Logitech Xbox Cordless Controller

Review

posted 1/10/2003 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
More and more cordless controllers are starting to show up for the Xbox and today I look at Logitech’s offering. The Logitech Cordless Controller for the Xbox is a good wireless peripheral for the Xbox that has great performance but a flaw in the D-Pad. Xbox Live fans will also be disappointed that the controller suffers from the same problem as the Mad Catz one.

Logitech’s Cordless Controller works on the 2.4 GHz band to deliver good response time from controller to receiver. The shape of the controller follows closely to Logitech’s other gamepads. The black gamepad features the four main buttons in a diamond shape that more closely resembles a Playstation 2 layout than the Microsoft Xbox controller layout. The white and black buttons are located diagonally down and to the right of the four buttons. They are smaller but from use I didn’t find it to be inconvenient and I was able to successfully utilize the two buttons in games without any hassle. All of the buttons have a good feel when being pressed. The four main buttons are elevated at a good height from the gamepad providing a very comfortable feel.

The two triggers are rather small compared to the Microsoft gamepad. They do offer a good range of movement and have a strong spring behind them. For analog trigger pressing, the Logitech Cordless Controller’s triggers also have a good comfortable feel when holding the gamepad. They are easily reached with both index fingers.

In the middle of the controller is a Logitech symbol surrounded by a semi-clear green plastic. On either side is the start and back button. To the upper right of the start button is the light that is on to indicate whether power is available. Once the batteries run out, well you can either tell by having your controller not responding or seeing that this light is not lit up.

One of the problems with Logitech’s cordless controller for the Playstation 2 was the weak resistance in the analog sticks. The Xbox version’s does a much better job and provides a better resistance when pushing on the sticks. It’s definitely a major improvement over the Playstation 2 one that I reviewed. I do wish it was a little bit stiffer but I’m satisfied at how well it feels now. Whereas the buttons provide a good feedback, the stick buttons don’t seem to depress that much and the click isn’t very pronounced. It doesn’t hamper the function of them but I do like the feel of other gamepad’s stick buttons more than Logitech’s.

Unfortunately the D-Pad’s accuracy wasn’t up to par on the controller. I don’t know if it’s my unit or if it’s plaguing the other ones because I haven’t read of the problem from other people’s reviews. In any case, I had a hard time producing horizontal or vertical movements correctly. Shapewise, the D-Pad is one round piece with an elevated cross which gives it a combination look. You can easily tell where on the D-Pad you are pressing with the plastic cross. It seems in my testing, the D-Pad would easily mistake my direction for some diagonal rather than a straight direction. While most games use the analog sticks or provide you an option to use either the stick or the D-Pad, there is one game I pressed that relied on the D-Pad and I didn’t have a very pleasant experience with it. The sympton wasn’t prominent on the other Logitech gamepads I used as I didn’t have any trouble using the D-Pad but the Xbox Cordless Controller’s D-Pad was inconsistent. Also, I felt the resistance in the D-Pad was a little loose as I preferred a stiffer D-Pad spring.

Power is provided by four AA batteries of your choosing. Logitech claims you can get 50 hours of playing time from a fresh set of batteries and so far I’ve used it close to that amount without having to change them. Unlike the Mad Catz pad, you don’t have the option to alter the rumble feature to extend the battery life. You can turn them off in the game of course but it would’ve been nice to be able to choose it through the controller. Still 50 hours is damn good and you should get plenty of playing time on one set of batteries. Since you can use a AA battery of your choice, you can opt to use rechargeable or alkaline and you won’t ever need to wait for the unit to recharge.

The rumbling coming from the controller feels pretty good. For a wireless controller, the strength really surprised me. From my football player being tackled to my fighter being hit, the Cordless Controller gave a great strong vibration.


Like the Mad Catz controller, the Logitech Cordless Controller lacks the expansion ports for memory cards, Xbox Live headset, or other peripherals. Instead they are moved to the receiver unit that plugs into the Xbox. The receiver unit is shaped just like Logitech’s receiver unit on other cordless items but oversized to allow for two expansion ports. A connect button resides on top so that you can synch up your controller to the receiver. Yes, Xbox live users will be disappointed that you can’t use the headset with the cordless controller.

For testing, I played a season of NCAA Football 2003, Hunter: The Reckoning, and Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance. In Hunter and NCAA Football 2003, the controller performed very well. I was able to lob passes in or gun them to my receivers. Juking and sidestepping defenders, I was able to accurately control my running back as he plowed through the defensive line on his way to the Heisman trophy. Moving and aiming with the analog sticks, I took out hordes of zombies and fought my way through numerous levels of the undead. Both games reacted well with the controller because I didn’t have to use the D-Pad. Now with Mortal Kombat, that’s when my frustration set in. Since the game goes back to its roots and relies a lot on horizontal and vertical movement for special moves and combos, I would find myself either not doing them at all or seeing my character jump because the D-Pad would recognize my movement as a diagonal when I didn’t mean to. This would happen a lot when I would try and just walk sideways as my character took to the air. I didn’t have any problems with any of my other gamepads I tested. Even the Mad Catz controller provided flawless D-pad movement as I went through various stages of Konquest without any problems. The Logitech Cordless Controller however gave me fits.

The Logitech Cordless Controller is a great performer for the most part. The buttons, sticks, and triggers felt good and provided quick responses to my actions. The D-Pad, however, was too inconsistent to use. Battery life is pretty good and the range worked well. I stood back around fifteen feet and was still able to use the controller without any problems. It’s pretty expensive as the controller runs around $50 in stores and online. It’s another cordless option out there with the Mad Catz being the other third party controller that’s wireless. All in all, if you like the shape of Logitech’s gamepads, you’ll enjoy the Xbox one as well. Just be wary about the D-pad.





B-
It’s a quick responding controller that has a good feel but the D-Pad needs some work here.