At first glance, we'll admit that the RIG Pro Compact isn't really much to look at. Yes, it's a USB powered controller rather than a wireless one, and it's arguably not as stylish as the official Xbox Wireless Controller for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, but looks can be deceiving, and we've found this to be a surprisingly great pro controller in practice.
Let's start with the overall feel of the controller, which is very good. The thumbsticks are enjoyable to wield and have a nice texture to them, while the buttons are clicky and responsive. The d-pad is a bit spongey, but perfectly adequate for most games. The triggers are quite different to the standard Xbox Wireless Controller, adopting a more PlayStation-like 'R2' and L2' design which takes some getting used to, but they're satisfying to use nonetheless.
It's a bit of a departure from what we're used to, then, but we quickly adapted over a few games of Titanfall 2, and found the button and trigger layouts to be a big benefit in certain games, such as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2, where it felt like it was very easy to pull off fluid combos thanks to the controller's unique design. A good start!
There are a couple of missteps though, such as the 'Menu' and 'View' buttons being awkwardly placed at the top of the controller while the Guide button is lower down than usual. And in general, while the RIG Pro Compact is definitely enjoyable to use, it doesn't feel quite as comfortable in the hand as the standard Xbox Wireless Controller.
You do get a fair few benefits with this controller, however. The big selling point is that it's the "world's first Xbox controller to include Dolby Atmos," which basically means that instead of paying the standard license fee to access Dolby Atmos for Headphones on Xbox, you get it included with the controller, and the license carries with it. If you want to take your RIG Pro Compact to a friend's house, you can still use Dolby Atmos there as well. It's a nice touch.
We're not huge audiophiles, so we're not going to go too in-depth in regards to the Dolby Atmos experience specifically, but it's described as providing "stunning detail, precision, and realism in your games, movies, and shows with sound that flows all around you — even overhead and behind you." Certain games are tailored for Dolby Atmos, such as Forza Horizon 4 and Call of Duty: Warzone, resulting in higher audio quality and improved surround sound. You can get a seven day trial right now on Xbox if you want to test it for yourself ahead of time.
Another benefit you get with the RIG Pro Compact is that you can download an Xbox app to tinker with your controller's settings, accessing everything from button mapping to specific customisation options tailored towards sports games, shooters, racers and more. You can alter the sensitivity of the triggers, for example, and play around with dead zones.
And that USB cable? Yeah, it's annoying that the controller isn't wireless, but the cable itself is nice and long, feels quite premium in its design, and is well-built and chunky enough that it's not going to break apart easily. It's not really ideal to be playing with USB controllers in 2021, but there's nothing to grumble about in regards to the execution here.
We're coming away pretty impressed with the RIG Pro Compact, then. It feels good to use, appears well-built, comes with Dolby Atmos for Headphones as part of the package, and offers various pro controller features. The European version which released earlier this year (known as the Nacon Pro Compact) has also been getting good reviews from customers so far, so it looks like the majority of buyers have been happy with their purchases.
Yet, with all that said... we think the standard Xbox Series X Wireless Controller still edges it in terms of comfort. The extra features make the RIG Pro Compact worth switching to now and again - and it's a brilliant 'Player 2' controller to give to your friends - but it's just not quite on the level of the official design. If you fancy a change and you like the sound of those extra benefits though, we think you'll be pleased with the RIG Pro Compact.
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Have you bought the RIG Pro Compact (or Nacon Pro Compact)? Let us know down in the comments.