Mad Catz MicroCon Controller (XBOX)
Written by John Yan
on 10/19/2002 for
Ever since the XBOX came out, people have been clamoring for a smaller controller. The big bulky XBOX controllers were not that popular because of the size of the peripheral. Mad Catz has released probably the smallest controller out there for the XBOX and today I’ll look at their MicroCON line of XBOX controllers.
If you took a look at the MicroCON XBOX controller form afar, you’d think it was their Control Pad Pro. In reality, the MicroCON controller is 20% smaller than Mad Catz’ own already smaller XBOX controller. The same great design is still there but just in a smaller form. To be honest, I think the controller is smaller than the 20% reduction that the box states. Just holding the MicroCON and then switching to the Control Pad Pro makes me feel like I am going from holding a peanut to an apple. The smaller size doesn’t take away from how comfortable it feels though.
Like the Control Pad Pro, the MicroCON controller has the nice rubber side grips on the handles. The rubber grips offer a more comfortable hold. This is partly the reason the Control Pad Pro is my main XBOX controller and it’s nice to see the feature appear in the MicroCON version.
The two analog sticks feature an indented top and a nice feel when pressing down. The spring on the analog sticks give a nice subtle feedback. It doesn’t take as much pressure to active the thumb buttons as it does for the Control Pad Pro. The change is nice and I do like the thumb button feel of the MicroCON more than the Control Pad Pro. Movement on the two analog sticks is smooth and offers good tension away from the center. It’s not too loose and it’s not too strong.
The smaller design has forced Mad Catz to rearrange some buttons around. For starters, the start and back buttons are now below and to the left of the left analog stick. They are also smaller in size and are out of the way enough not to be pushed accidentally. The white and black buttons have been moved to the right of the right analog stick and below the main buttons, just like in the small controller from Microsoft. Unlike Microsoft’s design which I am not fond of, the Mad Catz one has the two buttons protruding from the controller at a very nice height giving you an easier time in pressing those two buttons. While playing NCAA, I found that pressing the two buttons to view the play was a lot more comfortable than the Microsoft one. I really liked how Mad Catz designed the two buttons with the position change and they seem easier to access now.
In fact, the other buttons, while smaller in size than the Control Pad Pro, also protrude from the base at a very nice height so that you should have no trouble finding the right button to press by feel. The pressure and feedback also feel pretty good. The trigger spring tension has a nice feel to it also. Overall, the MicroCON XBOX controller has a great feel from top to bottom. Like most XBOX controllers, the MicroCON one has two ports for expansion. I applaud Mad Catz for keeping two expansion ports and shrinking the size of the controller down immensely. Mad Catz could’ve knocked out one expansion port to make it a little thinner, but the controller’s thickness is still pretty damn slim given the two expansion ports.
Like the Control Pad Pro, the MicroCON one has a macro feature to program your buttons. For those who play fighters, you can easily program the moves into the black or white button. The two triggers can also be programmed and a total of 32 moves can be entered in.
Gold contacts help ensure a clean signal transfer from controller to XBOX and vice versa. I can’t really say I’ve had any problems with quality controllers not having gold contacts, but it’s nice that Mad Catz has included them in the controller. It’s just another feature that helps show that the MicroCON controller is built on quality.
I had no problems with any game I played the controller with. I ran through my library of games from football to fighters to first person shooters such as Madden, Halo, and DOA3. All the games responded quickly and accurately with each movement. Unlike a few of the other inexpensive controllers I’ve tried, this one didn’t have any controlling anomalies so you can be sure you’re always in total control.
At $24.99 this controller is a steal. You get a nice size, good feel, great response, and macro programming. After using the MicroCON controller, it has replaced the Mad Catz Control Pad Pro as my XBOX controller of choice. The smaller size should appeal most people. If your controller goes bad, you have a nice 5 year warranty to back you up. That’s almost the life of a console system nowadays so this controller will be covered for a very long time. It’s small, sleek, and very nice to use. I highly recommended the MicroCON XBOX controller for your XBOX gaming needs.
Great XBOX controller from Mad Catz with a programmable feature at a cheaper price than the Microsoft one. It might be too small for some people but I think most will like the size.
Rating: 9.3 Excellent
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
I've been reviewing products since 1997 and started out at Gaming Nexus. After writing for a few different sites that went under, it's nice to bring back a site that's not dependent on revenue and just wants to deliver news and reviews of products.
I'm married, and enjoy first person shooters, sports games, and real time strategy games.