A solid alternative

Let’s be fair, we are all looking for a cheaper alternative to normal things in this tough economy. For gamers it is even more imperative. Gaming is expensive and controllers are no exception. With standard first party ones hitting $60-$80 regularly it is nice to see other companies taking the lead on cheaper alternatives. Enter Turtle Beach, a company mostly known for their headsets, stepping in to fill that void. The React-R controller for Xbox and PC is a solid package for a great price. It comes packed with tons of features, a solid build quality, and more. The only downside to this peripheral is that it is entirely wired, but if you can get past that, it is a wonderful alternative to the more expensive options.

The design of the controller will feel familiar. It has the same stick and button layout as the standard Xbox controller. The additions are the program button on the front and the back paddles. The weight of the controller will stick out right off the bat. It feels less weighty and more hollow in my hands. Other than that it feels good. I tested out a few different genres and got used to the feel quickly. The textured grips feel good for long sessions and that back buttons don’t protrude enough to disrupt hitting them on accident. Sniping in Overwatch or pulling off moves in Mortal Kombat felt good across the board.

MSRP: $39.99
Price I’d Pay: $39.99

It is always interesting to compare controllers to the industry standard. Everything about the React-R feels different than the default Xbox controller. The d-pad feels more mushy than the standard without the incessant clicking found in Microsoft’s version. The triggers feel tighter making for a more satisfying pull on headshots. The face buttons are the closest to the original with a glossy finish that feel good to press. The plastic textures on the triggers also help with their pull. This controller from a feel perspective is actually impressive, it is simply the lack of weight that makes it feel cheap at times. The rumble is a little less oppressive than the standard controller, which I actually prefer.

Being a Turtle Beach product it is no shock that one of the core features is an audio upgrade. The controller has a feature called Superhuman Hearing, which is an arbitrary namesake. It basically enhances certain levels of the audio. It isn’t anything revolutionary, but for players using a headset it sounds good. The back paddles are completely programmable as well. With a simple double press and a quick tap of the buttons, I can remap any other button to each of the paddles. This is great in a game like Overwatch where I can map the jump and duck buttons there so I can keep my aiming in check without moving my fingers.

Programming these buttons is a breeze. Simply press the D-pad shifter button then press the paddle and then the button you want to assign. This is great for on-the-fly customization. I usually prefer a software solution for this type of customization, but it works. With only two paddles to work with I understand the simplicity. This does add extra buttons on the face of the controller which makes it look cheap, but it works. I enjoyed having the extra buttons for some games. I enjoyed it even more that I rarely pressed them on accident, something I have huge issues with on the Elite paddles.

The React-R controller is a solid device for its price point. It has some drawbacks for sure, but you would be hard-pressed to find a more reliable controller in its price range. The textured triggers and grips make long sessions feel good and the customization of the back buttons is simple and convenient. The wire and light weight make it feel less than premium on a whole and this would never replace my main Xbox controller. This does serve as a nice second option though for local multiplayer games. It definitely doesn’t feel like the bad controller you give to that friend you just want to dominate in a game.

Review sample provided by publisher.

  • Grips feel great
  • Simple customization for back buttons
  • Not wireless
  • Feels light and cheap
Written by
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.