View Full Version : Kiss sweaty controller palms goodbye

06-16-2004, 11:44 PM
We’ve all been there before- Your bud passes you the controller after a marathon single player session and it feels like the biceps machine grips at the local gym. You urge your friend to have his condition of hyper-hydrosis checked out by a sweat gland doctor, but he simply won’t which makes the sweaty controller situation even worse. Okay, this might not be the most common of situations, but every hardcore gamer has felt the S controller slip from their perspiring hands at some point. NYKO has come to the rescue of Xbox gamers worldwide with the release of their Airflo EX controller. Say goodbye to Sweaty Palminson at your next LAN party...

Patented Air Flo Technology ends sweaty hands and allows for comfortable gameplay
New, improved design for added comfort and control
Multi-speed fan for customized ventilation
Rubberized grips for added comfort and control
Responsive dual analog control sticks and 8-way D-pad
Built-in variable vibration function
Pressure sensitive analog buttons
Dual expansion slots for memory cards and accessories
10-foot cable



There really isn’t much to the setup of the Airflo EX controller since it functions on the surface as a normal controller. Once the ten foot cable is plugged in, the fan will be receiving power and can be controlled via octagonal button on the low-center face of the controller. Pressing the fan button once will turn the fan on “high”, pressing it again will set it on “low”, and once more press will return the fan to its off position.


So what does a controller with a built-in fan feel like? Pretty much like a Standard S controller with slightly more heft. The weight difference is minute so it probably won’t feel like a major difference unless you are comparing the two side by side. The Airflo EX’s physical size is definitely bigger than a Standard S controller but still smaller than the Winnebago-sized Duke. Gamers that actually prefer the Duke my like the size of the Airflo EX, which seems to hit a happy medium for gamers with averaged-sized hands. The controller stocks have been shortened so that the stretch from thumb to face buttons isn’t drastically different than an S, but gamers with smallish hands will have to extend their thumb an extra ¼” or so to reach the Y button.

The rubberized and vented grip areas go a long way in improving the tactile feel of the Airflo EX, even with the fans off. The Airflo EX feels more solid when grasped and the dimensions won’t send any 3rd party naysayers running for the gaming forums. One area to note about the button layout is that the start and back buttons are not accessible with the right thumb since they are located in the center of the controller’s face, right above the fan button. This is only a big deal on games where the start/back buttons are frequently used, which is barely any.

Another area of concern for some gamers may be the way in which the fan protrudes out from the bottom of the controller. Depending on your grasping style, you may feel like the fan shroud is hindering your ability to extend the pinky and ring fingers. I personally found the fan shroud to be a positive thing, since it allows pressure to be placed ******d with the grasping fingers, offering a more solid hold.

Just as almost every 3rd part controller that has passed through the Teamxbox offices, the Airflo EX has a funky feel to most of its buttons. The feel (that most third party controllers share) either feels overly loose or overly chunky, depending on what control you are accessing. Both analog sticks feel a tad bit sloppy as compared to the S Controller; not enough to hamper gameplay, but different enough to let you know that this isn’t an official Microsoft peripheral. The face buttons protrude much farther from the face of the controller and have the actual letter designations etched deeply into the button itself instead of being smoothly covered by acrylic. The recesses of the buttons like to grab the fingerprint area of the thumb, which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your playing style and the disc in the machine. When depressed, the buttons have a much more audible “click” which has something to do with the pad underneath and the increased throw distance; the buttons just feel chunky. Chunky is a good word to describe the clicking of the right and left analog sticks. If you do much gaming with analog stick clicks, the Airflo EX and most other 3rd party controllers are probably not for you. The triggers feel pretty solid and mimic the S controllers in feel and pull distance, and the D 8-way D-pad is actually better than the S controller’s configuration. So, the normal gripes for 3rd party peripherals exist with the Airflo EX as well- if all of the money is spent on innovation, there isn’t much left over for the basics like tight analog sticks and smoothly operating face buttons.


