A few months back I took a look at the NACON Revolution Unlimited Pro controller, a customisable elite controller for the PS4 and PC which allowed you to remap on the fly, invert your axis’ on a hardware level, change the weight, and swap out your sticks for various designs. Based on the features and price point, that controller was for the serious and pro gamers who wanted complete control, but what if you want a similar controller with the same excellent build quality but for less money? Let me introduce you to the officially licensed NACON Asymmetric Wireless Controller…
The first thing which should stand out, for all you avid PS4 gamers out there, is the layout of the NACON Asymmetric Wireless Controller itself. Just like its big brother, and as indicated within the name of the unit, the layout is asymmetric, just like the Xbox One and Switch controllers. Now, the choice of whichever design you prefer will always come down to personal preference, but I have to admit that this has been my main controller over the last few weeks thanks to its incredibly comfy design and weight.
So, let’s start with the good news, these are the included features and specs:
• Two very intense, but quiet, rumble motors
• Playing time of up to seven hours on a single charge (via the same Micro-USB as the DS4 controllers – NOT USB-C this time)
• Wirelessly works up to seven meters away
• Working Touchpad
• 3.5mm Headphone/mic port
• Battery level light
• Microswitch (clicky) L1/R1 buttons
Regarding the design of the controller, if you prefer the layout of the other consoles’ as you feel comfier having your left thumb manoeuvre a shorter distance to operate the stick (maybe you have small hands), then this design would be perfect. For me, this is like the perfect combination of a DS4 and Xbox One controller (if they had a baby) as instead of opting for the much more bulkier and box-like design, as we saw with the Unlimited Pro, the NACON Asymmetric Wireless Controller instead opts to stick to the PlayStation design of a small, thin device which PS4 gamers will be more accustom to.
In terms of the quality – NACON know what they’re doing when they build controllers. Whereas the DS4 is made of shiny plastic which eventually begins to creak and can get a little slippy if you’re deep into a game and your palms become sweaty, the NACON Asymmetric Wireless Controller has a much more textured feel to it. Unlike the Unlimited Pro, with its rubber-like materials which gives you much more grip, this controller is plastic but it feels much more premium than the standard DS4. The triggers are nice and rounded and the entire unit is free from any sharp edges or quality issues.
This brings me to something which will either sway to you towards or against the controller – the weight. I don’t have scales to hand but it feels like the controller is a bit heavier than the standard DS4. It’s not as heavy as my dual 16g weighted Unlimited Pro, but it’s certainly heavier than the Gioteck VX4. However, due to its small DS4-like design, the weight felt natural and perfect for long gaming sessions, it also balanced out just right when I was using the controller one-handed as I read through a few Visual Novels which didn’t require more input than a single tap of the Cross button.
One of the negatives for this device, which was the same as the Unlimited Pro, is you have to use a USB dongle in order to use it with your PS4 and PC wirelessly. As such, it will take up a free slot on the front of your device. I’ve used this and my Unlimited Pro at the same time with no connection or interference issues – they both use a similar USB dongle which can be bent so that the antenna doesn’t interfere with the others.
One of my biggest disappointments with this controller was its lack of dynamic lights and the brightness of the controller light. Again, let’s go back to the Unlimited Pro (I’m sorry, it’s the best comparison I can make). That controller has a small light on the front of the device, an LED which dynamically changes colour as the lightbar would on a DS4 controller. So, it changes based on what player you are and if the game has alternating colours for health or another mechanic, even the dongles light changes colour to match the controller light. The NACON Asymmetric Wireless Controller‘s light is white – just white.
Regardless of which player you are (I signed in as numerous players with all my controllers, it’s always as white as heaven – it’s also as bright as heaven too. Seriously, the light on the front of the new controller is so bright, when I put my thumb over it whilst it was turned on, my thumb lit up bright red, as if it was see-through. There’s no option to dim this light, you can’t turn it off, there’s no software like the Unlimited Pro for you to alter the colour, and it doesn’t respond to the standard DS4 brightness settings. It’s a distraction and way too bright.
Now, before anyone says the light is only white to save money or because it’s a cheaper controller – I don’t believe that. There’s a button on the back of the controller which makes the light glow a different colour to indicate the battery life. It gradually changes from Red to Green (with a few shades of orange in the middle) to indicate the battery. So, either there are various LED bulbs in there, or it has the ability to change to all colours, but it’s locking it to white only in its current form. It also glows at various brightnesses when charging – so the light ‘might’ be dimmable in a firmware update?
Whilst we’re on the topic of ‘what this controller doesn’t do’ – let’s list the things the NACON Asymmetric Wireless Controller physically can’t do (the list is similar to the Unlimited Pro):
• There are no motion controls in the controller
• No lightbar, so VR wouldn’t work with this controller
• Can’t turn on the PS4 (as it requires the dongle)
• Can’t be used with Remote Play on PC (as it doesn’t detect it as a DS4)
• No controller Speaker
• Can’t be used as a wired controller
So, just like the Unlimited Pro controller, this is aimed at serious hardcore gamers who aren’t going to be using any motion controls, VR, games which use the built-in speaker to immerse you, or wanting to use it for Remote Play. Also, as this controller can’t be used via a standard cable, you must ensure you don’t lose the USB dongle.
I imagine a lot of people won’t really care about any of the above functions, especially those who don’t actually own a PSVR headset or those who only use their Move Controllers within the device. However, it’s something you have to take into consideration when deciding if you want an original DS4 or a more robust and asymmetric layout controller.
As I said, I’ve been using this controller a lot over the last few weeks. Despite it missing a few features such as motion controls, the speaker, the light and a wired mode, none of the games I’ve been playing has required them. If you’ve not used a NACON controller before, the build quality is so much better than the original DS4 design, the L2 and R2 triggers have more resistance on them and are angled so your fingers naturally rest on them, and the face buttons themselves are a few millimetres bigger.
As someone with big hands, this controller feels a bit comfier to hold than the original controllers.
However, the question on everyone’s lips is, what’s the D-Pad like? Well, it’s about the same as the DualShock 4 D-pad. It works and it’s easy to pull off combos in your favourite fighting game, but it’s a little spongy to the touch and is probably the lowest quality component on the whole controller.
Despite its lack of features and very bright light (which refuses to light as anything but white for me), I firmly believe this is a much better controller than the original DS4 when playing games which don’t require any of the above features. This week I’ve been testing out three new controllers, this is the one which I felt was most comfy and well-balanced in terms of its design, texture and weight.
Personally, I think I’ll go back to alternating between my Unlimited Pro and DS4 thanks to the extra features they have. However, for those who don’t want to pay the premium for a controller with extra buttons and customisable sticks, and don’t require the features above, the NACON Asymmetric Wireless Controller is a perfect ‘Player two’ controller or DS4 replacement.
NACON Asymmetric Wireless Controller£44.99
- - Very high quality build
- - Great feeling microswitch L1/R1 buttons
- - Has a battery life indicator
- - Heavier and more robust than the DS4
- - The asymmetric design feels very natural
- - Omitted features such as light bar, speaker, and motion controls
- - Can't be used with Remote Play on the PC or PSVR
- - Must be used with the supplied USB Dongle on PC or PS4
- - Very bright white light which can't be dimmed or turned off