When it comes to gaming controllers, being the best in class just isn’t good enough if you’re left languishing without a way to play. Easy SMX look likely to have that worry covered with the ESM-9110, a flexible 2.4Ghz wireless controller designed to give gamers control across PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, PC, Android, and iOS devices at a very reasonable COST. With a pedigree that has already surprised us, we unboxed the ESM-9110 to see if this jack of all trades has what it takes to take on the rest of the market.
• Dimensions: 16.2*11.4*7.2 cm(6.38*4.49*2.83 in)
• Weight: 340 g(11.99 oz)
• Operation range: 10m
• Li-polymer battery: 600mA
• Charging time: 2.5 hours
• Playing time: 0ver 8 hours
• 2.4G Wireless connection
• USB-C Charging
Out The Box
Coming in a box that already affirms this controller’s diminutive stature, the ESM-9110 comes in two different variants. The all black and color styles each present their own aesthetic. Whether it’s a blistering paintjob or a mat black finish there’s an option for most of us. Our vibrant version slipped out it’s cardboard box to reveal the aforementioned controller, a USB-C cable, a paper manual, and a wireless USB dongle. There’s not much else in the way of packaging or paraphernalia bundled with the ESM-9110, and it’s something of a refreshing relief to get right into our review without having to work through a host of other add ins.
All The Buttons
The controller initially seems similar to plenty of other third party devices. Featuring two offset analog joysticks, a set of shoulder triggers, a D-Pad, and four action buttons up top, the ESM-9110 ticks all the boxes for a fully featured controller. However, unlike other alternatives at this price point, it includes an armory of extras. Four back panel triggers decorate the rear, while a turbo feature for rapid fire action is front and center.
Look And Feel
If you chose to give the ESM-9110 space on your desk, then it certainly will catch the eye. The front face comes in a gloss finish, with a bold full color cut out draped across either side. This collision of angular and yet organic design seems to be something of a theme for the ESM-9110, mixing round edges with sharp corners, as well as a host of different material techniques. Flipping things over to take a look at the underside reveals a matt black plastic shell, with a pair of textured handles for easy grip action.
It is accurate to describe this ESM-9110 is a visual juxtaposition. The round outer edges of the controller and organic decoration seem to clash against the more aggressive lines that make up the ESM-9110, and we haven’t even mentioned the in built lighting effects. The mix of finishes across a contiguous molded plastic cover also mean the ESM-9110 seems like a combination of competing ideas.
Despite my reservations about the design choice, this still performs when the lights are turned down low. The overall weight of 240g gives it a heft that feels present in hand. The analog sticks come with a rubberized coating, giving them plenty of extra control, while the contiguous gloss topping is made up for by an easy to spot set of internal LEDS, ensuring the XYAB triggers are easy to locate at a glance. When it’s finally performing, the ESM-9110 certainly does not feel like it belongs in a lower weight division. The baked in buttons feel firm and responsive, with a satisfying click to them when pressed. The shoulder buttons are a also great touch, flaring out at the bottom for those twitchier trigger fingers to activate in the heat of combat, while the textured underside grips are a useful addition. This is not the most expensive brand available by far, and yet there are no mushy feeling keypads or slack analog sticks here. Everything about the this controller feels present with plenty of well balanced feedback.
On screen responses, similarly, feel engaging with little in the way of obvious delay when skating through Radlandia and taking on the hectic pace of OlliOlli World. Yes, there are more premium controllers out there and I’m unlikely to find anything better than the PlayStation DualSense, but the ESM-9110 is a great option at less than half the price. Owners will also find a turbo mode, programmable back buttons, a built-in battery, USB-C charging, and a series of LED lighting modes. Overall, the feature set and in game performance hold up well. The feel of the buttons is surprisingly premium and response times feel acceptable in even my twitchiest of games. The addition of extra buttons is a nice bonus, and the USB-C charging port means that even after a solid 6.5 hours of combat, a short break is all this really needs.
While this EasySMX controller does the basics well, it has some rough edges that need ironed out. While the industry standard Xbox One controller mixes cabled and wireless options, the ESM-9110 is tethered to the dongle on PC. While wireless on PC was acceptable, you will not want to go wandering into another room with this. As for on-the-go options, cabling up is the only way to play on Android or most other platforms. Bluetooth is not included. You’ll also need to fish out your own cables if USB A to C isn’t an option. Haptic feedback also feels flat. While it’s great to have, precise Joycon inspired motors, the ESM-9110 doesn’t elevate experience with its own motors.
Add in a lack of audio pass through and absolutely no software support and you’ll find a mixed proposition. The EasySMX ESM-9110 is an excellent value buy. It does the basics well, but despite the raft of extra features still misses on some more nuanced points. Thankfully, once you’re busy in game, most of these issues fall away. The EasySMX ESM-9110 is great buy for that casual player 2 that deserves more than the bargain bin can give and it’s available on the EasySMX website for £24.00 or local equivalent now.