One of the highlights at gamecom 2015 was the Afterglow Prismatic Wired Controller for Xbox One from the manufacturer PDP.
PDP promote their controller with an adjustable lighting, as well as six softkeys on the backside, audio controlling through special keys and the Afterglow smartphone application. The controller only works via cable and we were not able to test the Afterglow app, because it is not available yet.
Apart from the controller itself, PDP delivers a three meter long USB cable and an multi-lingual instruction manual in the box.
Appearance and Ergonomics
The Afterglow Xbox One Controller is made of a combination of transparent and black synthetic material. The chassis feels significant and seems very firm. Unfortunately both materials are getting dirty through fingerprints pretty quick. In total all keys are well built and the user receives a good feedback.
The overall workmanship is pretty good. Only the crack between the upper and lower half of the housing is a little uncomfortable holding. The triggers do not touch the housing at all, so there is a crack too. This one is pretty big so dirt could enter the device easily.
The controller is comfortable to use and the two wheels on the bottom side, which represent the six softkeys, are perfectly placed for the use with your middle finger. Every wheel can be moved up and down and can be pressed like a normal key. These three movements are the three softkey actions per wheel. The turning of the wheels works, because of bump on them, pretty well. Merely the use as a button takes getting used to, because the wheels need to be in the right position.
Between the softkeys, there is a program button. With the help of this button we are able to control the softkeys and the lighting effects. This button is integrated pretty well and is easy to use. Sadly, we sometimes press it during fights. In this case the controller stops reacting in the game, but starts to change its color.
The triggers are pretty tender. This is good for racing games if you want to perfectly control gas and brakes, but it can also lead to unpredictable actions if you are not used to this.
It is pretty easy to set up this controller and you only need pressing the program button one, two or three times.
If you press the button one time, a small LED in the middle of the controller lights up blue. Now we are able to adjust the brightness of the illumination with the left stick and the color with the right one. Now we press the program button again to save this alignment.
After a double pressing the LED lights up green and we can now set the softkeys up. If we aktivate one of them the LED starts flashing, this indicates, that we can choose another key to place there.
If we press the program button three times the LED lights up yellow. Now we can enable or disable the red flashing vibration LEDs by using the d-pad.
All those adjustments are completely explained in the instruction manual. PDP also says that the Afterglow app – which will be available soon – will contain them.
Use of a separate headset
A 3.5 millimeter audio-connector on the controller allows the usage of a headset directly through the controller. This is also configurable through the controller. We tested this function with the Afterglow AG9 Headset and smartphone headsets. We could not find any quality loss compared to a direct connection to the computer.
The user can adjust the volume and the chat-audio-balance by pressing the audio-button next to the right stick and the d-pad. Both, the volume-regulation and the audio-balance-regulation work flawlessly on the Xbox. The controller returns a noise if the maximum volume is reached.