It was a couple of weeks ago we were invited to take a look at the vast selection of PDP peripherals on the market. Now we’ve unwrapped one of the hardware manufacturer’s Afterglow controllers. Is it more than just a haze of pretty colors? let’s find out.
The PDP Afterglow Deluxe+ Wired Controller is far from PDP’s only entry in the battle for the front room. This Nintendo Switch controller joins The Xbox Afterglow wired controller and comes in at around $25. This isn’t the first item in the Afterglow line either. The range of controllers and headsets has had a mixed response, with the Xbox headsets being styled closer to something that I’d call budget than must buy. It is a nice surprise to see that this isn’t the case with the Nintendo Switch Afterglow Deluxe+ wired.
While the Afterglow isn’t quite PDP’s premier Switch controller, it certainly stands out, just as much as their Sonic The Hedgehog controller. Both on the shelf and out of the box this peripheral screams for attention. Nestled in among the $25 price point, the Afterglow’s unique holographic packaging does everything possible, short of fitting an rgb light array to the display stand, to attract your eye. Similarly, tearing the PDP Afterlglow out of its prefab prison presents a controller that dispenses with the subtle highlights of the Xbox Elite range or the RGB highlights of the Razer Raiju. Instead, this wired Switch controller really nails its colors to the mast, and there’s an entire spectrum of them. The Afterglow is built around a sturdy polycarbonate housing that provides a translucent frame for the lighting and other apparatus inside the device.
Scattered around the PDP Aftergow is a regular set of controls that should adequately accommodate any player getting to grips with this design. The distribution of controls across the surface of the Afterglow Deluxe+ Wired Controller apes the layout of the official Nintendo Switch controller, and this is no bad thing. The inclusion of a four-way D-Pad, something that never made it onto the more expensive Joy-Con controllers, makes the Afterglow Deluxe+ Wired Controller feel especially useful when hooking up the Nintendo Online services and playing some retro classics.
This isn’t just a retro masterclass, however. The Afterglow Deluxe+ brings a number of features that you’d expect from a more expensive controller and a few omissions that are worth noting. Alongside the obvious RGB settings you’ll get a pair of programmable back buttons and pass through stereo audio allowing you to hook up your headset without having the headphones precariously trailing across the room. The controller also comes bundled with a generous detachable USB cable providing a 10-foot range to any gaming session.
Look And Feel
The aesthetic that PDP aims for here isn’t normally my first choice. I tend to underplay my RGB add ons and prefer solid matt colors. If you, like me tend to avoid dragging out the festive lighting year-round then the Afterglow Deluxe+ won’t be for you. However, RGB aficionados will love the opportunity to light up the Switch.
Beyond this, other highlights include the solid construction and decent weight that the controller has to it. This doesn’t feel like a flimsy piece that will game over at the bottom of a drawer. The buttons generally feel good and while buttons feel like they could be a little more responsive, the analog sticks are almost indistinguishable from controllers like the official Xbox One S set. These are, in balance, minor niggles. At this price range, the tactile feedback from the Afterglow Deluxe+ is solid and the construction is sound.
The inclusion of a set of programmable RGB lights is an obvious feature that players will want to play with. This is not a classic PC setup and you cannot expect the level of granular control that a desktop software system gives the PC gamer. Instead, lighting is controlled by a few button clicks and a centrally placed configuration button. Discretely placed at the bottom of the controller faceplate, this button allows owners to change the color and action of the Afterglow. 4 distinct lighting functions appear including a fixed color, a breathing pulse, a rainbow setting, and a cool reaction system that fluctuates based on the analog stick input. You can check this out in the clip below.
The inclusion of two extra trigger buttons adds a ton of functionality to the Afterglow Deluxe+ Wired Controller and gives the controller a useful added extra. These are easily programmed using a combination of control actions, followed by the sequence item that you want to remap. Functionally, these triggers don’t quite equate to fully formed macro keys and this is something that is reflected in the rest of the PDP controller.
While the RGB addition is a nice setting for anybody considering the PDP peripheral will want to use, the RGB options here are limited by the functionality of the Nintendo Switch software. XBOX controllers get a fully functional PDP hub app but Switch users have to settle for a limited set of options all driven by a set of actions that are not intuitive at all.
The programmable trigger buttons feel like a great addition yet I can’t feel like they fall short compared to the options available on other platforms. These problems are not unique to the PDP lineup but still feel like they do not fulfill their full potential. This is further highlighted by the lack of a gyro control, just leaving the Afterglow to feel like it let looks overtake function.
These issues aside, the Afterglow Deluxe+ Wired Controller is a solid mid-range controller. It adds some spiffy RGB decoration to a console that is unlikely to see much RGB love and still manages to do a decent job at a reasonable price range. At this price point, you will find solid construction but make some sacrifices. The buttons are mushier than I’d like and the lack of HD rumble or a gyroscope mean that this controller is a balance of price, performance, and showmanship.
If you want to grab an Afterglow Deluxe+ Wired Controller then you can pick up this wired controller at most major retailers for around $25 or local equivalent. Alternatively, have a look at the full Switch range on the official website.