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Revolution X wired controller for Xbox review

Hard wired

Revolution X
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

Nacon’s Revolution X is one of the best wired controllers you can buy for Xbox consoles. The sleek, comfy design and well-designed thumbsticks rival those of the official Xbox Series X wireless controller. An overall remarkable package, the Revolution X is only slightly let down by an odd trigger design and some initial obtuseness to custom button mapping.

Pros

  • +

    Excellent customization options

  • +

    Sturdy grip

  • +

    Analog sticks feel fantastic

  • +

    Includes free Dolby Atmos

Cons

  • -

    Triggers feel slightly off

  • -

    No wireless option

  • -

    App required for button mapping

One-minute review

The Revolution X wired controller makes an excellent first impression. When you open the box, you’re greeted by a sturdy carry case that houses the controller. It’s perhaps the perfect introduction to the overall package's high quality.

It’s a somewhat unassuming controller at first glance. All the buttons you’ll find on an Xbox wireless controller are present, but there are some notable differences. The face buttons are larger and slightly flatter, the thumbsticks have a deeper divot, and the triggers and shoulder buttons have a pleasing metallic finish.

Each button feels solid under your finger, it’s different to - though, not necessarily better than - the official Xbox controller. However, they get the job done, and the D-pad also feels great to use thanks to its concave surroundings. The triggers are slightly bulkier than we’d like, though, and have an odd bumpy design that takes some getting used to.

On the back, you’ve four extra buttons for custom inputs, a button to switch between controller profiles and a toggle for enabling or disabling the custom buttons entirely. Beyond that, there aren’t really any fancy bells and whistles that separate the Revolution X from the crowd, but it doesn’t need them. The controller nails the basics better than most others on the market.

Revolution X wired controller

(Image credit: Future)

The Revolution X controller plugs into to your Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One or PC with ease via a wired USB-A connection. In a lovely aesthetic touch, the ring around the right analog stick illuminates, signaling that the controller is connected. You may miss the lack of a wireless option here, but latency is kept to an absolute minimum thanks to that wired connection.

Connectivity options may be limited, but customization certainly isn’t: included in the Revolution X package are a set of extra thumbsticks and shafts of differing sizes. If the default options aren’t to your liking, you can switch to convex thumbsticks and wider shafts with ease.

The customization continues if you install the Revolution X app from the Windows or Xbox store. It lets you assign custom inputs to the buttons on the back of the controller and save up to four separate profiles. Additionally, this app lets you customize trigger deadzones and thumbstick sensitivity.

While it’s a little irksome to have to download a separate app for customizing the pad, the software itself is intuitive and makes it very easy to create a set of profiles suited to your favorite games.

Price and availability

The Revolution X wired controller can be bought for $99 / £99 from the official Nacon store. That’s much cheaper than the official Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, which retails for $179 / £159. 

And given the overall high quality of the Revolution X, it’s absolutely a worthwhile alternative if the price of Microsoft’s official pad leaves your wallet feeling a bit queasy.

Revolution X: design

Revolution X

(Image credit: Future)
  • Instantly impressive look and feel
  • Thumbsticks are fantastic
  • Triggers are a bit unorthodox

The Revolution X has positioned itself as a cheaper alternative to Xbox’s Elite pad, but don’t let that fool you into thinking Nacon has skimped on quality – the Revolution X both looks and feels like a more premium unit.

The controller has a nice heft to it – sturdy, yet lightweight. It’s the perfect shape, too, as your thumbs and fingers naturally rest on the analog sticks, triggers, and back paddle buttons.

The face buttons are a tad larger than those of the official Xbox pad, but they have a nice tactile feel that doesn’t wear on your thumb. The shoulder buttons are similarly pleasing and satisfyingly clicky.

The back paddles are also high quality. Four extra buttons are found on the back of the controller,  situated squarely where your fingers rest, and they can be customized as additional or alternative inputs. The same can’t be said for the awkwardly placed custom layout toggle and profile switching button. You likely won’t hit them by mistake, but that’s because they’re ever so slightly out of reach. But this is less of a huge deal and more something you’ll just need to get accustomed to.

