All modern game consoles have wired or wireless joysticks or gamepads in their kit. With their help, the player is able to control the character: move it, attack opponents, hide from them, and so on. Until recently, such devices were not used very often on personal computers – here all the main control was carried out using the keyboard and mouse. However, just a few years ago, the situation changed radically. The fact is that using a gamepad is much more convenient than using a keyboard, since all the function keys are directly at hand. Accordingly, you do not have to fumble your fingers around the keyboard in search of the desired button.
In fact, the joystick and gamepad are different concepts. The first is a special articulated handle that can move in various planes. There are one or two buttons on the platform. The gamepad looks like a full-fledged control panel with several manipulators and a large set of buttons. He has to be held with two hands, they control the character with the help of large, in some cases index and middle fingers.
Computer hardware stores today offer a large selection of a variety of models. It is very easy to get confused with such an assortment. To prevent this from happening to you, we decided to devote our article today to an analysis of the characteristics of such products. However, before proceeding to a direct review of the models, let’s take a closer look at what a gamepad is, what these products are, and so on. This is where we will probably start.
What do you pay attention to when buying a gamepad?
Each of the varieties of manipulators that can be found on sale today is designed for a certain type of game, where they will be most convenient and efficient in use. All such devices are divided into three main types: joysticks themselves, gamepads and steering wheels. At the same time, gamepads are wired and wireless. The joystick is most convenient in a variety of simulators – airplanes, helicopters and when controlling any other similar equipment. The joystick handle usually has a set of buttons, each of which performs certain functions – aims at a target, fires a shot, and so on. By tilting the joystick back and forth, you can move the object on the screen.
Gamepads are effective in shooters, various platform games, fights and other similar games. They have many more buttons than joysticks. At the same time, by clicking on the buttons in a certain sequence, you can greatly expand the arsenal. In this case, the gamepad often contains the functions of a joystick. This is represented by levers located directly on the device. They can be rotated in two planes. As a rule, they are convenient to use when aiming at a target or while controlling the movement of the main character of the game.
The steering wheel is most suitable in racing simulators. It looks like a classic steering wheel, complete with pedals, a gearshift lever, and a row of control buttons on the main part. Most modern models are equipped with a feedback function, that is, when cars collide in the game, a vibration occurs at the steering wheel, which is transmitted to the player. This allows you to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the game even more.
A traditional gamepad connects to a personal computer using a USB connector, but there are more and more wireless models on sale. They have a built-in battery, and the range reaches 10-12 meters. When choosing such a device, you should check whether it is universal. In this case, it can be used not only on a computer or laptop, but also on various game consoles. The more buttons and analog sticks there are, the more functions such a device can perform, but it will take quite a long time to get used to the correct use of this product.
The presence of feedback allows you to immerse yourself in the gameplay even deeper. If the main character gets damaged during the battle, collides with an obstacle, and so on, all such events are transmitted to the gamepad through vibration. It is very important to check what material the body of the device is made of, as this directly affects the usability of such equipment. Of course, they also look at the cost of products, since the spread in terms of prices is quite significant.
When compiling our ranking of the best gamepads of 2020, we took into account all these points, but were more focused on the feedback from users who have already tried out one or another model in practice. They did not bypass the ratio of price and quality of the device, so too expensive products were not included in our review. So, let’s now look at the capabilities and characteristics of each of the models that make up our today’s rating.
3. Logitech X52 HOTAS
This model is a seamlessly integrated system designed for flight control, which includes not only the joystick itself, but also the engine control lever. The main goal of the developers was to fully satisfy all the requirements of the most sophisticated players who prefer aviation and space simulators. A multifunctional liquid crystal display is provided on the surface of the case, which displays all the main data in real time. The centering mechanism is equipped with two springs of medium hardness. The joystick cup is made of high quality and carefully polished metal. All the main buttons are LED backlit, so the device is very convenient to use even in the dark. The liquid crystal display has an adjustable brightness level.
