It’s been a while now since Sony opened the door to officially licensed PlayStation 4 controllers from third parties. In that time we’ve seen a handful of mainstay brands including SCUF, Astro, Razer, and Nacon diving in with their take on gamepads, both on the cheaper, more cheerful end of the spectrum and the premium ‘pro’ gamer market. Nacon have now dropped their latest pad, the Revolution Pro Controller 3, and as you can probably tell from the name, it’s the latter end of the scale that it’s targeting.
Since Nacon’s Pro PS4 range was first introduced back in 2017, the core design of these officially licensed gamepads has gradually evolved. This new model sits somewhere between its numbered predecessor and last year’s highly customisable Revolution Pro Unlimited, dropping a number of features in order to hit an £89.99/€99.99 price point.
While it’s ready to use straight out of the box, those wanting to make use of its advanced features will want to hop on their PC and download the Nacon software suite to adjust stick dead zones, trigger sensitivity, button mapping and other specifics.
In terms of form factor, it certainly leans closer to the Pro Unlimited than its predecessors, its revised D-pad, triggers, and textured grips, giving it much more of a premium feel. The Revolution’s shape has definitely gotten better over time. This revised model is comfortably cradled in-hand with each of the button and trigger placements easy to access, causing minimal strain on those precious thumbs of yours. Then there are the sticks, both concave and positioned asymmetrically like an Xbox controller instead of a DualShock 4. The stick layout will delight or disgust prospective punters, depending on their personal preference and muscle memory, but the Pro 3 is a delight to play with.
There’s a decent heft to this controller too, Nacon once again allowing you to insert a pair of small weights (2x10g, 2x14g, and 2x16g) to add some extra meat to the bone. This offers no advantage in terms of performance, though some gamers prefer a heavier pad.
One function competitive gamers will want to focus on is the pad’s programmable shortcut buttons. Just about every controller rocking a premium price tag offers this feature since SCUF first popularised it with their patented paddles. Even Sony have taken a crack at it with their own DualShock 4 “Back Button Attachment” – you can read more about that here.
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Sadly, the way Nacon integrates these buttons has always been somewhat lacking. There are four of them nestled where the top joints of your middle and ring fingers should be on the rear side of the controller. They can be easily programmed to create convenient shortcuts, but the way they’re positioned on the Pro 3 makes them feel awkward to use. It may be a personal case of having large hands, though I found myself having to readjust my grip just to get at these buttons, accidentally pressing them on occasion when trying to hold the controller naturally.
The only other drawback here is the lack of a wireless connection. While serious competitive gamers will contend that wired is the only way to go in order to avoid latency issues, having the option to play unplugged would be a bonus. At least Nacon include a 3 meter cable, so you can still sit a fair distance from your TV.