As a long-time fan of the Xbox controller in all of its iterations (oh yes I loved the Duke too), I’ve been hard-pressed to find any other controller that has swayed me from team Xbox. I’ve seen third-party controllers try to mimic the look, feel and feedback of the good old Xbox controller but none have really made me consider shifting my opinion. So when Nacon asked us to take a look at their new RIG Pro Compact controller designed for the Xbox series X/S, Xbox One and Windows 10, I was intrigued to see if they could sway me.
Could it Replace My Xbox Controller?
After a couple of weeks of use and testing, it’s time to find out if the Pro Compact Controller holds up to my standards on what a controller should be. So grab that coffee, kick back and check out our review of the RIG Nacon Pro Compact Controller for Xbox.
- Price: $49.90USD (Official Website)
- Connection: Built In USB Cable (9.8FT/3M)
- Compatibility: Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Windows 10
- Software: Dedicated Pro Compact App (available on Microsoft Store)
- Headset Jack: 3.5mm Jack
- Joystick Position: Asymmetric
- Profiles: 1 x Custom Mode, 1 x Classic Mode
- Programmable: Yes (Via App)
Not Your Grandpa’s Controller
The RIG Nacon Pro Compact Wired Controller is an interesting gaming peripheral. Designed to be 15% smaller than the regular Xbox controller, it actually boasts being more accessible to a wider range of hand sizes. As someone with fairly large hands, I was a bit skeptical as to how a smaller controller would fit in my hands. I was impressed, to say the least, had how comfortable it was to use.
The design itself is clean and minimal with small details that give it a quality feel. The bevelled hand grips, for instance, mimic the original Xbox controller but take it to step further and runs through the whole backside plate. Each analog stick is accented by a gold ringlet (white model only) with the Nacon branding bevelled out at the top center of the controller.
Despite being 15% smaller the analog sticks, D-Pad, bumpers, triggers and A, B, X and Y buttons are all positioned almost identically to the Xbox controller. So despite a smaller physical profile, the Pro Compact has the same feel in regards to button placement and reach.
The included USB A cable is physically attached to the controller and cannot be removed. The cable itself is a sturdy and thick braided cable that feels durable. I appreciated the detachable end that allows you to unplug the controller without disconnecting the USB from your system.
The USB end actually has about a 12inch lead on it which means that when not in use you can ‘unplug’ the controller and put it away without having to reach behind your computer every time you want to reconnect it. It’s both a nod to the original Xbox controllers and a functional, quality of life design feature.
Holding it in your hands is a bit of an adjustment at first if you exclusively use Xbox controllers. It actually feels like holding a PS4 controller, albeit a bit nicer. The bevelled handgrips and additional grip bumps make it feel much more secure in your hand. Not having onboard batteries also means that it’s lighter to hold for extended periods of time. Overall it’s quite comfortable to use.
One of the best things about the Compact Pro is that it’s not just a standard third-party controller. In fact, I’m quite impressed with just how many features this controller has packed into it. For starters, Nacon has created a dedicated Pro Compact app that gives complete freedom for button customization; and I do mean complete freedom. Everything from button mapping to analog stick adjustments are tweakable allowing you to fine-tune the controller to your playstyle.
The software is available on both the Xbox and PC via the Microsoft store allowing for complete customization on both platforms. Interestingly, you can actually save one custom profile along with what Nacon calls the ‘classic’ profile. They can be activated on the fly via a toggle switch on the backplate of the controller. The classic is essentially the out of box experience (more on that later).
My experience with the customization software was positive. Everything worked as expected. I was quite impressed with just how much I could customize. More impressive still is that most pro-level controllers with these types of features are well over $100.00 while the Pro Compact comes in at just under $50.00 USD. to have that much customization at a fraction of the price is greatly appreciated.
The features don’t end there, however. The Pro Compact also comes equipped with the Dolby Atmos experience. For those not in the know, the Atmos experience essentially turns any pair of 3.5mm headphones into a 3D audio experience. Even if the headphones themselves don’t support surround sound, Atmos can still simulate a 3D sound experience.
I tested the tech by plugging in a pair of stereo Cougar headphones and then the RIG 500 Pro HX headphones designed for the Atmos experience (check out our review on the 500 Pro HX for more info on the headphones and Atmos). Arguably the RIG’s did sound better as they could push some of the 3D experience further, but the stereo headphones also produced a solid quality 3D audio experience. This alone makes the Pro Compact a great option for gamers that don’t have a surround setup.
The one catch though is that in order to use the Dolby Atmos experience you’ll need to purchase it. Thankfully the RIG Pro Compact comes with an activation code for Atmos and links it to your Microsoft account. This is great when using the controller on your primary Xbox or PC, but to get the experience anywhere else you’ll need to log into your account to get up and running.
How’s It Feel Though?
The Pro Compact looks great and is packed full of pro-level features. All that is null though if the controller itself doesn’t respond as you would expect it to. Thankfully Nacon has really done a great job at presenting an Xbox controller experience. The ‘classic’ or out-of-box profile responds exactly as I would expect an Xbox controller to respond. Button responses, trigger responses and, most importantly, analog stick responses all feel tight and quick.
I’ve actually not gone back to my Xbox controller since picking up the Nacon controller. After the initial adjustment, I’ve found the form factor and weight to be more comfortable overall. I do miss the wireless experience as we all know how crazy cable management has become in recent years. That, however, is balanced out by not needing to deal with batteries, extra weight and connection issues that can occur with a wireless setup.
The RIG Nacon Pro Compact Wired Controller is an excellent Xbox or PC controller. The only considerations that I would recommend you process before purchasing it would be the need for a wireless setup and if you are willing to make a slight adjustment to the form factor. I found these minor considerations outweighed by gaining access to full customization of controls and the 3D audio experience for stereo headphones. Priced at $49.90 USD the Pro Compact is an excellent addition to your controller lineup.