First Look: Razer Sabertooth Xbox Controller
Posted on Monday February 18, 2013, 16:22 by Tom Ambrose in Infinite Lives
Searching for the ultimate Xbox controller has long been a quest of ours here at Empire. You name it, we’ve tried it: everything from hard-modded official pads to weird and wonderful add-ons like the subtle FPS Freek to the octopus-like monstrosity that is The Avenger. We even put Razer’s last bespoke controller, the Onza, through its paces and while the adjustable tension thumbsticks and responsive buttons were a plus, the programmable button was awkwardly placed and the triggers annoyingly long. The successor to the Onza is the Sabertooth, Razer’s latest entry into the third-party controller market and one that has learned an awful lot from criticisms aimed at its predecessor.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Sabertooth is its presentation. The pad comes in a quality fabric carrycase with webbed pocket for storing accessories. Nice. The pad itself boasts a smooth, non-slip coating and provides a pair of non-slip ‘hats’ that fit nicely over the thumbsticks – a boon to the sweatier gamers among you. The pad itself is solidly constructed, similar to the official pad but with a slightly more svelte profile, similar to the Onza (the triggers, however, have been mercifully shortened).
The selling point with the Sabertooth, however, isn’t the presentation so much as the ability to customize it to your will and in that regard this pad vastly outstrips the competition. The pad has a total of six extra buttons you can map to whatever face buttons you desire – two on the shoulders and a pair of two-way rockers positioned on the underside. Mapping the functions is an easy affair, made simple thanks to a handy OLED screen at the bottom of the pad (a particularly nice touch). It will also store two different profiles, letting you switch between titles without having to start the mapping from scratch each time.
The custom shoulder buttons are better positioned than those on the Onza, being set apart from the pad’s standard pair but are still nowhere near as useful as the rockers, which allow for extra commands without the need to move any of your fingers. Casual gamers will likely not see much use for such a function but that’s not who the Sabertooth is aimed at. For the competitive FPS crowd, being able to jump, melee and reload without shifting from trigger or thumbstick is significant and in the split-second twitch-time of online firefights it can mean the difference between a quick kill or a sudden death.
The only downside to the Sabertooth is that its wired, with no wireless option available. That said, competitive gamers will always opt for a lag-free wired option, so it’s a minor niggle at most. Then there’s the price: At £70 the Sabertooth is far from cheap but if you’re looking to get an edge over the competition when playing competitive CoD or Halo then this is arguably the best controller out there for shoring up your skills. Highly recommended.