I’ve played a ridiculous amount of video games recently, but I wouldn’t have made it very far into any of them without a controller. Whether it’s the official controller that comes bundled with a console, a fancy elite controller or something cheaper you bought in as a spare, controllers have to be the most important bit of gaming tech. We’ve all had controllers that just don’t feel right and suffered through using them at a mate’s house, and in an ideal world the quality of the controller you’re using should never impact your gaming enjoyment. The Nacon EVOL-X Controller for Xbox has great build quality and a low price, so it’s off to a good start.
The EVOL-X is Nacon’s attempt to create a high quality controller for Xbox consoles (and PC) at a reasonable price. It comes in a variety of colours (including metallic and transparent models that look gorgeous) but the one I was sent to review is just a classic black model for those who don’t want anything too flashy. Retailing at around £25 from all the usual retailers, you’ll spend about half the cash you would on an official controller on the EVOL-X. But as you might imagine that means it comes with some caveats.
The most notable of these is the fact that the controller is wired, which always feels weird to go back to. The package includes a three meter USB cable though, which I must admit is long enough that in most setups using it isn’t too much of an issue. You also don’t have to worry about charging batteries if your controller is plugged in, which honestly feels pretty nice when compared to the official controller.
None of this matters if the controller doesn’t feel nice to use though, and unfortunately for my hands I just felt like it was way too chunky and uncomfortable. I’ve always thought I had big stupid hands, but to me the EVOL-X felt even chunkier than the original Xbox Duke controller and that’s a wild statement to make. I’m sure there are some people that this will suit perfectly, but I am unfortunately not one of them.
I cannot deny the build quality of the EVOL-X though. It doesn’t feel like a flimsy third party knock-off, thanks to buttons that click just right and concave analogue sticks. It even has rumble in the triggers themselves which is a cool addition for shooter fans that I thought was really impressive.
Unfortunately there is one set of buttons that aren’t quite anywhere near as clicky as I’d like: the bumpers. For some reason LB and RB feel really squishy to press, and I didn’t appreciate using them at all. It’s a shame because other than that all my issues with the EVOL-X felt personal to me rather than down to design.
Although I didn’t really like how the EVOL-X felt in my hands, I did appreciate the rubbery texture on the controller. It’s a whole lot nicer to grip than a standard plastic controller, and for longer sessions means that even in the sweatiest of matches you’ll be glued to that controller and able to perform like a champ.
The Nacon EVOL-X Xbox controller is undeniably a quality product for the price, but I just struggled to enjoy using it thanks to my (apparently) tiny hands. If you’re sure that this won’t be an issue for you and want to save some money on a spare or replacement controller then the EVOL-X is a fine option, but don’t expect it to be the best controller you’ve ever used.