Astro C40 PS4 And PC Controller Review: Great Feel, Weird Quirks

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The Astro C40 is a great controller, but the high price tag might be too much for some Astro

The PlayStation 4 is a great console, but I’ve always given it an unfair look largely thanks to my thoughts on the DualShock 4 controller. The controller is fine for what it is, but I’ve never cared for the mushy triggers, in-line thumbsticks, and the short battery life. While the Astro C40 does much to fix these issues, it also introduces a new set of problems.

The Astro C40 feels great. There’s a perfect heft to it, without the controller feeling too heavy. The thumbsticks feel loose, the buttons are snappy and the whole controller just feels nice in your hands. Along with all the standard bells and whistles found in the DualShock 4, like a built-in speaker and LED light bar, the C40 includes a host of customization options, software customization and even some extra buttons on the back.

The two back buttons are the best implementation I’ve seen of this concept yet. Many higher-end controllers feature extra toggles on the back of the controller to mirror other inputs or allow for custom commands, but these toggles often stick out and feel weird to push. The two buttons on the back of the C40 are built into the shape of the controller, meaning you just need to apply a little pressure to where your fingers naturally fall.

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The two back buttons on the C40 are fit into the shape of the controller instead of sticking out Photo: Astro

The layout of the C40 can be changed with very minor effort. All you need to do is loosen the screws on the faceplate and pop it off to get to the thumbstick and d-pad modules. If you want to have an offset, Xbox One-style controller, simply swap the thumbstick and d-pad modules and screw the faceplate back on. It takes only a few seconds to swap things around, and is super easy to do.

It’s also possible to customize the d-pad itself, change up the tops of the thumbsticks and even put a different faceplate on the controller. Considering all the moving parts in the C40, it’s really impressive to see how sturdy everything is once it’s all put together.

Along with the physical customization, the C40 includes software to allow for tons of other ways you can tweak the controller. You can alter thumbstick sensitivity, create unique controller profiles for different games, and even make the controller’s buttons all mapped to something completely different. Perhaps the most in-depth customization option is found on the two triggers. The C40 includes switches on the back to shorten the pull distance for the triggers, and the software allows you to fine-tune this pull further. This allows you to get your shots off faster in FPS games or hit the gas quicker in a racing game.

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All the moving parts on the Astro C40 controller Photo: Astro

While the C40 feels great and has tons of helpful features, there are also some big issues with the controller. While the controller has a much longer battery life than a DualShock 4, there’s no battery level information you can easily find. This means your controller can just die on you without warning.

The C40 can’t be used to turn on a PS4 remotely, like other controllers. You’ll need to press the power button on your console before sitting down to play. The controller also needs a wireless dongle, which is a bit annoying.

On top of all this, the C40 is expensive. At $200, you could buy two DualShock 4 controllers and still have some cash left over.

So the question you’ve all been waiting for is this: ‘Is the Astro C40 worth buying?’ Ultimately, that comes down to what you want in a controller. The C40 feels great, performs well, and has more customization options than you’d probably even think to want. It’s versatile, and works with both PS4 and PC, both as a wired and wireless controller. Unfortunately, it also has some odd issues, like not being able to power on a PS4 or display battery life. With such a high price tag, you’ll need to decide if all the customization options are worth the odd minor hassles, or if the added features are worth the high price tag.

The Astro C40 is now available at stores like Best Buy, Gamestop, Amazon and more.

So what do you think? Are you interested in getting an Astro C40 controller for yourself? What other controllers have you used in the past? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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