Nacon's back with another licensed PlayStation 4 pad, adding to its already impressive controller lineup on Sony's system. The Nacon Revolution Pro Controller 3 is, as its name suggests, the third main iteration of the company's 'Revolution' series -- technically the fourth if you're counting the Revolution Unlimited -- but how does it fare as an Xbox-style alternative to the DualShock 4? And is it worth the upgrade if you're already on board with Nacon's PS4 offerings? In this hardware review, we'll attempt to answer those questions and more.
We've spent around 60 hours with the Revolution 3 (as we'll be calling it from this point on), and even after reviewing the Revolution Unlimited earlier this year, the overall quality of Nacon's newest controller has left us impressed.
Build quality and comfort
Much like Nacon's other premium pads, the Revolution 3 has an immediately comfortable feel to it. Its curvature and textured grips allow it to sit rather effortlessly in your hands, and as usual, you can adjust its heft by slotting small weights into its arms. Without any weights, it's about as light as a regular DualShock 4, but it still manages to retain that premium feel thanks to its high quality plastics.
After giving it some thought, we reckon it's the controller's underside that really sells its shape. Nacon's got its form factor nailed, and the way that the arms curve into the flat underside of the pad gives it a notable advantage over the DualShock 4's comparatively rigid design. It just feels like you've got a better grip.
All in all, the Revolution 3 is probably Nacon's most comfortable controller yet. We had some mammoth gaming sessions with this thing and it always felt like a perfect fit.
Nacon's approach to face buttons can still feel a tad strange if you're used to the DualShock 4 since they're slightly bigger and the circle button continues to curve with with side of the controller, but other than that, there's not much to say. They've got a nice firmness to them, and they get the job done.
Shoulder buttons and triggers
If you've sampled previous Nacon pads, then you'll know what's in store here -- L1, R1, L2, and R2 are pretty much identical across all models. If not, the Revolution 3 boasts satisfyingly springy triggers, while its shoulder buttons have a nice click to them. Both sets of inputs feel great to push, and, as we've noted in past reviews, they're very hard to fault.
As mentioned, the Revolution 3 sticks to the Xbox-style stick layout. By this point you'll likely know whether you prefer asymmetrical sticks over symmetrical ones, but for what it's worth, Nacon continues to do a great job of offering an alternative design to Sony's DualShock 4.
Nacon's analog sticks haven't changed much at all over the course of its controller's evolution, and with the Revolution 3, they remain tight and responsive. We suppose that you don't fix what isn't broken, although it's worth noting that the Revolution 3 doesn't offer stick customisation in the form of wider shafts or different grips. In order to alter the performance of the sticks, you'll need to hook the controller up to a PC and use Nacon's software to adjust the sensitivity to your liking. Fortunately, the software's easy to set up and use.
The Revolution 3's directional pad is difficult to knock. At first it can feel just a bit spongey, and the fact that it's just one big cross on the front of the controller can take some getting used to if you're a fan of the DualShock 4, but spend a few hours with it and it's surprisingly accurate. What's more, its impressively smooth design makes it particularly easy on your left thumb -- you're not going to get any blisters from using this thing.
To top it all off, the d-pad can actually be programmed to register either 4-way or 8-way inputs, which is a nice touch. Being able to switch over to just four directions can be a boon in certain games as it potentially eliminates a lot of clumsy diagonal inputs.
The Revolution 3 comes with all of the functionality that we've come to expect of Nacon's efforts. Four additional 'shortcut' buttons line the inner sides of the controller's arms, and all of them can be mapped to whichever inputs you like. You can also quickly swap between saved profiles using a button on the underside of the pad, each profile lighting up a different LED on the front of the device. Convenient.
In terms of PS4-specific functionality, it's got a touch pad (that's pronounced and quick to push), a share button, a home button, and a headphone jack in the usual spot.
The Revolution 3 is a wired controller only (it is built with competitive play in mind, after all), and a reasonably lengthy USB cable is included.
Conclusion: Should you buy the Nacon Revolution Pro Controller 3?
Nacon continues to impress with its PS4 products. Assuming you're a fan of its Xbox-style layout, the Revolution 3 feels great to hold and play with. In our experience, we're tempted to say that it's the most comfortable Nacon pad yet, and that's saying a lot.
However, other than its super comfortable form, there's not a lot to separate the Revolution 3 from its predecessors. Its buttons, sticks, and triggers all adhere to the company's tried and tested models, so it quickly becomes a lot more difficult to recommend the pad to anyone who already owns a previously released Nacon controller.
Retailing at around £90, the Nacon Revolution Pro Controller 3 is another solid win for the company. As the '3' in its name suggests, this controller is all about slight improvements, but again, if you're new to Nacon, you can't go wrong.
What do you think of the Nacon Revolution Pro Controller 3? Are you a fan of Nacon's products? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.