Saturday, April 4, 2009

Wired Controller Fan

With the release of the PS3 and Xbox 360, Sony and Microsoft decided to bundle wireless controllers with their systems, probably to make them seem more "hi-tech". I'm sure many a geek had a sparkle in their eye and as they enthused over this new technology, while the casual gamer might have looked to see the cord missing and thought how convenient it first.

In my opinion, there are more advantages in using wired controllers and I recently switched my wireless 360 controller for a wired one. I would have also done this with the Dual Shock 3 (DS3) if the cord was longer than the USB cable, so props to Microsoft for releasing both versions. "He's mad!" you say and maybe you're right, but first hear me out

A simple reason to start with, wired controllers are cheaper than their wireless counterparts. Now, moving on to the first big annoyance, which I'm sure everyone is aware of and that is power supply. If the wireless tech only required the console to be powered on, we'd be set, but it doesn't, so for the 360 we need to say hello once more to AA batteries while on the DS3 we have a Li-Ion rechargeable battery which is a better alternative. Whenever your AA batteries run dry, you'll need to put a fresh pair in. AA batteries aren't free, they cost money and every time you game, it'll cost you a bit extra. You'll need to pull them out of the controller and put new ones in. The alternative? Buy rechargeable AA batteries, which cost more to begin with, but quickly become the cheaper alternative. But of course, you'll need to recharge them, which is annoying too. And what if you want to game but have no batteries with power with them? Well, then you're screwed. That's wireless for you.

Oh, but I'm fibbing, there is another alternative. The play & charge kit will save your butt in such situations. Wait a minute, not only does this make your controller wired during the charging period, defeating the purpose of going wireless in the first place, it also costs you more money! Can you see what I'm getting at here? Hmm, let's move on.

The wired 360 controller will also work on your PC with no additional hardware (very cool), while the wireless one does not. Not without extra hardware, which again costs more money.

The inbuilt DS3 Li-ion battery is the better alternative, but isn't the big fix either. You'll still need to wire up your controller when charging, but at least you can keep playing without buying additional hardware. Pairing up controllers is a pain and sometimes you'll need to switch with your friend(s) or reassign which controller is the 1st player. Turning the controller on and off every time you turn on downloads and leave your PS3 alone is another annoyance. Like all batteries, Li-ion start to lose charge with age and need to be replaced after a few years, I haven't seen any spare batteries for Sony controllers for sale yet and I wonder when they will be available. This will require you to unscrew and open the controller and replace the battery. Finally, as I mentioned at the start, the USB cable could have been much longer and the battery easier to remove to provide for both the wired and wireless users.

To conclude, I'm very happy with my wired 360 controller and I never have to worry about charging or changing batteries or anything else! There are only two negatives I can think of. There's a cord (no big deal, put it back near the 360 when done) and it takes up one USB slot (only a problem on a PS3 if you've got a lot of accessories). However, I think the positives more than make up for its shortcomings.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good point you've made here!