Style and design
Although gaming controllers have had design changes through the years, the general style has remained virtually the same since the days of the original Playstation and Xbox devices. The HyperX Clutch Gladiate is no different, featuring a similar shape to a standard Xbox controller – not surprising given that it is an officially licensed Xbox Controller. The Gladiate ships in a shimmering matt black finish, but as is the case of most HyperX products, it does have some red highlights - particularly the base of the thumbsticks which stand out nicely. The underside of the controller too has some red highlights with two programmable buttons.
The Gladiate does feature some added lines that separate the control panel area from the handles giving the impression that the buttons are somewhat inlaid. This is not the case but does give the HyperX a unique style. To the rear, the triggers and bumpers have a smooth curved design that mould nicely into the shape of the controller. The handles themselves have a textured area on the rear that allows better grip.
As well the rear textured area, the thumbsticks have textured ridges for added control. There’s nothing worse than taking that jump on your favourite platformer only for your sweaty thumb to slide off. With the added ridges on the thumbsticks, this will be less likely to occur, even after a long gaming session. I did however notice that after a couple of hours that this textured rim also acted as an exfoliator for my thumb, seemingly removing fine particles of dry skin.
The controller features a 2.8m cable, which is long enough to reach from most gaming units to a couch. Although this could be somewhat of a hindrance if you're playing with a group of friends, the fact that it is a wired controller means that players won't need to worry about the controller running out of batteries. The cable is detachable though, so when packing it away, it does enable gamers to pack it in a slightly more compact way, or even take the controller to a friend's house to use a friend's cable.
Features and performance
The HyperX Clutch Gladiate has a standard Xbox shape (albeit with the in-laid panel) but has two buttons on the underside of the controller that are fully programmable. These two extra buttons are in a position so that they are reasonably easy to access but not so much that they will be easy to press accidentally. Players will have to use their middle finger to control these buttons given that their index fingers will likely be controlling the bumpers and triggers. These programmable buttons can be configured for any other button, so if you're someone who has trouble reaching the Y button, this can be re-configured to one of these underside controls.
For players who like the feel every punch, shot or crash when playing, the dual rumble motors in the Gladiate perform wonderfully, giving gamers the full experience. The feedback is sufficient to let gamers know when they've been hit by a bullet from their favourite shooter or a punch or kick from a beat'em up, even if they didn't see the shooter or notice the strike connect. Although most controllers are fitted with some sort of rumble motors, it certainly adds some immersion into the game.
Furthering the immersion in a game is a great headset. If you're someone who likes to game whilst sitting on the couch and don’t have a wireless headset, then the 3.5mm audio jack will be a bonus. Admittedly, most Xbox controllers have this feature, but considering this is a budget priced model, it is a welcome addition, allowing gamers to plug in their favourite headset and listen to what is happening in the game without bothering those around them.
Gamers who use a controller for FPS titles or games that require a quick trigger finger, may find the dual trigger locks to be one of the features that will be of importance. The Gladiate has two settings – standard and locked, with the locked position allowing gamers to gain faster response times when they press the triggers.
As well as the control buttons and standard menu buttons, the Gladiate also features a convenient Share button on the front panel that allows gamers to share their highlights (or hilarious mishaps). Personally, it isn't something that I’ll use much of, but I can definitely see the merit of having such a button close at hand.
The HyperX Clutch Gladiate has all the features a gamer would want, but at a budget price. The controller is stylish with its inlaid control panel and signature HyperX red highlights under the thumbsticks. The face buttons are responsive, as are the thumbsticks for movement. The triggers are smooth and combined with the trigger locks, allow gamers to have that fast twitch actions that they often require. But it is the programmable rear buttons that give the HyperX controller an added boost, allowing gamers to adjust the Gladiate to their ideal configuration. The controller is comfortable to hold and although it is a wired controller, the lengthy cable still allows gamers to sit a comfortable distance from their screens to play at their hearts content with the knowledge that the battery won't go flat.
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