When it comes to colorful controller designs, Xbox gaming has been important over the years. Since the Xbox One generation, Microsoft has released a number of interesting controller releases — including limited editions and Xbox Design Labs — and that momentum hasn’t waned with the Xbox Series X/S consoles. Affordable prices are being reached in new colors of their own, such as the recently released pastel line of the $37.99 PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox and PC.
Released in March as a spring collection, these new pastel colors in the Enhanced Wired Collection include Purple Camo, Lavender Swirl, Lemonade Pink, Soft Dream and Marshmallow Blue. At first, pink lemonade seemed like the clear winner to me with its elegant yellow-to-pink gradient, but now, having seen and worked with all five colors in person, I can officially declare that blue marshmallows are the prettiest. It’s actually more teal than the name suggests, but it’s a bold, smooth, monochromatic hue in this controller anyway.
But all five pastel designs look great overall, with different uses of gradients, mottled patterns and/or two-tone contrasts on the front and back, giving each a unique signature. Of course, it’s a pity that these controllers are still saddled with an outdated Micro USB connection, but I’ll give PowerA some credit for opting for at least a white detachable cable to better complement the light and airy look.
I’d still like to see a whole new version of the enhanced wired controller eventually upgrade to USB-C, maybe even squeeze in more customizable back buttons without too much trouble. But complaints aside, there’s a lot to love about the aesthetics of these bright new colors. The Enhanced Wired Controller has been our top pick for the best budget Xbox controller you can buy, thanks in large part to its very reasonable price, while identifying the essentials of a wired controller. I can’t say a good thing these new colors improve as they are functionally the same, but they are refreshing and make them look improved.
These cool new pastels are now available at many retailers, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they start seeing discounts and sales like so many others in the PowerA line.They bring a little fresh air on an economical level and are a nice addition to the summer of games with new local multiplayer games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Revenge of the Destroyer (This is a good reason to need an extra handy controller, as it supports up to six players on Xbox and PC).
Photography: Antonio G. Di Benedetto / The Verge