cheap replacement 360 controller recs?

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#1 Posted by yourbrain (45 posts) -

Hey all,

I don't have an Xbox, but have used a wired 360 controller for certain pc games for the last few years. Dropped it (no, really!) a few too many times and I think it's done for. I took a quick look over at amazon and there are a ton of 3rd party replacements - but I'm not familiar with any of the companies. I have a preference for wired (not a big fan of replacing batteries), but not wed to it. Rather not pay more than $30, as I don't use it that much, but would like a reliable one around for when I do.

Any other cheapos like me out there with recommendations? Or, "stay away from _______"? Thanks

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#2 Posted by mikewhy (340 posts) -

I’m only mentioning this one due to seeing it on a Linus Tech Tips video the other day, but there’s an Amazon Basics Xbox One controller for $25. I have no dog in this race tho.

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#3 Edited by Justin258 (15676 posts) -

...I cannot recommend anything other than a namebrand Xbox One controller. I have never held or used a third party controller that even compared to the "real thing". Failing that, a namebrand PS4 controller. I know they ain't cheap, but in my experience they're excellent quality.

Do any used game stores around you have a used namebrand 360 controller for sale?

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#4 Edited by Panfoot (331 posts) -

Tried a logitech one in the same price range as this after my 360 controller bit the dust, but it felt a little too cheap, had an extremely short cable, and only lasted about 2 years. Can't really compare this to the official MS ones since I haven't used any, but quality wise it doesn't feel like a cheap knock off(IE has some weight too it, material seems good, rumble works great, etc.), and I haven't run into any issues but there are a fair bit of negative reviews on amazon so maybe I just got lucky. Anyway, it seemed like the best of the bunch at gamestop when I went looking for a new one.

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#5 Posted by PeezMachine (471 posts) -

It also might be worth cracking her open and seeing if something just needs to be set in place. I'm by no means a handy person but I've had no trouble opening up my wired X360 Controller to fix mischievous buttons and what not. It's probably a long shot, but at least it's an easy one!

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#6 Edited by Onemanarmyy (4450 posts) -

I'm eyeing the Nacon / BigBen GC-100XF for 20-ish bucks. Wired Xbox layout. No idea if it feels good, but reviews seem pretty positive and it's a somewhat well known brand at least. Has to be a step above the chinese knockoffs that try to pass for an official controller.

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#7 Posted by Lego_My_Eggo (1322 posts) -

I would recommend spending a little extra for a new Xbox one controller honestly. There going for about $45 on amazon right now, which is more then you are looking to spend, but i find the build quality of first party controllers are far better then that of third party controllers in that price range. Don't get me wrong there are some decent third party controllers that i have used, but for a few extra dollars to get something that will probably last a good bit longer, and often just feels better is worth it to me. If time is not an issue wait for a sale and you can probably get one for $40-$35, prime day is around the corner. So long as you connect it via USB the Xbox one controller works as a wired controller, and the newer Xbox one controllers support Bluetooth as well if you want to try it out.

The dualshock 4 is also an option if you prefer its form factor for a similar price, but it being less plug and play with most games when compared to a Microsoft controller on PC makes it hard to recommend. I think Steam recognizes it and works fairly well, but otherwise you have to download and set up programs to trick the PC into thinking its a 360 controller. which after its all setup wasn't a big deal, its just obviously more of a hassle then some are willing to go through for a controller.

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#8 Posted by FacelessVixen (2640 posts) -

I'd just bite the bullet the get a first party Xbox One controller and how long of a micro usb cable that you think you'll need (or bite another bullet and get their play and charge kit as well); Microsoft being known quantity 'n' all.

I would recommend a DualShock 4 (and a long micro usb cable), but immediate compatibility with some games or others can be hit or miss.

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#9 Posted by Dave_Tacitus (2494 posts) -

I bought one of these a while back as a spare and it's actually pretty decent.

Power A Fusion Controller

As most people are saying, you'll have the best time with a genuine first party pad but if a cut price Elite controller floats your boat - It's got replaceable thumbsticks, trigger stops and two extra buttons on the underside - this one works fine.

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#10 Posted by CurseTheseMetalHands (181 posts) -

Sadly, when it comes to 3rd party controllers, it's pretty much a complete crapshoot. The two biggest issues you'll run into are horrendous deadzones on the analog sticks and what piss poor quality control.

