Review Xiaomi Gamepad The One To Overpower Everyone

Have you realized how horrible it is to use a keyboard and mouse to play certain games, like Assassin’s Creed or Batman games? Now, enter the PC Master Race scene – choose whatever peripheral you want. Enter the gamepad controllers – particularly, by Xiaomi, that works via Bluetooth.

It has the usual Xiaomi design of boxes, where a big brown box with a small Mi branding printed on the box itself.

Lifting the box cover up, the controller can be seen directly. Also, a small little piece paper with the user guide is found way at the top.

Nicely laid out, but too bad it’s all in Chinese.

Digging beneath the controller, some included batteries are found. Such a bonus! After that, there are nothing else in the box.

[nextpage title=”Design”]Here comes the funnily not-so-surprising part of the Xiaomi Gamepad itself. Xiaomi – as a mobile brand that we all know and love, makes devices with their own original design. However, as we all also know, Xiaomi is a Chinese brand – and the best thing that China does is imitating other products.

Looks familiar? That’s because the Xiaomi Gamepad has the exact same design and button layouts as the Xbox controllers! By Xbox controller I mean the Xbox 360 controller instead. It’s more or less an exact replica of the layout!

The button layout, the button colours, the button placement, and even the shoulder buttons!

However in Xiaomi’s defence, there are some noteworthy reasons why the Xbox controller layout was ultimately chosen. Although the PlayStation controller’s layout is more recognizable and well-known as the “game controller”, it’s not ergonomic at all. The Xbox controller layout on the other hand, is really ergonomic, and personally, I love it!

Another point is that Xiaomi’s gamepad is connected wirelessly through Bluetooth, and powered by two simple AA batteries, and again, are included in the box. I actually think that Xiaomi is considerate enough to still hold to its mobile-focused roots while creating the Xiaomi Gamepad, as there are emulators available in the Google Play Store that supports gamepad controllers.

One last point – since the Xiaomi Gamepad is made with smartphones in mind, there is what it seems to be a slot to put a smartphone dock on the controller itself. This didn’t happen however, as there was and current still doesn’t have accessory for sale. There is a fan-made one where you can 3D print though, and the creator claims that it works for all phones.

[nextpage title=”Comfort and usage”]It’s all about the ergonomics when it comes to gaming. Actually, I’ve been using the Xiaomi Gamepad for a very long time – I think it has been about half a year since I used the Xiaomi Gamepad to start playing Darksiders II.

Took me about two weeks to complete the game while discovered many of the random stuff found within the game, and I found out that the controller actually feels amazingly well in the hands even through long hours of gaming.

After that, I played Assassin’s Creed Unity. I know, it’s an old, faulty game, but I like the AC franchise of games somehow, so I played through the entire game using the Xiaomi Gamepad. I loved every bit of the controller – right down to how those buttons actually feel like. They’re a little softer than the Xbox controller counterpart, but then again it doesn’t feel like those typical Chinese-made controllers with mushy buttons. However, the LB and RB buttons are very soft.

The only real caveat here for desktop gamers is the requirement of Bluetooth connectivity, as the Xiaomi Gamepad uses Bluetooth instead of a proprietary wireless dongle like the Logitech F170 Wireless Gamepad. It’s not a caveat entirely – as Bluetooth connectivity means it can be hooked up to anything that uses Bluetooth – so all Android and iOS devices can be connected. If you’re like me, then you might have a USB Bluetooth dongle laying around in the room. I took mine and plugged it into my desktop, and voila – time to game on!

Want to connect to other devices? How hard could it be? While the Xiaomi Gamepad is turned off, press and hold the Mi button until the glow flickers. Then, just connect to it – and when it’s connected, a mild vibration is felt. To get it to work with PC games however, things were not as straightforward as I hoped it should be. There are certain extra steps that needs to be taken once for each and every game – at least all those that I’ve tried and tested the Xiaomi Gamepad.

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First, a software called x360ce, or Xbox 360 Controller Emulator, is needed. Download both 64-bit and 32-bit version. If the game is running on 64-bit, you’ll need the 64-bit version of x360ce for the Xiaomi Gamepad to work. However, the x360ce software will not work perfectly out of the box. The one and only problem – also the biggest problem that I found – is that the trigger buttons (LT and RT) doesn’t work as intended, as the trigger will work as any other button. If you didn’t know, the original Xbox 360’s trigger button can detect in multiple levels – even half-pressed, 1/8th pressed, or whatever it is. This is used for racing games to have a more realistic throttle and brake control.

That’s fine and dandy for games like Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, but here’s another method listed off by oddbasket here, which spoofs the controller to be recognized as a genuine Xbox 360 controller. It works, but definitely not as elegant as the x360ce. By using this method, I found out Assassin’s Creed Syndicate detected the triggers as my back and start button. The other buttons work, and it worked excellently right after I installed too. Not sure what happened, but thankfully the controller emulator can be turned off by a click.

Also, if you’re using Windows like I am, hit Windows+R or just hit Windows key and type in “joy.cpl”, then hit enter. Make sure you go under Advanced and select the preferred device to the Xiaomi Gamepad!

[nextpage title=”Wrap up”]I think this review, had somehow turned out to become a guide instead. However, the controller itself is amazing. Matte black finish all over with a white glow for the Mi button and I absolutely love the ergonomic and feel of it. Also, Bluetooth connectivity is a pro and con obviously, but to me, it’s a marvellous decision. The only missing thing here is the accessory for the two notches on the controller.

How to get the Xiaomi Gamepad however, is a tough question. The price is originally at $99 yuan, and I got mine at about RM66 excluding shipment from this seller at Taobao. Obviously there are some available on Lazada as well, which is priced at about RM99 nowadays.

Also, kudos to Xiaomi to including the batteries in the box!

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