PowerA Advantage Controller review: "Someone put RGB eyeliner on a controller"

PowerA Advantage Controller review image of the gamepad sitting against a stand with green lighting on
(Image: © Future / Duncan Robertson)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

The PowerA Advantage Wired Controller doesn't change all that much from the cheaper Enhanced Controller, but it's worth considering for its various colorways, faithful Xbox feel, great back buttons, and affordable price tag. If you're a fan of RGB lighting, you need to know about the Lumectra version.


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    Faithful Xbox controller feel

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    Two solid back buttons

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    Tight thumbstick tension

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    Really nice RGB highlights

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    Really robust build quality

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    Lots of colorways / RGB reel included


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    No wireless connectivity

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    Tight thumbstick tension

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    Only two back buttons

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    The enhanced controller isn't all that different and is cheaper

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The PowerA Advantage Controller is an update to the brand's very popular Enhanced Controller. The specific model has found a home with Xbox players who need an affordable spare that'll stand the test of time, offer some extra functionality, and some funky colorways. The Advantage Controller, in all honesty, doesn't seem to change much compared to that now cheaper option, but it has a faithful Xbox feel that makes it worth considering.

PowerA has been a longstanding mainstay in the peripheral game, and anyone who's shopping for the best Xbox Series X controller should know about its wares. The brand’s specialty is making affordable gamepads that come in all the colors you could ask for, and this Advantage controller is no different. 

At $39.99 / £39.99, it's up against the likes of GameSir's budget controllers. Of course, if you opt for the lovely Spectra Infinity RGB version of the Advantage Controller I've tested for this review, you're looking at a slightly pricier $44.99 / £44.99. For your money there, you do get a nice strip of RGB included though.


PowerA Advantage Controller face from the side

(Image credit: Future / Duncan Robertson)

PowerA's Advantage Controller seems to understand that more aesthetic options are never a bad thing, and there's a lot to like in the looks department. The Enhanced Controller can also come in a Spectra Infinity variant that sports three distinct RGB lighting zones within its chassis. PowerA's latest RGB technology, known as Lumectra, is what appears in the updated Advantage controller I'm testing. This gamepad sports four lighting zones and three inner nodes to offer even more personality. 

The really smart thing is that the gamepad doubles as a remote control for that included RGB reel, so if you use it to decorate your gaming display's background, it's easy to change your room's atmosphere without interrupting your gaming session or reaching for another remote. 

If you don't opt for the more expensive RGB option, there are loads of colorways available for the Advantage Controller. Just from a quick glance at PowerA's retail page, there are 19 different versions to choose from, with some being official Fortnite skins too. 

Compared to the best PC controllers, the PowerA Advantage gets on great with the other asymmetrical gamepads that are faithful to a traditional Xbox feel. It has a familiar feel if you like Xbox's own pads thanks to its Impulse triggers and slightly indented thumbstick tops. The face buttons are nice and large, and the overall shape is very similar. 

PowerA Advantage Controller's back buttons and grip texture

(Image credit: Future / Duncan Robertson)

I would note that the grips feel ever-so-slightly longer, dropping further down vertically than typical Xbox designs that angle outward. PowerA's are a bit more cylindrical too, which is great for the ergonomics of this pad when using its two back buttons. These are placed perfectly, and they complement the product's robust feel. I love that these are integrated into the angles of the grips, as they don't upset the way I hold the controller.

The back of the grips has a crossed texture that I really like. Most of the time, these grip textures don't really add much, and in fact, the Asus ROG Raikiri Pro’s just felt uncomfortable. While the approach the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra took feels nice, it doesn't help much in terms of grip. The PowerA hex texture actually feels grippy, without overstepping the mark and feeling uncomfortable in the palm of your hands.

Overall, I'd say the build quality here is great. The controller feels so robust and way more sturdy than the majority of gamepads of this price.


PowerA Advantage Controller review image of the gamepad's back

(Image credit: Future / Duncan Robertson)

The Advantage Controller features dual rumble motors which feel really accurate out of the box and don’t over-exert themselves when playing Celeste, Alan Wake 2, or Hunt: Showdown. 

The gamepad also features three-level trigger stop switches, which is a big win against other controllers of this price. There's a 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB-C connection, and if you opt for the Lumectra variant, buttons on the back to control inner and outer RGB. In the box, you'll find an included 3m USB to USB-C cable as well.

If you're worried about lifespan, the RGB rings around the thumbsticks double as anti-friction rings that provide a super-smooth circular motion, and satisfying clicky feedback in quicker pushes. Annoyingly, there's no Hall Sensor tech included here, which is a drawback versus GameSir's controllers of the same price. I haven't experienced any stick drift with the Advantage Controller, but with so many more Hall Sensor controllers coming out these days, it makes me more hesitant to recommend ones that don't include it. 