If you very specifically want an Xbox 360 model controller - and I can understand that, because I vastly prefer it to the Xbox One changes and wish Microsoft had just stuck with the exact same design but just put the new Dpad on that model - your options are severely limited. I think your only option would be one of the PDP controllers, either the Rock Candy or Afterglow. You can usually find the Rock Candy (no LED, no vibration) model for around $15. The Afterglow, assuming you can find it in stock, will normally sell for $30. I don't believe either model is hardwired anymore (the Afterglow used to be) but they are wired in the sense that they use USB cables for power (no battery option).

I've been using a Rock Candy controller for several months now (Amazon had them on sale for $11 and change) and, thus far, haven't had any major issues with it - but, again, your mileage may vary because lax quality control will let a higher percentage of bad controllers through. The analog sticks aren't as firm as an official 360 controller (though, not as loose as, say, the Dualshock 3) and they're just hard plastic (so I'd highly recommend buying some rubberized grips for them), but there's doesn't appear to be much of a deadzone or, at worst, only a very negligible one. I think the Dpad, while identical to the 360 model, is actually slightly better. It's tighter, firmer. Of course, that also makes it a little rougher on the thumb; I wouldn't recommend any 2D platformer marathons with the thing. And it seems slightly (maybe 5%) smaller than the 360 controller. The Afterglow is nearly identical to the official 360 controller other than the more budget build quality. Either controller should meet your needs, though I'd highly recommend putting the controller through its paces when you get it. Actually, I'd recommend that for any 3rd party controller.

If you're open to using an Xbox One style controller, then...well, your options are still pretty limited for anything halfway decent. I'd stick with either PDP or PowerA. Of the budget 3rd party controllers, theirs seem to be the best, though it's an extremely low bar. They're both prone to poor quality control and you definitely feel the budget in the build, but they tend to be functional. Again, if you buy one, use it excessively. Push it to see if anything is going to fail while you still have the option to return it or exchange it. If you manage to get one with decent quality, and you don't abuse it (i.e. dropping it, throwing it in a tantrum, yanking the cord from the controller, coiling the cord around the controller, etc.) then it should last you a respectable length of time. But don't expect them to last like official controllers. My 360 controller lasted a good 7 years and survived a couple drops before it started having issues. These budget controllers...if you get two years of use then I'd say you're a winner.

Personally, if it's for playing games on PC, I would just wait for a sale and then buy an Xbox One or PS4 controller. They're regularly on sale for around $40 and you get a much better build quality for that extra $10.

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#11 Posted by cikame (2865 posts) -

I haven't found anything even close quality wise.
All of my 360 pads were dodgy in some way, usually the awful d-pad, but they were still better than every 3rd party pad i've come into contact with, my first Xbox One pad had an annoyingly loud d-pad but the "2nd generation" pads are fantastic, my favourite so far, i'm very worried i won't be able to find a replacement if this one dies, i've tried the Elite pad and i don't like it.

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#12 Posted by yourbrain (45 posts) -

Thanks for the replies all. I suspected the answer would be "3rd party is meh" but hopes springs yadda, yadda. Part of my bitterness at spending over $30 is that I know I got my current one for just over that from amazon a few years ago - times change and all, but I am irked at myself for not grabbing a spare when I had the chance.

Do any used game stores around you have a used namebrand 360 controller for sale?

Alas, 0 used games stores (except Gamestop - used 39.99) . Might end up going that route.

@panfoot@onemanarmy@dave_tacitus@cursethesemetalhands Thanks for the recs, I'll check them out.

Should have mentioned before that I do have a PS4 controller already (prefer that form factor actually), but it's acting weird with my Steam Link (generally only use a controller when I'm on streaming to the tv) but that's a matter for another question.

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#13 Posted by Dave_Tacitus (2494 posts) -

@yourbrain: I've seen first party Xbox pads getting reduced as low as £30 here - I picked up an orange ltd edition one which looks horrible but, hey.

Also worth checking out are the pads Microsoft are branding as controllers for Windows. Again, I picked one up in a sale last year and it's just an Xbox One pad (the new one with Bluetooth) plus a micro USB cable. They were cheaper than the regular Xbone pads which don't have a USB cable.

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#14 Posted by Rotten_Ramen (2 posts) -

I bought one of these a while back as a spare and it's actually pretty decent.

Power A Fusion Controller

As most people are saying, you'll have the best time with a genuine first party pad but if a cut price Elite controller floats your boat - It's got replaceable thumbsticks, trigger stops and two extra buttons on the underside - this one works fine.

I have this one and have been happy w/it. I've owned other Power A controllers and have never been unsatisfied with the quality, for the price. Go for it fellow cheap-o!!