Xbox 360 Transforming D-Pad Controller Review

January 14, 2011, By Christian Davis

Ever since the Xbox 360 was released, there has always been one major problem with the controllers. The directional pad, commonly referred to as the d-pad. Not really being a traditional directional pad, like the Playstation’s controller, and more like a hybrid analog stick with arrows on it. Needless to say, no one is really a fan of it.

The Xbox team is well aware of the issue and has made a controller that will remedy those who have been having problems over the years.  Now we have the Transforming D-Pad controller, which is a completely revamped controller from the standard Xbox 360 controller that comes with the console.

The first thing you’ll notice about the controller is the look of it. Usually, the controller is a pearl white but this controller is a matte silver with gray A, B, X, and Y. The controller does look more elegant with the color change and it even feels that the grip under your palms has been improved as well.

Analog sticks have also received a bit of a transformation. The joysticks are now concaved in the center as opposed to the four dots that are on the standard controllers. The dots that act as grips on the original controllers will fade and suppress over time. The new concaved design allows the grip to be sustained substantially longer and ultimately, is much more comfortable to game on.

The main draw to the controller is the new transforming directional pad. A slight twist and you’ve gone from the original Xbox 360 directional pad to a traditional d-pad.  The twist recedes the spaces between the arrows, allowing the controller to give more direct controls to the gamer.The purpose of this is to make things easier of course and it does.

For example, summoning killstreaks in Call of Duty is made easier by simply  pushing down and twisting the directional pad in either a clock wise or counter clock wise. Changing the Xbox 360 d-pad to a more traditional d-pad.

Typing messages, selecting killstreaks, playing classic games like Pac-Man, switching weapons in Gears of War or Borderlands and even browsing Netflix is significantly easier with the directional pad. That’s not to say the original Xbox 360 d-pad is rendered useless though. It’s still very useful and best for fighting games. The sections between the arrows on the d-pad make it easier to preform quarter circle and half circle combinations simpler and more efficient.

Is the transforming d-pad controller worth it? Yes, but only to those who consistently use the directional pad. Someone who primarily plays first person shooters or uses their Xbox 360 primarily for Netflix or purchasing movies off the Zune Marketplace may not see that this is as big of a game changer.  For those who are addicted to the d-pad, this is essential in their every day gaming habits.

The controller costs $64.99 and as a plus, it also comes with a play and charge kit and rechargeable battery pack.

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