Third party gaming peripherals are extremely hit or miss. While there are a handful of great ideas out there (the Nyko Zoom for the Kinect comes to mind), most end up ruining what was already a good thing. One must assume that Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo know what they’re doing, right? They must have dedicated teams devoted solely to making sure things like controllers are as perfect as can be, right?
In a perfect world, yes, but this is not a perfect world. You need to look no further than the Dualshock 3, my vote for the least comfortable controller ever (this includes the Dreamcast and original Xbox “Duke” controller as well) to realize that even corporate powerhouses often make accessories that are less than ideal for some.
I’ve been working with KontrolFreek for a few years now and for the most part, their products fall under the “cool, but not necessary” category. Textured thumb grips and skins for my controllers are always appreciated, but if I never had them, I would continue gaming with no issues. This is especially true with the Xbox One controller and Dualshock 4. Both are perfectly designed, in my opinion, and are about as comfortable as I could have hoped for. I really, REALLY don’t need to add anything else to it because there’s no way either can be improved. Right? Wrong.
The KontrolFreek Alpha is KF’s lowest profile grips, coming in at just 1/10th inch high. Other grips in the past have dramatically changed the height of the analog stick for better or worse, but as far as height goes, the Alpha is not noticeable. They come in a comfortable concave design with nubs on the grips, ensuring that your thumbs never slip off, no matter how sweaty or greasy they get.
While the height is not affected, the surface area of each stick does see a dramatic increase in size. The Xbox One sticks will see a 53% increase in surface area, while the PS4 sticks will see a whopping 101% increase. Now granted, a larger surface area might not be everyone’s cup of tea (especially those with smaller hands), but as someone who has big ogre hands, this is a very nice add-on to two already wonderful controllers. I no longer feel like I am manipulating Vita sticks as I now have a generous amount of space for my thumbs to occupy. It sounds like a small nitpick, but it makes all the difference in the world, especially when it comes to driving games.
The KontrolFreek Alpha is available for the Xbox One and PS4 controllers. You can pick them up starting on October 7th for $10.99 at KontrolFreek.com.