Choosing the Right PC Controller for the Best Gaming Experience – 3 Top Picks on Work Rift!

Video games cannot be played without a good control system.

Choosing the right PC controller is crucial.

For your shooters and strategy games, you may need a keyboard and mouse.

You might not mind using a touch screen for smartphone puzzles.

For most games, however, a dedicated controller is best.

It’s why all major game consoles include a gamepad or two…

…and you can connect them to your PC with a little tweaking.

For the good reason that PC games have the largest library of titles…

…spanning the widest range of ages, audiences, genres, prices, and hardware specifications…

…it makes sense to invest in a controller.

Fortnite can easily be played with your current mouse and keyboard…

…(PC purists would say you’ll play even better than with a gamepad)…

…but almost every other game you get from GOG.com…

…Humble Bundle, or Steam will feel better with dual analog sticks.

There are countless gamepads and other types of controllers that can be connected to your PC.

Here is a list of some options to help you decide which is right for you.

Before we get started, here are a few words from Brian…

Following the reviews on YouTube, I purchased this EasySMX Controller.

As it turns out, this controller is very good and very easy to use.

Resembles an xbox controller even tho I’m a Playstasion player.

Would buy another to play MetalSlug with my wife!

Let’s get started..

Choosing the Right PC Controller

Choosing the Right PC Controller
Credits: workrift.com

Using Console Controllers With Your PC

If you own a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One S, found a PlayStation 5 or Xbox One X…

…or purchased the Switch Pro Controller for your Nintendo Switch…

…you already have a gamepad you can use with your PC.

With these controllers, you get rock-solid build quality and reliable PC compatibility…

…(some software and adapters are required for the Nintendo and Sony gamepads).

However, if you don’t already own one, they’re a bit pricey at $60 to $70 each.

Third-Party PC Gamepads

Third-party gamepads offer much more choice than controllers in the $60 to $70 range.

Depending on the design, features, and customization options…

…wired and wireless options range from $20 to over $200.

The build quality of lesser-cost gamepads from third-party manufacturers…

…can be hit-or-miss in terms of how sturdy they feel and how well they play…

…which is why we recommend reading our reviews and being wary of inexpensive…

…and unfamiliar gamepads that seem too good to be true.

“Unlike the keyboard and mouse, the connection type in the gamepad is a very important parameter. It is necessary to immediately determine at what distance from the computer the game will take place.”

Oleg Romanenko – Author at Gearbeast

Here’s the main thing…

Best PC Controller on Work Rift – Reviews

EasySMX ESM-9101

Choosing the Right PC Controller
Credits: workrift.com

We gamers have a wide selection of gamepads to choose from.

Others prefer the Xbox-style, others the PlayStation-style, and others the whatever-this-is (just kidding).

The Xbox 360-style controller is my preferred choice…

…but I don’t mind using PlayStation’s offering with my PS3 (yes, I’m old school).

There are high-end “pro” controllers and there are cheap, unreliable controllers.

According to what I’ve seen when searching the Internet for a gamepad for my kids…

…there are few decent affordable options.

Here’s what you need to know. EasySMX ESM-9101 wireless gamepad…

…USB receiver (to plug into PC, Android device, PS3, etc. ), USB cable, user guide…

…and a note asking you to contact them directly if there are any issues.

The budget-end of the peripheral market isn’t known for its excellent customer service.

The controller itself is almost identical to the Xbox 360 controller – almost literally.

There is a minimal difference between these two controllers when placed side by side.

Layout and general feeling are similar, and I am okay with that.

Overall, I like the design of this controller.

People looking for something ridiculous or obnoxious (sorry, “cool”) will have to keep looking.

As part of my gaming setup, the black and grey color scheme looks great.

EasySMX ESM-9101 provides dual vibration feedback with faux-grip and asymmetrical motors.

Even though it boasts a 600mAh battery, boasting up to 8 hours of battery life…

…on a single charge, it feels light, meaning you won’t feel fatigued mid-way through a late-night gaming session. Bonus.

For those who are still enjoying Sony’s back catalogue, the wireless gamepad is compatible…

…with smartphones (Android 5.0 or above), smart TVs, TV boxes, and PCs.

I tested it on my PC, laptop, and PlayStation 3.

The EasySMX ESM-9101 was literally plug-and-play on both the PC and PS3.

It worked right out of the box without any experimenting with drivers or troubleshooting.

I had expected this controller to suffer when I had to use it.

I expected dead zones, unresponsive buttons, and weak triggers.

I was surprised to find that it held up exceptionally well compared to my authentic Xbox 360 gamepad.

The device did not impede my play once, and, honestly, once I was in-game…

…I forgot that I wasn’t holding my usual gamepad.

