One minute revision
The Revolution X wired controller makes an excellent first impression. When you open the box, you are greeted by a sturdy carrying case that houses the controller. It is perhaps the perfect introduction to the high quality of the total package.
At first glance, it is a somewhat modest controller. All the buttons you’ll find on an Xbox wireless controller are there, but there are some notable differences. The face buttons are larger and slightly flatter, the thumbsticks have a deeper divot and the triggers and shoulder buttons have a pleasing metal finish.
Each button feels firm under your finger, unlike – though not necessarily better than – the official Xbox controller. However, they get the job done and the D-pad feels great to use too thanks to its concave environment. However, the triggers are a bit bulkier than we’d like, and have an oddly bumpy design that takes some getting used to.
On the back, you have four additional buttons for custom input, a button to toggle between controller profiles, and a toggle to enable or disable the custom buttons completely. Other than that, there aren’t really fancy bells and whistles that separate the Revolution X from the crowd, but it doesn’t need them either. The controller nails the basics better than most on the market.
The Revolution X controller easily connects to your Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One or PC via a wired USB-A connection. In a nice aesthetic touch, the ring around the right analog stick lights up, indicating that the controller is connected. You might miss the lack of a wireless option here, but thanks to that wired connection, latency is kept to an absolute minimum.
Connectivity options may be limited, but customization certainly isn’t: the Revolution X package includes a set of extra thumbsticks and shafts of various sizes. If you don’t like the standard options, you can easily switch to bulbous thumbsticks and wider shafts.
The customization will continue if you install the Revolution X app from the Windows or Xbox Store. Allows you to assign custom inputs to the buttons on the back of the controller and store up to four separate profiles. In addition, this app allows you to adjust trigger dead zones and thumbstick sensitivity.
While it’s a bit of a pain to have to download a separate app to customize the pad, the software itself is intuitive and makes it really easy to create a set of profiles suitable for your favorite games.
Price and availability
The Revolution X wired controller can be bought for $99 / £99 from the official Nacon store. That’s much cheaper than the official Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, which retails for $179 / £159.
And given the Revolution X’s overall high quality, it’s definitely a worthwhile alternative if the price of Microsoft’s official pad makes your wallet feel a little sick.
Revolution X: design
- Immediately impressive look and feel
- Folding sticks are fantastic
- Triggers are a bit unorthodox
The Revolution X has positioned itself as a cheaper alternative to Xbox’s Elite pad, but don’t be fooled into thinking that Nacon has skimped on quality – the Revolution X looks and feels like a more premium unit.
The controller has a nice weight: sturdy yet lightweight. It’s also the perfect shape, as your thumbs and fingers naturally rest on the analog sticks, triggers, and back-paddle buttons.
The face buttons are slightly larger than the official Xbox pad, but they feel nice and don’t wear out on your thumb. The shoulder buttons are equally pleasing and satisfyingly clicky.
The back paddles are also of high quality. Four additional buttons are located on the back of the controller, right where your fingers rest, and they can be customized as additional or alternate inputs. The same can’t be said for the awkwardly placed custom layout switch and profile switch button. You probably won’t hit them by accident, but that’s because they’re a little out of reach. But this is less of a big deal and more of something you just have to get used to.
Unfortunately, the D-pad is a downgrade from the Xbox controllers, as it lacks that semi-omnidirectional design. However, it’s still solid and works great for side scrollers and arcade-style titles.
However, the triggers are definitely the weirdest part of the Revolution X. They’re not bad, but they have a slightly odd, chunkier design compared to the official pad and take some getting used to. After a while we gave up completely, but it’s something to keep in mind if you like the slim profile of the triggers on the official Xbox Series X|S controller.
However, the star of the show here has to be the excellent analog sticks. We actually prefer it over the official Xbox pad. By default, the concave thumbsticks are installed, but these, and the stick shafts, can be swapped out for convex thumbsticks (included) or wider shafts.
Overall, the Revolution X presents a major design win, you get a seriously high quality pad for the price.
Revolution X: features
- Custom backup paddles for additional input
- Nice lighting around right analog stick
- Store up to four button assignment profiles
What sets the Revolution X apart from the official Xbox controller – and gives it parity with the Elite – are undoubtedly the four paddle buttons on the back. These are disabled by default, but can be easily activated by flipping the back switch from ‘Classic’ to ‘Advanced’.
When advanced mode is on, you can use these back paddle buttons, as well as the profile button that switches between your presets. We love that it’s treated as a strictly optional feature – it’s there if you need additional inputs, but not needed to enjoy the controller in general.
In the end, we found these extra buttons to be extremely useful. In Halo Infinite, we mapped the jump to one of the rear paddles so that we can keep our thumb on the right stick while jumping, while still using the standard in-game control scheme.
It means that the Revolution X is also a great pad for fighting games. In Guilty Gear Strive on PC, we were able to assign certain actions, such as running towards these paddles, freeing up space elsewhere on the controller.
By default, the four available profiles are tailored to a different game style, including racing, shooters, arcade games and so on. Each has a unique lighting scheme that illuminates the immediate area surrounding the right analog stick. This is a simple, but pleasant effect. In addition, it acts as an easy visual indicator of the profile you are currently using.
All this and more can be customized in the dedicated Revolution X app, which can be downloaded for free from the Windows or Xbox stores.
Revolution X: app
- Robust with many customization options
- Stupid at first, but easy to get used to
- Required to customize your controller
The Revolution X app is required if you want to mess around with the ins and outs of the controller. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but you can really fine-tune your experience with the Revolution X with its app.
The app is divided into several menus. There are sections dedicated to button mapping, stick sensitivity, lighting effects, and more. For options like stick sensitivity, you can choose a quick preset for your profile or customize it with remarkable detail.
We were extremely impressed with the app overall, but there were times when it was unresponsive to our inputs and the menus felt clunky at times. But once we wrapped our heads around these quirks, making deep controller adjustments quickly became second nature.
Should I buy the Revolution X wired controller?
Buy it if…
You have a limited budget
The Revolution X offers incredible value for money. It offers staple features found on other ‘Pro’ controllers at a fraction of the price, and with remarkably high quality.
You like in-depth customization
Revolution X’s app allows you to customize your control schemes almost absurdly, making it a great choice for competitive players.
Don’t buy it if…
You want a wireless controller
The Revolution X does not have a wireless option, so it must be connected to your Xbox or PC.
You want even more buttons
The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller features removable back paddles that can be customized to a greater extent.