HyperX Clutch Gladiate review - A David among Goliaths

A solid budget pad

HyperX Clutch Gladiate
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

The HyperX Clutch Gladiate impresses as a tight-budget controller. Its casing, face buttons, and triggers are surprisingly high quality for its price, and the subtle red-on-black aesthetic helps it stand out from the pack. Its biggest flaw is the half-trigger locks, which often don’t register correctly across both console and PC.


  • +

    Very affordable

  • +

    Good quality buttons and sticks

  • +

    Comfy, textured grips

  • +

    Back buttons are nicely tactile


  • -

    Trigger locks are inconsistent

  • -

    D-pad is a little basic

  • -

    Shoulder buttons could be better

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

The HyperX Clutch Gladiate is a seriously impressive controller for its price. Not only does it offer ‘Pro’ controller adjacent features like back paddle buttons and hair trigger locks, but it also boasts surprisingly good build quality with comfy textured grips and satisfyingly tactile buttons and sticks.

HyperX Clutch Gladiate’s low price makes it a more affordable Xbox Series X controller than the likes of the Nacon Revolution X Pro and the 8BitDo Pro 2 wired controller. If you’re on a strict budget, I highly recommend the HyperX Clutch Gladiate.

The gamepad only has a couple of drawbacks, though one is significant. The controller’s D-pad is on the basic side, lacking texture, making it feel flat. The bigger problem is the pad’s hair trigger locks. When toggled on, trigger presses register inconsistently. As a result, I opted to leave them off throughout the majority of our testing phase.

Despite those issues, I still recommend the HyperX Clutch Gladiate controller. Read on for our full breakdown and review.

Price and availability

The HyperX Clutch Gladiate is available to buy for $34.99 (around £29.99) from March 27, 2023 across a broad range of online retailers. Comparatively, that’s a lower price than many of the best Xbox controllers you can buy today, such as the 8BitDo Pro 2 and Turtle Beach Recon. In terms of design and functionality, the Clutch Gladiate’s most similar to Nacon’s Revolution X Pro. 

HyperX Clutch Gladiate: Design

HyperX Clutch Gladiate

(Image credit: Future)
  • Surprisingly strong build quality
  • Lovely face buttons and sticks
  • D-pad and shoulder buttons could be better

The build quality of the HyperX Clutch Gladiate isn’t up to par with the high bar set by the Xbox Wireless Controller, but it doesn’t feel cheap. Despite its low price, HyperX has managed to manufacture a pad that feels solid in the hands while also being relatively lightweight at just 280 grams.

Thanks to textured grips, the pad immediately feels secure to hold. The overall shape is ergonomic, too, allowing for a comfortable gaming experience for long and short sessions.

That quality is consistent with the Clutch Gladiate’s face buttons, sticks, and triggers. The face buttons are a particular highlight here. Made of solid plastic, they have a subtly bouncy feel, allowing for easy and quick presses. The sticks are another highlight with a slightly weighty feel and concave design.

I can’t say the same about the shoulder buttons. They’re ever so slightly longer than those on the official Xbox pad, while feeling mushier and less satisfying to press. That sentiment extends to the middling D-pad, which lacks texture and feels flat.

Lastly, the Clutch Gladiate comes with a 2.95 m USB-C cable, a requirement for the wired pad. And while I wish it were a touch longer, it’ll be more than enough for most gaming setups and is plenty long for play on PC. The 3.5mm headphone jack is welcome, too, making the Clutch Gladiate an overall great choice if you prefer wired play.

  • Design score: 4 / 5

HyperX Clutch Gladiate: Features

HyperX Clutch Gladiate

(Image credit: Future)
  • Rear paddle buttons are a joy
  • They’re easily remappable, though macros aren’t supported
  • Hair trigger locks are frustratingly inconsistent

Impressively, the HyperX Clutch Gladiate boasts a suite of ‘Pro’ pad adjacent features, allowing you to get more out of the controller. First up, I'm a fan of the two rear buttons. While basic, they have a clicky, tactile feel to them. 

The rear buttons are remappable, so you can assign them as secondary inputs. You do this by first holding the center-rear P1 button for a few seconds, followed by pressing the button you wish to map as secondary. Finally, pressing either of the rear buttons will assign the original button to it. While a great feature, button macros (multiple button combinations) aren’t supported, unfortunately.

One of the Clutch Gladiate’s standout features should be its hair trigger locks. These switches on the back of the pad allow the triggers to stop midway, registering a trigger press in half the travel distance. In theory, this is great for games where rapid trigger presses can give you an advantage, such as shooters like Overwatch 2 or Halo Infinite.

In practice the hair trigger locks are inconsistent on both console and PC. This is the Clutch Gladiate’s biggest flaw. I first tested a controller setup on Final Fantasy 14, customized so that double-tapping a trigger gives access to a secondary hotbar. When this didn’t work, I hopped over to Elden Ring, where triggers activate strong attacks by default. I found that I had to press the triggers hard to initiate strong attacks, thus defeating the point of having trigger locks in the first place.

Sadly, the issue was present on Xbox Series X|S, too. Though I did have overall better luck with first-person shooters, the hair trigger locks worked just fine in both Halo Infinite and PUBG Battlegrounds. If you plan to use the trigger locks, check to see if your game has trigger sensitivity settings, as I found this allowed us to use the feature better.

  • Features score: 3 / 5

Should I buy the HyperX Clutch Gladiate?

HyperX Clutch Gladiate

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

You’re on a strict budget
‘Pro’ adjacent pads don’t get more affordable than the Clutch Gladiate. It’s certainly one to consider if you want to keep costs low.

You’re interested in some light ‘Pro’ features
Remappable rear buttons and hair trigger locks provide a good introduction to higher-end controller features on a pad this affordable.

You want good comfort and feel
Despite the low price, the Clutch Gladiate is a satisfying controller to both hold and play with for long gaming sessions.

Don't buy it if...

You want more ‘Pro’ features
The Clutch Gladiate is still light on ‘Pro’ adjacent touches, and the hair trigger locks are a bit of a letdown here.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.