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EasySMX ESM 9110 is a great Xbox controller for gamers who don't own Xbox consoles

EasySMX ESM 9110 is a great Xbox controller for gamers who don't own Xbox consoles
EasySMX ESM 9110 is a great Xbox controller for gamers who don't own Xbox consoles
The ESM 9110 is currently on sale for $33 USD compared to $40 or $50 USD for an authentic Xbox One controller. The unlicensed PC and Switch gamepad comes real close to the real deal and it even integrates LED-lit buttons for extra visual flair.
Allen Ngo, 🇪🇸

Generally, it's always safer to invest in first-party controllers made directly by Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo due to their reliability and quality over knock-offs or third-party alternatives. Even so, this doesn't mean that every unlicensed controller should be ignored as companies have gotten better over the years at manufacturing controllers that come close to the build and feel of actual authentic ones while costing almost half as much.

EasySMX sent us an ESM 9110 wireless game controller for our impressions and we're surprised by how well it works. Modeled after the Xbox One controller, the ESM 9110 is recognized as such when connected to a PC either wirelessly or with a USB cable. The rumble and buttons are tactile and durable for a better sense of longevity than we had initially anticipated. We appreciate the optional LED lights and USB-C port both of which are not present on the standard Xbox controller.

There are some key drawbacks to keep in mind. Firstly, the 2.4 GHz dongle is limited to just a couple of meters which could be problematic for living room setups. The wireless feature is tied to this proprietary USB dongle since the controller does not integrate Bluetooth. Secondly, the 600 mAh Li-ion battery is non-removable unlike on the actual Xbox One controller. And lastly, the four customizable macro buttons on the back of the controller are more trouble than they're worth since it's so easy to accidentally press them when playing.

Fortunately, the disadvantages don't detract from the fact that the ESM 9110 is a great controller at the basic level. For $33 USD plus shipping, however, it's also not exactly the cheapest unlicensed controller out there. If you don't want to spend a few bucks more on an authentic one, then the ESM 9110 is looking like a good alternative especially if you don't plan on owning an Xbox console anytime soon.

ProsCons
+ Recognized as an XBox One controller on PC
+ Compatible with Windows, PS3, Switch, and Android (via USB OTG)
+ Adjustable RGB brightness and vibration
+ Four programmable Macro buttons for PC
+ USB-C charging and data port
+ Durable textured plastic and palm grips
- Macro buttons are unergonomic to use
- Thumb sticks are not easy to replace when they eventually wear out
- Automatically powers down after just 3 minutes of inactivity; cannot customize power off settings
- Rechargeable battery is non-removable
- Not compatible with PS4, PS5, Mac, iOS or even Xbox consoles
- Wireless is reliant on a 2.4 GHz USB dongle; no Bluetooth
Build quality and feel are better than expected for an unlicensed controller
Build quality and feel are better than expected for an unlicensed controller
USB-C instead of Micro-USB
USB-C instead of Micro-USB
Even though it mimics an Xbox controller, the ESM 9110 is not actually compatible with the Microsoft consoles
Even though it mimics an Xbox controller, the ESM 9110 is not actually compatible with the Microsoft consoles
Packaging includes a USB-C to USB-A data/charging cable and a relatively bulky USB wireless dongle
Packaging includes a USB-C to USB-A data/charging cable and a relatively bulky USB wireless dongle
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 11 > EasySMX ESM 9110 is a great Xbox controller for gamers who don't own Xbox consoles
Allen Ngo, 2020-11-27 (Update: 2020-11-27)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.