The PowerA Fusion Pro 3 Wired Xbox controller came as a breath of fresh air to me. Shamefully, I have been using the same old Xbox controller since 2015. Having seen through unforgettable experiences in Rare Replay, The Master Chief Collection, Sea of Thieves, Forza Horizon 5, and more, I thought I might struggle to adapt to the new one, that I might have become so comfortable with my old one, that nothing could replace it.
Nah. The PowerA Fusion Pro 3 is the best Xbox controller I’ve ever used – ideal for Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S. As soon as I held it in my hands, I knew I was going to love it, despite being set in my ways. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised – PowerA are well-known and respected manufacturers who have been trusted to make official controllers for various consoles. It has a few bells and whistles which won’t necessarily mean much to casual gamers, but there’s a lot to be admired here, and hey, if you’re going to get one of the best gaming controllers, you may as well get a premium controller too, right?
- Looks and feels great
- Loads of customization options
- Has a cool carry case
- No option for wireless play
- Slightly more expensive than others
Here’s a little table for those who like to know the ins and outs of their controllers.
PowerA Fusion Pro 3 Wired Xbox controller specs:
|Connection||USB-C cable, headphone jack|
|Platform||Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, PC (Windows 10/11)|
|Customizable buttons||Four remappable buttons, two adjustable triggers, three swappable thumbsticks|
|Cable length||10 feet|
Of course, if you just want something to play games with, this will do the job just fine. However, this is a slightly more expensive controller, and you’ll find that it comes with a number of extra features that put it ahead of the pack.
The PowerA Fusion Pro 3 comes with a handy little protective case. The controller sits comfortably and easily inside, and there’s plenty of room for the alternative control sticks (more on them later) and its connective wire. Of course, this makes it easy to transport, but aside from that, it’s just a convenient way to store your controller on a day-to-day basis. If you leave your Xbox controllers out, they’ll get really dusty, but cases like this help keep them cleaner.
Alternative control sticks
Now, onto those alternative control sticks that I mentioned. The face plate of the controller can be easily popped off, and then you can pull off either thumbstick. You can swap them around if you want, or you can use a third, slightly longer thumbstick on either of them too. For me, the default configuration was just fine, but it’s nice that the option is there for those who might need it.
If you’ve never used a controller with a removable face and swappable thumbsticks, let me assure you that they all feel exactly the same as in-alterable controllers. You won’t need to worry about the face popping off mid-game, and as long as the screen is on, the thumbsticks can’t come off either.
This controller has four remappable buttons on its back side, below the RB, RT, LB, and LT triggers. The process for remapping them is very simple – you just press a button on the back to indicate that you want to remap, then push a button on the front of the controller, before then clicking on one of the extra four buttons that you’d like to apply it to.
It doesn’t allow you to save multiple configurations like some of the more highly advanced controllers, but it will remember the setup you’ve applied to it and offers an easy method for re-setting it. You won’t really have an inkling of how convenient the remapping is until you actually do it, but there are so many slightly awkward button presses that games require, and remapping can make things so much easier. I recommend experimenting if you haven’t before.
Braided USB-C cable
This is a purely wired controller, so you need to keep it plugged in all the time. To be honest, before I got this controller, I was holding onto some anti-wired sentiment. I grew up gaming on the SNES and N64, and when I got a Wavebird controller on my GameCube, I thought “Wow, wireless controllers are the future, I never want to use a wired one again.”
This was my first time using a wired controller since way back then. My mind was riddled with childhood memories of wires getting tangled up, controllers getting unplugged, and wires so short I had to sit on the floor near the TV. Needless to say, wired controllers have come a long way since then, and any apprehension about using them has since evaporated.
The cable that comes packaged with the controller is ten feet long, so it’s unlikely that it won’t reach between your console and your sofa. Meanwhile, it also eliminates the difficulty that sometimes arises from trying to connect wirelessly – I use the controller on my laptop and my Xbox quite a lot, and it’s a simple case of plug-and-play. No awkward setup required.
