Over the past few weeks, I’ve been putting some KontrolFreek accessories through their paces. I’m familiar with the company largely due to their controller accessories, especially the performance thumbsticks. A couple years back, I was able to grab Destiny 2 themed thumbsticks and I won’t lie, I’ve been using them ever since. Obviously, 2-3 years later, the company has certainly expanded and has a host of new content to dig through.
First off, I want to give a big shout out and thanks to the KontrolFreek team for not only contacting me but sending me a bunch of stuff to check out. They sent over two sets of performance thumbsticks for the Xbox One and PS4 consoles each as well as LED powered gaming lights.
Here are my thoughts on everything.
FPS Freek Inferno
I won’t lie, at first glance I felt more attachment to these than the Vortex, which we’ll get to in a minute. To me, the red and black color scheme stands out a bit more.
With the Inferno, you’re getting both left and right High-Rise thumbstick versions and each one features the spiral pattern and a concave design. According to KontrolFreek, this design is intended to help increase accuracy and control while also reducing finger slipping and hand fatigue. The added height is also there to allow players to make smaller and more precise movements. With a bigger radial distance, players can increase controller sensitivity.
FPS Freek Vortex
Besides being a shade of orange, the big difference here when compared to the Inferno is that the Vortex offers one lower and one higher stick version. The “mid-rise” stick, which is placed on the left stick is also concaved while the high-rise one is convex. According to the packaging the left side is for better control, while the right side betters your accuracy and target acquisition.
The rubberized grips are also intended to require less force from the player, hopefully assisting with less general wrist and hand fatigue.
General Thoughts on Both
As I alluded to before, I’ve been using these for a few years now. I can’t say for sure that my gameplay has improved. I have no scientific data to prove any of that, plus a good portion depends on the type of game you’re playing and the skill level of opponents. They’re probably not going to turn you into a PvP god overnight.
To me, the most important thing here is comfort and these have it. I can 100% say that I enjoy using these thumbsticks regardless of system I’m using. In fact, it has gotten to the point now that if I don’t use them, the standard controller feels worse and a bit more awkward. Maybe it’s all in my head, but controllers feel better to use with these thumbsticks attached.
I played a host of video games from all sorts of genres from shooters like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Destiny 2, to sports sims like NHL 21, and even racing games like Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled. Each one felt really good to play using the sticks and, to their credit, my thumbs definitely did not slip while using them.
I will say that out of the two brands, I definitely find myself gravitating towards the Inferno. I think I like the high-rise high on both sides better. I also had a bit of trouble getting the left Vortex stick to stay on the Xbox controller. Pushing up on the stick would more often than not dislodge it from the stick, which is obviously problematic when you’re in the middle of a match. It didn’t happen every time, but often enough where I just stopped using it out of fear it would continue to fall off.
The final item I was sent was 9 feet of gaming lights. These are USB powered, low heat, LED strands that can be customized to change the colors, lighting effects, speed, and brightness. As an aside, you’ll want to know how to control the brightness because when I plugged these in for the first time, the white light that emanated off these things was like looking into the sun.
But yeah, once you tone the brightness down, the colors on this thing is really vibrant. The strips are flexible and come with 3M adhesive backing, making it perfect for desks, monitors, tvs, etc. Honestly, I found them quite easy to work with and after setting them up, the backlighting around my monitor was pretty great if I do say so myself. In the end, I had no idea KontrolFreek sold things like this, but I’d definitely recommend them for people looking to add a bit of color to their gaming rooms.
Once again, big thanks to KontrolFreek for sending me these items and giving me the opportunity to talk to all of you about it.