Design / Construction: We should start this by saying that the Cyborg Rumble gamepad is big. Like, the original Xbox controller big. Now, for myself this is not an issue – larger controllers fit better in my hands. However, the size could discourage folks with smaller hands. Thankfully, along with being large, the Cyborg Rumble is also very sturdy. With a hard plastic outer shell, the gamepad can take some serious abuse and keep on ‘ticking’.
The pad’s controls can be laid out like both the Xbox 360’s as well as Playstation 3’s gamepads. How is this you ask? Well, Saitek has created a rather ingenious feature in the Cyborg Rumble called the ‘Cyborg Module’. This module contains the left thumbstick and D-pad, and can be removed and rotated about to the gamer’s preferred controller style. Physically, the Cyborg Rumble contains the same number and type of control buttons, sticks, and triggers as the Xbox 360 gamepad does.
The attached USB chord coming off the pad is six feet long. Gamers would be better served by Saitek making the chord a bit longer as the stock six feet did not afford quite enough room to relax back from the PC keyboard/case if you wanted.
Installation / Usage: Technically, you don’t need to install any software with the Cyborg Rumble pad. You can literally plug it into a USB port and start gaming right away. However, if you wish, you may install the Saitek macro software in order to set the Cyborg Rumble’s buttons to specific macros. The macro software included is Saitek’s multi-device macro software that they include with most of their peripherals.
In place of where the Xbox button would be on Microsoft’s gamepad, Saitek has what they call, they ‘FPS Button’. By activating this control, the gamepad assigns default FPS control keys to the buttons/axis on the pad. This is useful when a game you are trying to play does not have native support for gamepads. Though not 100% spot-on, it is usually close enough to play. If you seek totally ‘correct’ control assignment, use Saitek’s macro software.
Another great feature of the Cyborg Rumble is its ‘precision key’. This key can be assigned to any button on the pad and will decrease the sensitivity of any desired axis to enhance the accuracy of small-movements. Basically, if you need to snipe your opponent through a rifle scope, you activate this control to give enhanced accuracy.
The Cyborg Rumble can also be set via the game controller driver panel to ‘X-Mode’, which forces it to emulate (and I use the term loosely) an official Microsoft Xbox 360 PC Gamepad. This is useful for all those ‘Games for Windows’ titles which natively support Microsoft’s PC gamepad.
Saitek also equipped the Cyborg Rumble with Immersion’s vibration technology which is very effective in creating that force feedback sensation gamers crave so. When calibrating the controller in the ‘game controllers’ windows, each button press activates a different test vibration feedback effect. From the vibration of firing a minigun to simulating the rumbling of an engine, this gamepad can do it! Unfortunately, and in no part the fault of Saitek, not too many Windows games support rumble technology at this point. Hopefully that will change as the console generation melds a bit more with the PC crowd.
Conclusion: For a very reasonable $34.95 dollars on the official Saitek website, the Cyborg Rumble gamepad is a really nice PC game controller and will go far in getting that ‘console feeling’ on your desktop machine.