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Showcasing: Gioteck gaming accessories
Gioteck were kind enough to send a box full of delectable gaming goodies to look at, so that’s exactly what I did. Read on for my full thoughts on some of their inimitable accessories.
JC-20 Joy-Con controller
Joy-Con alternatives are a strange beast indeed. While the OGs are blighted with niggling little issues, they still set the precedent for what should be. The JC-20 from Giotek is a commendable effort, for a few key reasons but not without its own niggling little issues. Firstly, the colours are near on identical with Nintendo’s original Neon offering – Blue and Red. The Nintendo Switch even registers them as such, once they’re connected. That’s about where the similarities end. The left Joy-Con controller has a D-Pad, which is a big departure from its source material. They also don’t connect in the same way as Joy-Con, when playing in handheld and despite them appearing as Blue and Red boys, respectively, the Nintendo Switch stills registers them as 2 x singular Joy-Con, as if you were playing with one in each hand. To summarise, they do slide on to your Nintendo Switch as per the norm but don’t click in place with the little flash of colour that the OGs provide.
The JC-20 offers full Gyro controls too, which is probably the most important feature of the Joy-Con. Given its incredibly reasonable price point, this was a pleasant surprise. So far so good, right? Well, yes and no. The action buttons (A, B, X, Y) are small, round and incredibly plasticky and depending on the title that you are playing, become uncomfortable very quickly. Hyrule Warriors, with its button-bashing gameplay loop, is a no-go. It’s a crying shame as the D-Pad is comfortable and the sticks feel firm and responsive. While the buttons are perfectly amicable for less intensive titles, the placement of ZL and ZR means that occasionally you’ll hit them when you don’t intend to, which can lead to some frustrating moments, depending on the title. I found, during some Super Mario Odyssey that I’d start rolling unexpectedly, before realising that my finger was clipping the base of the ZR trigger, from its neutral position.
As the JC-20 only clips to the Nintendo Switch for convenience, they obviously don’t charge in the same manner as regular Joy-Con do. Each half of the JC-20 has a female USB-C port for charging purposes and a twice-pronged male USB C is included for juicing up your Joy-Con alternatives. While this is fine, when also charging the Nintendo Switch in handheld mode, this will require three (two if you count the double option as one) cables at once which can prove messy and uncomely.
All in all, the JC-20 is a competent piece of kit and certainly a decent value option. I’ve spent a solid month with it now and have experienced no drift, no noticeable delay or input lag and aside from the discomfort experienced during prolonged Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity playthroughs, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed testing out the JC-20 from Gioteck.
WX-4 The Pro Controller’s ugly sister
The WX-4 is a Pro Controller alternative that also connects to your PC via Bluetooth. Herein lies its biggest flaw. When connected, the Nintendo Switch loses a full bar of WiFi signal compared to using a regular Pro Controller or alternative branded device. Now, naturally, I use a wired internet connection, but something told me to check its performance when using the Switch’s wireless capabilities and I’m glad that I did as the performance was very different indeed.
Connecting the WX-4 can be a little finickity as you have to hold in the Y button and press the Home button, simultaneously. If this was a one-off, that would be fine but you must repeat this process every time you use it.
The controller’s design is somewhat similar to the Wii U Pro Controller, should you be familiar with that. It’s essentially a much more ergonomic PS4 controller in that regard, with the placement of its twin sticks not offset like on other controllers. The WX-4 offers a fair degree of comfort, and for the most part, is a decent controller. It does, however, feel a little cheap, especially during longer sessions of more intense games (again, Hyrule Warriors proving to be the perfect title to test such devices on).
As a final thought, the version of the WX-4 that I tested bore some Minecraft-themed block pattern, that was, in the opinion of this insular individual, a little garish. Thankfully, staring at the mantlepiece while stoking the fire isn’t necessary, when playing video games. The controller, in general, is a perfectly adequate offering; perfect as a spare for when the world goes back to normal and we can entertain guests once more, with a blend of subtle wit, whimsical anecdotes and prolonged Mario Kart sessions.
HC2 – Decal Edition – For fans of spoken word poetry…
The HC2 isn’t inherently bad, but it is definitely made for vocal performance. Spoken dialogue is all crisp and clear but as soon as there is an explosion or something that causes the bass to kick in, the HC2 – Decal Edition really struggles. It’s not distorted or anything, just incredibly flat, insipid. Lacklustre. Even the mid-range is a little insipid.
