The new RIG Nacon Pro Compact enters a fairly tough crowd of pro controllers for the Xbox and Windows. This smaller, cheaper controller retails for just $90 which is an absolute steal compared to the average $250 for the Xbox Elite Series 2 or Razer Wolverine V2. But as they say, you get what you pay for and the Pro Compact really can’t match the competition in terms of hardware customisation features. For starters, it’s missing the extra paddles or swappable thumb sticks typically associated with pro controllers.
This is likely a compromise of having such a small and lightweight controller – measuring 15% smaller than the standard Xbox controller. This makes it much more accessible whether you are a child prodigy Warzone or just anyone with small hands. In fact, the Pro Compact feels more like Sony’s DualShock 4 controller than an Xbox controller. It sits comfortably in my man-mitts with all the buttons extremely easy to reach without fuss. It’s definitely not as comfortable to hold as my Wolverine V2 but it’s really grippy.
My unit is the white version which matches the also tiny Xbox Series S but there’s also a black one for you Series X owners. While the white does look rather posh, it’s not easy to keep clean. The textured grips on the underside of mine got disturbingly grimy over the few weeks I had it for review. But maybe I’m just a slob.
The buttons are large and chunky though I do wish they were crispy, mechanical switches of some kind – it is a ‘Pro controller’ after all. The Menu and View buttons are noticeably smaller than the others while the new Xbox Share button is so far down the bottom but easy to press with your right thumb. The thumbsticks are smooth with a tight springiness to them that snaps them back into place.
The R1/L1 triggers are smaller than I’d like and angled in an odd way that I found a little uncomfortable to use. Like I already mentioned, the Pro Compact doesn’t have any paddles or even trigger stops. I’ve gotten so used to these things on my Wolverine that I find it really hard to use controllers without these features.
That said, you can adjust the trigger sensitivity using the Windows and Xbox app. While you’re there, you can remap buttons, adjust the response curve of the thumbsticks and a few other tweaks. It’s also got some presets for FPS shooters, stealth games etc. that you can quickly switch to.
Any pro player will inevitably talk about input lag but there’s nothing to worry about here. The Pro Compact is a wired controller so it’s fast in response. The cable is about 5 feet long and ridiculously stiff. I don’t expect it to fray and break for a very long time, which is good because you can’t swap the cable out if that ever happened.
Perhaps the biggest selling point of the Pro Compact has less to do with controlling how games play and more how they sound. Every Pro Compact comes with automatic access to Dolby Atmos for headphones, no subscription necessary. Once you plug the controller into your Xbox or Windows PC and run the Dolby Atmos app, you’ll have instant access to one of the best surround sound formats.
Of course, you will need a Dolby Atmos headset and the right games to really enjoy the effect. Thankfully, RIG has several affordable Atmos headsets such as the companion RIG 500 PRO HX High-Resolution Gaming Headset for Xbox One that retails for just $120. And therein lies the schtick. For under $200, you can get the Pro Compact and a capable headset for less than the price of an Xbox Elite Controller. That’s pretty hard to beat to be honest.
The RIG Nacon Pro Compact is a decent little controller that offers just a little bit more than the standard Xbox controller for a fraction of the price of its competitors. Not only does it give you some extra customisation controls but you also get a lifetime free access to Dolby Atmos for some truly atmospheric gaming. It’s difficult to argue with the value proposition here.
But as a controller, I can’t say that the Pro Compact is any better than the standard Xbox Series X/S controller. There just aren’t enough pro features to pick it over the standard controller. However, if you want a small controller for the kids that can withstand some torture and don’t want to worry about AA batteries, then this is a decent option.
RIG Nacon provided the Pro Compact to PowerUp! for the purpose of this review