Splitfish Dual SFX Evolution PS3/PC Controller Review
Game controllers, as a rule, don’t see real innovation very often. SplitFish however has a different take on what gamers want and the SFX EVOLUTION is a lot different from your conventional after market/3rd party PS3 controller. Breaking away from the DualShock-like design of most PS3 controllers, the Frag FX is actually two handheld pieces – the FragChuck and EvoChuck - that communicate wirelessly. Ostensibly, you might be shocked to see these two halves of the unit. They look very much like something you might buy for a Nintendo Wii instead of a Sony PS3 (The upcoming Move controllers excepted).
Instead of a single handheld unit with two analog sticks, a D-pad and a bunch of colored buttons and triggers, the EVOLUTION segregates the functions into left and right hand controllers. Both parts share the analog trigger controls, so thumbsticks are nicely mounted on either unit. In most games the right thumbstick analog controls the view while the left analog controls movement. This controller design feels a bit awkward at first but is ultimately a lot more comfortable to hold for long periods of time.
I find when holding a DualShock style controller that the emphasis and position of my fingers is all on the analog sticks and the forward triggers. This means any use of the buttons takes away from the analog control since they require players to switch back and forth. The SplitFish Frag FX design still requires this transition action but thanks to the button positions, which are more ergonomic, it felt a lot more natural.
The buttons are placed in a half-circle layout below the right analog stick. Rapid fire options are a great feature to save your thumbs while playing games with repetitive actions or quicktime events.(Like God of War) One of my favorite features was the ability to switch the analog controls around. While most right-handed gamers might not like this prospect, lefties will find it nice to actually play using their dominant hand for once. The Evolution is also capable of using either piece as the sixaxis sensor. This preference is set by whichever analog stick is considered the “dominant” one.
The only real negatives I found about using the SFX EVOLUTION were the battery requirements and the lack of Bluetooth support. Each unit requires batteries to operate. The units do not ship with internal rechargeable batteries, so this can get costly if you’re not used to replacing controller batteries. Each unit requires multiple AAA batteries for power.The unit does offer support for charging commercial rechargeable commercial batteries via a mini-USB cable (like the one used to recharge DualShock controllers). The device also does not include Bluetooth, which is a standard feature of the Sony PS3 controllers. Instead, the SFX Evolution uses the 2.4 Ghz radio band to transmit signals to a USB dongle. This might be a problem if you have a lot of portable phones or other 2.4Ghz devices in use in your home.
The only reason I found the dongle to be a good thing is when using the SFX Evolution as a PC game controller. The product is cross-platform capable and works well as a basic game controller if you’re a fan fo action-oriented PC games. It will never replace the precision of a mouse and keyboard for PC players, but it is nice to have the option to use a more console-centric control method without needing to buy a new controller.
The retail price of the SplitFish SFX EVOLUTION is a bit higher than the stock Sony PS3 DualShock 3 units. A $90 price tag and the expense of batteries makes it a pricey option but if you are both a PC and PS3 gamer there is value here. You can find out more about the SFX EVOLUTION on the SplitFish website. The controller is on sale online and at retailers like Amazon.
- Comfortable to use over time
- Ability to switch left or right hand analog controls
- rapid-fire button options
- PC Compatible
- Not Bluetooth
- No rechargeable battery built-in
- More Expensive than Sony DualShock 3
The Verdict: Consider It!