HyperX Clutch Gladiate review: Quality on a budget
The HyperX Clutch Gladiate wired Xbox controller brings the company’s fantastic build quality at an even better price point, and we’ve got our hands on it.
Revealed back in January during CES 2023, HyperX has officially released the Clutch Gladiate wired Xbox controller. It boasts high-end features, for a more palatable price point. In an industry where some game controllers can cost up to $399, HyperX offers a budget alternative.
The feature-packed controller comes with programmable buttons, trigger locks that can be toggled on the fly, and dual rumble motors for the low-low price of $34.99. These are often features seen on higher-end controllers like the Victrix Pro BFG, and premium controllers on PC. To reach that price point, you have to contend with a wire.
But is it still worth the purchase? We’ve had the chance to test out the controller and share what we think about the company’s latest controller.
- Connectivity: USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Compatibility: Xbox, PC
- Price: $34.99
- Features: Dual programmable buttons, trigger locks, dual rumble motors
HyperX didn’t go wild with their design of the Clutch Gladiate wired Xbox controller, and we think the choice to keep it simple is one of the best parts of it.
The company has managed to maintain the general shape, size, and feel of the controller, which we greatly appreciate. It’s also quite a bit lighter than our 20th Anniversary Xbox controller from Microsoft coming in at 194g compared to Xbox’s 292g.
You’ll find silver HyperX branding on the bottom of the Clutch Gladiate’s face, which is all the branding that the company has decided to place on the product outside of its overall black and red color scheme.
There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack to connect your favorite headset to in between the grips as you’d expect, with the best features of the Clutch Gladiate hiding on the back of the controller.
On the insides of both grips on the controller, you can find perfectly placed red programmable buttons that give you easy alternative access to any of the Clutch Gladiate’s face buttons, triggers, or bumpers.
The programmable buttons are effortless to set up as well. Just press the programming button, press the button you’d like to set, and then choose which back button you’d like to use.
HyperX also outfitted the Clutch Gladiate wired Xbox controller with trigger locks that adjust how far players have to press the left and right triggers down. The switches are located on the top of the backside of the controller and are super easy to turn on and off on the fly.
The vibration on the Clutch Gladiate controller is absolutely phenomenal as well, with dual rumble motors to give you some of the best feedback we’ve ever experienced in a budget Xbox gamepad.
The buttons, however, are where the device begins to fall apart. With the exception of the programmable ones, the buttons — especially the D-pad, are super mushy. Although the gamepad comes in at a low price of $34.99 at launch, we would have still liked to have slightly more premium buttons.
As expected, it’s outfitted with potentiometer joysticks which mean players have a higher likelihood of experiencing stick drift. We would have loved to see drift-free hall sensing sticks on the Clutch Gladiate, even if it meant HyperX had to raise the price slightly. We’ve seen hall-sensors in affordable game controllers, like the 8BitDo Ultimate Controller in the past.
Unsurprisingly, we found the HyperX Clutch Gladiate wired Xbox controller’s gaming performance to be the same across our PC and Xbox One testing.
We programmed the back buttons to act as controls for shifting in Forza Horizon 5, making drifting through the streets of Mexico an absolutely thrilling experience.
The trigger locks are a similar situation, allowing us to quickly swap between a short tap for shooting and a full pull as soon as we jumped in the closest vehicle throughout Battlefield.
The circularity on the joysticks is about 2% worse than the official Xbox controller, which is a negligible difference for the Clutch Gladiate. We tested out the trigger locks as well, with both locking the triggers right around halfway through.
Should you buy it?
Although we did find the majority of the buttons to be quite mushy, the overall build quality and value that HyperX offers with the Clutch Gladiate controller is fantastic.
If you don’t mind a wire and you’re in the market for a quality controller the HyperX Clutch Gladiate is a must-buy at $34.99.
The Verdict – 4/5
HyperX has been making a name for itself with high-quality products that don’t break the bank, and the Clutch Gladiate controller is no different.