When Nacon acquired Rig last year, it gave the company a pathway into the North American market with a brand that's already pretty well established in gaming headsets. This means Nacon's catalog of gaming products, from gaming chairs to controllers, that were once only available in Europe are now available in the States.
One such product is the Rig Nacon Pro Compact, a $50 wired controller with a smaller form factor geared towards the competitive gamer or anyone who finds the current Xbox Series X controller a bit too big. One might argue that the Xbox Series X controller shape might be the closest thing to the perfect controller size and shape, but you could agree to disagree.
Made for the Xbox Series S/X consoles and Windows 10 PCs, the Pro Compact ends up looking like the illegitimate love child of a Sony DualSense and Xbox Series X controller, the shape and contour taking after the Sony controller while sticking with the Xbox face buttons—though I wish the Rig simply stuck with one design inspiration instead of going for this hybrid approach.
The far-spread placement of the Menu, Share, and Options buttons are strange since it mimics the exact layout of the DualSense, not an Xbox controller. More than once, the Pro had me looking down when trying to pause a game.
That said, I do like the smaller shape of the Pro Compact as it fits comfortably for folks with smaller hands. The enlarged face buttons have a good feel to them and are ergonomically friendly, increasing reaction time and lessening hand fatigue (so it claims). The joysticks lack the textured grips you'd find on other controllers, which is a bummer. That said, it didn't affect my performance in the few Apex Legends matches I played, even when using precision weapons like that pesky new bow.
As much as I love the Xbox controller, its d-pad feels too rough and uncomfortable for serious use in fighting games—the Pro's d-pad is a better overall feel than the Xbox's directional disc. To be fair, directional buttons are not easy to nail down even on some of the best controllers.
Another neat feature of the Pro Compact is it offers Dolby Atmos for free (usually $15) so long as you download the Dolby Access app. Simply plug in a headset in the 3.5mm port, and just like that, that headset now has positional audio and access to a suite of audio settings via the Dolby Access app. I haven't been sold on 3D audio just yet, but the number of custom EQ settings Dolby Access offers is appreciated as it turns most crappy headphones into something worth listening to.
The Nacon Pro Compact app has a surprisingly high level of customization options for button mapping, joystick response curves, and even trigger depths. If you spend a lot of time tweaking dead zones for Call of Duty: Warzone or Valorant, you'll feel right at home here.
The Rig Nacon Pro Compact wired controller goes on sale May 20 wherever you buy videogames, and if you're the type of gamer who wants to shave picoseconds off your button clicks and trigger pulls, the Pro Compact is worth a look. If you love the existing Xbox controller look and feel, the Pro Compact's shape and button layout might be a tough sell for you and not worth the $10-$15 savings, especially with no wireless option. If you just need a wired budget controller, you've got cheaper options out there that we like.