap your buttons on either the Xbox or Windows platforms. You are also getting a license to use Dolby Atmos for positional 3D audio, a license that normally costs about $15 on its own. As a complete package, NACON really knocked this one out of the park.

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Additional Information
  • RIG Pro Compact Controller with Dolby Atmos
    • Designed and manufactured by: NACON
  • Price: $49.90 MSRP
  • Platform reviewed on: PC
  • Also available for: Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S
  • Release Date: May 20, 2021
  • This controller was provided to Total Gaming Network for review purposes.

Additional Media
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