Mad Catz Xbox 360 Wired Controller Extended Use Product Review: A Good Backup Controller at a Great Price

Many gamers on a budget have the need for an affordable second controller or a backup controller for their Xbox 360. Shelling out $40 to $60 for a wireless Xbox 360 controller isn’t so fun, especially when it’s just for an extra one to have on hand for friends etc.

In these situations a more affordable wired controller is often a great choice. I’ve had the pleasure of testing the Mad Catz Wired Xbox 360 Controller for about 8 months now and I can honestly say it’s a great economical choice. While not without its flaws, it has stood up to some heavy gaming usage and countless hours of rough gaming over the past 2/3 of a year.

The Mad Catz wired Xbox 360 controller features all of the standard Xbox 360 controllers functions. It comes complete with USB connectivity and vibration capability.  As far as functions go, there is really nothing special there. Like any controller, the buttons perform their intended function without a lot of glory. The basic button layout and configuration is of course pretty much identical to the Xbox 360 brand controllers from Microsoft. However there are subtle variations on the Mad Catz version, some are not so great; some I actually personally prefer over the “official” Xbox controllers.

The bumpers and triggers on the Mad Catz version are shaped differently and a little larger than the controller that comes with the Xbox 360. I find them easier to find and use. The trigger buttons are actually shaped much more like a trigger on a gun and I find I like the feel of them in hand more than the Rt and Lt triggers on our Microsoft Xbox 360 wireless controllers.

The handle area that protrudes from the bottom of the Mad Catz Xbox 360 controller is a little more pointed and angled than the conventional controller. They end in a harsh angular point that looks cool, but gets a little annoying after a while. While it actually makes the controller feel a little more secure, the “spikes” as we call them around here do tend to get a little irritating after a couple hours of gaming.

The entire controller is built much better than I was anticipating. For the cost of the controller, about $24.00, I was expecting very cheap plastic with a hollow feel and sound. I was pleasantly surprised. The only area I was concerned about was the connector for headsets, chatpads etc. This seems to be made out of cheaper plastic but it has performed fantastically. I’ve had no problems with headsets or any other device.

I only have two real complaints with the Madcatz Xbox 360 wired controller. My first complaint is that the analog sticks can be slightly slippery with extended gaming.  I remember when I first unboxed the Madcatz Xbox 360 wired controller the analog sticks were actually my first point of concern. I remember seeing the hard shiny plastic and thinking to myself, “These are going to be crazy slippery!”

It turns out they were nowhere near as bad as I had originally anticipated.  They are are made from a hard and durable plastic formed with a concave top that your thumb fits perfectly into.  If I play for 2-3 hours and my hands get a little sweaty then the sticks become a little slick. I’d prefer a rubber coated analog stick and/or some bumps on top for traction, but they tend to wear off anyway so it’s a minor complaint.

My major complaint is the wire of the wired controller. The cable isn’t nearly as flexible or pliable as I would like it to be and it has a tendency to kink and twist.  Like many other gamers, I wind up my wired controllers cable around it when not in use. The Mad Catz cable does not seem to like this. No matter how carefully I do this the cable tends to get kinked at weird right angles and it likes to fold and twist back upon itself. It can be easily straightened for game play but it never seems to stay straight. I find myself straightening the cable before every gaming session and occasionally during gaming if I move around. While dealing with tangled cables is one of the downsides of wired controllers, I’ve seen other controllers that have more forgiving cables. The cable issue hasn’t affected functionality one bit and it’s more of a minor inconvenience and annoyance more than anything.

Lastly, the “back” and “start” buttons are placed too high and too close together. They are also too small and too low profile for larger fingers or thumbs to easily locate and differentiate without looking. Since I don’t use these buttons too often I find myself looking down to find them. It’s more of an observation than a complaint since it doesn’t bother me or affect my gaming too much.

Let’s wrap things up with a quick summary.  After 8 months of use here’s my break down of the Mad Catz Xbox 360 Wired controller.

What’s HOT!

  • Affordable Second or Backup Controller
  • Durable
  • USB Connectivity Allows this Controller to be Used on a Windows Based PC!
  • Large Easy to Use Trigger Buttons
  • Wired Means No Batteries and No Charging!

Meh… (What’s NOT So Hot)

  • Cable Tends to Kink and Twist
  • The Analog Sticks can be a Little Slippery After Extended Gaming
  • The “Back” and “Start” Buttons are a Little Too Small and Oddly Placed.


The Verdict?

Overall I’ve loved the Mad Catz Wired Xbox 360 controller. It has performed surprisingly well after 2/3 of a year of heavy usage. If you are looking for a durable second controller or backup controller I highly recommend it. In fact there are several times I reach for this wired controller over the wireless controller that comes with the Xbox 360.  Of course I’ll always prefer gaming with a wireless controller but I would highly recommend the Mad Catz Xbox 360 wired controller for anyone who needs a durable and cheap controller.

The Mad Catz Wired Xbox 360 Controller is available in white or black.

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