Xbox Fusion Pro 2 in the test: A controller with compromises

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“PowerA’s Fusion Pro 2 is great value at $ 90, but you get what you pay for with this third-party controller.”

  • Great value

  • Feature-rich package

  • Practical volume control

  • Easy to customize

  • Loud rumbling

  • D-pad is a step down

  • Uncomfortable back paddles

Let’s get something straight: the Xbox Elite Series 2 is the best video game controller on the market today. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most expensive. The third-party provider PowerA may have recognized an opportunity and, with the Fusion Pro 2, has risen with a direct competitor to Microsoft’s own gamepad.

This wired controller is specially designed for the Xbox Series X | S and offers many of the same extras as the Elite Series 2 at a significantly lower price. It’s a sturdy package with back paddles, trigger locks, volume controls, and a lot more. At $ 90, it seems like an important value versus the $ 180 Elite Series 2 at first glance.

The Fusion Pro 2 is indeed a solid third-party option for those looking for an Xbox controller with some bells and whistles. Simply prepare a classic case of “you get what you pay for” here because it lacks the sleek design and cut of a real Microsoft product.

An important value

It’s hard to deny what a strong offering the overall package is. For $ 90, Xbox gamers get a ton of features here that aren’t on a standard Xbox controller. For starters, it comes with a paddle pack that adds four back buttons to the controller. That alone is one of the main selling points of the Elite Series 2.

The Xbox Fusion 2 controller and its additional parts.

In addition, the controller has trigger locks that allow players to adjust the voltage on each trigger. There are three different settings each, each of which allows for some very specific controller settings. There is also a volume control at the bottom of the pad that allows players to easily turn the voice chat up and down. Pressing the dial will also mute the chat, which is incredibly handy to have a click of your thumb away.

Those are the greatest features, but there’s a lot more where that comes from. The package comes with removable front panels, anti-friction handles, additional joysticks and a carrying case to store everything. It doesn’t have all of the interchangeable parts that come with an Elite Series 2, but it makes up for that with the bonus features.

It’s hard to deny what a strong offering the overall package is.

The price point goes really far here. In comparison, PowerA’s Nintendo Switch Fusion controller costs $ 100 and has far fewer extras. While $ 90 may seem expensive for someone who just needs a standard game controller, it’s a real steal when you consider that a similar product costs twice as much.

to make compromises

While it’s certainly cheaper than an Elite Series 2, that doesn’t mean it’s inherently better. There are many tradeoffs players will make if they choose this route. Most notable is the fact that it’s a wired controller, which in itself is a big catch in itself. The package comes with nice mesh wire, but it still means you have to stay tied to your Xbox to play.

There are many tradeoffs players will make if they choose this route.

These compromises also crop up in more subtle ways. The controller uses a regular four-way D-pad, which is a questionable step down from the Xbox Series X’s more multi-directional pad. This part is also not interchangeable, so it cannot be replaced across the board.

The most noticeable difference comes from the rumble. The controller’s dual rumble motors aren’t subtle; This is one of the loudest controllers I’ve ever heard. Leave this on a coffee table and it will sound like it’s piercing. The technology just feels a little cheap compared to the more precise rumble found in video game controllers today. It must be noted that the fact that it rumbles at all is an improvement over the Switch’s Fusion controller, which lacks feedback.

The Xbox Fusion 2 controller next to an Xbox Series X.

These quirks aside, the key layout itself is perfectly serviceable. There are a few differences in depth, but this feels like a regular Xbox controller. It’s just these little details that bring the third-party character to the fore.

Just next to it

The biggest feature here is the paddle pack, which adds four back buttons to the controller. There’s a lot to like about them. It’s easy to assign buttons to them, the paddles feel responsive, and the backpack itself can be pulled out at any time.

It’s still incredible value, but expect to feel the difference.

The positioning feels a bit off. although. For my hands, the backpack sits a little lower than I would like. That means I had to keep my back fingers higher, which made it difficult to find a comfortable position. After playing a few rounds of Knockout City, I wanted to throw out the pack altogether.

The back paddles of the Xbox Fusion 2 controller.

That’s a shame, because the Fusion 2 has a lot to offer in terms of comfort. The rubber grips are especially nice compared to the cold suppleness of a standard Xbox controller. The trigger locks and interchangeable joysticks are also a welcome bonus that allows players to really customize the feel of the controller.

Of course, comfort is ultimately a question of subjectivity. The paddle package may be spot on for some players while others feel like it’s just a bull’s eye. No controller is a one-size-fits-all solution, but it’s an area where Microsoft’s expertise really becomes apparent. The company has spent decades creating the perfect Xbox controller, and that becomes apparent when you switch to a third-party option that lacks those subtle tweaks. It’s still incredible value, but expect to feel the difference.

Our opinion

The PowerA Xbox Fusion 2 is a great budget option for anyone who wants the extras of an Elite Series 2 without breaking the bank. It’s a loaded package with an impressive suite of features. Just be prepared for the third party nature. Loud rumble motors, awkward positioning of the back button and the wired condition make this controller a controller that accepts many compromises. If value is the primary concern, it is a strong option. It’s just not the best available.

Is there a better alternative?

Microsoft’s Elite Series 2 is the better piece of hardware, although it is available for twice the price.

How long it will take?

Since it’s wired, you don’t have to worry about battery life. The controller itself feels sturdy enough, but it’s always difficult to say how a third-party product will hold up over time. However, expect to be able to use it for a few years.

Should you buy it?

No. Anyone who really needs the extras is probably better off spending extra on the Elite Series 2. Otherwise, the standard Xbox Series X controller is perfectly designed for casual gamers.

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