Reviewed: September 24, 2002
Back in June I had the pleasure of reviewing the MadCatz Control Pad Pro, and it quickly became my favorite controller of all-time...that is until now. Those wizards at MadCatz have recently released their new MicroCON controller and it has once again redefined the way we play our Xbox.
The MicroCON is a scaled down version of the Control Pad Pro, ideal for kids or adults with smaller hands or anyone who just can't handle the super-sized controller that comes with the Xbox. The design remains the same but the button placement has been significantly altered to fit everything onto the 20% smaller surface.
The START and BACK buttons have been moved to the far left beneath the stick, but the most important change is the relocating of the white and black buttons to just below the 4-button primary cluster. I have never felt these buttons were accessible on any of the previous controllers. I was always forced to loosen my grip on the right side of the stick to reach these buttons. Now they are within easy reach and it's like having the perfect 6-button controller in my grasp.
I was amazed at how solid this controller feels. The buttons and control sticks all have a great feel to them, almost more solid than the Control Pad Pro, and the rubber grips fit snugly in my palms. The front triggers are now much more accessible and easier to use, and the powerful motor creates a substantial feedback effect on supported games.
The MicroCON retains everything from the full-sized controller including the precise analog control, pressure sensitive buttons, smooth triggers, and D-pad. The handy Macro button lets you program your favorite combos or special moves for easy access and the 9’ cable is more than enough to reach your favorite chair.
I put the MicroCON through some rigorous testing with several games. It performed flawlessly, and I found I was able to play games longer and with practically no discomfort. With the new button layout I was even able to play many games more proficiently, especially those that rely heavily on the use of the black and white buttons.
My only complaint is that I quickly became used to the new button configuration and it is nearly impossible to go back to any other controller after using the MicroCON - not that I have any reason to. Just be warned that this could be a one-way trip.
The MicroCON might not be for everybody, but it is no secret that a majority of Xbox owners are not happy with the giant controller that comes with it. Microsoft has recently started selling the S-Controller (the smaller Japanese gamepad) and it has become so popular you can't even find it in stores. If you suffer from CTS or arthritis then this controller could be just what you are looking for. The smaller size is totally relaxing on your fingers and wrists.
Available in four translucent colors (Green, Smoke, Blue, Silver), you can get one for every port on your Xbox, and at only $24.99 these controllers are better and cheaper than Microsoft's gamepad. MadCatz has delivered yet another quality game controller reaffirming the myth that “size does matter”, only in this case, smaller is better. The new button configuration is just icing on the cake.