Saitek Cyborg Rumble Pad Review - 22/04/2008

As the first of our new accessory reviews, we have one of the finest models on the market. The Cyborg Rumble Pad is undoubtedly one of, if not the best, gaming pad on the market today, sporting numerous innovative and well implemented features to set it apart from the rest.

The Cyborg range has attracted considerable attention in recent months for its stylish yet extremely functional feel. By far the main highlight of this item in particular is the 'Cyborg Module'. It basically allows you to play with symmetrical or asymmetrical sticks, depending on your preference. It's a brilliant idea, and one that has been seen through in style with the Rumble Pad. You can effectively have a Xbox 360 or PS3 controller on your PC (the shape and size is most like the 360, but the alternative positions of the sticks makes either option a great one).

We personally prefer the Xbox 360 asymmetrical layout, but you'll quickly develop your preference based on what console you play regularly (or, what you find more comfortable if you're a hardened PC gamer).

This is how the fully composed, Xbox 360 layout looks. Not bad eh?

As the name rather clearly suggests, the pad features a high quality rumble feature, and this works well in the games we tested that support it. Few PC pads can boast rumble either, particularly this inexpensively, so credit to Saitek for going all-out on this one. If you hate having to set up your game pad every time you play a different PC game, then the FPS button, which has also been included on the Cyborg pad is a must for you. It, once pressed, maps all the usual keyboard commands in the game to appropriate buttons on the controller. Even if the game doesn't support pads, it basically takes over from the keyboard and mouse (you can control your desktop with it in fact), so this is irrelevant. You can of course customise how it goes about mapping keys and mice, to buttons and sticks in the user-friendly software provided, too.

There is also a much lauded 'Precision Mode'. This lets you alter the sensitivity of the sticks in game, at the touch of a button. If you're in a particularly close quarters map, you can go into precision mode so that you're not constantly misdirecting gunfire. Similarly, should you find yourself zooming in with a scoped weapon, you can nudge the button and find much more precise control over your accuracy.

Precision mode is a great feature, but we still can't get over the reversible sticks.

The software provided works well enough, and it works via plug and play on XP and Vista. It also allows you to customise most aspects of the controller; should you find it necessary, you can change and tweak settings to make the perfect-pad. Some of the software is a bit over-exuberant on startup, but this is an issue that can be easily rectified once you get set up.

Most of all, the Cyborg Rumble Pad is beautifully cheap. It retails for 24.99 RRP, though on at the moment you can pick it up for just 17.98. Sure, the PC compatible version of the Xbox 360 pad is the same price, but we'd suggest that for the customisation options afforded to you with the Cyborg Pad, it's the one to go for.

It rather fetchingly lights up while plugged into a USB port.

The one downside is that the wire is a little short, and this is something that you'd think really wouldn't have been that hard to sort out for release. It's fine if you're sitting at a normal PC desk, but if you're looking to play on a TV and sit on a settee, you may be in for a bit of trouble (though it's obviously just USB so extending it's not exactly difficult, or expensive).

It looks great, is cheap, and has all the customisation options you could possible want. Chunky, yet comfortable, and reassuringly weighty, this is a console gamer's PC pad, and is a great incentive to get back into PC gaming if mouse and keyboard controls have previously left you feeling frustrated.

For a huge, high-res image of the pad to see it up close and personal, click here. And for a full list of specs, check out the official website.

Mike Hazleton

Final Score:
A near-perfect PC pad - excellent value for money.