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After the semi-disappointment that was the Wildcat, which performed worse than Microsoft’s Elite controller (Check on Amazon.com) despite its higher price, Razer came back with a vengeance in the form of the Wolverine Ultimate (Check on Amazon.com). Although even more expensive than the Wildcat, the Wolverine Ultimate seems however better equipped for finally beating the Xbox One Elite.
Approfondisci: Microsoft Xbox One Elite review: the perfect gamepad
Razer Wolverine Ultimate – Design
The Razer Wolverine Ultimate is more inspired by the Raiju (Check on Amazon.com) instead of the Wildcat that it replaces. Razer seems to have finally realized that gamers want something more than just sticky grips. This gamepad is adorned with handles covered with an elastomer surface on the underside, for superior comfort and grip. Finally, we are at the level of an Elite controller, although the latter uses a soft-touch plastic that gives a feeling of premium quality.
The Wolverine is not a featherweight with its 276g, especially if you consider that this is a wired controller. That’s 24g more than the Wildcat and about as much as the official Xbox One controller with its two AA batteries.
Its biggest flaw though is that the Wolverine is cabled only, and cannot be used wirelessly for some casual gaming. Razer has already proved that they know how to create a solid wireless peripheral (mouse), so we do not understand why they chose to forego this feature entirely especially when this gamepad wants to beat the wireless Elite controller for the title of the best controller. The supplied USB cable is also unfortunately too short for a big lounge with a length of just 3m (10ft). The other flaw is the fact that Razer persists with its proprietary port that prevents us from using a standard USB cable.
Speaking of ports the headphone jack is placed on the front of the controller, as on most other official controllers [DualShock 4 (Check on Amazon.com), Xbox One controller (Check on Amazon.com)], but here we also find a control panel that allows us to change profile, mute the microphone and adjust the volume on the fly.
- Sony DualShock 4 review: tradition and innovation
- Microsoft Xbox One controller review: the gold standard for console and PC
But the main novelty introduced with the Wolverine is its modularity. It lets us change its analog sticks and D-pad and it uses a simple magnetic system similar to the one on the Xbox Elite. In addition to the default concave analog sticks, Razer provides us with a mushroom head stick of the same height (9.5mm) and a taller concave one (14mm). The latter is intended to replace the right stick in order to improve aiming in FPS games.
The D-pad can also be replaced by a more concave disk and therefore more suitable for fighting games.
The face buttons use Razer’s Hyperesponse mechanisms, which are actually mechanical switches similar to those found in their mice. They are very sensitive and have a fast response time.
The left and right analog triggers have a design similar to the ones of the official controller but they are more sensitive. They are less pleasant to use since there is no buffer to cushion the impact when you press them all the way. They also emit a loud “click” noise and are not muffled like on the official controller. There are also blocks that can significantly reduce the travel of the triggers, turning them into buttons, which can be practical in some FPS games.
Sitting above the analog triggers, we find the traditional left and right shoulder buttons. These are more narrow than the official one (but as easy to press) because Razer has also added two more buttons, namely M1 and M2, which are activated with the fingertips. There are also four more of these buttons on the back of the controller. We would have preferred that Razer had positioned these more on the sides for an easier activation. All of these bumpers and triggers can copy the function of any other button on the controller.
Razer Wolverine Ultimate – Synapse
Apart from Microsoft only Nacon’s Elite and Revolution Pro (Check on Amazon.com) controllers took advantage of an application for customizing the gamepad. Razer now also offers its own application, called Synapse, for Windows and Xbox One.
In Synapse you can create and store an unlimited number of profiles. You can then save two of them locally on the controller, and switch between them with the touch of a button.
In addition to being able to customize the function of every button, Synapse also offers two specific functions: Agile and Focus.
- Agile makes it possible to increase the sensitivity of the analog sticks for a faster response;
- Focus, conversely, decreases their sensitivity for more precision.
The application also allows us to adjust the power of the vibration motors.
Last and certainly least here we can find the settings for the Chroma lighting system, which Razer likes to include in everything despite a rather questionable interest in our opinion.
Razer Wolverine Ultimate – Performance
The Wolverine is a solid performer and could expect no less from such a high-end controller. Although it doesn’t revolutionize the gaming experience compared to an official controller (this is praise on how good Microsoft’s Xbox One controller really is), we appreciate the added precision of the analog sticks and the Focus function that can be activated at will. Wolverine in a “killer” in shooting games.
On the other hand, the D-pad feels more pleasant and is easier to use than the cross on the classic joystick, but it seems to us that it is still inferior to the aluminum disc of the Elite controller, especially in intense fighting games.
Last but not least we really appreciate the responsiveness of the buttons, bumpers, and triggers that are better in any type of game. Although the average gamer will not see the difference, we are certain that professional gamers will love saving those milliseconds.
Razer Wolverine Ultimate – Verdict
The Wolverine Ultimate (Check on Amazon.com) is one of the best controllers we have ever used. Modular and precise, it offers benefits close to those of the excellent Elite controller. It is difficult, however, to disregard its small defects which, combined, prevent it from landing on the top.