Nacon Daija (PS5) review: A middling refresh
Nacon has unveiled their brand-new Daija Arcade Stick, and we’ve had our hands on it for the last few weeks to see if the brand-new stick is up to the task of a new generation.
Nacon is no stranger to making arcade sticks, their previous-generation Daija offered a robust, functional, and cohesive package that was easy to customize. This new-generation variant now offers a couple of handy features and revisions under the hood, but is it worth the investment against other sticks like the HORI Fighting Stick Alpha and the ultra-high-end Victrix Pro FS sticks?
- Buttons: Sanwa Denshi 30mm
- Lever: Sanwa Denshi Ball-top
- Gate: Square
- Connectivity: USB-C
- Platform: PS5, PS4, PC
- Features: Tournament lock functions, 3.5mm headphone jack, detachable cable
- Price: €279.90
- Where to buy: Nacon
Included in the box: Nacon Daija (PS5). Braided 3m USB-C to USB-A cable, Screwdriver, Bat-top, lever key.
As ardent users of the original Nacon Daija, the new version is incredibly visually similar, it features the same-shaped chassis with a handful of new additions. The version that we reviewed comes in a panda-like black-and-white colorway. This is pretty similar to the visual design of other PS5 accessories like the Inzone Headsets from earlier this year. We don’t love the overall look, and much prefer the all-black aesthetic of the previous model.
Additionally, the top plexiglass has a notch for a Playstation button, a “Profile” button, and a tournament lock function. We preferred the clean look of the older Daija, since there’s no notch obstructing the view. This variant also has more screws for the top plexiglass, should you want to replace it, it’d be slightly more difficult.
Over on the right-hand side, you have a couple more function buttons aligned in a square, along with a touchpad and other function settings. This is welcome and we never felt like they were too far out of reach.
At the top you can see the Sanwa lever and 30mm buttons, which are an industry standard at this point, allowing you to get that arcade-perfect feeling at home. At the top, is a recessed USB-C port. We’re glad to see more arcade sticks with a detachable cable, as this is a common failure point in many sticks.
There are two latches on the flanks of the stick, which are flush with the side panels. This is a marked improvement over the older version of the stick, which had two red buttons jutting out at the side, which could easily be accidentally pressed. We found that often when closing the stick, the latches did not want to fully depress again, forcing us to manually plop them back into place.
Once you push both latches, you’re presented with the arcade stick’s inner sanctum. Here, you’ll find ample space to swap out the buttons and lever, in addition to a couple of more additions. You have storage for your cable, bat-top, or ball-top, in addition to a screwdriver for the plexiglass panel, and a key for the lever.
There’s enough room in here to fit a Korean lever, and the cables are all tidily managed for you, should you wish to replace the buttons down the line.
Lack of ergonomics
Since this Daija largely uses the same tooling as the older model, it leaves behind the same footprint as the previous model, meaning that it feels near-identical in use compared to the older model. This is a shame, since the panel is completely flat, your wrists can get strained, and we often find that our wrist gets caught on the left corner, making it uncomfortable for long sessions of play.
It would have been nice to see Nacon make some adjustments for this new stick, but it appears that they have used largely similar tooling, which is disappointing.
The Daija is excellent for performance in fighting games. Designed alongside fighting game legend Kayane, it’s clear that Nacon knew what to focus on when developing the stick. The stick and buttons feel excellent and easy access to buttons like a tournament function in addition to the R3 button on the side for training mode functions.
Tested in titles like Tekken 7 and Street Fighter V, we found that the Daija performed excellently, though the relative lack of space and hard edge of the left-hand side caused some fatigue while in use, much like its previous-generation counterpart.
The last Daija had some pretty serious input latency issues at launch, so we reached out to Nacon, who clarified the polling and input latency of the arcade stick.
- PS5 Mode: 6ms
- PS4 Mode: 5ms
- PC Mode: 4ms
Input latency: ≤ 8ms in every mode
Should you buy it?
Positioned as a higher-end arcade stick, the Nacon Daija (PS5) is indeed a formidable stick in an increasingly competitive market. It’s certainly more feature-packed than the Hori Fighting Stick Alpha, but it falls short of the sheer quality of the Victrix Pro FS.
It’s not the cheapest product in the world, and it would have been nice to see a leverless variant come to the market too, like a Hitbox of Pro-FS 12.
If you’re looking for a solid customizable arcade stick, the Daija is great. But considering its lack of ergonomics, and some niggling design issues, we think that they could have done slightly better for this product refresh. At this price point, we expected a slightly revamped design that addressed the issues of the previous model. While some improvements have been made, we can’t say that we were wholly fans of all changes.