Thrustmaster GP XID Controller for PC Gaming Review
This product was reviewed on the PC
I’m a player who is far more comfortable with a keyboard and mouse setup than an Xbox 360 controller, despite having grown up with both consoles and computers in my household. I was initially hesitant to try the Thrustmaster GP XID, a USB Xbox 360 controller that plugs into your PC. In my mind, the keyboard and mouse setup would be king, and I couldn’t help but feel that a 360 controller would be like attaching gills to an elephant. However, the Thrustmaster GP XID brings a couple of benefits to the table that might not be apparently obvious, and I found myself impressed with some of the features this controller boasts and the dimension it brought to my PC gaming.
The Thrustmaster GP XID takes the familiar 360 controller and tweaks the basic design a little. I find the 360 controller to be one of the best console controllers ever due to its perfect size, ease of use, and comfortable positioning of joysticks, only directly competing with the Nintendo GameCube controller, so this is a foundation I’m quite comfortable and familiar with. The 360 controller fits comfortably in my (rather large) hands, and the GP XID is just a touch smaller and more compact. The D-Pad has been tightened noticeably and is now a proper, traditional D-Pad instead of Microsoft’s weaker, clumsier compromise. However, the sticks require a good deal of breaking in. As a player with a minor disability which leaves me with low muscle tone, I was disappointed that the sticks were tense and difficult. Even able-bodied players will find the resistance of the joysticks to be a hassle. Furthermore, some players may also enjoy the heavier weight of the top buttons and the slight delay of the trigger and bumper buttons. With Microsoft’s 360 controller, I would often tap these buttons in the flurry of combat so lightly that they wouldn’t register as connecting. The GP XID’s top four buttons felt both precise and effective.
The GP XID skimps on the aesthetics to some degree; as opposed to the sleek design of the Microsoft controller, this competitor’s colour scheme is, frankly, unappealing. Whether this is a priority or not depends on the player and isn’t an inherent flaw, but the bright white controller, stark neon orange activation light, and general design is not an attractive look. The face buttons (Y, X, B, A) hold the corresponding colours against a white backing, which means the button’s face is white with a letter against it – so if the game you are playing communicates information via the colours of the face buttons and not the letters, it’s harder to get that information from your controller at a glance. However, if the game is communicating solely through the face letters, this is easy to read and straightforward. Your mileage may vary. Looks aside, the texture of the controller is smooth and comfortable. While I have to pause once in a while with the 360 controller to adjust my hands or wipe the sweat that gathers in the crook of my thumb away, the Thrustmaster GP XID avoids such a conundrum altogether.
Even the most ardent of technophobes will find the Thrustmaster GP XID straightforward to set up. The process is simple: Merely plug the USB controller into your computer, wait for the driver to download, and then play. I was prepared for the hassle of long wait times, fiddling with the device, and the subsequent headache, but the GP XID fulfills the promise plastered on their promotional material; it is truly a plug and play device.
The Thrustmaster GP XID doesn’t give an additional edge, nor does it reinvent the wheel. Instead, it takes a tried and true product in the Xbox 360 controller, makes a few small quality-of-life tweaks, and then makes it easy and comfortable to use. If you’re the sort of player who prefers the comfort and ease of a 360 controller over the traditional keyboard and mouse setup on a PC, the GP XID is a choice that will answer your needs reliably.
The Thrustmaster GP XID earns a 4.50/5.00
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