Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Xbox controller vs. Xbox 360 controller

Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC

Microsoft Store

ArabicChinese (Simplified)Chinese (Traditional)DeutchEspanolFrenchItalianJapaneseKoreanPortugueseRussian

Microsoft's Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows is a little white nubbin of a USB plug that finally lets penny-pinching PC gamers do what they've been clamoring for over a year now: hook up Xbox 360 wireless gaming peripherals for use with a PC. It works as advertised, but the big question is if it's worth the 20 bones Microsoft is charging. There are a couple ways to answer that.

First hurdle: owning an Xbox 360 to make this little endeavor worth your while. If so, then you already have a wireless Xbox 360 controller floating around the house somewhere. From there, all it takes is a quick button-press and your controller has a new mate--the PC. We've said it before and we'll say it again: The Xbox 360 controller is a great gamepad. Perfectly balanced, rocking force feedback, and easy on the hands, the controller sells itself. The fact that it works fully (force feedback and all) on both a PC and console is even better. If you don't own a 360, then you'll need to pony up $50 to buy this controller separately--but it's a great investment.

Next, in rolls the less impressive Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel. It has those showroom-floor good looks, but when virtual rubber hits the road, this wheel is stuck somewhere between first and second gear. A few practice laps in GTR 2, and we were ready to haul ass back to the pits. The wheel works--change gears, steer, drift--but it just feels like someone cut power to the motors. The force feedback motors, that is. As opposed to Forza Motorsport 2 tests in the 360 fast lane, the PC handled as if driving a rusty Yugo in the carpool lane. Lacking proper wheel tension, you're robbed of half the experience. Granted, it's not like you're holding a tennis racket in front of the computer and saying "Vrooom!" but still, c'mon.

In all fairness, MS spokespeople did warn that there aren't many PC games supporting the Xbox 360 wheel yet. Without proper in-game driver support, it just feels like a generic wheel. Maybe better support will come in time, but not soon enough for me. Serious wheelmen will likely steer toward Logitech's G25. It may be wired and cost twice as much as Microsoft's $150 kit, but the G25 is the finest set of wheels around.

One final wireless product remains impossible to recommend--the Xbox 360 Wireless Headset. Many console players are extolling the virtues of how well this works over Xbox Live--and that may be--but here in PC-land, we are not pleased. Granted, the initial turnoff stems from looking like a Bluetooth-headsetted cellular douchebag when snapping the piece over your ear. The bigger problem is that the PC sees the earpiece as a full headset. The result: Instead of just the voice chatter going to your headset, the speakers automatically switch off, and all the game's audio pipes into a tinny amp that makes everything sound like Kathleen Turner gargling sandpaper before talking into a McDonald's drive-through speaker. It's that bad. The only good thing here is that the attached boom mic works wonders. But nobody needs to drop $60 on a microphone. Hey, here's a free trick for you MacGyver types: Plug a spare pair of headphones into the mic jack on your PC. It'll instantly turn one of the headphones into a microphone.

Back to the big question. Do you really need the Wireless Gaming Receiver? If you want access to the best gamepad, we say, "Hell, yeah!" Then, of course, there's the draw of owning other peripherals that can pull double duty on PC and console. If only that other gear got good mileage on a PC. Maybe with a major driver overhaul.

Product: Wireless Controller Manufacturer: Microsoft PRICE: $50


Buy this and you will not need another gamepad. We can't say it any clearer.

No, seriously. If you need a gamepad, get this.



Product: Wireless Headset Manufacturer: Microsoft PRICE: $60


Good construction, solid design, and it neatly tucks onto head.

Still better suited to consoles. All sound is piped into the tinny speaker.



Product: Wireless Racing Wheel Manufacturer: Microsoft PRICE: $150


A substantial wireless wheel...

...that lacks proper driver support. The result: The wheel's motors behave slightly goofily.



Product: Wireless Gaming Receiver Manufacturer: Microsoft PRICE: $20


It does just what it says.

More peripherals need to take better advantage of what the PC can do. Make some better drivers, dammit!



Source Citation
"The Wire." Games for Windows 1 Apr. 2007. Computer Database. Web. 6 July 2010.
Document URL

Gale Document Number:A160977950

(Web-Page) http://computer.tutor2008.googlepages.com/tutor2 (Album / Profile) http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=5745&id=1661531726&l=970be7e401
leonard.wilson2009@hotmail.comShop the Official Coca-Cola Store!Click here for the Best Buy Free Shipping Offers
ArabicChinese (Simplified)Chinese (Traditional)DeutchEspanolFrenchItalianJapaneseKoreanPortugueseRussian
Personalized MY M&M'S® Candies

No comments: