Aug 25, 2023
PowerA Fusion Pro 3 Wired Controller review: Totally wired
Updated August 14, 2023 Top-tier Xbox controllers with trigger locks, swappable components, and customizable buttons are frequently priced well above $100, or even sometimes $200. PowerA’s Fusion Pro
Updated August 14, 2023
Top-tier Xbox controllers with trigger locks, swappable components, and customizable buttons are frequently priced well above $100, or even sometimes $200. PowerA’s Fusion Pro 3 Wired Controller (available at Amazon for $79.99) brings those features to a more reasonable price of $80, a feat it achieves by ditching wireless support. This trade-off might limit its appeal, but gamers who don’t mind the tether will enjoy excellent bang for their buck.
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About the PowerA Fusion Pro 3 Wired Controller
Should you buy the PowerA Fusion Pro 3 Wired Controller?
Added buttons, trigger locks
Familiar and comfortable layout
Only supports PC and Xbox
Swappable faceplate doesn’t impress
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This controller offers a nice set of features for the price.
The PowerA Fusion Pro 3’s feature set is excellent for the price. Some competitors offer trigger locks, programmable buttons, or swappable components for $80, but none provide all three.
It's almost a clone of the Xbox Wireless Controller.
The PowerA Fusion Pro 3 isn’t identical to Microsoft’s Xbox Wireless Controller, but dang, it’s close. It mimics the size, heft, and material feel of an Xbox controller. The result is a third-party controller that’s shockingly “official.”
There are a few tells, such as the location of the headphone jack (centered, instead of offset), the headphone volume rocker, and the feel and finned shape of the triggers (the textured portion of the triggers is flipped between the Xbox Wireless Controller and PowerA Fusion Pro 3). But these minor differences don’t significantly alter the look and feel.
The similarities continue in the layout. PowerA’s Fusion Pro 3 is designed for the Xbox and exactly reproduces the Xbox Wireless Controller’s layout, with one exception: the D-pad lacks the official controller’s octagonal shape, instead opting for a traditional cross. I prefer PowerA’s D-pad, which feels more suited to 2D side-scrolling titles that rely on up/down and left/right movements. On the other hand, games that use diagonal movements, or which use the D-Pad as a quick action wheel, might prove better on the standard controller.
I also think the PowerA’s triggers feel slightly looser, but it’s a minor difference. The face buttons and thumbsticks feel identical.
PowerA sweetens the Fusion Pro 3 with trigger locks and four additional buttons on the rear of the controller. The trigger locks offer three settings, from a near-instant stop to the default long throw, and the extra buttons offer the opportunity to bind functions that normally require a combo to trigger. You can rebind keys in-game, if it supports that. Many Xbox games don’t, so PowerA includes a “Program” button to create custom keybinds that live in the controller’s onboard memory. The controller doesn’t support multiple profiles, so you’ll have to rebind when switching between games.
The Fusion Pro 3 has a swappable faceplate and thumbsticks (the D-Pad, however, remains fixed). The faceplate is secured with magnets that easily release the faceplate when required but otherwise keep it secure, while the thumbsticks are secured by simple mechanical friction.
It’s a nice idea but poorly executed. PowerA doesn’t sell replacement faceplates or sticks directly. Some eBay and Etsy sellers claim to sell compatible faceplates, but I can’t vouch for their quality. And unlike Thrustmaster’s eSwap S Pro, which lets owners swap the entire thumbstick assembly out including the sensor, the Fusion Pro 3 only allows users to swap out the the thumbstick cap.
The Fusion Pro 3 offers a lot for a $80 controller, but one feature is notably absent—wireless capability. The lack of wireless also limits the controller’s platform support. It’s officially designed for the Xbox but, like all Xbox controllers, also works fine on the PC. The controller doesn’t function with the Sony PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, or with Android and iOS devices.
This is a no-brainer for those who don't mind wired controllers.
The lack of wireless capability will make-or-break the PowerA Fusion Pro 3 for many. I personally don’t mind wired controllers and sit close to my television, so the Fusion Pro 3 is an attractive way to snag a feature-rich Xbox controller on a budget. But if you sit further away or just prefer the convenience of wireless, the Fusion Pro 3 isn’t for you.
With that aside, the PowerA Fusion Pro 3 Wired Controller is fantastic officially licensed Xbox controller and excellent value for the price, and worthy of inclusion in the list of best PC controllers.Microsoft only offers comparable features on the far more expensive Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, which carries an MSRP of $180. Third-party alternatives that match the Fusion Pro 3’s features are similarly expensive: the wireless Scuf Instinct Pro Performance is $210, while the excellent wired Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma is $110.
Wired gaming isn’t for everyone. But if you don’t mind the cord, or prefer the perfect reliability and low latency of a wired connection, the PowerA Fusion Pro 3 Wired Controller is a fantastic choice.
The Fusion Pro 3 delivers just as much value as controllers that cost twice as much.
Buy now at Amazon
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Matthew S. Smith
Matthew S. Smith is a veteran tech journalist and general-purpose PC hardware nerd. Formerly the Lead Editor of Reviews at Digital Trends, he has over a decade of experience covering PC hardware. Matt often flies the virtual skies in Microsoft Flight Simulator and is on a quest to grow the perfect heirloom tomato.
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