This thing actually works! I was extremely skeptical at first how a small computer fan would be able to draw enough current from the Xbox to spin at high enough RPM’s to actually cool off my hands. I don’t really see a point to having two speed settings unless it’s too cold to have it on the highest setting in Antarctica or something (Antarctica actually sells more Xbox’s per year than Japan). The high setting is where its at, instantly keeping the hands cool and making for a more positive feel on the controller after long gaming sessions. The secret can be seen though the vanes of the rubberized grips where out of which the air actually flows. There are cooling fins and turbulators over which the air flows to keep any heat inside the controller form affecting the cool charge. There are also pin-hole sized vents on the back of the grips which also help to more evenly distribute the cool charge. I am pretty impressed that NYKO was able to include the fan feature while retaining the vibration function. The vibration motors are not the strongest, but it still adds value to the controller for it having a standard feature and a completely innovative feature in the same package. The chrome center plate of the controller’s face even serves as a mirror to remind you every gaming session just how pretty you are! Thanks for feeding my ego NYKO.

As mentioned earlier, much of the controller’s $29.99 price tag goes towards manufacturing all of the extra technology for the cooling charge. There is a price point that needs to be hit, so materials are sometimes sacrificed in certain areas. The Airflo EX feels no worse than many other 3rd party controllers, but it would have been nice to have a higher feel of quality when it comes to the business of actually moving a stick or pressing a button. No matter how cool your hands are, you will probably say in the back of your mind “the sticks don’t feel like an S” or “the buttons feel chunky”. This is the world of 3rd party peripherals for the most part since there are extreme budgetary constraints. Could this controller have benefited from another $5 worth of materials in the button/stick department? I would say so. The actual controller body, grips, and the Airflo technology have no issues, and still make the Airflo EX quite a bargain at its price point.

The Bottom Line

If anybody has had the displeasure of using the old Airflo controller, they would be extremely wary of other Airflo controllers due to the low quality feel, the high fan noise, and the odd “burning electrical” smell. The Airflo EX is leaps and bounds ahead of NYKO’s last offering, with a whisper-quiet fan, a great overall feel, and perfectly functioning Airflo technology. The buttons aren’t of the highest quality, but this is almost the standard for 3rd party peripherals these days. Hitting a price point is one thing- producing a controller that gamers will actually play with on a regular basis is another. Bring the quality up, and they will come.

Performance: 8.8
Perfectly operating fans that actually cool the hands and a great overall feel to the controller body- check. Standard, crappy third party analog sticks and face buttons- check. The Airflo EX functions well when utilizing its innovations, but fails to equal the S Controller in the overall gameplay department; no big surprise. Doubles as a hand drier when the one in the McDonalds restroom has been vandalized by bored teens. Wipe hands on pants? I don’t think so bub.

Features: 9.5
The Airflo EX is filed with features, including a ten foot cord, two expansion slots and a great 8-way D-pad. This is all on top of the main feature which is the internal cooling fan. This is a great bargain for $29.99 unless you are needing turbo or memory features.

Installation and setup: 10
Installation and setup is a snap and there is actually nothing to it so long as you know how to plug a controller into your Xbox. The cooling fan is controlled with a huge face button, and everything else is self-explanatory.

Documentation and support: 10
NYKO has a great website to support their Airflo EX and gamers can also register their product there. The manual is sufficient- we aren’t trying to set up a multi-channel oscilloscope here.

Overall – 9.6

06-17-2004, 01:07 AM
I almost bought the mouse but then I saw that they had ninja gaiden.

06-17-2004, 01:31 AM
No thanks to 3rd party :)

Dark Enemy
06-17-2004, 02:08 AM
No thanks to 3rd party :)

I hear you...I bought an airflow and the buttons were messed up. I like the soft touch of the first party controllers

06-17-2004, 02:23 AM
Same here....

These 3rd party controllers can't really handle the wear and tear of intense gaming IMO... :D

Looks nice though.... :)

06-17-2004, 05:29 AM
Now if MS came out with one of these I'd be on it.

06-17-2004, 10:06 AM
I don't have that problem. :) hehehehe. But I have a friend who sure does, I'll make sure he has one before the next time he comes over. ;)

06-17-2004, 10:45 AM
I have to say, after reading that, I'm pritty damn tempted. But I have a nice Crystal Xbox Control and one un-opened still in packaging. I already have 7, an 8th would be a little to much...

Oh god, how I long for MS to make an official version...

06-17-2004, 10:45 AM
Yeah. I'm with all of you. I like the Idea, even though I don't sweat, I played with one and it was like Skinny Dipping! It just felt like rolling on X and breathing some Vick's man!
In a way...
But yeah, I won't actually buy one because it's 3rd party. I'm just not there when it comes to those things... If Microsoft made one though, I wouldn't be able to contain myself!