Also, do you ever go through periods of not playing your Xbox so much, but still using the console to access Netflix, Disney Plus, and the like? It happens to me during periods where I’m more deeply engrossed in my Nintendo Switch. During that time, it’s annoying that you have to chip away at the controller’s battery life just to navigate a few menus – with this wired controller, you don’t need to worry about that in situations like these.
3-way Trigger Locks
On the back of the controller, you’ll find that you can adjust a couple of small dials below the LT and RT triggers. By adjusting those dials, you change the depth of the triggers. If you need to press one of them rapidly, for example, it makes sense to adjust it so that you don’t need to press the button so deeply. Alternatively, you may find situations where pulling deeply on the triggers feels comfortable and deepens your immersion – it’s just another way in which the Fusion Pro 3 gives you a chance to find something that feels best for you.
If you have one of the best Xbox headsets, you’ll be pleased to hear that you can easily use it with the Fusion Pro 3 by plugging it directly into the controller. There’s even a handy little switch that lets you mute the microphone at any point. It’s much easier to toggle that than something on the headset itself.
Visually, the controller looks great. A little scary without the face plate off, like a face without skin (only joking – kind of) but you won’t need to take it off very often anyway. It’s like a standard Xbox controller, but a little fancier. There’s a bit of grip added for both of your hands, and it just feels like it’s made of a more premium plastic than you get with regular Xbox controllers.
One small thing that I liked was the Xbox button in the middle. It’s a little bit smaller and a little bit rounder than the one I’m used to. It’s a weird thing to fixate on, I guess, but it makes me happy. It’s much more satisfying to press this than it is to press on older controllers which just have a purely flat button.
Size-wise it’s pretty much exactly the same as older models, and buttons are positioned in all the same places, making it very easy to adapt to. Obviously, there’s the additional level of customization from the swappable thumbsticks and remappable buttons that let you make it your own too.
There’s not a bad word I can say about this controller in terms of performance. I suppose you might be a little bit disappointed if you want something that at least gives you the option to play it wirelessly (this doesn’t), but nobody would buy this controller hoping for it to do that anyway.
Though this isn’t so much rooted in science, I do think that the buttons feel a little nicer to press on the Fusion Pro 3 than they do on my other controllers. On the left and right triggers, this might be because of them being “magnetic impulse triggers” (as the box proudly describes them), but that only applies to the triggers specifically, and it all feels great. Satisfying button presses are something you don’t really appreciate until you get a controller like this.
Its vibration is pretty great too. It uses “dual rumble motors” which feel absolutely fantastic. My old controller had always made a weird sort of creaky noise whenever it vibrates (which I’ll forever associate with watering plants in Viva Piñata), and the Fusion Pro 3 doesn’t do anything like that. I also think it’s just a more powerful vibration, which does a good job of heightening dramatic moments.
Should you buy
- Yes: You want a top-of-the-range controller for Xbox and/or PC.
- Yes: You want a controller with lots of nifty customization features.
- No: You want a wireless controller.
- No: You want a cheap, basic controller with no frills.
I absolutely loved this controller. It was obvious that it was a premium piece of equipment and it felt good to use. All the customization features are great, and easily being able to use the same controller for both Xbox and PC was super convenient.
Having said that, I couldn’t help but think that a lot of casual gamers wouldn’t get a lot out of the features, and might be happier buying something cheaper and less fancy. If you play a lot of competitive games, this will be a fantastic choice for you, but slower-paced single-player experiences won’t benefit from the features quite as much (though from an accessibility point of view, it’s always good to have the options for those who need them).
If this controller isn’t for you, you might want to consider the following alternatives.
The Xbox Wireless Elite is an ideal option for anyone who wants a wireless high-end Xbox controller.
The Gamesir G7 Wired Xbox controller is the best choice for anyone who wants a cheaper controller that just gets the job done.
PowerA Fusion Pro 3 Xbox controller review
A top-of-the-range wired Xbox controller that feels and looks great, with loads of options to customize it. It’s an excellent choice of controller, but more casual gamers, or wireless supremacists may want to look elsewhere.