Inventing excuses after losing, dying, or in general just playing like crap is a time-honored tradition among gamers. We’ve heard them all — teammates who don’t pull their own weight, cheaters, tons of lag, screen glare, and worst of all, faulty or unresponsive controllers.
So here’s the bad news: Razer’s Onza TE will make covering up your ineptitude with hardware-based justifications even less tenable. But don’t panic. The good news is you might not have to make as many.
At just $10 more than Microsoft’s standard-issue wired controllers (and the same price as the wireless versions), the Onza TE is an undeniable value whether you’re a seasoned fragger or casual gamer. Yes, you’ll have to deal with a cord — Microsoft doesn’t license its wireless tech to third party peripheral makers — but at 15 feet, you should still have plenty of wiggle room from couch to console. In fact, like the rest of the controller, even that cord is thoughtfully designed. Made of lightweight, braided cable, it also comes with a quick release USB connector should anyone accidentally trip over it.
As for the controller itself, the first thing you’ll notice is that it has a drastically different feel then the standard Microsoft models. It’s not only lighter, thanks to the lack of a battery pack, it’s also slimmer and slightly more angular. Razer also coated the Onza TE with a rubberized, non-slip finish, ensuring that even Cheetos-stained fingers will maintain a firm hold.
But as with Razer’s other gaming peripherals, the Onza TE’s true appeal is in its ample opportunity for customization. To that end, both of the controller’s analog sticks have adjustable resistance rings, letting you tighten or loosen the amount of force needed to tilt them. You also get two separate, fully-mappable buttons located just above the triggers dedicated to whatever task you deem fit. (I was fond of mapping my reload button to right one).
Razer also threw in what it calls “hyper response technology” into its ABXY face buttons. This is actually just a fancy name for using mechanical switches beneath the buttons. And if you’ve suffered the mushy membrane switches that Microsoft uses in its standard controllers, the advantages will become immediately apparent. Not only is the depressing distance for each button much shorter, you’ll also get a satisfying click each time you do it. Even better? Those buttons are backlit.
The adjustable analog sticks also come in handy in multiple gaming situations. Dialing in the precise resistance when controlling the errant camera in L.A. Noire or loosening things up and adding a bit more precision as you’re aiming down your ACOG scope was simply a matter of twisting the rings on the analog sticks to the right or left.
Of course, none of this is to say the Onza TE will actually make up for lack of skill. But after using it for more than two weeks I can say it’ll make going back to any other controller nearly impossible.
WIRED Fantastic ergonomics and balanced heft. Mechanical switches under ABXY make for some great button mashing action. Super long 15-foot cable. PC compatible. Backlit buttons perfect for darkroom gaming. D-pad is divided into four distinct sections, giving you better control and accuracy in fighting games.
TIRED Slightly awkward placement of remapped “start” and “back” buttons.