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The Astro Gaming C40 TR (Check on Amazon) features a modular design. This means that you can switch between a symmetrical layout of the analog sticks, similar to the DS4 controller (Check on Amazon), and an asymmetrical one, similar to the Xbox One Controller (Check on Amazon). In addition, you will find a number of extra features that justify its premium price: the analog sticks are interchangeable, the analog triggers have adjustable travel, there are two extra buttons on the back, you can switch on the fly between two integrated profiles and store everything into the included carrying pouch. The only thing missing is motion detection.
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Bluetooth connectivity, on the other hand, has been replaced by a wireless 2.4GHz USB dongle that offers a range of about 20ft and doesn’t suffer any interference. This is the advantage of not using Bluetooth, which is much less reliable when there are other wireless devices around.
The controller is compatible with the PlayStation 4, Windows, macOS, Linux and Android. And in the unlikely event, you run out of battery, which has an autonomy of around ten hours, there is still a wired mode via the included 6ft braided cable.
Astro Gaming C40 TR – Design
The Astro Gaming C40 TR is definitely a premium device. It is made with matt black plastic that feels almost velvety to the touch, which is weird but very pleasant. The handles are rubberized which makes them harder to slip from sweaty hands.
It is heavier than the DualShock 4 from which it draws inspiration. It weighs 310 grams against the 210 grams of the PS4 accessory. It is also much larger, reminiscent of an Xbox One Controller. Personally, I find the added weight very pleasant, but others may be bothered by it.
The analog sticks, D-pad, buttons and digital control pad seem very robust and durable. The shoulder buttons and analog triggers have a very pleasant actuation point, which is perfectly located and easily accessible. The triggers offer the most pleasant and precise resistance I’ve ever felt on a gamepad, even better than the Xbox One Controller, which is the reference in the category.
The most apparent difference between the Astro Gaming C40 TR and the DS4 is on the back. The former sports two extra buttons for the middle or ring fingers, one on each side. The other difference is in the triggers: this device has a switch that cuts their travel in half, making them more responsive. This is excellent for competitive FPS games.
For the rest, the C40 TR is basically the same controller as the DS4 or Xbox One.
Astro Gaming C40 TR – Features
The big selling argument of the Astro Gaming C40 TR is that it allows you to customize it however you want: you can unscrew the front part housing the two analog sticks and the directional pad and put them back in any place you like. For example, I am a big fan of the Xbox One Controller, so I swapped the position of the analog stick on the left with the D-pad.
The C40 TR adds to the customization possibilities by providing a number of long and short sticks with domed or concave caps. The other possibility is to replace the cover of the directional cross, although Astro does not provide an alternative in the box.
Another cool feature of the Astro Gaming C40 TR is the hardware remapping button. So you can remap the paddles on the back without using any software. Of course, as with most professional controllers, you can do the remapping via the software for Windows and Mac PC.
You can also create dedicated profiles for each game you play, or for each player if you share the controller with someone else. On the gamepad itself, you will also find a button that lets you shift between two different configurations on the fly.
Last but not least, the software also lets you fine-tune the sensitivity of the analog sticks and triggers.
Astro Gaming C40 TR – Performance
I tested the Astro Gaming C40 TR with two FPS titles. In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Fortnite, choosing to cut the trigger’s travel to half, made a big difference in speed. I also remapped the squat and jump buttons to the back paddles, this way I could react even faster, by keeping my thumbs glued to the analog sticks.
Next, I tried out Gran Turismo: Sport. This racing game requires great analog triggers for acceleration and braking. Thankfully, they rose to the occasion, and their sensitivity level helped a lot with the overall control of the car.
The Astro Gaming C40 TR (Check on Amazon) is a very expensive device. Yet it delivers on everything it promised. It will take you some time figuring out how everything works and how to set it up properly but once you are done, it offers things far beyond what the DualShock 4 can ever achieve. For those of you who like the Xbox One Controller and especially the Elite (Check on Amazon) and Elite Series 2 (Check on Amazon), and can invest a little more, the Astro Gaming C40 TR will not disappoint.
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