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Hip Gear 2.4 Wireless Controller for Xbox
By | August 19, 2004

"You mean you have to use your hands? That’s like a baby’s toy."

Poor Marty, puzzled by the advent reality that gamers would eventually evolve beyond the era of corded technology. Naturally, I expect it will still be a few years beyond the road before we witness the next evolution since the Nintendo Power Glove. Until then, we’ll remain satisfied with the benefits wireless technology offers.

Enter the Hip Gear 2.4GHz Wireless Controller, the next step above the crop of wireless controllers in the market still operating on the 900MHz band. Four AA batteries are included right out the box, but we’d recommend investing in a set of rechargeable batteries in place of the ones offered. It’s a bit heavier than the S-Controller which is great for players with big hands. Kids however might be a little bummed out by its size , so I’d recommend they look towards getting the Mad Catz Micron pads.

So let's go over some highlights. For starters, it’s a bit heavier than the S-Controller, which ideally works well for players with large hands. Kids however, might be a little bummed out by its size, so they may prefer picking up the Mad Catz Micron pads instead. The controller comes equipped with a 10 meter range, meaning you can actually sit back for hours while the controller responds to your every command. Sorry, but it’s not capable of refilling your glass or getting you more chips. And while it’s a stretch to call the pad “intelligent”, it’s smart enough to turn itself off after you’ve skipped off to work thanks to the built-in "auto-off" feature.

The D-Pad is actually responsive (unlike the Logictech brand), so you should be able to easily navigate your character during intense Halo deathmatches or in situations where you need precision for such games like Links or Project Gotham Racing 2. It may be considered a minor point to some, but even the White and Black buttons (the oft-forgotten and ridiculed ones placed on the bottom) are conveniently located higher up on the pad. Unfortunately, they didn’t improve my performance when playing fighting games like Capcom vs. SNK 2 which in my opinion, should be be played with a joystick. The pad even also features a turbo button for rapid-fire action and a macro button that allows players to program difficult button commands (see: Mortal Kombat fatalities).

Far from a baby's toy, but it's the newest thing on the block.

Perhaps the only negative highlight to address would be the price. A corded controller can be purchased for $24.99 or less. Of course, as Marty realized, such technology is considered a has been. Wireless is the "in" thing nowadays and if you plan on taking advantage of such technology, then you need to accept the slightly higher prce tag and make the investment. Think McFly...go with the times.

As one of the few 2.4GHz wireless controllers available, gamers won’t find a more reliable, cost-effective product. Its ergonomic design, remarkable battery life span and operational range clearly offers greater flexibility and a more enjoyable gaming experience. And although it's not my first choice for younger gamers on account of their smaller hands, a bit of time and adjustment could still qualify the controller for their gaming uses. Highly recommended.


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