First Look: Razer Onza Xbox 360 controller

The Xbox 360 has been around for some time with gamers fairly happy with the performance of the included controllers. So what makes gaming peripheral maker, Razer, believe it has the answer with the Razer Onza? We got hands-on at CES in Las Vegas to find out, and this is what we thought.

The Razer Onza Xbox 360 controller is, as you might expect, shaped like your average Xbox controller. In that we mean, as far as the design is concerned, there isn't anything overly different to the Microsoft offering in terms of looks. There are two handles, two joysticks, the usual ABXY buttons, a d-pad, triggers and the like.

However, while the core design is the same there is plenty going on that improves on Microsoft's original design.

The first and most important one to mention is the introduction of customisable tension toggles for the analogue sticks to suit both racing gamers and first person shooters.

The idea is that for first person shooters you loosen the tension so you can spin on the spot and move with the agility that you need. For racing games like Forza, you stiffen the sticks up and that makes going around corners considerably more controlled as a flick of the stick doesn't force you off the road and skidding out of control. In our play it seemed to work too.

But it's not just the sticks that get a makeover. The ABXY buttons have been replaced with Razer's Hyperesponse buttons meaning you get the same feeling as clicking a mouse button. It's a small detail, but one that gives you a more definite click and one that we found very comfortable.

If that wasn't enough then Razer has even added buttons to the design. More buttons you say? Yep, two further buttons on the shoulders to emulate the PS3 controller. However instead of hoping that game developers will add support in-game, the buttons are actually programmable. Instead of adding a button, they merely replicate any button for an easier press.

Controlled via a hardware switch on the back of the controller rather than via software, we found the best use for them was to replicate the right stick press down normally used for sniper weapons or the left joystick press down for crouching in First Person Shooters. It certainly made things easier.

Finally the other element of the Onza worth mentioning is that it's been coated in a rubberised material to allow for greater grip for those who get sweaty palms. Handy.

 

Verdict

Due to be priced around the £40 in the UK and the $49.99 in the US, the Razer Onza Xbox 360 controller isn't going to break the bank for those into their gaming, which is a good thing.

The controller does unfortunately come with a rather "chavvy" green LED strip, but it will fit all your requirements from a gaming perspective hopefully giving you the edge you need against your mates.

The additions of the extra buttons, the stiffening options, and the build quality means this is likely to be a must for any gamer who is more than just casual.

The only annoyance? Razer hasn't made one for the PS3 yet.



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