EasySMX Gamepad: hardware review

With the PS4 well and truly settled in, the PS3 is living on borrowed time. An official controller still costs about thirty quid though, and you’ll be paying about the same for a PC-compatible Xbox controller. The EasySMX Gamepad claims to do the job for both formats, as well as mobile devices. But does it? And if so, how well?

Firstly, and most importantly, I can report flawless connection to two of the three formats. My PS3 immediately and happily accepted the controller, all buttons working as they should. Although installation was predictably a slower process on my laptop, it connected with no hassle once the driver was installed, and apes functionality of Microsoft’s controller just as you’d hope. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the gamepad to work correctly with any of the games I tried on my Kindle Fire 7. Mind you, the Kindle is a piece of crap when it comes to running anything more complicated than e mail, so that doesn’t mean a lot.

The pad itself is impressively well-constructed. Light yet solid, with buttons that are responsive and spring back with reassuring speed. The analogue sticks are comfortable to use, and feel just as reliable as the rest of the pad. Triggers have decent spring, though put up just a little more resistance than you may perhaps expect. On a related note, they don’t seem to offer true analogue, something to bear in mind if you want precision acceleration in racing games.

Directions on the d-pad may not register input if you give them only a light tap; this is, hopefully, something that should only be a problem while quickly scrolling through menus. In addition the sticks, while superior to those in many third-party controllers I’ve tried, reveal themselves to have deadzones that are just a fraction too dead (an issue mirrored in the DualShock 3, in my opinion) in certain situations. Specifically, when aiming ADS in shooters, I found that minute adjustment of my aim was noticeably less responsive than when playing on PS4 or Xbone. Whacking up the in-game stick sensitivity improves things, but it’s still a smidgen off what I’m used to.

It’s a wired controller, USB-C with a normal USB adapter. If you prefer wireless gaming, then this isn’t for you – but for the money (£13.99 at Amazon at time of writing, a recent slight price increase), what do you expect? It does include rumble functionality though, and not the mini-earthquake that many cheap controllers default to, either. Comfortable to use for extended periods and a decent vibration feature? Bonus.

This certainly isn’t a pro gamer’s pad. If you’re looking for a PS3 and/or PC controller for casual use, though – or an extra one for the kids – this is an excellent choice that should last you a very long time.

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Written by Luke K

Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you'll find something he's written in there. Luke doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

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