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Hardware Review: Nacon RIG Revolution X Controller

18 Jun 2022

If you’re a regular here, you may remember the review we did a while back on Nacon’s Pro Compact controller for Xbox systems and Windows 10/11, and what we have here today can fairly be described as its big brother: the Revolution X. Billed as “competition grade,” it does pack in some additional features and improvements aimed at more serious gamers. That said, unless it’s sponsored by Nacon, I’m not sure how often you’d get to use your own controller in a console games competition. But that claim, of course, does still make implications about the quality of the product.

While I’d argue the most “serious” gamers are probably using high-end gaming PCs over consoles when possible, there certainly is a demand for gamepads that can give you that little extra edge, and this controller (like the Pro Compact) of course works with both Xbox consoles and Windows PCs. And while I have been using a keyboard for gaming since before the Nintendo Entertainment System, there certainly are some kinds of games where a controller serves better, and if you’re a discerning gamer, you want the best. So is it?

I hope so, as at $99.99 MSRP in the US, it’s more expensive than the standard official controllers for any of the major consoles (though there are others that cost more).

Fit and Finish

For the discerning user, structure, shape, and build quality are key. A good controller needs to be comfortable to hold, feel good in the hands, and the internal workings need to be smooth and responsive. It also has to be able to accept the occasional abuse from a gaming nerd-rage moment, as well. So we’re going to dig into this a little more deeply than we did for the Pro Compact – after all, the standards should be higher for the target audience of this controller.

The Revolution X’s size and shape is most similar to that of the Switch Pro Controller, of which I am very familiar as my preferred input device on that platform for its design and comfort (but maybe not the overly sensitive D-pad…). It is quite comfortable to hold, and my fingers fall into all the right places on the front and back, which together with a nice grippy texture on the back means it isn’t going to fly out of my hands easily when I inevitably get my butt kicked in that B.S. online gaming moment that was totally lag and not my fault at all… ahem.

The most notable difference between this and my favorite Switch controller is the weight. This controller feels quite light, which does make things feel a bit… cheap. But this is mostly because the Revolution X is a wired controller and thus doesn’t have a battery in it, which adds a fair bit of weight. This was fine for the compact controller I reviewed before since it was, well, compact. I don’t like it quite as much here.

However, Nacon has us covered. The Revolution X comes packaged in a nice semi-hard case which also features a little adjustment kit. In this kit we find three pairs of weights in 10g, 14g, and 16g flavors, as well as a second set of thumbstick tops, which I’ll get to in a moment. I found the 14g weights, which slot into the back of the controller’s grips, makes its weight match up closely with the wireless controllers I’m more used to these days, giving it the perfect amount of heft. And despite its base weight being lighter, it feels solidly constructed and likely to break whatever I throw it at instead of the controller itself.

As for the buttons, they got a lot right here. Aside from the analog triggers, which have reason to feel different, all the other buttons are nice and clicky and very satisfying to press. There is a little bit of wiggle in the face buttons which is less than perfect, but no flex (meaning the buttons are entirely separate from each other and not a single unit underneath). Every button has its own distinct sound when pressed, which is particularly helpful in identifying buttons you may not have intended to press and thus analyzing your own performance.

The positioning of the buttons is very natural and nearly perfect. The only exception may be the two programmable buttons on the underside of the grips, meant to be pressed with the pinky and/or forefinger. I feel like these should have been positioned a little bit closer to the front face of the controller, as my fingertips rested just a bit beyond where the buttons are. It’s very minor though and I found these extra buttons to still be quite usable and very handy, along with the middle-finger buttons also found on the back.

The D-pad is very standard. It has a slightly non-standard shape, but it feels good to the touch and seems less overly-sensitive compared to the Switch Pro Controller I’m currently most used to using. I kind of feel like maybe a little more work could have gone into this, but it’s still a well made and totally serviceable D-pad.

Lastly, we have the analog sticks. Motion-wise, they feel great; they’re buttery smooth without sliding around in unwanted ways and give you a feeling of total control. The controller comes with concave thumbsticks, but you can switch out the tops with convex ones from the aforementioned adjustment kit if you prefer.

The only thing I didn’t care for with the sticks is I feel like they are a bit too tall. My right thumb was routinely bumping into the stick itself when I moved it between the stick and the face buttons, and this can possibly cause some unwanted camera movement. Adjustments in the controller software may be able to account for this though, as we will discuss in the next section. There is also a small oddity with the four lights on the bottom front of the controller, which would typically indicate player number, but here indicate which profile is selected.

Software Revolution

Like its compact friend, the Revolution X includes built in support for Dolby Atmos for any standard headset plugged into the controller’s headphone jack. While Dolby Atmos is available for a fee for general use, users of this controller get access to it for free as long as you plug into the controller (and not your PC itself if you’re playing on one). For the unaware, Dolby Atmos is a virtual spatial sound technology designed to create the feeling of 3D sound with ordinary stereo headsets. It’s particularly useful for gaming, as it helps you, for example, to hear what direction shots are coming from in an FPS game.

It’s certainly a nice perk for console users, who are probably using headphones with a 3.5mm jack. If you’re a serious PC gamer though, you’re probably not going to use this as you’re probably using a USB gaming headset which likely has its own spacial audio features built in. But extras are extras, and it’s great for Atmos to be bundled with a controller as it certainly does add to the value proposition. If you aren’t using such a headset, this controller provides at no extra cost something you would normally have to pay money for.

The controller is usable out of the box with a switch and button on the bottom that can change between various built-in configuration profiles to tweak the controller for different game styles. An optional app on the Microsoft Store is also available which will allow you to customize those profiles. While the design of the app itself needs a bit of polish, it is loaded with features, allowing you to globally re-map all of the buttons, change the lighting on the front, and tweak every aspect of the behavior of both the triggers and analog sticks, such as how much of a dead zone they have, and how much you have to move the stick to produce the desired amount of motion in games. Several genre-based presets are included or you can create your own “response curve.”

Personally, I generally found the default configuration to be just fine, but given the target audience, I’d say the ability of the user to configure this controller is above and beyond. My only gripe with the app is that you aren’t allowed to edit the existing profiles; you have to create your own entirely and you can switch them with the standard ones. It was a bit annoying that I couldn’t just pick all the desired settings first and then save it as a new profile.

The Wrap-up

The Revolution X is an excellent controller, among the best I’ve tried over my many gaming years. While the more casual gamer is probably not going to want to pay more for a third-party controller than the official ones, this controller’s out-of-box usability along with its endless tweak-ability for the more hardcore crowd will make this controller satisfying to use for anyone who picks it up.

The Revoluition X does for the serious gamer crowd what Pro Compact does for gamers who travel, and joins it at the front of the pack. It stands up well to its competition, and while not perfect, it is really, really solid. For its target audience, I’d say its worth the asking price. Which, notably, is considerably less than what I’d call its closest competitor, the Razer Wolverine V2, which has comparable features but notably doesn’t offer Dolby Atmos.

~ Final Score: 9/10 ~

Review unit provided by Nacon. Software screenshots and case image taken by reviewer. Hardware sample and product images courtesy of Nacon.