Controller can be a bit of a dirty word in the PC gaming scene, and that's just one of their benefits. Sure some tasks are much easier with a keyboard and mouse but they've always felt much less natural to me for most gaming movement. Plus, it's much easier to play sprawled out on the couch, or on the go, with a controller in hand. When it comes to portability, versatility, and comfort, controllers will always be my go to, and the new HyperX Clutch controller manages to really nail some of these features. However, it wouldn't necessarily be my first recommendation for a PC gaming standard.
In the hand, the HyperX Clutch feels a lot like an Xbox Series Controller, but with softer rubber edges that add an extra layer of comfort. The layout for the most part is the same as many of those that make up our best PC controller round-up, and should feel familiar for most, but little touches like the rougher pointed ridges atop the thumbsticks and loser yet springier triggers mark a difference.
While I like the feel of the triggers and shoulder buttons on the Clutch, I'd choose the softer Xbox stick caps. My thumbs feel a little raw after using the controller, and I'm sure this would get better as the sticks wore down and my calluses grew, it's not a price I want to pay for comfortable gaming. The various components of the Clutch also can be a little creaky, giving it a fragile feeling in use, despite its solid seeming build.
On the front face of the controller there are also the equivalents of start and select, as well as Turbo and home button switches. The Turbo is a real boon that we don't always get to see and is very easy to use. Setting any button to Turbo will have a hold action report as rapid pressing which is an actual life saver when skipping dialogue in Genshin Impact (yes, I'm a monster) or levelling up dinos in Ark: Survival Evolved. It also works even when paired to a phone for games that support it and Steam Link.
Compatibility: Windows, Android
Connectivity: 2.4GHz, Bluetooth
Ports: USB Type-C
Accessories: phone holder
Price: $50 / AUD$79
Unfortunately, in many cases connectivity isn't always this controller's strongest point. It comes with a 2.4 receiver for PC gaming and the connection cuts out a fair bit. I tried it on a few PCs and it tended to work well for a little, and then be plagued with reconnecting issues, regardless of positioning. HyperX dongles have always worked well in the past, so I'm hoping there'll be a software fix to make this a viable option for PC gamers who would be interested.
On the upside the Bluetooth connection works great. Connecting it to phones and other devices is a standard affair. I ended up using it on my PC that way and it felt as good as when the 2.4 was working correctly with very little lag. So while the dodgy 2.4 makes it a hard sell for the hardcore PC gamer who wants the best wireless connection, all this Bluetooth success is great for a controller you might want to use on multiple different devices or on the go.
The HyperX Clutch comes with a phone holder attachment that sits at the top of the controller. It's made of what feels to be a strong plastic, and holds even my large Samsung Note securely with a nice weighted balance. Plus it folds up into a nice pocketable package that can also be a separate phone stand. As a controller primarily for gaming on the go, it's not a bad sell.
Aside from the 2.4 issues, scratchy thumbsticks, and creaky bones, the HyperX Clutch is a really nice controller with a slew of features for its $50 price point. If you're happy to rely on a Bluetooth and wired connections to get you through your gaming session, and want a really versatile controller, the Clutch would certainly come in to play.