In the ever-expanding and ever-evolving communities of gamers, the quest for greater control and accuracy is implied. Fortunately, there are a myriad of companies with the means and desire to fulfill that need, whether it be for specific game types or more general platform designs. In truth, the options for hardware designed to provide players with the control they desire is somewhat staggering, with the markets showing no sign slowing in regards to new models and various aspects of control. Of course, it all comes down to what you feel best accommodates your needs and lets you play the way you want to play. In that vein of thought, ASTRO launches a PC/PS4 controller with an entirely new aspect of modular control: the C40 TR. This is our review.
In the Box
- C40 TR Controller
- Travel Case
- 2.4GHz USB Wireless Transmitter
- 2M Micro USB cable
- 2 Standard domed analog caps
- 2 Standard concave analog caps
- 1 Tall domed analog cap
- 1 Tall concave analog cap
- 1 Analog stick module
- 1 D-Pad module
- 1 D-Pad Plus cover
- 1 Faceplate
- C40 TR tool
- C40 TR Configuration Software
- Integrated, remappable rear buttons
- Trigger stops
- Wireless audio
- Swappable/Replaceable analog caps
- Swappable/Replaceable modules
- Replaceable D-Pad
- 12+ Hours battery life
- PC/PS4 compatibility
- Swappable faceplate
At first glimpse, the ASTRO’s C40 TR is sleek, stylish, and sturdy and comes prepackaged in a quality travel case. The materials are of very high quality and assure durability while the form is as smooth and comfortable as the sleekness implies. The default setup is true to the basic PS4 controller layout, aside from the two under buttons, and all of the buttons and controls are sensitive and precise, ensuring a high level of efficiency. On the front of the controller are two switches, one for switching between two profiles that are player customizable and saved to the onboard memory, and one for switching between wireless and wired modes. Underneath, the C40 TR is equipped with two extra buttons that can be mapped as you see fit, two Trigger Stop switches, and a reset button for profile configuration. To the rear (the side facing the player as they play) is the standard headset port.
Now for the fun parts. The C40 TR provides a modular system put in place to allow you to change things up a bit and will hopefully let you find a set up that better accommodates you and your playstyle. Both the analog sticks and the D-pad are modular and can be switched around as you see fit. This means that if you are more familiar with the X-box controller setup, just switch the modules around and remap the buttons to match. All of this requires that you first remove the faceplate, which can be a bit finicky to put back on if you don’t have the modules set in place just right but assures a solid fitting. Further customizations include different style analog stick caps. If you prefer the domed caps, as I do, they are provided with the product, as well as a tall version of both the concave and domed caps. The D-Pad cover (the part that looks like a cross) can also be removed and replaced.
As a gamer, having a couple of extra buttons I can personally assign is usually a plus. However, I found the size and positioning of the under buttons inconvenient in that, during moments of great excitement when I play, I tend to squeeze the controller. The placement of the under buttons is such that any squeezing of the controller ensures that you will press the buttons. This could be because I have larger hands, but it certainly disrupts my strategies and performance when it happens. Fortunately, with the aid of ASTRO C40 Configuration Software, the buttons can be altogether disabled if, like me, you find them inconvenient.
The C40 TR is immediately recognized by both the PS4 and my Windows PC when plugged in via the cord, and from then on works flawlessly via the dongle, with one exception. Oddly enough, the majority of gaming portals seem to want to recognize it as an Xbox One controller, including Steam and Uplay, despite having support for both turned on and the portals actually labeling it as a C40. As I am quite familiar with both, it’s not that big of an issue, but it is an oddity, for sure. As a PlayStation 4 controller, the C40 TR cannot be used to power on the PlayStation 4 system but is otherwise fully functional and performs every bit as well as you might expect from a high-quality controller.
While you can map the under buttons manually by using the reset button on the bottom, the instructions can walk you through the process, a more comprehensive key remap requires plugging it into your PC via the included cord and using the surprisingly simple to use ASTRO C40 Configuration Software. This is where you’ll want to remap your analog stick and D-pad if you switched them around. Or, if you find you don’t like the key setup of a particular game and the game doesn’t offer key remapping, this offers a quick workaround.
While the hefty price tag may be a bit hard to swallow for your average gamer, ASTRO’s C40 TR controller is a solid, versatile, and highly functional controller that I have become partial to using, both on the PlayStation 4 and PC. The high-quality components and build guarantee that it can stand up to the most vigorous of use for some time to come, and the configuration options allow you to customize it specifically to fit your expectations and personal comfort standards. With the quality of the build, ASTRO has ensured that the modular aspects are more than a simple gimmick and have opened a door to a higher standard of customization and performance that I hope to see built upon in the future. The C40 TR is a powerful step in the evolution of gaming controllers.
- Modular customizability
- Very high quality
- Multiple customizable onboard profiles
- Registers on PC as Xbox One controller
- Hefty price
- Size and location of under buttons