Test – Nacon Revolution X – A good alternative to other controllers on the market?

Announced during the past summer, the Revolution X of the French from Nacon is finally released on Wednesday, October 13. The French hardware specialist finally presents its controller intended for demanding Xbox and PC players, even pros. In any case, this is the positioning that Nacon has maintained with its controllers for years and it seems that the recipe still works as much. With such a bias in terms of design, unique features, Dolby Atmos, all offered at a price of 109.99 €, the Nacon Revolution X has everything to position itself as an interesting alternative to the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller in particular. But what is it really? This is what we will analyze in this test.

A unique proposition on the market for controllers intended for “pros”

We were therefore able to attend the presentation of the Nacon Revolution X in advance on October 7th. The Nacon team was there to present the famous controller to us, provide guidance and answer our questions. In particular, we were able to meet Yannick Allaert, director of Nacon Accessories, Romain André who is Accessories project manager and designer of the Revolution X, as well as Alimamy Traoré, product manager.

For Nacon, the release of this Revolution X is the most important of 2021 in terms of financial and human investments, but also in terms of development since the controller is entirely designed by the French company. This Revolution X is the first “high-end” controller offered by Nacon for Xbox players, the Pro Compact X released on March 15 being less complete and less premium, intended for another target.

Like its little sister, the Revolution X is wired and has a braided USB-C cable 3 meters long, a bias assumed by Nacon which seeks performance optimization by all means with a 4ms latency, one of the lowest on the market. The device itself is almost entirely made of plastic.

This gives it a more “toy” side that other controllers do not have, but it also allows to optimize its weight and its relatively reduced price for a controller of this range. The screws are subtly hidden.

In terms of packaging, the premium side is highlighted with a good quality cover in which you can store the controller, its cable, but also all the small accessories grouped in a plastic box. A chamois is even included in the set for those who wish to dust their controller.

Nacon DNA subtly implemented

The French brand has sought to keep the design that is unique to them and that is recognizable on the majority of its pads, whether intended for the Xbox or the PlayStation. With the official Xbox license (and the “Designed for Xbox” label), Nacon has managed to create a sober controller with a strong identity without being too marked, but we’ll let you judge this subjective point. Above all, this design has a specific role to play in the player’s experience. It will appeal to regulars of Nacon controllers or to the curious wishing to discover other sensations in the game.

This is also a point on which the brand has widely supported: this controller is positioned as an alternative to other elite pads on the market, having all the qualities of a high-end controller reconciled with a different design.

The ergonomics bias

A real work of ergonomics and handling has been done, we find a plastic grip coating quite pleasant, but certainly not revolutionary for those used to rubber grip. In terms of feel, it looks like what we find on the Xbox Series X and Series S controllers, with the only difference that it covers a good half of each handle.

At the level of the joysticks, there are four heads, two concaves (classic) and two convex (convex) interchangeable according to the preferences of the player. The second feature is the presence of several shafts, small stops that are installed under the stick in order to directly influence its stroke and angle.

In short, some games like Street Fighter will require a certain reactivity of movement and too great an amplitude of the stick will be detrimental. These 2 pairs of shafts make it possible to reduce the inclination of the stick from 45 to 30 degrees. These small features are interesting and we see that Nacon targets a demanding audience by highlighting these features.

In their very use, the joysticks are very light and responsive, more than on other controllers. There is no way to adjust their sensitivity with a small wrench like what is found on the Xbox Elite Series 2 and it can be confusing. Again, this will depend on the player’s preferences and habits taken with this pad.

In addition to the joysticks and shafts, the other very interesting feature is the presence of three pairs of interchangeable weights allowing the joystick to be ballasted in the end of its handles via two small discreet compartments. Even if the difference may seem tiny at first with these weights (10, 14 and 16 grams), we finally feel a difference in play.

This possibility will surely be of interest to players accustomed to Xbox controllers much heavier than this Revolution X and this is what I did quite quickly as a regular user of the Xbox Elite Series 2, which is a heavy tank. assault in comparison. Indeed, the Nacon controller surprises with its lightness and this may appeal to some players as well as be prohibitive for others, the weights adding only a little mass to each handle.

Buttons and more buttons

It’s hard to miss the work done on the paddles, triggers and buttons when you think of high-end throttles these days. They are part of the pro and e-sport DNA put forward by brands in their marketing and design. This Revolution X is no exception and has real assets

Indeed, four buttons replacing the classic paddles have been implemented by Nacon on this pad, the latter being located at strategic locations on the handles.

