Saitek has been making gaming devices for a really long time. So far they have made really great game controllers. Their latest gamepad, the P3200 Rumble is designed after the popular PS3 controller.
- Rumble technology
- 2 quick-fire shoulder buttons
- 2 analogue triggers
- 8-way d-pad
- 6 responsive buttons
- 2 analog joysticks
The P3200 is designed after the PS3 controller, which means both analog sticks are at the bottom of the controller. If you are familiar with PS3 controller then you will be very familiar with this controller. What would be nice is if you could use this controller in a PS3 and a PC. Unfortunately, it is only compatible with a PC.
This P3200 Rumble Gamepad uses Immersion rumble technology which provides for a great experience. This technology will help you feel every crash, shot and bump as you play through your favorite games.
Saitek includes programming software that can enhance the controllers usefulness and your enjoyment. With the included Saitek’s Smart Technology (SST) programming software you can program all of the buttons. Instead of being forced to use your keyboard and mouse for certain games, you can use the Saitek Smart Technology software to program any part of the pad with any keyboard or mouse command. This allows you to use the pad in any game, even those that don’t support game controllers.
As I mentioned before, the P3200 shares the same button layout as the PS3 controller, except it uses a d-pad instead of 4 buttons in the top left of the controller. The actual controller is slightly different and not quite as rough around the edges. The top of the controller is where most of the action is. The top left front of the controller is an 8-way d-pad, the right side has 4 buttons. The bottom front of the controller has two analog sticks.
The front of the controller has 4 additional buttons, 2 quick-fire shoulder buttons and 2 analog triggers. The cord also comes out the front. The 5 foot cord is a decent length. If you are like me and you keep your computer under a desk you probably won’t be able to plug it into the USB plugs in the back of your computer. Instead, you will need to use the USB plugs on the front of your computer, if you have them, or get a USB extension cord or a USB hub that sits on your desktop. If Saitek had made the cord a couple feet longer this would not be a problem.
Testing a controller is fairly easy. I loaded up a game and started playing. As long as the game supported controllers like this one it worked without a problem. The rumble feature is nice, the motor is powerful and it really shakes things up. The accuracy on the sticks is really great and they have a very solid feel. I was disappointed that the controller did not have turbo or macro functionality like other controllers I have tested recently, but as I will show you later you can mimic macro functionality with the SST software.
The software provides a couple of pages where you can test the buttons and effects of the controller and adjust some of the settings. The first page is the button and analog stick page. On this page when you press a button not only does it light up on the screen, but it also starts an effect that has a sound and rumble effect associated with it. This page provides a different effect for each button. For example, one of the buttons starts up a chainsaw, another is a monster stomping around, while yet another is a car crashing. Using this page will give you a good idea of what you can expect as you play games. The second page is the force page, you can adjust the strength of the rumble. The third page adjusts the deadzones for each of the analog sticks and the two triggers. If you find that the controller is not responding as much as you would like this is the page you would come to for adjustments. The fourth page is called Analog Buttons and it allows you to adjust the triggers. The last page is the About page and it just gives you information about the version of software you have installed.
The controllers come with some great programming software that is optional to install. If a game has good support for gamepads like this then you probably won’t need it, but if the game does not support this kind of controller the software can be a life saver. With the software you can assign buttons to specific actions and keyboard commands. This can be used to setup macro like functionality because you can assign more than one key to each button. It may even be possible to mimic turbo functionality by programming one of the buttons to repeat. The software can be a bit overwhelming the first time you use it, but don’t get discouraged. Take the time to learn it well, because it can be used to enhance your gaming experience with all the games you play.
As I played through games I really enjoyed the experience. The controller is not too big and not too small. My hands fit nicely and could easily reach all the buttons. Each button as I pressed it gave a good solid feel and I could tell when the button would activate the associated command. I also liked the solid feel that the sticks and D-Pad gave. They were tight enough not to move around freely, but loose enough to allow me to move them without difficulty. The one thing I had to worry about was the rumble. While it provided great feedback it also made it hard to do precise things like aim a sniper rifle or select items on the screen. In these types of games I would always turn down the strength of the rumble so that I could still feel it, but it did not affect my gaming.
Warranty and Support
Saitek provides a decent two year warranty on all of its products. Considering how much you will probably be using them, if something is going to go wrong then it will probably happen before the two years is up.
I was very happy with this controller. It did not have all the bells and whistles like some other controllers, but it was very comfortable to hold and use. In addition, the SST programming software made it easy to reprogram the buttons so that I could use special combinations and play on games that do not support gamepads. The P3200 is also not very expensive, at $24.95 it is about mid-range when compared with other controllers. As always compare prices before purchasing.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|