[astro c40]Astro C40 TR Controller Review (PS4 and PC): Almost Perfect | WIRED

  First-party controllers occupy a place of privilege in the pantheon of gaming peripherals. They’re the gold standard, the official controllers, the good ones. They stand head and shoulder-buttons above the competition, sneering imperiously down at the hordes of lesser gamepads. Like mighty Thanos bearing all six infinity stones, Microsoft- and Sony-branded controllers swat aside third-party competitors with ease, turning them to dust with a snap of their fingers.

  There’s still hope for third-party controllers, but they get a bad rap, thanks in no small part to the glut of cheapo gamepads that feel like knockoffs of the real thing. (I’m looking at you mid-’90s MadCatz.) In recent years, companies like Razer and Scuf have worked tirelessly to rehabilitate the reputation of third-party controllers by spending serious time and money engineering them as precisely as a high-end mouse or keyboard, devices that don’t just emulate, but innovate. Astro made a name for itself by producing quality gaming headsets. With the C40 TR gamepad, it plans to supplement its sound with improved control.

  Tournament Ready

  Before you ever lay hands on it, the C40 TR sets itself apart from the usual crop of third-party gamepads. At $200, it has no choice. Unboxing it is like opening up a new smartphone or pair of high-end headphones. There’s no blister packaging or flimsy card stock here. The packaging is heavy, thick, matte-and-glossy, classy, and understated.

  Lift up the matte-finished box and you’ll find the controller lying in its padded clamshell carrying case, black with details picked out in red and gray. The PlayStation logo on the power button serves as a reminder of this PC/PS4 gamepad’s dual purpose and pedigree.

  The Astro C40 TR borrows some of the best design elements from official console controllers for Xbox One and PS4. The black and red design makes the C40 TR feel like a Dark Mode version of the standard Xbox One gamepad, with almost the same exact profile and shape. The joystick layout, where both sticks are on the bottom, mimics the DualShock 4.

  Custom Craftsmanship

  Similar to the Xbox One Elite controller, the C40 TR is compatible with two sets of swappable joysticks—short and tall. The tall joysticks were awkward at first. They made movement and aiming feel too fast or too slow in some games. However, after a few hours I got used to them, and aiming with a tall stick felt very natural. The extra height offers more precise control than you normally get with a gamepad. Using the included screwdriver, you can even swap the locations of the joysticks or position your D-pad higher and left joystick lower—less like an Xbox One pad and more like a PlayStation controller.

  exploded view of Astro C40Astro Gaming

  The Astro C40 TR offer practical customization options, and it packs a couple extras that give it a leg up. On the back side of the gamepad you’ll find two additional buttons you can set (map) functions to with the included software—helpful for battle royale games like Apex Legends and Fortnite, which have a lot of special abilities you can remap. (Be careful though; it’s easy to accidentally click them when you pick up the controller.) Just above those buttons you’ll find two mechanical switches that toggle the built-in trigger stops, turning the standard trigger buttons into hair-triggers you barely have to press, suitable for twitch-fast response times. They’re perfect for tense, oh-no-I-didn’t-see-that-guy moments in a game like Destiny 2. Sometimes an extra millisecond is all you need to stay alive.