If you play on one of the best gaming PCs, there's a companion app called PowerA Gamer HQ that lets you fine-tune deadzones and rumble levels.


PowerA Advantage Controller's face close-up

(Image credit: Future / Duncan Robertson)

I'm a big fan of the PowerA Advantage Controller. Using it across multiple genres, for more intense gaming sessions and more relaxed ones, it's comfortable and effective. Not only that, it's stunning thanks to that integrated lighting. It looks like someone put RGB eyeliner on a controller and sent it off for a late night out at the bar. 

Playing Exo One, the controller rested in my hands comfortably, and the triggers felt really comfortable, with a nice level of pressure needed to pull them in. The back buttons sit perfectly where my middle fingers rest on the controller grips, almost exactly like the GameSir G7 SE. Like a lot of the best Xbox One controllers, it doesn't feel too chunky in the hands, coming in slightly narrower than something like the Razer Wolverine V2 Pro. Comfort gets a big tick overall though, because at the same time, it doesn't feel too petite. The face buttons are a generous size, and when playing Alan Wake 2, they were easy to find, even when I was feeling particularly twitchy while exploring the very creepy Coffee World. 

PowerA Advantage Controller review of the gamepad's triggers

(Image credit: Future / Duncan Robertson)

I think the biggest factor that will determine whether this controller is for you is the tension of its thumbsticks. On the whole, the thumbsticks feel quite narrow, and a bit shorter than most pro controllers. In reality, they don't look it, but the feeling they evoke in the hands is that they are that bit shorter. When you add stick tension that's a bit higher than most, you get a really tight, precise-feeling gamepad. 

This can be a blessing and a curse because, in precise platformers like Celeste and Blasphemous 2, you want thumbsticks that are going to flick back into place quickly (if you're not using a D-Pad, that is). However, in first-person shooters, it makes moving the camera around and keeping your head on a swivel difficult, because you feel like you have to apply a lot of force to the sticks to perform basic in-game functions. This is something the Victrix Pro BFG gets so right. If you're looking for a pro controller with looser tension, check out the Nacon Revolution 5 Pro

Overall though, this is an excellent pro controller for the price, and if you like tighter feeling gamepads, this will be up your street. If I could change one thing, it'd be the D-Pad, as it feels a bit too minimalist, and takes a bit of force to push down in any direction. 

Should you buy the PowerA Advantage Controller

PowerA Advantage Controller's RGB elements

(Image credit: Future / Duncan Robertson)

At such an affordable pricing bracket, it's hard to turn down the PowerA Advantage controller. Arguably, if you're just looking for a spare gamepad with two back buttons, the Enhanced Controller is worth looking at since it'll almost certainly be cheaper. 

Particularly if you're a fan of RGB lighting, and you're looking for an easy way to control some ambient gaming lights without interruptions, the Lumectra version is a godsend. This model could very well make its way onto our best gear for streaming roundup in the near future since adjusting lighting scenarios is made nice and easy. 

The Advantage Controller won't give you the be-all, end-all in Xbox controller performance, but it's more useful than the gamepad that comes in your console's box and comes in some really nice colorways. If there was wireless support here, it'd be icing on the cake, but sadly, securing licensing sometimes means these small sacrifices.

How we tested the PowerA Advantage Controller

I used the PowerA Advantage Controller for around three weeks before writing up my thoughts on it. In that time, it served me well as my controller for all PC and Xbox gaming. I used its back buttons in each game I played and fiddled around with its lighting and settings using both the controller's inputs as well as the PC companion app. 

To test its use across different genres, I played Hunt: Showdown, Celeste, Blasphemous 2, Exo One, and Alan Wake 2.

I closely compared my time with it to using GameSir's controllers which offer similar prices and features. I also compared it with other gamepads I've tested and reviewed across multiple platforms. 

To read more about our testing methodology here at GamesRadar+, here's a link to our Hardware Policy.

Looking for more buying advice? Check out the best PS5 controllers, the best joysticks, and the best Xbox steering wheels.

Duncan Robertson
Hardware Editor

Ever since playing Journey at the age of 15, I’ve been desperate to cover video games for a living. After graduating from Edinburgh Napier University with a degree in Journalism, I contributed to the Scottish Games Network and completed an Editorial Internship over at Expert Reviews. Besides that, I’ve been managing my own YouTube channel and Podcast for the last 7 years. It’s been a long road, but all that experience somehow landed me a dream job covering gaming hardware. I’m a self-confessing PlayStation fanboy, but my experience covering the larger business and developer side of the whole industry has given me a strong knowledge of all platforms. When I’m not testing out every peripheral I can get my hands on, I’m probably either playing tennis or dissecting game design for an upcoming video essay. Now, I better stop myself here before I get talking about my favourite games like HUNT: Showdown, Dishonored, and Towerfall Ascension. Location: UK Remote