The Best Gaming Controllers of 2018
The rise in PC gaming over the years has opened the market for gaming accessories as 56% of gamers choose PC over consoles.
While these numbers are important to proving how popular PC gaming is, that doesn’t mean these individuals want to give up the console gaming experience. Gaming controllers combine the experience of console gaming and the freedom of PC gaming, but choosing the right controller can make the difference in how you enjoy this experience.
Now that you have the best gaming computer on the market, why not complete your set up with the best gaming controller? Read on for our list of the best of 2018.
Logitech Gamepad F310
The first of our top gaming controllers is the Logitech Gamepad F310. While it’s not the most glamorous option on the list, it is one of the most affordable. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love to save a bit of money?
The F310 is the perfect “starter” controller, ideal for those who are looking to use their controller more casually while they’re gaming. The dual-stick controller has a set of customizable buttons and responsive triggers. Its casing finds a balance between being sturdy yet light enough to take on-the-go.
While it isn’t a wireless controller, setting it up is a breeze. Simply plug it in and you’re ready to go.
As functional as it may be, the most redeeming quality is the F310’s price. For $20, what you get is worth it. Especially if you are looking for something to try out before investing in more expensive gaming controllers.
However, while the F310 is great for the casual gaming, it might not be the right fit for extended play.
One of the primary issues with the F310 is its triggers. While they’re functional, they can be tough to press down. This may especially be an issue for games that require you to use the triggers often.
The controller’s directional pad also has its issues. Its loose build made it difficult to maneuver in some games.
That said, while it isn’t the perfect controller, the Logitech Gamepad F310 is ideal for casual gamers. For the price, you get a reliable gaming controller that performs well under most circumstances. Just make sure you stretch out those fingers once in a while.
Sony Dual Shock 4
The Dual Shock 4 is the latest in Sony’s line. While it wasn’t intended for PC gaming, it’s become a popular choice in the community.
One of the best qualities of the Dual Shock 4 is its design. The controller’s curved shape makes it a natural fit in your hands, making for comfortable gaming sessions.
Not only is the controller’s design great, but so its button layout. The placement of each button and trigger just feels right. You don’t need to think about where buttons are, you just press them, which makes for a more satisfying overall gaming experience.
The buttons also have a nice responsiveness to them. Each one clicks down and springs back into place discreetly.
The Dual Shock 4’s signature touchpad is another key feature that sets it apart from other gaming controllers. When used with PCs, this pad can control your computer’s mouse.
The controller operates both wirelessly via Bluetooth or wired with a Micro-USB. Its 8-hour battery life will provide you with enough fuel to get through a late night of gaming.
However, as great as the controller is, it wasn’t intended for PC use. Because of this, you will have to do some research to figure out how to connect the controller to your computer.
8Bitdo SN30 Pro Controller
This next controller is a modern twist on a classic controller. While the 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Controller is grounded in old school video games, it works with modern titles, too.
Despite its retro appearance, the 8Bitdo SN30 has some added features that make it a great choice for gamers. One of these upgrades is its wireless capabilities–the 8Bitdo SN30 connects easily to your device via Bluetooth.
As far as the controller’s layout, the 8Bitdo SN30 is a near-perfect recreation of the retro gaming controllers you might have grown up with. It’s entire look and feel recreates the old school gaming experience.
With that said, there are some minor tweaks that bring this controller into the modern world, like the addition of joysticks that makes them more compatible with newer games. The shoulder triggers have also been split to give the controller more uses.
Between its features and its compact build, the 8Bitdo SN30 is an ideal travel companion for any gamer.
While it may fit perfectly in the hands for some, the size of the controller could be uncomfortable to others, depending on the size of your hands and length of your gaming sessions.
Despite its size, the 8Bitdo SN30 is great at what it does, and it is a good choice for those that are into combining retro and modern gaming.
Steam holds a special place in the hearts of many gamers. Its extensive library and consistent deals have made it extremely popular in the gaming community. Because of this, it isn’t surprising the company would create its own controller.
While the design is similar to most gaming controllers, Steam put its own twist on things.
The Steam Controller’s customizable buttons, for example, allow users to enjoy games their way, as users can create their own button setups for each game. This completely custom gaming experience allows you to find the best way to play for each individual game.
If you find a configuration that works well, you can also share your settings with other users. But if custom buttons sound like too much for you, the controller’s default settings will get the job done nicely.
