PowerA Advantage Controller – Sparkle Review

Manufacturer: PowerA
Where To Buy: ARGOS (Sparkle)/ GAME (Sonic)
RRP: £34.99

Controllers can be expensive in these modern times. When not on offer, the standard official Xbox controller will set you back £59.99, with the elite costing even more at £159.99. The cheaper 2nd or 3rd party controllers have generally always had a bad rap as well, whether it’s being made to use it as a younger sibling or just the general quality of the product. Well lucky for me I was an only child, so I grew up only knowing what player one felt like. So when I had an opportunity to review such a product it had me intrigued as to what playing as a player two could feel like.

Introducing the PowerA Advantage controller. I received the ‘Sparkle’ colour to review and I have to say, even though it’s not as bright as the website would suggest, it’s still a really nice looking controller which can change colour depending on what angle you look at it.

So it looks good, but how does it feel? Pretty darn good actually.  It felt a bit strange at first, but after a couple of rounds of Fifa and Fortnite it didn’t feel out of place and felt natural in my hands. About five or so hours in I was a bit worried as when I used the left thumbstick it felt like something had come off inside, but thankfully it didn’t affect how the left stick operated and there was nothing obvious rattling inside. The buttons that took the longest to adjust to were the trigger buttons, they’re a different kind of plastic and it took my brain a while to register that I was pressing the correct buttons.

We recently got chance to check out the PowerA Advantage controller in its Sparkle variant, with Special Guest Pete finding it to be a great outing for the veteran peripheral maker. Well, just shortly after they were kind enough to share a new style with us – the Sonic themed one above. We’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now and are pretty much in agreement with his review of the Sparkle version (which surrounds this very write up).
We’ve two departures from his thoughts though – the design, and the rumble features.
The most obvious change is the look, and for Sonic fans this will surely be a must buy. The finish on the design is very well done, and in person it looks even better than the pictures online. The theming of the blue throughout – sticks, triggers, face buttons – is excellent, and it even comes with a Sega Blue USB-C cable. It feels smooth in the hands too, with a slightly textured back grip. If you’re a Sonic fan, looking for a new pad, and don’t mind a wire, this is an easy recommend.
My only gripe with it thus far is some underwhelming rumble support. I’ve been bouncing between a few controllers depending on where I’m playing, and the rumble definitely felt lacking on the PowerA Advantage compared to even some of their own other controllers, such as the MOGA XP Ultra. I’m a fan of a good rumble in a controller, so it’s more noticeable to me, whereas someone like Million Man Ian turns it off, so if you’re the same then this is a non-issue.
Other than this, we refer you back to the surrounding review for our thoughts on this controller. PowerA have certainly got a pedigree when it comes to great third-party peripheral creation, and this controller keeps up their high standard overall.

Jamie Collyer – EIC

The only real flaw is that it’s wired; it took longer than I wanted to write this review as with the kids being off school it was hard to find pockets of time as I didn’t trust them to not somehow trip over the wire. The cable itself is 10ft so it’s not overly long or too short so it should provide most players enough length to play in their natural positions. One thing I love about the cable is that it’s detachable, so if you wanted to keep them separate you can, there is no unnecessary need to wrap or bend the wire if you wish not to.

 At the time of writing the PowerA controller I reviewed is £34.99 in the UK or $37.99 for those in the US. With that price point you’d be forgiven for thinking that was it. But that is far from the case, The Sparkle edition was made especially for the Xbox Series X/S and has the green logo on the box, giving you, the player, confidence knowing this accessory has been developed alongside Xbox to deliver the best possible experience but comes with a 2-year limited warranty just in case.

Given that it was made for the X/S there are a few extra features on the controller, for starters it has the capture button so it’s easy to take screenshots or videoclips. It also has the advanced gaming mappable buttons on the back, which can be configured at any time, even in the middle of a game. It also has 3-way trigger locks and impulse triggers, so if you’re getting old like me and your reaction times aren’t what they used to be, these really come in handy when playing FPS games!

It has dual rumble motors as well that can provide nuanced feedback, from gentle footsteps to explosions these motors can make you feel even more connected with the game you’re playing. I mentioned earlier about it felt natural in my hands, part of that is due to the lightweight nature and the anti-friction rings around the thumbsticks. There is also a PowerA Gamer HQ app, which easily lets you test and calibrate the controller to your hearts content.

Now for something a little different which I haven’t included in my previous Xbox Tavern reviews, and that is the thought of one of my kids. He’s 8 and I let him loose on it to really test the durability as he can be prone to dropping things when he gets excited. Games he played included Fortnite, Fifa, Roblox and Minecraft. Here are his thoughts: “The back (trigger) buttons feel a strange and there’s a third button (capture button) in the middle which I don’t know what it is, there’s no light button around the Xbox button and there is no colours on the letter buttons. I don’t know what the buttons on the back do either but I really like it even though it stops working when I took the wire out oh and the colour is nice. I like it more than the white one we have” So it gets the thumbs up from my 8-year-old and I’m happy to report the controller was still functioning normally even though he did drop it a few times.

Conclusion

The Sparkle PowerA controller is a great value for money accessory which has features from its siblings in the Elite series and having the durability to survive a clumsy 8-year-old certainly makes this a worthwhile pickup if you’re wanting to save a few pennies.

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Hardware provided by the manufacturer for review purposes.
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Good
  • Feels natural in your hands
  • Detachable wire
  • Thumbs up from an 8-year-old
  • Great value for money
Bad
  • Not recommended if you have little ones running around
  • Colour not quite as bright as website would suggest
8.5
Great
Written by
I first got my hands on a gaming console in ‘91 with the NES and haven’t looked back since, playing on a variety of consoles and PCs over the years. Once a year you will also find me doing a trilogy play through of either Mass Effect or Dragon Age.

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