The first two come to slip naturally under our middle fingers, which will be of great interest to players who use the four triggers (LB, RB, LT, RT) with their indexes. In fact, the ergonomics of classic triggers have also been revised to facilitate their simultaneous use with the indexes, leaving the middle fingers on the pallets. The LB and RB buttons form a continuous curve with LT and RT, while on classic Xbox controllers, LB and RB overhang the lower two keys making the transition slower. This characteristic proposed by Nacon is logical and pleasant in situation.

The other two buttons will slip under your ring and your little fingers when your hands close on the handles of this Revolution X. Add to this that Nacon has worked on the pressure necessary to exert to use these buttons so that their use is natural and that one does not press on it inadvertently. An attention that will appeal to players with large hands or those who tend to squeeze their controller hard under pressure.

Keys A, B, Y, X receive the classic treatment of Nacon controllers: flat and larger keys that have already proven their worth on previous models, efficient and less noisy than on the Pro Compact. The directional cross is well made, still as silent as on the Pro Compact, but we still notice the absence of diagonals, which are appreciated in fighting games in particular. Finally, the Menu, View, Capture keys are always sufficiently spaced and strategically placed so that the player does not unintentionally press them.

Nice features but nothing revolutionary

This Nacon Revolution X benefits from interesting technologies in its design, in particular with the presence of four haptic motors including two in the triggers allowing to have a better feeling of in-game vibrations and a better durability of the motors themselves.

Think again, the haptic engines we’re talking about here aren’t the same that PlayStation 5 controllers enjoy, responding intuitively to elements of gameplay. In situation, the haptic engines of this Revolution X are not revolutionary (no pun intended).

Nacon presented us with its patented technology: the Carré de Valeur. To make it short, this technology makes it possible to obtain a better transmission of the movements carried out with the in-game stick and makes the joysticks more precise. A tiny difference that seasoned players and other try-harder will appreciate.

Nacon’s wired controller also benefits from a 4ms latency, one of the best for an Xbox pad, and an M4 MCU chip which is one of the most powerful available on a controller. A dedicated audio chip is also present, making it possible to reduce the noise emitted by the controller and its components.

Once again, these elements are not uninteresting, but in play, their contributions are hardly noticeable.

Nacon software: homemade and still complete

We told you about it when the Pro Compact was released last March, the development team at Nacon offers a customization application accessible directly on the Microsoft Store. The latter returns to the front of the stage for this Revolution X and the least we can say is that it is still as well optimized and designed.

Nacon presents its configuration application as one of the most complete on the market, offering 41 options that can be combined in different profiles. In use, it is fluid, clear, easy to access and we find our way logically despite the set of settings available for its controller.

Indeed, the player has several configuration profiles that can be activated on the back of the controller, switching from “Classic” mode to “Advanced” mode. By activating this second mode, the player can switch between four different and customizable profiles in the Nacon application.

Within the application, a plethora of options are available: complete mapping of each key, adjustment of the response curve, the dead zone, the sensitivity, customization of the palettes, of the directional cross (choice of 4 or 8 directions) … It is also possible to adjust the vibrations and intensity of each haptic motor independently of the others, to reverse the axis of the joysticks or to change the color of the LEDs.

It is more than complete, well designed and you can really create unique profiles adapted to your player needs, whatever the type of game. Nacon offers 4 basic presets (Race-Sport, FPS, Arcade-games of Battles and Infiltration) that you can totally remodel and rename to suit your needs, just like what’s found on the Xbox Elite Series 2.

Sound, Nacon’s strong argument

With this Revolution X, the French firm has put the package on the development of a quality audio device.

Each preset that we told you about previously includes an audio setting adapted to each style of play. Thanks to this, you can switch from one gaming experience to another with a single tap. You can increase the highs in FPS, lower them in a sports game, increase the bass in friends chat, all this in a fluid way by changing the profile.

Dolby Atmos is implemented for free in the controller, which allows you to enjoy 3D sound on all compatible games and applications, with the Dolby Access service. As long as you have a quality audio device (tested with the Logitech Pro X), this is the type of feature that makes the difference in a battle royale, an immersive game or simply while watching a movie via your Xbox …

All in all, Nacon offers 4 default presets, a customizable 5ᵉ and 6ᵉ which is dedicated to Dolby Atmos. The work done around audio is appreciable and allows the controller to stand out with its unique characteristics and its many customization options.

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