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