This is an XBOX360 Wireless Controller.
On the box, this is ALSO called an XBOX 360 Wireless Controller
There are some slight differences along with a special transforming D-Pad feature. But let's get the subtle stuff out of the way, on a normal pad's analog stick, there are 4 dimples to indicate directionality.
On the transforming controller, the surface of the analog stick is smooth but with a little pit right in the middle of it.
Ok it's not exactly smooth, there's an ever so slightly gripy texture on the surface of the stick to ensure your thumbs don't just go flying off the thing. But not so gripy as to put all the grip pad manufacturers out of business.
The other obvious difference are the face buttons, where as this is the normal one.
Buttons are marked with letters and color coded. Now for the transforming controller (seriously… why no special name?)
Notice it's a mono tone design, and the X is BARELY visible! So… if you're the type of person that still has to look at the controller for the right colored button or letter when the game tells you to push it, you might have a slight problem.
And now for the main event. The D-Pad, this is the normal D-Pad.
Some gamers call it Worst D-Pad EVER! Basically because instead of a cross which presses in like a button, you get a disc which tilts. Which is probably causes the majority of the complaints that the D-Pad isn't accurate. Personally I never had too much of a problem with it. Here's the D-Pad of the transforming controller in disc mode.
By gripping and turning the cross key in any direction the grey colored rounded edges sink into the pit, leaving you with…
A distinct cross key, so your thumb doesn't need to guess where the major directions are.
And now for the little problem I have with this. When I first heard about this controller, I thought when the corner edges are sunken the cross key would then function like buttons instead of tilting the entire D-Pad. But when I got home and took the controller out of the box and pressed it around in cross key mode, it feels slightly different. But it's still a tilt. Trying out a few games like SSF4, Ikaruga and Pac Man CE DX and I can't say wheter or not in cross key mode it is better than a normal D-Pad.
This is probably because MECHANICALLY the transforming D-Pad is probably the SAME as the normal D-Pad, the only change was that instead of a single plastic disc that forms the D-Pad area, what we have is a 2 part cap that's able to convert when necessary.
The OBVIOUS difference would be that your thumb can actually feel the major directions, and maybe for big thumbs, now that the corners aren't there you won't accidentally hit a corner?
If you're looking for a controller bundled with a battery pack plus play and charge cable to add to your console I'd say you can consider this, since it is still a normal controller. UPDATE : In light of recent events I must downgrade my recommendation from buy it if you want to to NOT A RECOMMENDED BUY. What's the recent event?
Yes, you're seeing it right, the whole D-Pad SNAPPED off from it's controller stem.. It might have been weaker because it's a thinner rod than the normal one to allow it to spin. And I guess I must have snapped it after a particularly intense Super Meat Boy test session. I hope this falls under the normal warranty claim…
But… if you're hoping that the D-Pad actually works radically different from the normal D-Pad, you might want to test it out first before buying it. The converting D-Pad is a nifty feature but it doesn't really feel all that different to me.