The engine control lever has a progressive stroke, if necessary, the tension can be adjusted. Thanks to this feature, it is possible to provide a high degree of aircraft response. The presence of special position locks make idle control easier, they also facilitate the use of afterburner and thrust reverser. With the help of special software included in the kit, you can set the functions of each button for certain games. This will provide the most precise control of all seven axes. There are 19 programmable buttons on the surface of the joystick, and each of them has its own backlighting option.
- Excellent ergonomics;
- Fits perfectly in the hand;
- It is possible to configure a large number of commands;
- Made of high-quality plastic with a soft-touch coating – does not slip out of the hands;
- Each button has an LED backlight.
- Slightly confusing software that is not so easy to understand;
- There is a plastic plate under one of the springs, which may creak a little, but this does not affect the functionality of the product in any way.
Logitech X52 HOTAS
2. Thrustmaster T.16000M
The main convenience of this joystick is that it does not have to install all sorts of drivers. It is enough to connect it to a laptop or computer via a USB connector, after which it can be used. The design is quite standard for joysticks, but there are a number of some features. First of all, the trigger lever will be striking, which protrudes significantly forward, in addition, the view switch is located on the top of the joystick, which is quite convenient. The trigger lever fits perfectly under the finger, it can be used as a similar tool in other joysticks. The product fits very comfortably in the hand.
It is worth noting that there are no more buttons on the handle itself, but a large number of them are located to the left and right of it. Their location is very convenient. The design has an ergonomic shape, the handle is provided with rubber pads that are pleasant to the touch, which will not allow the hand to slip off the device. The up and down movement of the handle is quite smooth, so it will be very easy to control the aircraft with such a joystick. The model is universal in the sense that it is perfect for both right and left hands. For this, a number of mechanisms are used: a shifting base, as well as several movable linings. There is no need to adjust the joystick – it is already pre-programmed.
- Excellent accuracy, which is very important when performing various maneuvers;
- Acceptable cost;
- Long period of operation;
- Attractive appearance.
- The spring force cannot be adjusted.
1. Logitech Extreme 3D Pro
The best among the classic joysticks of this year. It has a rather strict and modern appearance. Despite the fact that the body is made of plastic, the device looks presentable and strict. On the handle of the product itself there are four buttons and a hat with eight positions. Under the index finger there is a button that opens fire, under the thumb there is a button for secondary fire. At the base of the manipulator there is a gas lever and six additional buttons at once. The design has a weighted stand that prevents the joystick from sliding on the surface, for the same purpose there are four rubberized legs.
The manipulator is connected to a personal computer via a USB connector. Drivers do not need to be installed if the device is running an operating system such as Windows or MacOS. However, the software is still available. The manufacturer has released a special application that allows you to adjust the functionality of the buttons directly to the player. If necessary, the game profile can be printed out so as not to forget which key performs which function. The structure of the joystick is asymmetrical, so it can be used with both hands: the right hand holds the handle, and the left is used to press the buttons on the side. An additional keyboard is not required when using this product. The handle itself is very comfortable, organically fits in the hand and does not slip out of it. Sensitivity is moderate, but not too soft. If necessary, you can calibrate the joystick through the control panel of the operating system. Additional power is also not required. The cable length is 2 meters – enough for a comfortable game.
- The equipment differs in excellent stability on any surfaces;
- A decent number of functional customizable buttons;
- The device does not need to install special drivers;
- Attractive appearance.
- The only negative is the inability to configure the equipment for left-handed control.
Logitech Extreme 3D Pro
The best wired gamepads
This model is one of the most affordable in terms of price. The design is distinguished by a classic shape, which almost completely repeats the device of the DualShock 3 brand, known to almost all gamers. Approximately the same can be noted about the location of all the main elements, the exception in this case is the Analog button. The designations of the buttons have undergone changes – if in the classic version of the joystick geometric shapes are applied there, then here are the numbers. Judging by the reviews, the build quality for its price this joystick is on top. The design is made of high-quality plastic with a special velvety coating, which allows the product not to slip out of the palms even during the hottest battles.
