PowerA XP Ultra Review

Manufacturer: PowerA
Where to Buy: PowerA
RRP: $99.99

Article has been updated to reflect the new name and price of the device – EIC

We’re in a bit of a controller renaissance lately. There are a literal wealth of options for players of all skills, budgets, and preferences. PowerA have always been one of the best go to options, and their latest effort – the XP Ultra – take their top quality build design and brings in some smart, and very welcome, additions, for a reasonable price.

The headline here is the wireless connectivity. We’re starting to see more in the way of third party options being granted access to the Xbox Wireless Protocol, and the XP Ultra is one such device. Not only that, but it can be connected via Bluetooth to PC and Mobile, the latter of which is strongly recommended thanks to yet more of the XP Ultra’s unique features – it’s modular design.

The transformative controller has three options available out of the box; regular play on Xbox consoles (either wireless or wired) is the base here, but we’re able to unclip the grips entirely, leaving us with something reminiscent of a SNES pad. This small form factor keeps everything accessible (bar the included rear buttons on the grips) and is excellent for smaller hands. It’s especially handy if you just want to take a small controller on the road to play on your phone, or just need something a little lighter. We will say for our bigger hands this did prove a bit of a cramp at times, and we found ourselves reaching for the grips for 95% of the time we’ve been playing, but the little ones at home found it easy enough to play with without much issue.

The third option involves the included clip. You may already have one of the gaming clips at home, with PowerA’s MOGA Mobile gaming clip seeing use in the past in this house after we were given some at XO19. Where this differs though is that rather than wrapping around the controller fully, it instead clips in to a dedicated slot on the back of the XP Ultra. It’s a firm clip too, and we find it the better option thanks to being slightly more balanced. We can adjust the angle at two points and the lock holds our phone nicely indeed, even within its case. And while it’s fully possible, we did find having the grip on without the grips a little too top heavy for long sessions, but again, this was easily solved by clipping the grips back on.

Being wireless the XP Ultra requires power, and we’re happy to see an included rechargeable battery. While we’ve made mention of our preference for AA’s in the past, the fact this is designed as much for on the go use as at home means a built in battery is actually a better choice here in our eyes. It’ll last up to 60 hours too reportedly, though we clearly don’t play as many games as we think seeing as we’ve yet to charge it beyond initially topping up the battery out of the box over the last two weeks. In fact, there’s a built in battery indicator that has only lost one of its four notches in this time.

It’s all well and good having these fancy features, but if it’s not nice to use then it’s all for now. Thankfully, the XP Ultra has proved to be a solid controller all round. It’s not going to compete with the top tier premium pads out there, but it’s also a fair bit cheaper too, coming in at around £125. This is still a pricey unit, but for what we get this feels like a pretty fair price to us.

The buttons and triggers are all perfectly good, responsive and tactile without resorting to being too loud and clicky. The sticks have a nice grip to them a well, while the d-pad is a hybrid-style affair that is serviceable enough. The now mandatory back buttons are here and accounted for, encased as non-removable buttons on the grip handles. There are only two, but they are nicely placed and easy to use. And despite having a built in battery, the XP Ultra somehow feels very light in the hand even when fully assembled.

Our only minor gripe with the feel of the controller has to do with the very nature of it – the way the grips are designed to detach leaves a ridge that encompasses the controller. In play this isn’t much of an issue, but compare to the smooth nature of other pads it can feel a little ‘edgy’ especially near the B button. And while the toggle switch to detach the grips is solid and won’t be accidently knocked, it only latches in on the middle part of the controller which can let the actual grips have a very small amount of wiggle if you’re getting especially into the action. It’s been perfectly fine so far of course, but we could see especially animated sessions pushing this connection to its limit.

Conclusion

Otherwise, this is an excellent controller from PowerA. Comfy to use, and with the trio of ways to play as well as the built in long battery life it’s proven a worthy companion in my daily gaming sessions.

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Hardware provided by the manufacturer for review purposes.
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Good
  • Wireless action even on the console
  • Trio of ways to use it, from console to cloud and PC
  • Good weight and feel
Bad
  • Connection on the detachable grips is firm but with very slight room for wiggle after excessive use
9.5
Excellent
Written by
I've been gaming since Spy vs Spy on the Master System, growing up as a Sega kid before realising the joy of multi-platform gaming. These days I can mostly be found on smaller indie titles, the occasional big RPG and doing poorly at Rainbow Six: Siege. Gamertag: Enaksan

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