Following our reviews of the excellent PDP Level 50 Wireless Headsets for both PS4 and Xbox One, it is time to take a look at something else that I feel most gamers would benefit from, the PDP range of wired controllers for Xbox One. I am taking a look at the PDP Stealth Series: Phantom Black Wired Controller for Xbox One and Windows 10 PC.
When I attended the PDP Winter Showcase for their range of products, it was the wired controllers for the Xbox One that really grabbed my attention. At first, I genuinely thought they were actual full-bodied Xbox One controllers, visually they looked almost identical to the normal wireless controllers you would be used too but to my surprise, I learned they were actually wired controllers all be it with some additional PDP Gaming common sense functionality. So let’s take a look at what to expect from this controller once out of the box:
- 5 mm headset jack with onboard audio controls
- Dual textured trigger and shoulder buttons
- Compatible with Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X, and Windows
- Dual rumble motors
- Detachable 8’ cable
I have always believed that all gamers should have a go to spare controller, either just to have as a backup controller or one for a younger gamer if you perhaps do not want them handling your more expensive controllers or in my case, having a spare controller you can let that one friend of yours who happens to rage at every game they lose be it FIFA at 3am after a night out or those fighting games that can really grind down your favourite controller of choice.
For me, this is where wired controllers are perfect as they are considerably cheaper than a full controller, great to have as a spare whenever you need one plus having the nice piece of mind that a backup controller is just close to hand. Where I think PDP Gaming has taken this to another level is that they have really added an extra tier of common sense functionality to their range both visually and in how it functions, to make them your next purchase. Starting with their Stealth Series of wire controllers, the ‘Phantom Black’ has a nice combat camouflage look to it, something that mirrors the official Xbox One wireless controllers to a tee. You can feel the raised pattern if you run your fingers across the surface and it looks great when you move the controller and catch the light with it.
It is a very light controller due to not having all the technical hardware for Bluetooth and wireless as well as not having a traditional battery pack due to being a wired controller. This can take a little while to get used to if you have not used a wired controller before. This is something I think makes this a great controller for a younger gamer in your household potentially but it can feel a little fragile in an adult’s hand. The 8’ cable is very generous allowing use quite far away from the actual console as well but of course, not as wide ranging as a wireless controller. Simply plug the cable into any USB port on your Xbox One OG/S/X console and the controller is ready to go with the profile you have signed in as on the console. The Xbox button on the controller will bring up the guide for normal Xbox guide button service though I did find I had to mash down a little hard to get it to respond.
The thumbsticks feel really great as well as do the face buttons on the controller. Triggers and shoulder bumper buttons also felt very responsive and didn’t have that cheap springy feel or sound that other wired controllers can suffer from. The attempt to add some extra grip to the triggers and shoulder buttons with the “dual textured” design is noticeable but for me, didn’t really add anything extra to avoid “sweaty finger” slippage when in the middle of a chaotic game of COD MW for example but the feel does match the overall texture of the controller with the camouflage design on the front.
Where this controller does stand out is how it does a nice extra little trick for those who use headsets by adding some additional functionality for audio controls via the controller. Just below the right thumbstick is a clever little button, tapping it twice will mute your headset, holding it down and pressing left or right on the D-Pad will raise or lower volume levels or by pressing up and down it will adjust game and chat voice mixer levels. I really found this to be a nice sensible addition to the controller features, especially as someone who for a good portion of the time when I game, I am using a set of earbuds instead of a headset, which just happen to have no inline controls on them, which now with this wired controller, I actually can. PDP Gaming’s focus on common sense features is something that impressed me with their range of headsets and by including it with their wired controller range really does help and offer something extra that other brands do not.
What I did find to be a big surprise with this controller was in discovering that there is a full-on PDP Gaming Hub app that you can download on both your Xbox One console and Windows 10 device, that will allow you to do a variety of things with the controller. This is a free app to download and it allows you to not only calibrate the thumbsticks to a setting you prefer but also to remap buttons as well as running diagnostics in case you fear something has gone wrong with the controller allowing you to get the help you need from support much faster by actually being able to test the controller yourself with the hub. Being able to set a profile of sorts by setting the audio levels I want from my headset with the controller, to remapping the buttons should I need to is something I would never have expected to be able to do with a simple wired controller. The hub works with a wide range of PDP Gaming controllers and just elevates it to another level for me.
I really liked the Phantom Black wired controller, visually it looks great and performance whise it held up really well with the heavy-duty games I play on Xbox One from Borderlands 3 to COD Modern Warfare to fighting games like For Honor and Dragon Ball FighterZ. It will not replace my main controller but as a backup and spare, this is essential to have alongside your console or Windows 10 laptop or PC.
This would also make a superb stocking filler for any gamer you know approaching the holidays, with the functionality and build quality you get for the price, this really stands out for me as a wired controller.