Mini Pro EX Wired Controller for Xbox 360 by Power A
The Mini Pro EX wired controller for Xbox 360 by Power A is the best modern controller I've found. Below are the major points to note.
As its name would suggest, the Mini Pro EX is smaller than a Microsoft brand controller. The standard controller is bigger and more comfortable to hold. This is really the only negative part of the Pro EX, but it is only slightly smaller. If the PS3 controller feels comfortable to you, then this will be no different.
The triggers for this controller very closely mimic that of the standard 360 controller, although they appear to have slightly less action. This gives the player the benefit of analog triggers, but because of the decreased action it also allows them to easily function as switched buttons.
The bumper buttons are greatly improved over the standard design. They contour to the fingers nicely and have a more muted click.
There appear to be no design changes with the face buttons on the Pro EX; they are the same as a standard controller. There is nothing really functionally wrong with the way standard Xbox face buttons are, but they feel a bit hard. It would have been nice to get a softer feeling button type such as that on the Playstation controller.
The analog sticks are smaller to match the controller's size, but they feel pretty much the same.
The highlight of the Pro EX (and the biggest reason to buy it) is the directional buttons. The standard Xbox D-Pad is a concave circle design. This makes it very easy to make a mistake and hit a slight angle. The Mini Pro EX solves this problem with the iconic plus sign D-Pad.
While it is still possible to hit two directions at once, it is a much less frequent accident. The only D-pad better at this is on the Playstation 3 controller, which uses four separate buttons. The PS3 D-Pad can be rough on the thumb when constantly sliding. This makes the Pro EX the best D-Pad since the Super Nintendo.
This is weird. There is a recessed button on the back that turns on bling lights. When pressed, the face buttons and two shoulder bumpers light up. I don't know why anyone would need this. Playing in the dark? But most people know which buttons are which without having to look.
The lights are good for a laugh and the button on the back doesn't get in the way of anything.
This is the best third-party or even first-party controller I have found for modern consoles. The D-Pad isn't perfect (nothing is) and it could be a little bigger, but nothing better exists.
The Mini Pro EX controller is available from Amazon for $25 at time of writing. Not a bad price.