The controller’s overall layout is different from other controllers, as the Steam Controller attempts to combine the experience of using optical mice. The dual trackpad setup takes the place of joysticks, and the pad on the left works as a directional pad and the right side emulates using a mouse. Together, the Steam Controller offers a gaming experience quite unlike other gaming controllers.
However, some gamers prefer a more straightforward experience. While you may have control over most of the buttons operate, it can still feel too different to learn new configurations for every game.
Having a controller this different takes some time to get used to. While the touchpads are responsive, they don’t have that natural feel because the layout isn’t standard.
The Steam Controller tries to ease the debate between mouse and controller gaming. But ultimately, the controller’s custom options don’t get enough use. As a result, the Steam Controller offers a very standard but solid gaming experience. If you are a sucker for customized setups, it may be a good option for you to tinker with.
Microsoft Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller
While there are many companies out there creating unique controllers, standard designs are always reliable. Microsoft’s Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller is both attractive and functional, outperforming other gaming controllers on the market.
The Xbox One Elite’s clean design gives it the look of luxury. But looks aren’t always everything. The controller’s build has some weight behind it, promising a sturdy structure. In addition, its buttons have the same quality feel and response as the traditional Xbox controls.
The Elite’s triggers have a nice pull and click, letting you know when its maxed out. The joysticks offer strong grip for wide, comfortable control.
Many of the Elite’s parts can be swapped out quickly via light magnets. The thumb pads can be exchanged for different shapes and sizes, which gives you more control over its comfort and appearance.
Similar to other gaming controllers, the Elite has both wired and wireless options. But connecting wirelessly to your PC will require an adapter.
The Elite has a very familiar feel with a premium look. The controller’s weight even feels like a luxury item. However, the Elite also comes at a more expensive price. For this price, some may question whether what you get is worth it. It ultimately depends on what you’re looking for in a controller.
It’s true that the Elite has some customizable features, but most of them are just for looks. However, its performance and comfort also make it a great choice for gamers that enjoy longer sessions.
Ultimately, while it may not be for everyone, the Elite is more than just a fancy Xbox controller. Its features and build make it a strong competitor.
Many gaming controllers all seem to be based on similar products. The NVIDIA Shield is not one of them. While its layout may be familiar, the features and design make it unique.
The Shield’s design makes it stand out among other controllers. Just holding it in your hands makes it feel like a quality product. The button placement and arrangement gives it a very familiar feel. But its overall design makes feel so much cooler.
But the Shield isn’t just all looks. In addition to responsive buttons and triggers, the Shield also has several controls that set it apart from other gaming controllers.
For example, one interesting feature is a built-in microphone. Plus, there’s also an input jack for those who choose to use their headset. It also has a mouse pad built into its surface which allows you to navigate through menus on your computer quickly and easily.
Another unique feature of the Shield is volume control. The smooth touchpad at the bottom of the controller allows you to easily change the volume without any hassle.
That said, the Shield comes with a couple quirks.
While it’s nice to have a microphone built in, it can be a bit oversensitive. There is the possibility of it picking up the sounds the buttons clicking and other random noises. This can be especially annoying for those that stream their gameplay.
It also isn’t as simple to set up as some of the other gaming controllers out there. While connecting the Shield to your PC isn’t that difficult, you will have to install a special software package from NVIDIA to get it working.
Overall, the Shield is a fairly standard gaming controller that brings a few extra features to the table. NVIDIA has put out some fantastic gaming accessories out on the market. From virtual reality headsets to graphics cards, the company knows what it’s doing with their products.
And the same is true of the Shield. The controller is a well-rounded device that looks cool and functions well.
The last of the controllers on our list is a giant in the video game accessories game. The Razer Wildcat is an amped up Xbox controller with a bold design and strong functionality.
At first glance, there’s not too much different with this controller from the standard Xbox one. And you’re right–the Wildcat holds onto many of the same buttons and functions as standard controllers. There are some added features including a set of customizable buttons along the bottom.
But surprisingly, the Wildcat is not a wireless controller. This is a disadvantage when compared to other controllers–even the standard Xbox ones.
However, the Wildcat does come with lots of extra gripping that make it more comfortable than others. The bumpy, rubber surfaces are perfect for long gaming sessions.
While the Wildcat isn’t the cheapest controller, it is a comfortable and effective device. While you won’t be able to walk away mid-game, the controller will be reliable and rest comfortably in your hands.
Comparing Gaming Controllers
The market for controllers is growing year after year. While it’s helpful to read reviews and hear what works for others, try to find what works best for you.
Check out some of our reviews to find out if the latest trends gaming are worth the hype.