06-17-2004, 11:22 AM
well i know that 3rd party asseroys arent anygood. m$ has the very best stuff for the xbox. well i bought a really small mini intech controller it played pretty good for like a week then the ruber side grips started to peel off and the triggers were so unsensitive it was sickening i had to pull the trigger al the way down for a single shot

06-17-2004, 06:44 PM
i play my new xbox (halo) all day..... i never get sweaty hands

but then again its probly cuz i dont let anyone touch my xbox but me

06-17-2004, 07:26 PM
i play my new xbox (halo) all day..... i never get sweaty hands

but then again its probly cuz i dont let anyone touch my xbox but me
yEAH. The new Xbox's are sweet. I love the way the LED's glow through the See Through Casing... It's awe inspiring for me to just have it on... All the time...

06-17-2004, 09:13 PM
i bought one of those and it is good but my hands feel really weird after being blown dry but the vibrating things whistle and get really annoying in racing games but it just doesn't have the same button push, feel, and especially triggers as the controller s but i use it in most games but i have a brutal time with it in amped 2.

06-17-2004, 11:49 PM
Wow, man... thats a huge post. Are you a salesman? cause if not they should totally hire you. A very good pitch. But as others have said they don't really compare with the controller S. It was a while back, so it might have been a different controller or something, but I was at a Halo LAN and the controller just didn't have the same feel. A little aqward. But at least my palms werent sweaty. :)

l Maximus l
06-18-2004, 01:48 AM
Honestly, if someone sweats in their hands so much that you need a controller to dry them off, it's time to go outside and see what the sun looks like......I mean, really... :rolleyes:

I've played hours upon hours at a time and I never get sweaty hands...maybe it's the cool Seattle weather...who knows!? :confused:

06-18-2004, 02:02 AM
Topo: It was a copy/paste from TXB. Thought I put the source link in there but I guess I forgot. If it was awhile ago that you used it then it was probably the AirFlo controller they talked about in the article. The AirFlo EX is supposed to be "leaps and bounds" better. I just posted this because I know sometimes my hands get really sweaty and it's annoying as hell. Anxiety disorders and CS don't mix sometimes :)

Maximus: Lay off dog!!! Some people can't help but to sweat. It's a problem. :D

06-18-2004, 10:20 AM
Honestly, if someone sweats in their hands so much that you need a controller to dry them off, it's time to go outside and see what the sun looks like......I mean, really... :rolleyes:

I've played hours upon hours at a time and I never get sweaty hands...maybe it's the cool Seattle weather...who knows!? :confused:
No doubt, bro. Before you buy this you should take a look at your self and ponder the questions: Am I out of shape? Am I as Pale as a ghost? Have I showered today? HOw long have I been in these clothes?
If you answered yes to even one of these than it's probably best for you to do them and forget buying the controller that blows you!

06-18-2004, 12:36 PM
Honestly, if someone sweats in their hands so much that you need a controller to dry them off, it's time to go outside and see what the sun looks like......I mean, really... :rolleyes:

I've played hours upon hours at a time and I never get sweaty hands...maybe it's the cool Seattle weather...who knows!? :confused:
u'd be suprised, i was over a friends house, we were playing final night, i took losers controller, it was drenched in sweat, he must of played for 10 minutes at the most, i had him dry it off with his shirt, wut do u think it is, people get nervous that there losing or something, and they sweat (to there hands :huh: )

i can remember back when i played playstation a long time ago, i got sweaty hands a few times actually, i remember it was annoying and i remember having to whipe off the controller

06-18-2004, 01:24 PM
Man, the only time's I've ever sweated Uncontrollably was when I was coming down or extremely hung over sick. You know. I you sure you weren't on anything when you were sweating profusely.
Maybe there's an association with Games being addictive and people with sweaty hands. Maybe it acts like a drug to some people and they get withdrawals when they see their losing and sweat the rest of the game out, you know?
Maybe all of us that don't sweat are Drug addicts switched Xbox Addicts! hahah!

06-18-2004, 01:54 PM
People don't know how to hold the controller these days. Don't grip it like its going to jump out of your hands, just hold it loosely, and you won't perspire making it feel like you are holding soap. Jesus, people these days!

David Luckey
06-19-2004, 04:18 AM
This is by far the best, most natural controller I have every used. It has the prescision of the controller s, and a better feel than any controller out there-and it won't make you sweat.

