I’m going to get this out of the way up front: I have been a fan of the KontrolFreek line since my first review of their products, and I snapped on my first thumbstick knobbie thing-a-ma-jigger (I’m sorry, I don’t know what you’d call them). Over the last two years, following my review of the KontrolFreek “Legendary FPS” thumbsticks that Kontrolfreek originally sent me for review, they have remained on every single controller I’ve owned, to the point where the rubber is actually starting to wear down a little bit from sustained acid bath of Doritos cheese and finger grease.
For those of you not familiar with the KontrolFreek lineup, KontrolFreek products are a pair of simple plastic knobs that fit over the analog sticks for your console controllers. So what? Why do you as a hardcore gamer need them? Well, I’m getting to that, good reader. These thumbsticks increase the fulcrum point, which increases the amount you need to push the thumbstick to make the same movement. That increases your actual pinpoint accuracy in first person shooters, lessens your turning in racing gamers, to name just a few improvements.
So, what is the “signature” series? How many knobs can you make before KontrolFreek as a company is all knobbed out? Well, they’re apparently not done yet, because the Signature Series is a halfway point between their normal thumbsticks and a basic controller thumbstick. The original KontrolFreek series pushes your stick out another half inch, which in all honesty, took a little while to get accustomed to. The Signature Series is a half step upwards for those folks who think the full-on KontrolFreek thumbsticks are a bit too tall to get a good grip on their controller. Instead of pushing upwards on a series of prongs, the Signature Series rest directly on top of the thumbsticks, simply adding another eighth of an inch to them. Just a little bump upwards – not nearly as dramatic as the originals.
Another nice thing is that these thumbsticks are concave again, with a little lip to keep your thumbs in the middle of the thumbstick. It’s not like my hands are slipping off of my 360 controller because the Legendary FPS thumbsticks were convex, but there’s a nice little texture to help your thumbs grip better.
As with all KontrolFreeks I’ve tried, the Signature thumbsticks easily pop on and off any gaming controller with a bit of elbow grease. Once the thumbstick is on, it’s not going anywhere until you want to take it off; it is locked solidly in place on top of the thumbstick, and it’s at that point you start to forget that it’s even there. The thumbstick just becomes a part of the controller, which is really what you want a controller accessory to feel like in the end: a natural extension of the controller.
Personally, I think I’m going to snap my Legendary FPS KontrolFreeks back onto my controllers. Not that there’s anything wrong with the Signature series, but I’m now at a point where I’ve become so accustomed to having longer thumbsticks on my controllers that the short knob feels like I’m putting a pair of training wheels back on my ten speed. The Signature Series is a great product for someone making a transition from the basic controller to taller thumsticks with the Signature’s more medium-range thumbstick.
I’ll tell you what I’m not going to do is use a controller without my KontrolFreeks (holy hell, did that sound like my paychecks come from KontrolFreek). Go check ‘em out at Kontrolfreek.com.