One of the biggest complaints console players have with their controllers is reliability. Stick drift is probably one of the most common grievances about controllers that have been used for a while. Thrustmaster has developed a unique way to deal with misbehaving thumbsticks by making the sticks a replaceable module on its Eswap controller. We got our hands on the latest iteration – the Thrustmaster Eswap S controller that simplifies the design from the older Eswap X and is also $30 cheaper than the older model. Be sure to hit the video below to see all of the details.
As mentioned, this is not Thrustmaster’s first controller with replaceable components, but it is the latest. Some of the most significant changes from the previous but still available Eswap X are a new non-interchangeable D-pad that features tactile switches, updated buttons on the back, and an overall tweaked design.
Otherwise, the Thrustmaster Eswap S is a wired controller with some extra functionality to make competitive gaming a little bit easier.
On the face of the Thrustmaster Eswap S controller are all of the buttons you would expect, plus a few more. In addition to the view, menu, and share buttons, there is a map button as well as a profile swap button. Three small LED lights help to identify the currently selected profile.
Thrustmaster Eswap S: ergonomics
The overall footprint is wider than the standard Xbox controller. It’s more in line with the Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma. The handles are a bit thinner and longer than the Razer; even though it’s different, my hand position feels normal across all of the controllers.
The grips are slightly textured, but they keep their plastic feel. I didn’t experience any trouble holding onto the controller, but extra sweaty players might prefer a grippier controller like the Scuf Instinct Pro.
Thrustmaster Eswap S: video
The most prominent feature of the Thrustmaster Eswap S is the swappable mini-stick modules. With a magnetic connection, they’re easy enough to remove that it took my four-year-old son about 30 seconds to figure out that they come out.
Thrustmaster sells additional modules for $19.99 when the 2-million activation-rated modules wear out. There are two different modules available – one of which features 33% more resistance than the older module.
And so far, they feel very smooth. Now, I’ll need to do a long-term follow-up if things change as I’ve only had the controller for a few weeks. So far everything seems to hold up well – even when my four-year-old son drops it on the table and floor.
Face and D-pad buttons
The face and D-pad buttons have a great tactile feel and sound to them; Thrustmaster calls these its tact switches. With an actuation distance of .45mm, they are quick to actuate and just feel great to use. Hit the video to hear how they sound.
For a little added functionality, the Eswap S controller has two mappable buttons on the back. I’m pretty used to the paddle setup of the Elite controllers, but it didn’t take much to get comfortable with these buttons.
With my hands, they sit right just at the tips of my middle fingers. It’s an easy move to actuate them – much more so than the buttons on the back of the Wolverine V2 Chroma from Razer. But, my fingers don’t always rest directly on them like the Elite controller. I still feel like that’s the best implementation for me. But, that’s also the controller I have the most experience with.
Thrustmaster Eswap S: triggers
The Eswap S also has adjustable triggers. The standard long pull is one or two millimeters shorter than the standard Xbox Series X controller pull. The trigger stop shortens the pull even more, but it isn’t quite to the hair-trigger level of the Scuf Instinct Pro.
Software and mapping
Another major feature is the mapping and customizability in the ThrustmapperX app; two profiles can be set and exported. Among the options for customization are complete button mapping from the D-pad, face buttons, bumpers, and back buttons. Saving the profiles will also transfer them between Xbox and PC for continuity.
In the Mini-stick menu, there are adjustments for sensitivity and dead zones on each stick. These sticks seem to be pretty good so far and are by default set to 1% for dead zone, but I bumped it up to 3% as it seemed to occasionally still pick up a bit of movement when set to 1.
The trigger sensitivity can also be adjusted as well as the intensity of both handle and trigger vibration. All-in-all, there are a lot of great customization options. The only thing I’d like to see is the addition of a stick-swap option for those of us who play southpaw.
For those who have been burned by stick drift in the past, the Thrustmaster Eswap S might be the best answer to your woes. The additional modules are $20, but that’s much better than having to replace the entire controller. Sure, it might just be a bandaid for a problem that is inevitable, but the rest of the controller is solid as well.
$130 is pretty pricey compared to more affordable alternatives like the standard $60 Series X controller, but it’s right in line with the competition from Razer.
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