3 of the best game controllers for PC and console that eliminate joystick drift with hall-effect sensors
Joystick drift happens when the sensing mechanism in the controller starts to age or get clogged with dust. There are ways to mitigate this, but by far the best way to get rid of joystick drift is by using a controller with hall-effect sensors, which use magnetic sensors in place of potentiometers. Here are three of the best game controllers:
1. 8BitDo Ultimate Bluetooth (not the Wireless or Wired versions, though)
If you haven't heard of 8BitDo, it's time to put the company on your radar. It makes some of the best — and best looking — retro-themed controllers out there. The 8BitDo Ultimate controller is, however, a modern Xbox-style controller with Bluetooth 5.0, 2.4 GHz, and USB-C connectivity and a wide range of compatibility.
The 8BitDo Ultimate has everything you might expect from a controller designed for a number of platforms, including a switch to select between X-input and D-input, as well as a few handy extras, like the programmable paddles under the grips.
Beware, though, that only the 8BitDo Ultimate Bluetooth model comes with the hall-effect sensors. The 8BitDo Ultimate Wireless and Wired controllers have regular analogue joysticks. The 8BitDo Ultimate Bluetooth also isn't that pricey, coming in at around US$70.
2. GuliKit KingKong 2 Pro Wireless
The GuliKit KingKong 2 Pro Wireless is styled after something like the Nintendo Switch Pro controller, featuring a sort of minimalist aesthetic. Despite the clean looks, the KingKong 2 Pro has a few unique features that make it stand out. The A, B, X, and Y buttons are repositionable, the joysticks have metal stalks to do away with plastic-on-plastic grinding, and the controller has support for gyroscopic input, even on Windows.
It bears mentioning that, while most reviews for the KingKing 2 Pro controller are positive, there are a few Amazon reviews that point to some quality control issues. If you decide to buy the KingKong 2 Pro, thoroughly inspect it upon delivery and return it if you notice any shenanigans. The KingKong 2 Pro Wireless is around US$75 on Amazon and similar sites.
Note that if you're buying the KingKong 2 Pro for Xbox gaming, you will also need an adaptor that is sold separately.
3. SteelSeries Stratus+ Wireless
The SteelSeries Stratus+ Wireless is designed for gaming on Android and Chromebook devices via Bluetooth LE, but the included USB-A to USB-C cable — and conceivably any other USB-C data cable — also allows the controller to be used with Windows. SteelSeries doesn't support a wireless connection to PC, though.
Unlike the other two devices on this list, SteelSeries has taken some creative liberties with the controller layout of the Stratus+. Instead of the staggered joystick layout akin to the Nintendo Pro controller or Xbox controllers, the Stratus+ uses the side-by-side layout that Sony usually opts for on its Playstation controllers.
Apart from the different joystick layout, the Stratus+ is otherwise a solid controller, even if it does lack some of the more interesting features, like extra programmable buttons and motion control. Of course, both joystick inputs are handled by hall-effect sensors, meaning drift is out of the question, and inputs will be accurate.
On the positive side of things, it costs less than both the 8BitDo Ultimate Bluetooth and the GuliKit KingKong 2 Pro, coming in at around US$60 on Amazon.