Review By Thomas Cap
“The same cat or another cat?”
You all know the possible problems that come along with a hardwired controller. The cable is always too short to sit on your comfortable sofa, someone may trip over the cable and your precious little falls to the floor (I wonder if a hole in the floor caused by a certain green and black console is covered by my insurance policy), a pet may bite through the cable (personal experience - don’t ask) etc. etc.
The solution for all problems seems to be obvious: get a wireless controller. While Nintendo is the only company yet that offers a licensed - although without a rumble function - wireless controller, the WaveBird, the rest of the competition has decided not to do so (yet).
Feel like having a déja-vu? Don’t worry, the Matrix isn’t to blame and in fact you might really recall these lines. Less than a year ago somewhere in November we already did take a look at the funkY wireless controller from BigBen. Not much has changed in this year, there are still no first party wireless pads from neither company M nor company S, and if you own one of their consoles you have to go third party if you want or need to go wireless.
BigBen was the first to provide wireless controllers for these systems, namely the “funkY” lineup of controllers. Now Version 2 of this lineup is hitting markets worldwide.
On first look the controllers are almost identical. On a second look quite a few changes were made.
First of all the relatively flat, “spongy” analog pad of the first version was replaced with a larger, definitely more handy one. This makes the pad more accurate although, it sometimes responds only to slightly harder input than on a usual pad – so don’t be too soft on it.
Part two of the cosmetic changes includes all the switches. A quick reminder for those who don’t remember or haven't read the first article at all: the funky has additional switches for certain controls. In the middle of the pad’s frontside one would find the power on/off switch, further there is a switch on the side of the pad to enable and disable vibration (which is a good way to save battery power) and finally hidden inside the battery compartment 2 DIPS to configure the funkY’s channel – 1-4 – so that up to 4 controllers can be used independently.
In Version 2 only the power on/off switch remains where it was, the vibration switch is now on the backside of the unit. Additionally the sometimes poorly manufactured switches of version 1 were replaced with better and larger switches that are easy to toggle – the original required you to use your fingernail if possible, or even some tool to do the job at hand.
The dip switches for the channel where removed and instead there is a sliding switch now, with four numbered possible position. The dip switches that were present on the receiver that is plugged into the console itself were replaced in a similar manner.
But are there more than mere cosmetic changes? Let’s continue...
Behind the pretty face
The obvious changes on first look are all cosmetic, although the new analogue pad soon turns out to improve gameplay by means of accuracy. Also the quality of the radio transmitter or / and possibly the quality of the receiver were improved. The controls overall are more accurate and response times are better, yet because of the process involved to get the control signals from pad to receiver and from the transceiver into the console, you still have to get used to the different response times. You will need some time to get used to the need to press a few hundredth parts of a second earlier to get the same result if quick reactions are needed, but you will get used to it like to all thing in life.
The original gamepad scored an 8.5/10 and a Silver Award at launch but was downgraded now to 7/10 and no Award to reflect the improvements in Version 2 over Version 1. The new funkY inherited the pros of its predecessor but eliminated most of the involved flaws. Yet be aware that a wireless controller will NEVER be able to replace a wired controller by means of accuracy and response time. This has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the product, but with the merciless laws of physics themselves. There are many games where you won’t note the difference of a fraction of a second the game takes longer to respond, and there are games where you will note it and will be quite annoyed. But IF you want or need a wireless controller, the funkY is a solid and reliable solution, and all that is possible with wireless controllers is found in this unit.