Astro Gaming C40 TR Controller Review

Astro Gaming C40 TR Controller Review


– Headset maker Astro Gaming released its first game
controller called the C40 TR. It’s an expensive high-end gamepad that works with the PC and PS4. Its wildly ambitious $200
price will scare away all but the most dedicated gamers, but its excellent build quality and extensive customization options make it one of the best
gamepads we’ve tested. The C40 is a solid,
almost imposing gamepad that won’t easily be mistaken
for any other controller. It’s covered almost
entirely in a rubberized matte black material, with a
textured black plastic panel on the face to hold the analog sticks, direction pad, and face buttons. It weighs a hefty 11.2 ounces, significantly heavier
than the stock DualShock 4 and over an ounce more than the chunky Xbox Wireless Controller. You don’t get any cosmetic
customization options when you order the C40. The matte black gamepad
is your sole choice. If you want a gamepad
that you can make look like your own instead
of feel like your own, you should consider the
Xbox Design Lab gamepad, or custom controllers
from companies like Scuf and Evil Controllers. All of the features of a
DualShock 4 can be found on the C40. There are the dual analog
sticks, direction pad, four face buttons, and four
triggers that are standard on all modern game controllers, along with Options, Share, PlayStation buttons, a 3.5
millimeter headset jack, and a U-shaped touchpad for the few games that incorporate it. Turning the C40 over shows
several of the hallmarks of pricey enthusiast
and custom controllers. Two additional triggers, UL and UR, sit against the grip where your middle fingers rest naturally. A small remapping button
between them lets you manually assign them inputs, if you don’t want to
use the Astro software to customize everything. Two small rest switches above the triggers activate or disable
mechanical stops that shorten the L2 and R2 trigger pull distances. On the top edge of the gamepad, two more red switches toggle between wired and wireless modes, as well as one of two
control profiles you can set. A deeply recessed micro USB port between the upper switches
lets you plug in the C40 with the included six-foot
cable for charging, using the gamepad as a wired controller, or customizing it with Astro’s software. The plastic plate on the
front of the C40 is held in place with four hex screws. By loosening them with
the included hex driver, you can remove the plate
to expose the analog stick and direction pad modules. The screws themselves are
locked in even when loose, so you don’t need to
worry about losing them. The sticks and pad are built
into small black cylinders with metal contacts on the bottom that rest in recesses under the plate. Because they’re modular,
you can swap the layout of the C40 between PlayStation-style parallel analog sticks and
Xbox-style offset analog sticks. You can also replace the
modules with inexpensive parts if the sticks or
direction pad start to wear down or stop working. Astro estimates that replacement
modules will be available for about $20 each. The tops of the analog sticks
and the plastic direction pad also pull off of the modules, letting you swap out
different caps and pads. The C40 comes with two
concave and two convex stick caps on short stems, as well as one concave and convex cap, each with slightly longer stems. The C40 lacks one aspect
of the DualShock 4, but replaces it with an
arguably better option. Instead of connecting to the
PS4 or PC over Bluetooth, it uses a 2.4 gigahertz USB adapter that plugs into your console
or computer to work wirelessly. Once the adapter is plugged in, the C40 acts just like
a DualShock 4 connected over Bluetooth, including
two-way headset audio through the 3.5 millimeter port on the bottom of the controller. The adapter uses one of the two USB ports on the front of the PS4,
but it should provide a more stable wireless connection with less latency than Bluetooth. It also lets the C40
work wirelessly with PCs without using an XInput
wrapper like you need with a DualShock 4. Astro includes a zip-up, hard nylon case. It comfortably holds the
controller, USB cable, wireless adapter, hex driver, and four extra analog stick
caps together in one place, with each piece having
its own dedicated recess or mesh pocket. Astro’s software for configuring the C40 offers a downright
dizzying array of options. You can remap almost
any input to any button, including the direction pad
and analog stick clicks. That alone is incredibly useful, though you can also
manually remap any inputs to the UL and UR buttons
by holding down one of them and the remap button on the
underside of the controller. The software also lets
you tweak the sensitivity of the analog sticks, as
well as L2 and R2 triggers. Each input has a graph that functions like a custom equalizer, letting you slide four sensitivity points up
and down to adjust the curve of how sensitive the
sticks and triggers are. Finally, the headset jack itself gets its own tweaks in the software. In addition to microphone
and headphone volume, you can control sidetone
levels which is how much of your voice is played back
in your ear as you talk. All of your changes get written
directly to the controller, so you can use them with your PS4, or any other PC you want to play on that doesn’t have the software. The C40 can store two profiles at once, and switch between them on
the fly using the mode switch on the top edge of the gamepad. You can also store unlimited profiles in the Astro software itself,
so if you want to tweak your controls for every game you play, you can have them ready to
sync and use whenever you want. A controller this expensive
isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a dedicated PS4 or PC gamer and want a gamepad you can really tweak and customize to suit your needs, the C40 is definitely
worthy of your attention. Find out how we customized
and tested the C40 with a bunch of games in our
full review at PCMag.com.

About the Author: Michael Flood

18 Comments

  1. I spent the $ for this thinking it had to be great? I play on PC and PS4 and let me tell you, you will be disappointed!!!! iMO

  2. The best controller I’ve ever owned. Well made and couldn’t imagine living without the two back buttons. I have bigger hands so for me this was ideal. I would recommend it highly.

  3. These are good but the devs should make a compatible app for ios and android devices. (if there's one already then let it be the standard moving forward)
    The "convenience" that you can customize it even without a PC/laptop – a lot more gamers might look into it especially those who travel and/or competitive.

  4. Is this reviewer a Xbox fan boy? I mean seriously. I love both systems, but to show a Microsoft controller customized, and then to say "A U shape touch pad for the FEW games that use it". Seriously, I believe every game uses the touch pad one way or another. Come on now. Leave your hardon for a certain system in check, and just review the product your talking about. BTW, I have the Pro Controller for xbox and love it, which is why Im wanting this controller. Just wish Sony would have made it themselves. Not much of a dongle person.

  5. Can anyone tell me if they’ve had any problems with this controller like with the scuff because ik the scuf breaks in 2 lol

  6. This is the best controller it has a 0% return rate as i have friends who work at gamestop amd bestbuy. The back buttons are in a good spot its super easy to program and remap the buttons it has 1 and 2 so u can have 2 differnt controller settings. It has no lag running wireless

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