Shown above is the Onza Tournament Edition, a controller which shares a similar design to the standard 360 controller however clearly has Razers design tweaks applied to the overall shape. As well as providing users with a more angled design Razer also change the feel of the unit by adding a rubberised, non-slip finish across the whole controller.
Razer have also applied a few changes to the buttons on the controller. Most obvious is the change in font, followed by the fact that they are backlit so light up when the controller is on. In addition to this Razer use buttons similar to their mice for these and so they have a more noticeable click and shorter action than the standard Microsoft version.
The next key feature on the Onza can be found on each control stick. Just below the rubber top we have a dial which allows us to tweak the resistance of the stick. This is a technique we can remember going back as far as joysticks in the early 90s so it is interesting to see it make an appearance here. The reason for the inclusion of this feature? Firstly to allow users to find a feel that best suits them but secondly to tailor the stick for different games. For example FPS gamers may feel a looser setting is preferable but driving sim fans will probably prefer more resistance.
Razer have tweaked the d-pad also, splittingit in four which they feel will provide additional accuracy for players and the position of the back and start buttons has been brought forward to the base of the controller, next to the microphone input which razer recommend is connected to their Chimaera headset.
Round at the back of the controller we have another design tweak. As well as having the standard left and right shoulder buttons with triggers beneath them Razer has added left and right multi-function buttons. These can be programmed to match the functionality of the other button on the pad. For example if a game frequently asks for A and Y input it could be easier to leave A with our thumb and program one of the shoulder buttons to be Y.
In terms of design tweaks the shoulder buttons have a more satisfying click than the official controller with a slightly deeper range of movement and the trigger shape has a larger curve which adds more grip.
By flipping the controller over we can see the changes to the base of the pad. The main being the centre section which is where we find the multi-function control panel. In this area there are two buttons, we press these followed by the button we wish to assign to the shoulder to set the command. An LED display in the centre tells us which button is currently assigned to each and it is also possible to see the redesigned trigger shape more clearly in the image above.
The last aspect of the controller worthy of note is the cable. This 15ft (4.5m) cable is braided for the length of the wire, ending in a PC compatible USB connector with the standard MS style breakaway section about 10cm away.
Finally, before we talk about the user experience with our Onza, here is a quick look back at how the prototype sample looked a year back…