Razer seems to always have a newer, better, more responsive controller just behind a curtain and the latest product from their testing lab proves to be a great addition to anyone seeking a competitive edge- for a price. Titled “Sabertooth,” it iterates on the “Onza” in a few useful ways while also providing several mappable buttons for a customized playing interface for many of your gaming needs. It’s a neat controller but is it worth a buy? Find out after the jump.
The “Sabertooth” comes in a nifty little carrying case with a few essentials to get you started before you play- including a detachable cable, rubber covers, a small screwdriver and two rubber grip caps. The cable is made from thick, tough braided fiber and will hold up to the most intense abuse. The two rubber caps fit over the analogue sticks that give the sticks a little more “meat” making them feel closer to the default 360 controller. You can also detach the the two extra multi-function triggers if so desired.
Immediately upon touching the controller you’ll feel a silky smooth, soft-touch exterior that puts your hands in a state of euphoria (seriously, I love this soft-touch coating). The overall design contours perfectly to your hands and feels very natural to hold. The button layout doesn’t differ at all from vanilla Xbox controllers but Razer added a couple of mulit-function triggers on the bottom and one additional button between RB/RT and LB/LT for a total of 6 customizable loadouts. The face buttons are super responsive and nearly hair-trigger in control. If you’re fairly heavy-handed you might struggle a little adjusting to how easy it is to press them but within an hour you’ll get a feel for it. The d-pad gets a new look moving to a simpler 4 button scheme resembling those found on PS3 controllers. It’s a smart move from “Onza’s” raised simi-circular d-pad and it works just fine.
As a normal Xbox controller, the “Sabertooth” performs admirably and never let me down once but the real feature are the the 6 extra buttons. Each can be bound to a certain function. In many ways it’s useful to be able to remap the melee or sprint from L3/R3 in shooters but overall it’s not something I would probably use in my play. If you tend to play button intensive games, such as fighters and maybe some RTSs, you’re likely to get more life out the “Sabertooth.” Along with custome buttons, you can also map control schemes to one of several profiles, a neat feature if you swap between several games during play sessions. On the plus side, you can also use this controller for your PC; so perhaps you can find a place there for the “Sabertooth.”
The real barrier to casual gamers might be the somewhat steep pricetag. At $79.99 it’s markedly more expensive if you just need a second or third controller. Couple that with a feature that will probably only appeal to super serious MLG hopefuls and you might want to pass on it altogether. Still, the “Sabertooth” is a fantasic controller that feels fantastic in your hands, features ultra-responsive buttons, and makes an effort to fill a gap for gamers looking to get an edge over the competition with custom layouts. If that’s what you’re looking for in a gamepad, then here’s a superb option.