Providing a one-sentence review for the Nacon Colorlight Limited Edition is easy: It’s a transparent, “Designed for Xbox”, Pro Compact model, with six customisable colour zones, and many of the same pros and cons. As such, there’s plenty to like if you’re looking for a sturdy, easy-to-use, customisable wired gamepad – but its form factor and triggers can feel at odds with the benefits you get from the programmable software features.
Despite the Pro Compact frame, the Colorlight is not much more compact than an original Xbox Series gamepad and weighs about as much one with the batteries removed. That said, it still feels robust in your hands, with thumbsticks, face buttons, and bumpers that all have a similar tactile feel. The grips are lightly textured and the braided cord, which is 3.5 m long and does not detach, ensures you can store it easily without twisting or tangling. What is notable, and presumably accounts for most of the size reduction, are the shorter hand grips. Your mileage may vary based on your hand size, but I found the Colorlight felt less secure during games that required rapid inputs (first-person shooters being a prime example).
As a certified “Designed for Xbox” product, the Colorlight’s basic button and thumbstick configuration is identical to an original gamepad, and you get Dolby Atmos support if you have a headset plugged into the 3.5 mm jack on the base. The offset thumbsticks are a similar size and height, while the A/B/X/Y face buttons are slightly larger and, as a consequence, more cramped. Thankfully, they have the same “clicky” feel and a similar range of motion. The one design I don’t understand is why the menu, view, and share buttons were pushed towards the edge of the gamepad, instead of clustered around the central “Xbox” button.
The thumbsticks are a highlight. They feel robust and have a raised rubber edge that ensures your thumbs don’t slip, even when applying only light pressure. In contrast, the d-pad feels a little spongy when depressed and rotated – lacking the “clicky” feedback of an official Xbox gamepad – but it functions as intended. So to do the bumpers, though they feel less prominent. Unfortunately, the somewhat squat triggers bring down the overall experience in any game genre that relies on them extensively – think first-person shooters or racing games. They feel more like the bumper-trigger hybrids on a Dualshock 4, rather than the well-defined curved triggers we’ve seen on every Xbox gamepad since the original “Duke”. They’re sturdy, they get the job done, but it always felt like my fingers were close to slipping off during hectic gaming sessions.
With form factor out the way, the next element to discuss is the Colorlight’s programmable software and unique lighting options that you typically only see with premium-priced gamepads. Unsurprisingly, it uses the basic Pro Compact app – which is simple to use and offers excellent presets – just with extra settings to customise the RGB lighting. You get full button-remapping; you can invert the thumbsticks and tweak their deadzones or response patterns; you can adjust the trigger activation ranges; and set the d-pad to a 4-way or 8-way input. You can mix and match to your liking, but each preset clearly demonstrates the impact of each adjustment and you can tweak it on the fly – making it easy to understand and test the results during gameplay.
What is unique to the Colorlight is a tab dedicated to tweaking the colour and behaviour of the 6 LED lights. If you’re boring like me, you can just pick a single colour and brightness level, or you can tweak each LED individually to create a unique arrangement of colours with different behaviours. Six LEDs with a symmetrical split is not quite enough to create anything too elaborate, but it does allow you to create unique profiles for different users or, if you want two in the house for local coop, it’ll be easy to identify which controller belongs to whom. On the back of the gamepad, you’ll find one button to cycle a basic set of colour, while another toggle puts it into “advanced” mode to use the software interface.
As a final point on the user experience, the Colorlight benefits from being simple to use with unified features. It works on last-gen Xbox One consoles, current-gen Xbox Series consoles, and PCs – just plug it in and you’re good to go. Better still, the customisation software app functions identically on all devices and syncs with your profile between them. Additionally, if you’re a fan of retro games, the wired Colorlight has far greater compatibility with older GOG and Steam PC games from the mid-2000s onwards, whereas they often bug out when using Bluetooth or a wireless adapter.
Overall, the Nacon Colorlight Limited Edition is a decent budget gamepad, with some surprisingly premium features. It doesn’t offer back paddles, swappable thumbsticks, or weights, but the programmable software options and lighting customisation feel on par with more expensive gamepads. The build quality is great, the layout familiar, and the customisation options intuitive to use and easy to test mid-game. Unfortunately, the shorter hand grips and trigger design make it less ideal for shooters and racing games – both genres the software feels tailored for. It works well as a robust backup controller for a child, or maybe as a dedicated Xbox-style gamepad for PC, but would like to see a revision with conventional triggers.
A review sample of the Nacon Colorlight Limited Edition was provided to gameblur by the manufacturer.
Nacon Colorlight Limited Edition (Xbox) ReviewNacon Colorlight Limited Edition (Xbox) Review
- Robust build quality, familiar layout, and tactile feel to original Xbox gamepads
- Intuitive and useful programmable buttons/triggers using the Pro Compact app
- A wide range of lighting configurations to personalise your pad
- Quality braided cable that'll survive handling and storage
- Short hand grips and Dualshock-esque triggers make it less ideal for shooters and racing games
- Unintuitive menu, view, and share button placement