Unfortunately, the D-pad is a downgrade from Xbox’s controllers, because it lacks that semi-omnidirectional design. It’s still solid, though, and works great for side-scrollers and arcade-like titles.

The triggers are definitely the oddest part of the Revolution X, though. They’re not bad but they have a slightly odd, chunkier design compared to the official pad and it takes some getting used to. After a time, it stopped bothering us at all, but it’s something to keep in mind if you like the slim profile of the triggers on the official Xbox Series X|S controller.

The star of the show here, though, has to be the excellent analog sticks. We actually prefer them over the official Xbox pad. By default, the concave thumbsticks are installed, but these, and the stick shafts, can be swapped out for (included) convex thumbsticks or wider shafts.

Overall, the Revolution X presents a big win in terms of design, you’re getting a seriously high quality pad for the price.

  • Design score: 4.5 / 5

Revolution X: features

Revolution X

(Image credit: Future)
  • Custom back paddles for extra inputs
  • Lovely lighting around right analog stick
  • Save up to four button mapping profiles

What sets the Revolution X apart from the official Xbox controller – and grants it parity with the Elite – is undoubtedly the four back paddle buttons. These are turned off by default, but can be activated simply by toggling the back switch from ‘Classic’ to ‘Advanced’ mode.

With Advanced mode enabled, you’re able to make use of these back paddle buttons, as well as the profile button that switches between your presets. We love that it’s treated as a strictly optional feature – it’s there if you need extra inputs, but not necessary to enjoy the controller overall.

Ultimately, we found these extra buttons to be supremely handy. In Halo Infinite, we mapped jump to one of the back paddles, allowing us to keep our thumb on the right stick when leaping while still using the default control scheme in-game.

It means that the Revolution X is a fine pad for fighting games, too. In Guilty Gear Strive on PC, we were able to map certain actions like dashing to these paddles, freeing up space elsewhere on the controller.

By default, the four profiles available are tailored to a different style of game including racing, shooters, arcade games and so on. Each has a unique lighting scheme that illuminates the immediate surroundings of the right analog stick. This is a simple, yet pleasing effect. Plus, it acts as an easy visual indicator of whichever profile you’re using at the moment.

All this and more can be customized in the dedicated Revolution X app, available to download for free from the Windows or Xbox storefronts.

  • Features score: 4.5 / 5

Revolution X: app

Revolution X

(Image credit: Future)
  • Robust with plenty of customization options
  • Obtuse at first, but easy to get used to
  • Required to customize your controller

The Revolution X app is required if you want to fiddle with the ins and outs of the controller. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but you’re really able to fine-tune your experience with the Revolution X with its app.

The app is broken down into distinct menus. There’s sections dedicated to button mapping, stick sensitivity, lighting effects and more. For options like stick sensitivity, you can choose a quick preset for your profile, or customize it to a remarkably granular degree.

We were extremely impressed with the app overall, but there were times when it wasn’t responsive to our inputs, and the menus felt occasionally clunky. But once we’d wrapped our head around these oddities, performing in-depth customizations for the controller quickly became second nature.

  • App score: 4 / 5

Should I buy the Revolution X wired controller?

Revolution X

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

You’re on a budget
The Revolution X is unbelievable value for money. It offers staple features found on other ‘Pro’ controllers at a fraction of the price, and does so with remarkably high quality.

You like deep customization
Revolution X’s app lets you customize your control schemes to a near-absurd degree, making it an excellent choice for competitive players.

Don't buy it if...

You want a wireless controller
The Revolution X has no wireless option, requiring it to be hooked up to your Xbox or PC.

You want even more buttons
The Xbox Elite wireless controller features removable back paddles that can be customized to a greater degree.

Rhys Wood
Rhys Wood

Rhys is Hardware Writer for TechRadar Gaming, and while relatively fresh to the role, he's been writing in a professional capacity for years. A Media, Writing and Production graduate, Rhys has prior experience creating written content for app developers, IT firms, toy sellers and the main TechRadar site. His true passions, though, lie in video games, TV, audio and home entertainment. When Rhys isn't on the clock, you'll usually find him logged into Final Fantasy 14, Halo Infinite or Sea of Thieves.