The Xbox One Elite controller is the gold standard for high-end consumer level controllers currently on the market. While it comes with a hefty price tag, the Elite controller gives a level of customization and quality not normally available for the average console buyer. PlayStation 4 users have been left envious of what the Xbox One has on offer with the Elite, but thanks to Astro, PS4 owners now have their own customizable controller to use, and it is brilliant.
Known for their high-end audio hardware (The Astro A40 for example), their first foray into the world of tournament level controllers has proven to be an exciting one. The Astro C40 TR is a well built, comfortable, and customizable option for PS4 and PC owners. From the fit and finish to the way it feels in the hand, the C40 is one of the best PlayStation 4 controllers I have ever used. Astro has knocked it out of the park, making a controller that is easy to use while providing the freedom to customize.
The C40 has all the buttons and features you would expect from the PS4, including a fully functional touchpad, but it also has an additional two buttons on the back that can be customized as you choose. To keep with the “pro” feel, the C40 also has features such as trigger travel stops along with the ability to toggle between profiles and wireless and wired modes.
Astro has built the C40 for customization first and foremost, making every aspect of the controller easy to dive into and change. Programming the rear buttons is as easy as holding down a button while you tap the rear button and then tapping the button you want it to mimic. In testing, this took a grand total of around 60 seconds and works beautifully.
Things don’t stop there; the front faceplate comes off with the included tool, making it easy to rearrange the controller to how you see fit. Due to the fact I am used to the Xbox One controller, I set up the C40 with an offset stick layout, making it the first time I have been able to enjoy PS4 games with that layout, and it was wonderful.
The included tool makes the process a breeze. When I first unpacked everything I dove in, seeing what could be done, and it was easy to try things and sort out what felt best. Granted, you can only do so much with the included selection of gizmos, but it was enough to make the C40 feel like my own.
The tool isn’t required for everything though, as the sticks can be removed by simply popping them off, offering a slew of ways you can dive into the C40, giving it the feel that is best tailored to your style of gaming. Despite the fact the C40 needs the tool for some of the more complex changes, everything feels solid, and I never feared breaking or causing damage to the device while changing things around.
Actually playing games with the C40 is fantastic, as one would hope from a controller with this price tag. While the larger profile may not be for everyone, I found it incredibly comfortable for long gameplay sessions. I have found the standard PS4 controller a bit cramped at times, and a bit more space along with the adjustable stick placement has helped in that regard.
As I mentioned in my review of the Xbox Elite controller, the rear buttons can be a godsend for select games. Being able to map running to a standard button rather than pushing in an analog stick is great for games that need it constantly, and is simply more comfortable for long gameplay sessions.
Playing games like Hitman, Diablo III, and Mirrors Edge, I immediately noticed the comfort and ease of use the C40 offers. Often a third party controller will not have the same quality feel as one that comes with the console, making it hard to enjoy the game you are playing. Thankfully, that is not the case here. Almost everything I tested worked as one would hope, allowing the C40 to far exceed my expectations on almost all regards.
Now, I did say “almost” everything. The D-pad on offer, while better than most, was as comfortable or responsive as the one available on the PS4 controller. It works in a pinch, but for games that rely on it, I felt was a bit too stiff for my liking in games like Street Fighter V or Mortal Kombat X. While this is a personal preference, I did avoid those sorts of games while testing the C40.
Moving over to the PC, and C40 gets far more interesting. The Astro C40 software is filled with a slew of ways to customize and make the C40 truly yours. From sensitivity settings to profiles, if you can dream it, you can probably do it with this software. One down point is that while you can build many profiles in the software, only two can be loaded to the C40 at any given time. This is not a deal breaker, but is important to keep in mind should you be looking to attend a tournament or an event with the C40 in tow.
PC gaming with the C40 was just as good as it was on the PS4. Games like Hitman and Tomb Raider were a joy with the device. It was easy to set up, and within a few minutes I was in the game, enjoying what the C40 had to offer. With the software, I managed to make it an ideal PC experience, ensuring no matter where I took the C40, I would be able to jump in and enjoy my games.
At the end of the day, Astro has knocked it out of the park with the C40 TR. From the fit and finish to the functionality, the C40 finally gives PlayStation 4 users the Elite controller we have always wanted. A few quirks and the meaty price tag aside, if you are in the market for a tournament level input device for your PS4, and have always been envious of the Elite, look no further than the C40, you won’t be disappointed.