Power A isn’t a household name yet but that’s will change if they keep cranking out great third party controllers like the Pro Elite Wireless. If you’re one of those folks (like Cliff Bleszinski) who can’t stand the DualShock controllers then the Pro Elite Wireless Controller is something you need to check out.
If you want to know who Power A is targeting with their PS3 controller then take a look at the picture below.
I’m not sure if Microsoft can sue Power A for copyright infringement or not but it looks like the folks at Power A took a gutted Xbox 360 controller and then stuffed PS3 goodies inside it. Not only do the layout of the thumbsticks and d-pad recall the 360 S controller layouts but Power A uses an Xbox 360 style light array indicate which of the four controller slots the device is taking.
If your personality leans requires gaudy and colorful controllers then you should stop reading now as the Pro Elite Wireless controller has a very military/industrial look and feel to it. There aren’t any fancy colors or colored inserts to be found on the controller. Instead Power A went with a nice a nice flat black matte finish that wouldn’t look too out of place inside a HUMVEE.
The only bit of flair on the controller is the back lit buttons and those are a muffled blood red color. You can turn the back lighting off if you want to extend the battery life a bit but I don’t think that is really necessary as I was able to get well over seven hours out of charge with the lights on.
The plastic used on the controller is a bit on the soft side which makes marathon sessions with the controller easy on the hands. I was able to get through several extended God of War III sessions without any cramps or sore hands. The arms of the controller are textured which provides a nice grip when holding the controller as well as providing feedback on where your hands are on the controller. Other nice touches abound, as in addition to the textured sides, the L2 and R2 buttons on the controller are curled up ever so slightly. I’ve never had an issue missing the L2 and R2 buttons in the past but it does add a lot to have that little but of curve there.
The rest of the buttons and D-Pad are rock solid and as good as if not a little better than what you get on a DualShock 3 controller. Just like the Dualshock 3, vibration is powered by two motors in the controller, and I found the feedback just a little more muted than what I got from the Sony OEM gear. I’m not sure if that’s because the Pro Elite Wireless is a meatier controller or if it’s because the motors are weaker but the rumble wasn’t nearly as sharp. It wasn’t enough of a difference to be a deal breaker but there is a bit of a difference between the two.
I tested the Sixaxis controls by firing up Flower flying around for a bit. The Pro Elite Wireless handled the game with aplomb, as I was able to dance across the fields of the game with ease. Sensitivity felt good but honestly it wasn’t that much different than what you get from Sony’s controller.
There are a few downsides to the controller though. Because Sony protects their Bluetooth codes like the US military treats its nuclear launch codes you have to plug in a USB dongle to use the controller. The dongle is sculpted so that it hugs the curves of your PS3 which helps disguise it when it’s not in use. The dongle features a light on the front to let you know when you have a connection and when it can’t find the signal for the controller.
The second downside is that you can’t use the controller to turn your PS3 on remotely. This means you have to either have DualShock near you to turn on your PS3 or (GASP) get off your duff and hit the power button yourself.
The power saving system in the controller seems to be a bit aggressive side, which isn’t a bad thing. Be warned that the controller does shut off pretty quickly when you aren’t using it which can result in some downtime while you’re waiting for it to turn on and re-connect after a long cut-scene.
If you’re in the market for a PS3 controller and are looking for a controller with a bit more meat then you absolutely need to consider the Pro Elite Wireless. It’s a solid controller with a few nice features and it is $5 cheaper than a new Dualshock 3 controller. You can get a wired version of the controller for significantly cheaper but where’s the fun in that?