(Pocket-lint) - If you just can't get enough gaming goodness, but standard console controllers aren't cutting it, then you might be considering an upgrade.
There are a number of decent controllers out there that cater to different devices and help up your game. Robust designs, multi-functional capabilities and customisation options abound.
We've been playing with some of the best to compile a list of the most interesting and capable gaming controllers money can buy.
Upgrade your gear and upgrade your game.
Astro C40 TR gaming controller
- Supports: PS4, PC and Mac
- Customisable design with swappable Analog Stick caps
- Adjustable layout, customisable buttons, adjustable sensitivity levels and hair-trigger switch
- 2.4Ghz wireless with 5ms wireless latency
- Weighs 310g
- 12 hours battery life with Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery
- Includes hard carry case, 2-metre micro-USB cable and swappable buttons
The Astro C40 TR is a wireless controller that's designed for the "serious" gamer. TR stands for Tournament Ready, so that already gives you a sense of how serious Astro is about the design of this controller. Sure, it might be expensive, but you very much get what you pay for.
It features a snazzy, well-thought-out and robust design aesthetic which means it feels weighty in the hand, but not on an obnoxious way, in a way that alludes to the quality. It's that build quality that's the first thing that strikes when you get it out of the box and remove it from the hard carry case and continues on as you use it. Inside that case is a multitude of things to help you on your way to controller mastery. Along with the charging cable and wireless dongle, you get a tool for removing the faceplate, some replacement analogue stick caps and space for more upgrades in the future.
With the tool, you can remove and swap the position of the analogue sticks with the directional pad and customise the position according to your personal playstyle. In the software, you can remap the buttons, adjust sensitivity levels of the sticks and triggers and even create two different profiles that you can switch between on-the-fly with the flick of a button near the triggers.
There's another button for individually turning the standard triggers into hair triggers - meaning you don't need to depress them as far to activate them. And yet another switch for switching between wireless and wired modes. The customisation is the very heart of this controller. It's designed for PS4, but also works on PC and can be mapped to work via Steam's Big Picture mode in your game library with relative ease.
If you want the very best, then this Astro C40 TR might be it. Especially when it comes to customisation options. There are even more upgrade accessories you can buy to tweak it further, with different style stick caps, d-pad buttons and more.
Razer Raiju Ultimate
- Supports: PS4, PC and smartphone app
- USB or Bluetooth connectivity option
- Interchangeable thumbstick and D-pad buttons
- Razer Chroma RGB lighting
- Extra multi-function buttons, trigger stops for quick action
- Weighs 370g
- 3 metre braided USB cable
- 11-hour battery life
- Mecha-Tactile triangle, circle, X, square action buttons
The Razer Raiju Ultimate is another serious bit of kit for PlayStation/PC gamers who love the feel of a hefty, customisable and well-built controller in their hand. Although the Raiju Ultimate isn't quite as customisable as the Astro C40 TR it still has plenty of interesting design features. You can switch the style and height of the analogue stick caps, for example, and the style of the D-pad, but you can't swap their position.
The Raiju Ultimate also uses Bluetooth instead of 2.4Ghz wireless. Making it easy to pair and sync with other devices. This connectivity also means you can use the smartphone app (for Android or iOS) where you can easily remap buttons, switch between onboard memory profiles, adjust RGB lighting and stick sensitivity too.
The Raiju Ultimate is as easy on the eye as it is in the hand, with a premium design that includes texture grips on the handles and sticks to ensure it doesn't slip when you're in the middle of a good gaming session.
As if all this wasn't enough, it also stands out from the standard PlayStation style controllers thanks to the addition of extra multi-function buttons on the underside and near the triggers. Trigger stops mean you can turn the main triggers into hair triggers, add that to sensitivity tweaks and you can customise how the controller reacts when you game.
This controller is designed to work with PC and PlayStation and though it will connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth it's not certified to work with games on it. It's designed to work nicely with Steam games and has drivers for non-steam games too.
Razer Raion Fightpad
- Supports: PS4 and PC
- 6 face button layout, 8-way Mecha-Tactile D-pad
- Button lock function for competition mode
- Razer Mechanical Switch pushbuttons
- Weighs 275g
- 3-metre wired connection
The Razer Raion is a bit of a different monkey. It's more affordable than some of the other controllers on this list, but it's also designed for a different undertaking - namely fighting games specifically. Large tactile buttons take up the face of this controller alongside a distinct lack of analogue control sticks.
It also has two more buttons on the top to give your fingers access to more in the middle of a fight. These face-buttons are also built using Razer's Yellow mechanical switches. Meaning they're not only robust (with an 80-million tap lifecycle) but also react quickly and accurately to your strokes.
For accurate and precise movement, the Razer Raion also boasts an 8-way directional pad to help you pull off perfect combos, finishing moves and more. A built-in function lock button means you can disable the extra buttons when you don't need them, so you can customise according to your playstyle.
All-in-all, if you love fighting games, then you need this controller.
MSI Force GC30
- Supports: PC and Android
- 600 mAh lithium battery, lasting 8 hours usage
- Metal magnetic swappable d-pads
- 2 million click guarantee switches
- Wireless, wired and support for Android too
- 2-metre USB 2.0 cable and 0.3-metre OTG smartphone cable
If you're looking for something more affordable, but still useful and well designed, then the MSI Force GC30 might well be worth a look. This is a wireless controller that's designed to work with PC and Android smartphones (assuming you have a micro USB connection).
It comes with two easily swappable D-pad covers with a metal design. They connect via magnets and quickly detach when you need them too, offering slight customisation options but nothing as fancy as the other controllers on this list.
The MSI Force GC30 feels a little light in the hand and obviously isn't the same quality as the pricier options, but it packs in a lot of neat features and design aesthetics.
Design highlights include textured side grips so the controller doesn't slip out of your hand in the middle of a game, a capable wireless dongle with the freedom to play in wired mode too and more. A decent battery life, the ability to use it on some phones and an affordable pricepoint make this controller an interesting option.