At first, the plastic has a rather sharp foreign smell, but in the future it disappears. Connects to a personal computer via USB. The performance is excellent – both on pressing the buttons and on deflecting the sticks, the gamepad works instantly. However, there are certain difficulties – the functions of the buttons will have to be assigned manually, otherwise the system simply will not accept this device. The manufacturer recommends downloading a special program from the official website, thanks to which this can be done.
- Attractive cost;
- There are 14 buttons on the surface of the device;
- There is a rather interesting LED backlight.
- The hand lugs could be a little longer.
2. Defender Game Racer Turbo
This model differs from similar products in its minimalistic design. The shape is quite simple, overall dimensions are small. There are no frills or decorations on the case, so it looks quite serious. The design is made of high quality plastic with a soft-touch coating. All lines are smooth, which gives the product a certain severity and style. In terms of its shape, the gamepad resembles a similar device for Sony Playstation 2. The product fits perfectly even in large hands, all keys can be easily reached. By weight, the product is also not very large, a vibration mechanism is provided that provides a reverse response, which is why the design is slightly heavier. However, as users note, this does not spoil the product at all, but allows you to better feel it in your hands.
Directly under the fingers of the left hand is the left analog stick, which is not a cross, but a curly button. The shape is very comfortable, you get used to it quickly enough. Diagonal directions are provided here, but using them is problematic – you have to adapt to the joystick in order to press them the first time. Under the right hand are the control buttons and another analog joystick. All keys are made of high-quality plastic, work clearly and are located very conveniently. In the central part you can find two small rubber buttons – Turbo and Slow. They are not used very often, so they are removed from the fingers.
- Acceptable cost – much lower compared to analogues for consoles;
- Great functionality;
- A vibration mechanism is provided;
- Matte non-slip surface.
- On the sticks, the fingers slip a little, besides, they get a little dirty during the game;
- Unfortunately, the gamepad is not compatible with some games.
Defender Game Racer
1. Logitech Gamepad F310
The design features a symmetrical shape, just like the previous model, very similar to the Sony PlayStation gamepad device. You can get used to such a joystick literally within a couple of days. All the main buttons are located on the right side, outwardly their location is the same as that of the Xbox. They are brighter and more intuitive. The characters on these buttons are carved on the inside, so you don’t have to worry about them being worn off over time. The top surface is absolutely smooth, which makes them easy to use. The cross here is eight-position – the optimal value was chosen, which is distinguished by excellent functionality, besides, such a manipulator is very convenient to use. Above the body, it protrudes quite high, which gives even more convenience.
In the central part of the joystick you can find a classic set of buttons. They are also plastic, they are pressed easily, they work very quickly. The vibration mechanism is turned off here if necessary – a special button is provided for this. There are two convenient sticks, the left one is for controlling the movement of the character, and the right one is responsible for the position of the camera. Their movement is quite smooth and soft, but at the same time they are distinguished by excellent accuracy. As in most gamepads, there are hidden buttons under the sticks that will work when you click on it. Accidental operation of such buttons is almost completely excluded. The sticks themselves are made of textured plastic, which does not allow slipping.
- Very convenient and functional device;
- It is made on the basis of high-quality plastic with an anti-slip coating;
- Rubberized sticks;
- Two modes of operation;
- Has an inexpensive cost.
- The case is somewhat easily soiled, otherwise no defects were noticed.
