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PB Tails Crush controller review: Stylish and comfortable

PB Tails Crush controller
Image: GameSpew

Finding an unofficial gaming controller that’s as comfortable — perhaps even more comfortable — than its official counterpart is a tall ask. But with PB Tails’ latest controller, the Crush, we might just have done it.

We were a little sceptical about the marketing blurb of the Crush. “Inspired by the Porsche 550 Spyder”, the product page says. Hmm. We don’t quite see the resemblance to a sports car, but we’ll give it to PB Tails all the same: it has managed to craft a stylish, sleek and comfortable controller, and it’s one we’ll happily reach for when playing PC games rather than an official Xbox pad.

The Crush comes in four colourways: Metal Series Ghost, Azurite, Ruby and China White. We’ve had our hands on the China White, an elegant-looking all-white controller that comes to life with understated and beautiful RGB lighting when it’s plugged in. The others are a little garish in comparison: the Azurite (blue) and Ruby are both translucent, giving you a glimpse of the controller’s innards.

PB Tails Crush controller
Image: GameSpew

The Ghost, on the other hand, has a metal finish (and a higher price to go with it), which is rather striking-looking. But we can only comment on the feel of the China White model in our hands, and we’ve been very impressed with it.

Turn on the Crush controller, and the ABXY face buttons light up in traditional Xbox colours. Beneath the controller is a bar that lights up red by default, and the PB Tails logo (acting as the ‘Xbox’ button, if you will) lights up green. It’s understated and beautiful, although if you’d prefer the RGB lights are fully customisable.

It’s not all about how it looks, though. The PB Tails Crush has some impressive features including Hall-effect triggers and thumbsticks, a six-axis motion sensor and a built-in Turbo mode. The quality of the buttons and thumbsticks is immediately clear when you use the Crush: there’s a satisfying ‘click’ to everything, and it’s incredibly responsive.

PB Tails Crush controller
Image: GameSpew

While we’ve been using the PB Tails Crush exclusively with PC, it can also be used with Nintendo Switch, Android and iOS. It has built-in Bluetooth and a rechargeable battery, although it can be used with a USB-C cable if you’d rather not worry about running out of power. Not that it should be too much of an issue: you’ll get around 10 hours from a full charge, which takes between one and two hours.

Another nifty (although rather superfluous) feature is that the front cover of the Crush controller simply lifts off. Its kept in place with strong magnets, so it won’t accidentally come away; instead, the idea is that you can swap it out for another colour case. These have to be bought separately, but starting from just $8 on the PB Tails store, they’re pretty reasonable. We suppose it’s nice to be able to change up the colour of your controller without needing to buy a whole new one.

The China White PB Tails Crush controller retails for $64.99 from the manufacturer’s own website (although at the time of writing there’s a $10 discount available). For what you get, we think that’s a very reasonable price, given the build quality, features and versatility of the controller. It’s one of our favourite third party controllers to date, and we wouldn’t hesitate to pick one up next time we need a new PC or Switch controller.

Thanks to PB Tails for providing us with a Crush controller for the purposes of this review.

Editor in chief // Kim's been into video games since playing Dizzy on her brother's Commodore 64 as a nipper. She'll give just about anything a go, but she's got a particular soft spot for indie adventures. If she's not gaming, she'll be building Lego, reading a thriller, watching something spooky or... asleep. She does love to sleep.