Gamepads used to be easy to buy. There were PC Pads and console pads. Microsoft changed this when it made the Xbox 360 pad easily accessible to PC users, a good quality gaming device that was far better than most other PC pads on the market. Now the waters are muddier, companies are making all sorts of pads from the lower end of the market at under £10 to Microsoft’s own Xbox Elite Gamepad which sells for over 10 times that price.
Speedlink’s latest Gamepad, the Quinox, aims for that higher end of the market with adjustable paddles and a higher quality build, giving PC gamers a middleground between the £100+ pads and the cheaper ones. The retail price of £59.99 ensures that it sits directly in the middle of these.
At first glance, the front of the gamepad looks very much like a new Xbox One pad. The USB gamepad features the usual A, B, X, Y buttons and two analog sticks of old, now placed closer together and with a D-pad sitting accessibly on the left hand side. The buttons and rings under the analogue sticks light up when plugged in, giving it a red glow.
But the Quinox also comes equipped with 6 additional buttons; two additional shoulder buttons plus four paddle-like buttons on the back.
Macro functions can be assigned to these additional buttons via software, and saved in either of the two profiles which show up on the OLED display. The ability to change these extra buttons alongside deadzone and sensitivity is a boon to games that require more controls, such as Elite Dangerous, as well as to gamers who feel more comfortable using the paddles at the back for changing things like loadouts in an FPS.
But going back to this ‘middle ground’ approach, it’s easy to see where the Quinox might fall down against the more expensive opponents. The body is lightweight, hollow feeling plastic. It’s noticeable from the moment you pick it up. Call it personal preference, but I like to have a gamepad with a little weight in my hands. The A,B,X,Y buttons and D-pad don’t feel as responsive as their counterparts, either. It’s not a great issue for most gamers but when you’re looking at a gamepad in this price range it does make them feel a little on the cheap side.
Generally, though, the Quinox is responsive and feels comfortable in the hands. Analogue sticks are spaced well and the extra triggers on the back become second nature after a while. It’s easy to set up and the extra buttons are very useful.