Logitech Gamepad F310
The best wireless gamepads
3. Valve Steam Controller
The case is almost entirely made of high-quality black plastic with a matte finish, but there are also glossy inserts that will easily get dirty. There is a micro-USB connector on the top of the product, which allows you to use it even in wired mode. This model works on finger-type batteries, which will have to be purchased separately. The charger is not needed, as the joystick is connected to the network through an ordinary phone charger. Quite simple Duracell batteries are supplied with the device, but their resource should be enough for about a couple of weeks. A signal receiver connected directly to a personal computer will not interfere with other devices, and besides, it practically does not stick out. The signal is stable, securely held within a very spacious room. There are no buttons on the receiver itself.
The front side of this model is very similar in appearance to the Xbox, but the button block and the left stick are slightly shifted down. The D-pad and replacement of the right stick are raised up. The functionality of the cross is unique – in addition to mechanical pressing, it can be used as a sensor. The same can be said about the right stick, which has been replaced with a touch surface, which is somewhat reminiscent of the touchpad in a laptop. The surface has a vibration feedback that is responsive to touch. The trigger and bumper keys are quite noisy, and if necessary, they can be configured to perform various functions. To take full advantage of all the functions of this equipment, you should install the Steam client on your personal computer. The software interface is very user-friendly and understandable.
- Excellent value for money model;
- Fits comfortably in the hand, does not slip out of the palms;
- Easily configured for use in any game.
- Some users may find the button layout inconvenient.
Valve Steam Controller
2. Logitech Wireless Gamepad F710
It is a high-quality and durable design that will surely appeal to most gamers. The appearance of the device is very attractive, the case is made of reliable matte plastic, painted in silver or black. The model has rubberized surfaces – the bottom panel and part of the side faces. The assembly is of high quality, there is not the slightest hint of backlash or extraneous sounds even during regular and prolonged use. All main controls are located on the front side of the device. On the left you can see an eight-position digital cross, under the fingers of the right hand there are control keys with letter designations. All control elements are characterized by smooth running.
Between these blocks there are programmable joysticks, return keys, game start keys, there is a button to enable or disable vibration, an activity indicator. The device is perfectly compatible with any operating systems of the Windows platform, especially if they are 64-bit type. This equipment operates using a special wireless module that connects to a computer. The system automatically installs drivers and recognizes the model itself. The signal is clear and stable, there were no delays during the actions.
- Very reliable assembly, which is able to withstand significant loads, including fairly strong impacts;
- Very comfortable and functional cross;
- Excellent support for legacy games;
- Reliable signal even at fairly long distances;
- There is no need to install drivers.
- Unfortunately, the batteries run out pretty quickly with regular use.
Logitech Wireless Gamepad F710
1.Microsoft Xbox One Wireless Controller
This flagship gamepad rightfully takes the lead in its segment of the best gamepads. Ergonomics here is worked out as carefully as possible, the product is given a very interesting and original appearance. The button functionality has not changed at all. As before, on the surface of this device, you can find sticks displaced relative to each other, and it was decided to swap the cross with the left one. The design is made on the basis of high-quality plastic with a velvety soft-touch coating, which ensures a fairly long service life of the product. The joystick will not slip out of your hands, it does not leave fingerprints and dust marks.
On the surface of the product, you can immediately find 11 buttons, each of which has a smooth pressing and movement. It is worth noting that this controller is a universal product, that is, it can be connected both to the set-top box and to the personal computer itself. The rechargeable battery is built-in, its full charge lasts for quite a long time even if the vibration feedback mode is enabled in the design. Unfortunately, this device does not come with a receiver and a spare battery, which is why the popularity among computer gamers is somewhat lower than it could be.
- The model is very easy to use;
- The highest quality construction;
- Universal gamepad – used both when connected to a computer and to a game console;
- Original layout of buttons and other controllers;
- The assembly is reliable, able to withstand significant physical exertion.
- Except for the high price was found.
Microsoft Xbox One Wireless Controller
In conclusion, a useful video
Here is our review and approached its completion. We have tried to collect as much useful information as possible for each model so that you can easily decide which design will be the most suitable for you. If you have any questions – ask us in the comments to the article, we will try to resolve them as soon as possible.