There has been a definite shift in PC gaming in recent times. For a while a PC game couldn't hold its head up if it didn't require some esoteric piece of equipment to play, have a keyboard overlay, and plenty of time in the library spent studying the manual.
Now with the XBOX 360 being a PC in a box, developers have left more and more of their titles on the system that developed them. Indeed with the easy plug-and-play nature of a wired 360 pad many games come complete with a 360 config so you can be up and running in moments. So whilst the console roots of titles mean that graphically games are lagging behind, in the playability stakes there has never been a better time to be a PC gamer.
Razer have been around forever providing us with many of the finest mice around and they have now turned their attention to the XBOX 360 pad and turned the volume up to 11.
There is a lot to take in when looking at what has changed in the Onza TE when compared to a stock XBOX 360 pad. Extra buttons, plenty of adjustments and a really gorgeous look.
- 2 Adjustable resistance analog sticks
- 2 Multi-Function Buttons (MFB)
- 4 backlit Hyperesponse action buttons
- Precision D-Pad
- Non-slip rubber surface
- Quick release USB connector
- 15 foot, lightweight, braided fiber cable
- 2.5mm microphone jack
- Approx. size in mm: 109(L) x 154(W) x 60.5(H)
Xbox 360 System or PC
Available USB Port
Speaking of gorgeous looks, read on.
The Onza comes in Razers usual high standard of packaging. The pad itself is easily visible through the thick plastic cover and that insane green just screams to anyone passing by that this is a Razer product. Round the back we have the usual highlighting of the various features. As that's what we'll be doing, keep on scrolling.
Inside the box we find the regular Razer bits and pieces. A couple of stickers and some very exacting cutting around the warranty and manual. As this is a pad that replicates the 360 perfectly in hardware-identifier terms, there is no need for any drivers.
As for the pad itself it's familiar and yet subtly different. Everything is roughly where you'd expect but rather than being a bit of a pudding of a thing like the Microsoft original, Razer have sharpened the edges to provide a much more modern looking controller without compromising comfort.
Tucked away on the underside is the inbuilt remapping function for the extra buttons which are situated just above the LB and RB buttons. This is simplicity itself as you just hold down the button beneath to indicate which of the two you wish to remap, then press the button you'd like mapped to it. So for example if you hold down Remap Right, then press X, now your RMFB button is now a duplicate of X.
And here are those two extra buttons which we'll look at in greater detail on the next page. The D-Pad is segmented too. The whole of the Onza TE is coated in that soft rubber we often see on the top of Mice. This is so grippy as to be hugely impressive. For these pictures we literally just took the Onza out the box and placed it under the lights, yet already its sticky surface has picked up a few bits of dust. It doesn't spoil the look at all but it should ensure that even the sweatiest gamer wont lose the pad.
Hold on tight as we've got three things to mention from one picture. The segmented D-Pad helps ensure your inputs can be made accurately, which certainly isn't a claim you can level against the Microsoft one. The Start and Select buttons have been moved to the leading edge of the pad which should stop those awkward moments when you slip off the top of the right stick and pause the game. Finally you can see the dial beneath the stick which enables you to adjust the resistance to your liking.
The buttons light up quite brightly. Unfortunately they have proved almost impossible to photograph clearly but 'in real life' the colours are much more vibrant and the letters still easily legible.
The cable is enormous, a full 15m long, and the whole thing is coated in a very high quality braid that is both soft to the touch and also sturdy enough to survive laying across your carpet and being caught by inattentive feet. There is also the standard 360 break-away about 2 foot along from the pad which should help keep your console/pad safe if people do catch the cable.
In those little touches, the text on the face buttons is upside down. When you're wondering what button is what you tend to tilt the pad towards yourself, so you can read it without any gymnastics.
The MFBs can be remapped to anything you like. This slightly adjustment of the placing of the standard RB and LB buttons has been ergonomically aided by giving them a little corner so you can press them just by flexing your first knuckle. Dead handy for those gear changes whilst keeping your fingers on the triggers. Those triggers are bigger too and more comfortable to use.
Testing and Conclusion
The debate rages long and hard, like all console debates have since the dawn of time, about which of the two major pads is the better, the Sony DualShock 3 or the XBOX 360 controller. As someone who is a PSWii60 gamer I think they both have positives and negatives. The dual-stick placement on the DualShock is much better, as is the battery life, but the 360 triggers are a world ahead of the Playstations offerings. The point is they are both so good that it's difficult to think of how they can be improved.
That was until we met the Razer Onza TE. This is absolutely leagues ahead of the standard Microsoft 360 pad. Normally I like to start my conclusions with the good stuff, but as there isn't any bad stuff let's just list off the improvements.
Firstly the comfort of the pad. The coating is sticky and easy to grip, without feeling strange in the hand. It doesn't matter how intense your gaming session or how warm the weather. The reality is you could take part in a World Final, in Malaysia, in the height of summer, and yet the Onza Tournament Edition still wouldn't slip and slide from your grip. The tolerances in manufacturing are exceptional too. None of that 'seam' around the pad that eventually makes your palms sore. It's as if the Onza has been hewn from a single piece of plastic.
The analogue sticks have a gorgeous smoothness to them and they are very linear. The dial beneath each stick has 28 different 'clicks' that adjust them from being so easy to move that you could almost breathe them around, to stiffer than a guy on his first date. Because each stick is adjustable separately you really can tweak it to exactly your requirements for each game.
Speaking of games, a lot use both analogue sticks, and yet also require you use the ABXY for certain functions. This is always a big of a pain as, unless you're an Octopus, you tend to have to take your thumb off the right stick to use them. Now, with the remappable buttons just above the standard LB and RB ones you can quickly remap any of those four to the face buttons and keep your thumbs on the sticks. It isn't just those four as the two extra buttons Razer have supplied can be remapped to anything you choose, even start and back should you so require.
The buttons, and indeed the triggers, are highly responsive. Whereas the Microsoft offering uses membranes which quickly become squidgy, the Razer Onza TE uses microswitches with nearly zero travel before they are activated. To call them highly responsive almost does them a disservice.
Finally the D-Pad, which is laughably useless on the standard pad, is now a genuine option. By splitting the pad from a single floating type into four buttons you can pull off nearly anything you choose. Even the famous QCF fireball motion becomes simplicity and still comfortable.
Yes at Fifty Quid this is a bit pricier than a wireless 360 one, but it's so perfect that it's a bargain. Capable of being used on both an XBOX 360, and as the ultimate PC controller, we cannot recommend the Razer Onza Tournament Edition highly enough and it's unquestionably a winner of the coveted OC3D Gold Award.
Thanks to Razer for supplying the Onza TE for review. Discuss in our forums.