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PowerA FUSION Pro 3 Controller

PowerA FUSION Pro 3 Controller

Written by Eric Hauter on 8/3/2023 for XBO   XBSX  
More On: PowerA FUSION Pro 3 Controller

I was a little shocked when I started looking at the PowerA Fusion Pro 3 controller. This is a controller that is batting well outside of its price range. Here we have a very reasonably-priced product that includes features that I've only seen on very high-end controllers that retail for around $250, and the Fusion Pro 3 is pulling off these expensive tricks better than those "high end" controllers. The fact that you can pick up this controller for $79 is mind-boggling; I could easily see this product retailing for $100 or more, and gamers wouldn't even blink.

To be clear, this is indeed a corded controller. There is only one licensed wireless Xbox controller on the market - the MOGA XP-Ultra - but don't let the fact that there is a cord to contend with stop you from considering this excellent option. The cord itself is a very nice braded 10ft USB to USB-C cord that comfortably reaches anywhere in my living room when I have it plugged into the front of my Series X. Frankly, as usual with cords, I instantly forgot that it was there. 

The packaging for the Fusion Pro 3 is pretty slick as well. The controller arrives in a very nice box. Inside the box is an extremely sturdy-feeling carrying case, which contains the cord and the replacement/alternate thumbsticks. Again, it's all a bit more plushy than what I would expect from an $80 controller, and it goes a long way towards making the product feel "premium". 

The controller itself is at first glace very similar to the standard Xbox controller, with all of the usual buttons right where you would expect them to be. But look again, and you'll notice the chat volume controller lever on the front of the device (works like a charm) and the rubberized textured grips, which extend all the way around to the back of the controller. These grips feel great in your hands, and remain comfortable for hours-long gaming sessions. 

The controller also features four programmable buttons, two on each hand grip, which have the easiest and most intuitive programming process I've yet seen. It's so stupid simple that I figured it out without even looking at the instructions. You just hold down a programming button on the back of the controller until a little light blinks on the front, tap the button you want to map, and then tap the button you want to map it to. I immediately programmed the L3 and R3 buttons to the top back buttons in about 20 seconds, and then went about my merry way. Doesn't get much easier than that, friends.

The Fusion Pro 3 has a detachable face plate which pops off, allowing for the quick and easy changing of thumbsticks. The standard thumbsticks are concave, and feel very similar to what you would find on a standard Xbox controller, with just a bit more "texture" than you might be used to. I went ahead and tried the taller, convex sticks the Pro 3 ships with, but frankly, I'm just not that precise with my shots - I'm far more comfortable with the shorter sticks. I was mostly playing Exoprimal and Tiny Tina's Wonderlands while testing the controller, both of which allow me to be the inaccurate shooter I naturally am. So, back to the default sticks for me.

I've been saving the best and smartest feature of the Fusion Pro 3 for last, just because I was so impressed by it. I have reviewed a few controllers that have very shallow trigger depth, and while I understand the use case for this feature, I kinda hate it. I just don't play enough games to make the shorter trigger pull distance worth the price it normally costs to achieve, and having a hair trigger depth makes a controller useless for 9/10 of the games I play. It is a very specific feature, for a very specific type of gamer, and that ain't me. The ultra-expensive controllers I have with the feature usually end up in the hands of my 23-year-old son, who can actually get some use out of them.

The Fusion Pro 3 resolves this issue in a way that is so jaw-droppingly simple in execution that I'm stunned that no one else has done it. The controller has two little switches on the back, right next to the triggers. This switch regulates the depth of the trigger pull. Want the full range? Fine. Want a half pull? No worries. Want to be able to fire off shots left and right while barely moving your finger? You do you. It's a fantastic feature, and you know what? I actually used it. While playing Tiny Tina, I set the right trigger to the shortest depth, and was perfectly happy with that as my firing mechanism. Then when I was done, I switched it back over and had the full range for Forza. Amazeballs. 

The PowerA Fusion Pro 3 is a pretty great deal for the investmentYou are getting a lot of good stuff packed in here, more or less for the price of a standard Xbox wireless controller. Though the cord might be a deal-breaker for some, you really don't have a lot of options without a cord right now. As someone that plays a lot with PC Game Pass, I'm particularly impressed with the Fusion Pro 3 as an option for PC use. I've been through a number of cheapie corded Xbox controllers, and now that I've seen the other side, I'm never going back. For the money being asked, the PowerA Fusion Pro 3 is an absolute banger.

Packed with features normally reserved for controllers that cost three times as much as this one, the PowerA Fusion Pro 3 packs a lot of bang for the buck. Smart engineering choices make this a very accessible and intuitive choice for those looking to upgrade their standard Xbox controller, or for gamers wanting a nice Xbox controller for PC use.

Rating: 9 Excellent

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

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About Author

Howdy.  My name is Eric Hauter, and I am a dad with a ton of kids.  During my non-existent spare time, I like to play a wide variety of games, including JRPGs, strategy and action games (with the occasional trip into the black hole of MMOs). I am intrigued by the prospect of cloud gaming, and am often found poking around the cloud various platforms looking for fun and interesting stories.  I was an early adopter of PSVR (I had one delivered on release day), and I’ve enjoyed trying out the variety of games that have released since day one. I've since added an Oculus Quest 2 and PS VR2 to my headset collection.  I’m intrigued by the possibilities presented by VR multi-player, and I try almost every multi-player game that gets released.

My first system was a Commodore 64, and I’ve owned countless systems since then.  I was a manager at a toy store for the release of PS1, PS2, N64 and Dreamcast, so my nostalgia that era of gaming runs pretty deep.  Currently, I play on Xbox Series X, Series S, PS5, PS4, PS VR2, Quest 2, Switch, Luna, GeForce Now, (RIP Stadia) and a super sweet gaming PC built by John Yan.  While I lean towards Sony products, I don’t have any brand loyalty, and am perfectly willing to play game on other systems.

When I’m not playing games or wrangling my gaggle of children, I enjoy watching horror movies and doing all the other geeky activities one might expect. I also co-host the Chronologically Podcast, where we review every film from various filmmakers in order, which you can find wherever you get your podcasts.

Follow me on Twitter @eric_hauter, and check out my YouTube channel here

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