A good controller can make all the difference between enjoying your favourite games, and struggling through them with awkward controls and poor responsiveness. Whilst Sony’s own DualShock controllers are amongst the best around, there’s always room for alternatives, especially if those alternatives are cheaper, and/or offer new features. Sometimes, simply a small change in the controller’s shape can make all the difference from some.
Enter Nacon’s no-frills compact controllers. Far from the enhanced approach of the likes of the Razer Raiju, Nacon’s wired pad is as simple as it gets, but don’t take this as a bad thing. Instead, what Nacon has delivered is a solid, reliable and mostly spot-on controller for $49.95.
The Nacon Wired Compact, as the name suggests, is a wired-only pad, with no option for wireless. However, it comes with a long three metre cable, so most users won’t really run into any issues. You’ll also not have to worry about battery levels. Wireless-or-bust users, however, should just leave now, as you’ll not like this option.
The pad itself comes in two variations, a clear, see-through model, and a ‘soft touch’ finish. I was supplied with the soft-touch grey pad, reminiscent of the classic PS1 DualShock in colour, and I have to say, the soft touch finish is great. It feels nice, doesn’t cause too much heat, so no sweaty-palms, and the overall shape is very comfortable. It’s billed as a compact controller, but in truth, it’s not actually that much smaller than a standard PS4 DualShock.
It features all of the DualShock functions, with the same number of buttons, a touch pad, Options and Share, PS button, and the same layout. The d-pad is a solid cross, so it’s great for most uses, including fighting games, and the main face buttons are larger than the usual DualShock, with a pleasing, big-button feel. Very nice.
I have reservations about how close the Options and Share buttons are to the touch pad, but this isn’t a major issue. Indeed, I didn’t really find a great deal about the pad to find fault with. The one thing I did find, however, is pretty big, and that’s a lack of sensitivity in the shoulder buttons.
The two main triggers are fine, and respond well, but both R1 and L1 required an abnormal amount of pressure to trigger. I noticed this greatly when playing Monster Hunter: World, where my hunter would often start to run, then stop, even though I was still pressing the shoulder button. Pressing a bit more firmly made him run again. This same issue also occurred in other games, meaning there’s a definite issue with the overall design here. It’s workable, but more sensitivity would eliminate this problem. I also found the central PS button to be somewhat lacking in sensitivity too.
Other than this niggle, though, I really like the Nacon Compact. It’s comfortable to use in long sessions, the design is nice, with the large face buttons adding to an easier level of control, and the touch pad, although a little more clunky in operation than Sony’s own, is good.
I should also add the pad can also use its cross-compatible X-Input to be used on a PC too, which is a nice feature for those who like to play more console-oriented PC games with a controller.