Hardware Review: Nacon Pro Compact Controller

Recently I jumped into the world of the Xbox Game Pass; more specifically, the streaming service played on a PC. The system itself was rock solid – I’ve got a semi-decent PC (although not good enough to play the likes of Forza Horizon 5) and a speedy 350Mbps Internet connection, but what I didn’t have was a decent controller which left me with more frustration than enjoyment. How could I enjoy the near-non-existent latency when my ropey old controller wasn’t giving me any accuracy or feedback?

Well then, it was time for the Nacon Pro Compact to step up and save the day.

Packing a shrunken but still comfortable form factor, the Nacon Pro Compact is an officially licensed controller that works with the Xbox One and Series S/X, but also just as well on a Windows PC. But while it’s not the “proper” Xbox controller it’s got a few features that might just turn your head and give you serious food for thought when you’re in the market for a new controller. The first, and arguably my favourite feature, is the ability to switch between two different profiles.

On the back of the controller you’ll find a seemingly innocuous switch; flicking this one way or the other changes between the default controller setup and your own personalised version. And when you think about personalising how a controller works, chances are you can do it here. Want to have a more direct input on the triggers to help with your fighting games, or sharpen things up to give you a quicker shot on your FPS game of choice? You can either use the presets in the downloadable application or design your own, moving the response curves around until you find something that works exactly as you want it. Maybe you want to reverse the triggers, switch the analogue stick functionality round, turn off the vibrations or change how sensitive the sticks are. It’s all here, just the flick of a switch away whenever you want to give your controller a whole new feel and functionality.

If that wasn’t neat enough already, the Pro Compact also comes with a built-in Dolby Atmos license, so whether you’re using it on your PC or Xbox you can download the Dolby app and it’ll recognise that you’ve got a licensed controller. Before you know it you can plug in your headphones of choice and enjoy the extra audio fidelity offered up by the Dolby Atmos software. Considering the added convenience of being able to plug your headphones into the controller, I found that to be a really great idea and definitely one that could sway your choice if you like the optimise your sound while gaming.

One thing to note is that this is a USB wired controller, and while the cable is a pretty lengthy 3m long, that might be an issue for those who tend to sit further away from their console or PC. But, that said, there’s plenty of benefits to this to consider as well. You’ll never have to worry about batteries going dead mid-game, you can enjoy a complete lack of any kind of latency or input delay that you sometimes get on wireless controllers (especially 3rd party ones) and going back to the sound idea, you’ll get the most out of that as well with no interference from other sources along the way. So I admit, that might be enough to turn some people off, and that’s entirely fair enough. But if you sit within 3m of whatever you’re plugging this into then embrace what it gives you and enjoy how easy it is to simply just plug the controller in and have it working immediately without needing to mess around.

And that’s the Nacon Pro Compact. There’s no pointless RGB lighting, there’s no rapid fire or other pointless or annoying features. Just a controller which is 15% smaller than a standard Xbox controller while still being extremely comfortable to hold. And that’s coming from me, a guy with pretty sizeable hands, and I’ve had no discomfort while playing the likes of Forza and Halo for lengthy periods of time. The Dolby Atmos is a neat touch, the customisable profile is brilliant and is a genuine game changer, and the whole package just feels top quality.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I really like this controller, and if you’re looking for something new to hook up to your PC and Xbox, you should take a serious look.


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