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  • Writer's pictureSam Watanuki

REVIEW: PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller

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Ever since my red ring of death experience with multiple Xbox 360s in college, I've been exclusively a PlayStation person. A lot of that had to do with the fact that I overwhelmingly preferred the DualShock controller to (pretty much) any version of the Xbox controller. That finally changed late last year when I was forced to buy my first Xbox in over a decade - an Xbox Series S - due to my gaming laptop not being able to handle Forza Horizon 5 (which I was reviewing at the time).

I was thrown back into the Xbox realm, reintroducing myself to the Xbox wireless controller, and eventually the Victrix Gambit Controller. I came to love the smaller, more manageable designs of the modern-day Xbox controllers, so I was excited when the opportunity came along to try out the PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller. The officially-licensed wired controller for Xbox is a great wired alternative to the standard Xbox wireless controller.

PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller is very similar in design and layout to the official Xbox controller - to the extent that if you handed me the controller for the first time, I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference (which makes sense since the PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller is a "Designed For Xbox" product).

The handles have a nice contour to them and the triggers are slightly larger than the official controller. The PowerA's handles are actually a bit longer in terms of the contour placement, which makes it a great option for those with larger hands and longer fingers. I found myself less fatigued during long gaming sessions with this controller as a result.

The D-pad has a more traditional plus-shaped design that's easier to use for fighting games and platformers. The face buttons are the same size and shape as the official Xbox controller, but they're a bit stiffer, which I actually prefer. The shoulder buttons and bumpers, on the other hand, feel nearly identical to the official controller. They are a bit louder when pressed, but not to the point of feeling cheap or unresponsive.

The PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller also comes with two programmable buttons on the back that can be mapped to any face button, bumper, or trigger. I really like the programmable buttons on the back of the Victrix Gambit, so I appreciate them on the PowerA. The buttons are in just the right spot and easy to press without accidentally pressing them during gameplay. Overall, I was really impressed with the build quality of the PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller.

The controller is powered via a detachable 10-foot USB cable. This is great for those who want to sit a bit further away from their TV or monitor, or if you just don't like having to worry about batteries dying in the middle of a gaming session.

One of the best features of the PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller is that it has a headset dial right on the face of the controller. The headset dial allows you to adjust the game volume without having to go into the settings menu or finagle with a control dial on a headset cord. It can also mute the chat with a simple push - a feature that every single controller ever created should come with by default.

The PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller is a great wired alternative to the official Xbox wireless controller, especially for the price. It's well-built, comfortable to use, and has some great features. If you're looking for a wired controller to use with your Xbox, the PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller is a great option.

A product sample was provided to GamingPizza for this review. The PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller is available on the official PowerA website for $37.99.

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