PowerA Fusion Pro Review: Customize your Xbox One controller for $80 [Video]

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If you’re a competitive player on Xbox One, one way to add some more capabilities to your controller is by picking one up with swappable components. Microsoft has its own awesome version with the Elite Series 2, but if you don’t want to drop $180 on a controller, the feature-packed Fusion Pro from PowerA is worth a look at just $80. Head below to watch the video and see it in action.

Out of the Box

One of the main things that sets the Fusion Pro apart from the Microsoft Elite controller is its wired design. At 9.8ft it should be long enough for most setups, but if you are playing further way from a display than that, the Fusion controller probably isn’t a good fit for you. The cable is removable but has a secure clip at the controller and an in-line quick release plug to prevent tripping over it and damaging a console.

Paddles

Like the Elite gamepad, the Fusion controller has removable paddles. One difference though is that the pro pack must be installed, and the paddles can be inserted or removed from that pro pack. Installation is easy, just remove the connection cover and snap in the pro-pack.

Button Mapping

With the pro-pack installed, now different inputs can be mapped to the paddles underneath the controller. To map a button, first, hold the program on the back of the controller for 3-seconds. Next, choose the input you would like to map to a paddle. This can be almost any function on the controller including triggers and bumpers, d-pad and ABXY, and even thumbstick clicks. Once you press the input you want to map, then push the paddle you want to map it to and it’s ready to go.

PowerA Fusion Pro: Video

I’ve been using the Microsoft Elite controller for a while with the standard ABXY button mappings on the paddles so I mapped these inputs to the paddles on the Fusion Pro controller. It was very easy to do and takes only a matter of seconds.

Since I have been using the Elite controller for years, the paddles on the Fusion do feel quite a bit different. They are larger and more flexible, which ends up taking a little more effort to press the buttons. If you haven’t used a controller with paddles in the past then you might not notice this, and the more that I used the Fusion Pro controller the more I got used to how the paddles feel.

Trigger locks

For those that want a quicker response with trigger pulls, the Fusion has three different quick swap levels. Compared to a standard Xbox One controller and first-generation Xbox Elite, the Fusion Pro already has a shorter trigger pull. This is great if you want shorter actuation, but it can also affect gameplay. For instance, the triggers are used to zoom in and out of the map on Sea of Thieves, and shortening the triggers slows down that rate of zoom.

Swappable sticks

Last but not least, the Fusion controller features a couple of other swappable components. The stock thumbsticks have a pretty standard rise and shape to them. But there is also a set of taller thumbsticks. To install these, the entire front face of the controller can be pulled up, and then the installed thumbsticks can be pulled up for removal. One of the taller sticks features the same textured perimeter that dips in the middle, and the other has a smooth dome. Both can be placed on either thumbstick stem.

While you’re swapping things out, PowerA has also included a couple of additional colorful accents that can be swapped out around the thumbsticks. This feels a little pointless to me since the border accents around all of the other buttons will remain the same color. If color customization is something you’re really looking for, check out the PowerA Spectra Enhanced controller we reviewed recently. At just $40, it adds some nice features to a standard Xbox One controller along with plenty of changeable lighting.

In-Use

Overall, the controller feels great. All of the buttons and inputs feel great. Compared to an Elite controller, the paddles are larger and take more force to actuate, but I still got used to them pretty quickly. Of course, being tethered to the console with a cable means your more tied down, but that also means you never have to worry about running out of battery during a crucial moment.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for controller customization and the added benefit of paddles on a budget, then the $80 Fusion is definitely a good pick. The paddles are easy to program and worked flawlessly in my testing. If you do have a bit more to spend, though, the added convenience of wireless and the additional features of the Elite Series 2 would be my top pick for Xbox One controllers.

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