When it comes to colorful controller designs, the Xbox game has been on the cutting edge for years. Since the Xbox One generation, Microsoft has released many fun variations on its controllers — including limited editions and the Xbox Design Lab — and that momentum has gone with it the Xbox Series X / S consoles have not let up. Meanwhile, the range of third-party Xbox controllers is more extensive than ever, and brands like PowerA are hitting budget-friendly prices with chic new colorways, like the recently released pastel-colored line of the PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox and $37.99 PC.
Announced back in March as a spring collection, these new pastel colors for the Enhanced Wired line include Purple Camo, Lavender Swirl, Pink Lemonade, Pastel Dream and Cotton Candy Blue. Pink lemonade seemed like the clear winner at first with its smooth gradient from yellow to pink, but after seeing and handling all five colors in person, I can officially declare cotton candy blue the best eye-catcher. It’s actually a bit more blue-green than the name suggests, but regardless, it’s a bold but soft monochromatic hue on this controller.
But all five pastel designs look great overall, with different uses of gradients, speckled patterns, and/or two-tone contrast on the front and back, giving each a unique signature. Sure, it’s a shame these controllers still come with outdated micro-USB connectors, but I’ll give PowerA credit for at least going for a white detachable cable to better complement the light and airy look .
I’d still love to see an all-new version of the Enhanced Wired Controller that finally upgrades to USB-C and maybe even squeezes in a few more rear customizable buttons without cluttering things up too much. But anger aside, there’s a lot to love about the aesthetic of these bright new color combinations. The Enhanced Wired Controller was our top pick for the best budget Xbox controller you can buy, thanks in large part to its very fair price point while nailing the essentials of a wired controller. I can’t say these new colors do a good thing better since they’re functionally the same, but they’re refreshing enough that they feel improved somehow.
These cool new pastel colors are now available from many retailers and it won’t be a surprise if they see discounts and sales of their own like many others in the PowerA range. They’re a little breath of budget-friendly fresh air and a nice addition to a gaming summer of new local multiplayer games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge (a good reason to need extra affordable controllers as they support up to six players on Xbox and PC).
Photography by Antonio G. Di Benedetto / The Verge