Third party controller knock-offs; you either love them or you hate them. They leave you with an empty feeling that only a first-party controller can fill. That leaves the third-party companies with quite a challenge to overcome. Usually a third-party controller is more feature-full than the regular first-party controller, trying to lure the potential customer with the massive amount of buttons, switches and what not. Today, we review the NYKO AIRFLO Xbox Controller. We've all experienced it, an intense gaming tournament where the same controller is passed off from player to player. The controller however, is laced with sweat; your fingers fumble over the control sticks and buttons but you can not maintain the precision and accuracy that you once had with a non-sweaty controller.
Packaging (Front)|| ||
NYKO presents us with a cure, an intake fan on the back of the controller that will have the air flow through two side vents on the hand-grips, keeping your hands cool and sweat-free. From the back of the AIRFLO's box:
- Stops sweaty hands during play
- Dual-speed fan control
- Variable vibration function
- Rubberized grips with air vents
- 10-foot cable
The whole concept of the controller works very nicely. The fan is not always-on and there are two different speeds you can set the fan to while it's on. Both of the switches are controlled by individual buttons: the ON/OFF button and the SLOW/FAST button. With the fan off, there is no real point to using this controller over any other. It's heavier and I find all the buttons and control sticks all cramped together. On the slow setting, the fan is practically silent and after a few rounds of Halo, you notice that your hands are actually cool and *gasp* sweat-free. If you're an Eskimo and you sweat in 60°F weather and need to set the fan to the FAST setting, be prepared to raise the volume on your TV/Entertainment System, as the fan emits an extremely irritable screeching noise.
Controller (Front)|| ||
The controller is slightly smaller than the Microsoft Xbox controller, but has the same layout, including the black and white buttons on the hard-to-reach top right arch of the controller. The shoulder buttons seem closer together, which I found irritating, and the A, B, X and Y buttons seemed to be a bit sticky. The controller didn't really fit my hand as the regular Microsoft controllers (both regular and S) do. The one thing that I was particularly fond of about the controller: the 10-foot cable. Maybe Microsoft should take a hint? Due to boredom and curiosity (we all know how well those two go together), I decided to weigh the controllers and then measure the length between the two shoulder buttons on each of the controllers. Results shown below.
Controller (Front)|| ||
For the $12.99 I paid at Fry's, the controller was a steal. At its MSRP of $24.99, I'd only have to recommend this controller to people with cexceptionally sweaty hands. Sacrificing the jumbled buttons and screeching fan for brief discomfort caused by sweat is well worth it for me. You're going to have to be your own judge when it comes to the purchase of the NYKO AIRFLO. I would give the product another look if NYKO came out with a similar product with a quieter fan and a controller that models the Microsoft Controller-S.