While the HC2 – Decal Edition was obviously not made for music – which it does no favours at all too – it’s a crying shame that it doesn’t offer a bit more oomph in-game. The treble is amicable, but unfortunately, the bass is bullied.
Aesthetically, the HC2 – Decal Edition looks sleek, with its gloss black finish and ergonomic curvature. It’s also an incredibly comfortable little headset that, despite its plastic composition, doesn’t get too hot during extended sessions. The HC2 – Decal Edition is lightweight and, while a little gimmicky, customisable too. It comes with a selection of decals, of which there are three designs that amend the appearance of the headset. They can be a little finicky to stick on the headset. Perhaps it would have been more beneficial to ship the product with interchangeable faceplates.
As is the norm, there is a detachable boom mic too. It certainly offers decent enough spoken clarity, certainly within the realms of in-game chat. It’s probably not ideal for recording a podcast but works for chatting with your team in a virtual game-world. The cable is flat, and minimalist which furthers the simplistic aesthetic but more importantly keeps things tidy when in use. Present on the aforementioned cable is a rudimentary volume dial that feels a little cheap and likely to break. It’s not all negative. The kill-switch, which allows you to mute the mic is nicely integrated and feels a little more robust than the volume control.
To summarise, for a £20 headset, it’s absolutely fine and will serve its purpose. You get what you pay for. It’s a great option for an enthusiastic youngling, or a very casual gamer, but for the more ardent among us, invest a little more wonga and feel the game come to life.
In comparison, the TX-50 is a much higher quality product and offers a scope of sound that further resonates and subsequently truly envelopes you firmly within the confines of the game world. Everything from delicates trills in the distance, provided by the crisp treble, encompassing mid-ranges or bombastic explosions offered by resonating bass, are all represented and come together to deliver a remarkable platform to showcase a title’s audio aesthetic.
Visually, the TX-50 is fine, if not unspectacular. Its plastic shell does seem a little fragile however and the boom mic is not removable, which I discovered to my own chagrin. Not, however, before I’d had a chance to test it. It provides cromulent clarity that makes in-game team speak comprehensible as well as being an excellent option for work meeting and video calls in general.
The TX-50 is incredibly comfortable with a soft, cushioned frame, that provides comfort and is breathable to boot. The cans are encompassing, without being obnoxious and while aimed as a more premium product, the £50 price-point still seems like incredible value for what is a highly competent headset.
It’s just a shame about the boom mic. It’s definitely not detachable…
Aside from the headset, Gioteck provided a few smaller accessories to further elevate the Xbox experience. First up, Sniper thumb grips.
Thumb grips are a take them or leave them product at the best of times. While some swear by them, for others, they’re so far off of their radar they resemble next-gen stock. I was such a man. Thumb grips had always seemed like a luxury that, while I could certainly afford, I could never justify. Having now used this product, I don’t think I can return to a timeline that is devoid of thumb grips and I now sport them across the board on my various devices’ controllers.
The Sniper grips, in particular, provide a canyon-like groove that your thumbs rest naturally in. The ergonomic, organic position offer not just a profound level of comfort, but also irrefutable precision too. The set provided featured three pairs of grips, all with distinct designs. What once seemed like a vanity item to this humble hack managed to provide functionality along with a sense of style.
BP SX Battery Pack
Xbox’s decision to persevere with AA batteries in their controllers is an interesting one, to say the least. While some would argue that it provides an option to continue to play, decades from now when the battery packs of rivals have long since dissipated, in the here and now, it provides an additional caveat and with it, an expense, in order to use your Xbox controller. Thankfully, companies make battery packs. this particular battery pack clips snugly in place where your Duracell’s would usually go and charges via USB-C. The battery life is around 20 hours, which when you consider that even the highest-end disposable batteries offer 12-15, it’s not to be sneezed at.
VP1 Viper Cable pack
What’s better than your generic boxed in HDMI cables? High quality braided, super fast, incredibly long cables with gold connectors. Obviously. That’s exactly what Gioteck have brought to the party with their double-cable-murder pack. The second cable is an USB-C, for all of your charging needs, or if you’re a purist, you can easily utilise this cable to use your controller plugged in, from the comfort of your sofa!
Gioteck have firmly positioned themselves as an excellent choice for entry-level alternate accessories, and you know what, their high-end stuff might just surprise you too!