I’m not ashamed to admit that my Xbox One gets more love than my PlayStation 4. Partly that’s because it’s an X, so games look nicer and all that technical jazz, but it’s also because the Xbox One controller is just so much nicer to use. Sorry, Sony. Having both thumbsticks at the bottom is so 1997. It might’ve been revolutionary back in the days of the PS1, but now it feels outdated, not particularly ergonomic, and downright uncomfortable.
Enter Nacon. Its aptly named “Revolution” series of controllers makes the PS4 pad more resemble an Xbox One controller. Sure, it has all the bells and whistles you’d expect of the PS4 controller – touchpad, share button and whatnot – but, most notably, it switches around the left thumbstick and the d-pad. They’re positions just as they are on an Xbox One controller, with the thumbstick sitting higher up – a more natural position where most people’s thumbs rest.
The latest controller from Nacon’s Revolution range is the Unlimited Pro. It’s going head-on with Xbox’s Elite controller. With a price tag of £150 it’s hardly a budget option, but you do get a seriously quality product for your money.
Like Microsoft’s Elite controller, the Revolution Unlimited Pro comes in its own little holster – a hard canvas-lined case to keep your controller protected while not in use. In the package you’ll get a bluetooth dongle, a 3m threaded USB 3.0 cable, and a box containing weights and changeable thumbsticks.
Where it falters compared to the Elite controller is in its customisable elements. While the Xbox Elite controller has a couple of different d-pads and back paddles that can be removed, the Revolution Unlimited just has a change of thumbsticks. But since the default pair – made of hard-wearing plastic with a slight indentation for your thumbs – is so comfortable to use, it’s not really an issue. It is a shame there isn’t an interchangable d-pad though. It’s perhaps the lowest quality part of the controller; feeling a little plasticky to use. It’s also not that accurate: it’s easy to input a different direction when you press it, since the whole thing moves. Not ideal for games that utilise the d-pad and rely on quick and accurate responses. For me, playing an open world adventure, it meant just occasionally pulling the wrong item out of my inventory. Not a dealbreaker, but irksome all the same.
Instead of paddles on the back of the controller, the Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro has four buttons, two on each grip. They’re flush to the controller, so they’re not invasive if you don’t want to use them – but easy to press if you do want to program them. It’s a little too easy to press them by mistake, but since they don’t do anything by default it’s not a massive issue.
Apart from the disappointing d-pad, the build quality of the Revolution Unlimited Pro controller is impressive. It feels ergonomic, and thanks to a rougher texture on the back of each grip, it’s nice to hold. Even after long periods of play, my hands don’t ache the same way they can with other controllers. Both grips slide off, too, allowing easy access to add more weights if needs be. The controller comes with an extra 80g of weights which makes a surprising amount of difference if you’re used to something a little heavier in your hands. Of course, if you’re used to Xbox One controllers, you’ll be used to the added weight thanks to the batteries. Standard PS4 controllers are naturally lighter since they have a built-in rechargeable battery – the Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro sits somewhere inbetween, and adding the weights makes it feel more like an Xbox One controller.
Thanks to coming packaged with both a USB cable and a wireless connector, the controller can be used either way. Due to how the PS4 works, it can’t connect directly with the console, so you need to use the Bluetooth dongle. I’ve had issues in the past trying to connect wirelessly to my PS4, but the Revolution Unlimited Pro works flawlessly. Plug in the dongle to one of the console’s USB sockets on the front, turn on the controller by pressing the “PS” button – and a few seconds later, it’s connected. The connection never faltered either, even with plenty of other connections (smartphone Bluetooth, controllers to other consoles, etc.) running in the same area.
The battery for wireless play doesn’t last perhaps as long as a standard PS4 controller – I got maybe seven hours of play before needing to charge. But considering the extra functionality of the controller – including a funky light right around the right analogue stick – it’s not too surprising. If you have to use it wired, it’s certainly not too much of an issue since the included cable is three metres long. And it’ll charge while you play.
If you spend a lot of time on your PlayStation 4, but prefer the layout of an Xbox One controller, I’d certainly consider a Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro controller. Sure, it’s pricey – but the quality, for the most part, justifies the price tag. It’s a pleasure to hold, and aside from the d-pad the whole thing feels extremely well made.
If you’re not bothered about the “pro” features, Nacon also do a bog-standard controller with the layout of an Xbox pad – unironically called the Asymmetric Wireless Controller, it’s available now for £50. Whether the Unlimited Pro is worth three times that price depends how much you value quality and comfort, and of course if you’d make use of the programmable buttons on the controller’s grip. I will seldom make use of those buttons, but after using this for a few weeks, I’m still going to find it difficult to go back to playing PS4 with anything else.