Keep reading…

When playing Little Big Planet with my daughter on the PS3…

…it felt refreshing to use the wireless receiver and play PS3 games with what is essentially a 360 controller.

This made me feel more comfortable, and I even gave it to my daughter to use…

…and she found the positioning to be much easier to use…

…(her little fingers have trouble stretching to the PS3’s thumbstick position).

It’s hard to think of any reason not to recommend this gamepad…

…as a viable budget alternative to your favorite gamepad.

In first-person shooters, platformers and sports titles I tested on PC and PS3…

…I noticed no lag and the experience was on par with my 360 gamepad.

The EasySMX ESM-9101 is well worth your money if you are looking for a replacement for your Xbox 360 gamepad…

…or if you are looking for a wireless controller for your second player or children to use.

The game is so good that I’ve ordered another one to play with my daughter on the PS3.

EasySMX ESM-9101 Wireless Gamepad Joystick For PS3 PC Win 10 Xiaomi Mi TV Box S Android Phone Vibration PC Controller

Go on….

EasySMX ESM 9110

Choosing the Right PC Controller
Credits: workrift.com

We were surprised by how well it worked. Designed after the Xbox One controller…

…the ESM 9110 is recognized as such either wirelessly or via a USB cable when connected to a PC.

The rumble and buttons are tactile and durable, so they will last longer than we had originally expected.

The standard Xbox controller does not have the LED lights nor a USB-C port, both of which are appreciated.

However, there are some important drawbacks to consider.

First of all, the 2.4 GHz dongle has a range of just a few meters…

…which could be problematic for living room setups.

The controller does not integrate Bluetooth, so the wireless feature is tied to this proprietary USB dongle.

Furthermore, unlike the actual Xbox One controller, the 600mAh Li-ion battery is not removable.

Finally, the four customizable macro buttons on the back of the controller…

…aren’t worth the hassle since they’re so easy to accidentally press when playing.

Fortunately, the disadvantages don’t take away from the fact that the ESM 9110 is a great controller at the basic level.

Even if you don’t plan to purchase an Xbox console anytime soon…

…the ESM 9110 is looking like a good alternative…

…if you don’t want to spend a few more dollars on an authentic one.

EasySMX ESM-9110 Wireless Gamepad Joystick Controller For PC Win 7/8/10 Android TV/TV Box PS3 Vibration LED Customized Buttons

Last but not least…

EasySMX SL-9111

Choosing the Right PC Controller
Credits: workrift.com

Upon holding the EasySMX SL-9111 Wired Gaming Controller for the first time…

…it’s immediately apparent how much inspiration the design team drew from the latest Xbox Wireless Controller.

With its rounded, ergonomic shape and textured grips, this smartphone is very reminiscent…

…of Microsoft’s latest efforts, which adds to its overall comfort.

The EasySMX SL-9111 Wired Gaming Controller was a great choice…

…for me as someone who primarily uses Xbox controllers.

The customizable buttons on the backside of the controller were another feature I appreciated.

When it comes to first-person shooters, I never want to take my thumb off the right stick or games like Monster Hunter:

World that require a lot of inventory management based on the D-pad…

…I’ve been spoiled by the paddles on the Xbox Elite Series 2.

On the rear of the EasySMX SL-9111 Wired Gaming Controller are four buttons you can customize…

…and two of them work quite well. In games like Overwatch and Dark Souls 3, I used mine for jumping and dodging.

A series of LED lights around the face buttons and right joystick can also be toggled on or off for added flair.

Even though it doesn’t necessarily add anything to playing games…

…it’s a neat option for those who just want to make their controller look cool.

EasySMX SL-9111 Wired Joystick Gamepad For PC Android TV Box Vibration Game Controller For PC Computer Win10 Android TV Box

Sum Up!

Each controller we test is run through the latest and greatest PC games in a variety of genres.

We typically test at least one shooter, one fighting game, one action/adventure game…

…and one driving game, so we get a good idea of how the gamepad performs in different situations.

Battery life is also taken into account for wireless controllers…

…and if the controller offers swappable components and multiple modes, we test all of them.

For days on end, we use all the controllers we review as our primary gamepad at home and in the lab.

In addition to how well a controller works in games, other factors come into play, such as comfort, price, and versatility.

If all else is equal, we prefer controllers that work with a wide variety of games and platforms…

…and anything that can operate on both a PC and a console gets a special nod.

Conclusion

When choosing one of the best PC game controllers, it’s important to consider…

…what kind of physical configuration you prefer.

You should also consider the price. Generally, fancier controllers cost more money…

…and wireless controllers are more expensive than their wired counterparts.

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