Pro gaming controllers are serious business. While most of us have gotten away with only using the DualShock 4 bundled with our consoles on launch day, Sony’s default PlayStation 4 gamepad isn’t to everyone’s tastes or demands. As devices that can get hundreds of hours of potential use, it’s no wonder that competitive gamers seek out more robust, advanced alternatives.
Not long ago Sony opened the door to officially licensed controllers which has lead to a range of premium pads from familiar companies including SCUF, Astro, Razer, and Nacon. Each one offers their own twist on how gaming controllers should function, obsessing over design and innovative feature sets.
When we reviewed Nacon’s original Revolution Pro Controller, we were mostly positive, but there were some key drawbacks that dampened our overall impressions. Being wired-only and difficult to customise, the way the Revolution was shaped also made it hard to get at the programmable rear buttons. At least for someone with particularly large hands.
Straight out of the box, Nacon’s latest offering – the Revolution Unlimited – sports a number of welcome improvements over the original model. For a start, it looks more in line with other high-end pro controllers on the market. Sporting a matte, slightly rubbery, base material, the Revolution Unlimited has a slick yet simplistic black and grey design with metallic sticks and LED lighting. All-round it just looks and feels more like a quality peripheral.
Having wireless functionality is also a step in the right direction. Those who take their competitive gaming ultra seriously will always opt for wired play and reduced input delay, though as we move the slider towards slightly more casual gamers, that wireless mode is a must. The only downside to this feature is that you’ll need to use up one of your PS4’s USB slots for its accompanying dongle, as it doesn’t tap into the console’s native Bluetooth connectivity.
Not much has changed in terms of overall form factor. This is a hefty pad and one that anchors itself nicely into your grip much like the Xbox One controller. There are other similarities there too, including the asymmetrical stick layout and the large analogue triggers that sit nicely under your index fingers. The actual face buttons are also slightly bigger and bunched closer together than on the DualShock 4, though the difference is honestly barely noticeable. You shouldn’t worry about accidentally hitting multiple buttons with a single press. Most of the other standardised PlayStation 4 functionalities are here, including the share and home buttons, touchpad, and gyro controls.
As a pro gaming controller it’s loaded with some extras that appear on the rear side. Flip the Unlimited over and you’ll spot the four programmable buttons. This time they’re positioned a little lower down than on the original Revolution, tucked slightly beneath the grips. While they’re less conspicuous, I still had a hard time juggling these inputs with the more familiar face buttons. In order to reach them, I’d need to reposition my middle and ring fingers in a way which never felt like a natural way to hold the gamepad.
The reverse side also has handy buttons to adjust your headset with mute and volume controls. Above these are the inputs needed to switch the Unlimited between wired and wireless modes, as well as customising the programmable buttons and alternating between the custom profiles your controller can store. Assigning buttons is quick and easy with no need for a PC, though you can hook it up via USB and use Nacon’s updated software to gain access to more options. This gives you access to things like the complete button mapping, response curves, stick sensitivity, dead zone, and more.
There are also options to modify the controller itself. The two textured grips slide off to reveal two hidden compartments you can load with miniature weights that come in three sizes. Similarly, you can easily remove the sticks (which come in = convex and concave) to manually adjust their width between four different sizes. Exactly how much of a difference this makes is something you’ll only learn through experimentation though it nice to have the option to physically adjust your gamepad on the fly.
The Nacon Revolution Unlimited is marked improvement on past models in just about every aspect, from its appearance and design down to its easy customisability. It goes far beyond the configuration possibilities offered by the pricier Razer Raiju Ultimate, but one of the few things Nacon hasn’t managed to nail is the shape and placement of its extra buttons. It takes time to get familiar with them and they’re not as intuitive as SCUF’s patented paddle controls.
With an RRP of £149.99, this latest model doesn’t offer a price advantage over SCUF, but it’s fair to say that if you’ve been impressed with Nacon’s Revolution range in past, this upgrade is well worth pulling the trigger on.