Reviewed: October 14, 2002
Type: Force Feedback Gamepad
InterActís Xbox PowerPad Pro controllers marks the next wave of gamepads for the Xbox. Officially licensed for Xbox, this controller is smaller than its predecessors and is also fully programmable! Rubber grips have been added for extra comfort and continued grip, even during those marathon gaming sessions. The PowerPad Pro has dual analog sticks, eight way digital d-pad, vibration feedback, and much more.
I put this controller through some rigorous testing over the past two weeks playing everything from Turok: Evolution to Lord of the Rings, and even Tetris Worlds. I tried to cover all the major genres and varied my gaming time to test for extended comfort.
Ultimately, I found the PowerPad Pro extremely comfortable. Its smaller size more closely resembles the new S-controller from Microsoft, and is definitely a step up in size from the MadCatz MicroCON mini controller that is more suited toward kids.
Unlike some other third-party controllers, InterAct has kept the primary button configuration the same while only moving the START and BACK buttons to reduce the width of the overall controller. While most games seldom use these two buttons for gameplay, I did find that it was rather awkward when I did have to use them and pressing them with my right thumb is now totally out of the question.
All of the buttons had a very nice rigid feel to them including the triggers, which were very resistant, but smooth and comfortable. The gamepad loses some points for the loose control sticks and the horrible D-pad. Granted, I seldom (if ever) use the D-pad, but this one is really bad, stiff and imprecise.
The rubber sections of the twin pods kept my palms from sweating even during my typical 4-5 hour game sessions. The 10-foot cable is just a bit longer than the standard gamepad cable giving you some added reach to the nearest chair or couch.
Typical for most third-party controllers these days is the ability to program your own macros or chain of commands to various buttons. This is fairly simple to do and you will find plenty of great uses for this feature in fighting games and other titles that require certain complicated button sequences.
The twin motors offered some of the strongest feedback effects I have experience in any controller to date. This gamepad will literally rock your world. One nice feature is an adjustment slider that controls the amount of feedback the motors generate.
In the end, the Interact PowerPad Pro remains competitive with the other controllers currently available, but only because it is the cheapest of the bunch. If you can spare an extra $5 you can find a similar size and shaped controller with better sticks and D-pad. If you are strapped for cash or donít care about precision stick control then this one will do nicely.