FPS Master Xbox Controller

Company: Gamester (Radica USA)

Platform: Xbox
The FPS Master controller has been designed to give Xbox gamers better control in first-person shooter games by minimizing the need to move the hand or thumb from button to button.

Rating: ***** (5 stars)

Kyle Ackerman
Xbox gamers who frequently play first person shooters have a problem. In a game such as Halo, one thumbstick is used to move your character, and the other thumbstick is used to control your view (and hence targeting). The triggers are usually configured for primary and secondary fire. That’s an ideal set-up until you have to do something other than move, aim or shoot. Switching weapons or punching with the butt of your rifle typically uses one of the buttons (A, B, X and Y), but to press those buttons, you have to take your thumb off the aiming stick. In Halo, for example, the alien foe might have moved around you in the time you took to move your thumb to the “punch” button.

To give dedicated first-person shooter fans a slight edge, Radica Games (under the Gamester brand) has released the FPS Master controller for the Xbox. As you can see in the above picture, this controller has two extended handgrips, each of which has two buttons on the inside of the grip. So, while keeping thumbs on the analog thumbsticks and index fingers on triggers (inside plastic trigger guards), you can activate the controller’s A, B, X and Y buttons using your middle and ring fingers. To continue the Halo example, that means you can switch weapons or throw a punch without missing a beat or moving your thumbs.

The controller is surprisingly effective in any game that primarily uses the thumbsticks and triggers, but still requires occasional use of the other buttons. The ability to flick the secondary buttons quickly with little movement gives a gamer with the FPS Master a slight (but perceptible) edge in multiplayer games. The tiny increment of time needed to move your thumb is gone, and makes you just that much faster than opponents with conventional controllers. It also makes play more comfortable in single-player games. The FPS Master works for games beyond just first-person shooters. Crimson Skies, for example, relies on heavy and constant use of the thumbsticks and triggers, but occasionally requires the controller’s other buttons. Using this controller will allow you to easily pull an Immelman, brake, fire rockets and thrust away without moving your thumb.

At the same time, if a first-person shooter doesn’t require the A, B, X or Y buttons, there isn’t much call for the FPS Master unless you find the grip more comfortable. In a game such as MechAssault there isn’t much reason to use the other buttons, so the controller doesn’t yield a significant advantage. The controller specifically isn’t designed for them, but (as you might expect) the FPS Master is uncomfortable for conventional platformers, fighting games or anything that relies heavily on the buttons, and doesn’t require constant use of both thumbsticks.

The FPS Master itself is designed to be comfortable in the hand, with the dual gun-like grips, and is well suited for all but the largest of hands. One inconvenience is that the Xbox’s white and black buttons are near the base of the right thumbstick, so you still need to move your thumb to use those. To offset that, the controller comes with a small LCD screen that can be used to create up to three configurations so that you can reassign buttons on the controller to the functional setup most comfortable for you. The three pre-set configurations can be quickly switched using buttons in the middle of the controller. Another design choice of note is that the controller only has one expansion slot, unlike the conventional controller’s two. This probably isn’t much of an issue for most gamers, as one slot is enough for a headset, and no game currently requires two slots to be used simultaneously.

Overall, the FPS Master controller is highly specialized, but well suited to its purpose. Gamers who think of first-person shooters and such games as a calling rather than a pastime will find that the FPS Master gives them a slight edge (especially in a multiplayer environment like Xbox Live).

06-19-2004, 10:56 AM
I believe this is what david luckey is talking about.


David Luckey
06-19-2004, 12:22 PM
I am trying to host my own pictures and I am a noob O_o
So, they are not working for me.

l Maximus l
06-19-2004, 12:34 PM
Yeah, I'd really like to try that FPS controller to see if I would like it...I just don't want to risk buying it and not liking it. Know what I mean?

As of right now, nothing can beat the Duke!

David Luckey
06-19-2004, 12:39 PM
Maximus, I highly recommend this controller-it has great feel, durability, weight, and work -very- well, especially since you don't have to move your fingers off the analog sticks. In Halo:CE, for example, to reload/switch weapons/jump/melee attack, you have to take your thumb off the right analog stick...which makes you have to run in a straight line for a second...but if you don't need to take your finger off the analog stick, you can jump/turn/melee/stick a plasma grenade to somebody's back all at once!

06-19-2004, 10:21 PM
Champ...i award you biggest Copy and PAste job of the year... :yikes:

anyways... it would be cool if first party controllers had like a cooling rod in it or something... to keep the controller warm or cold...

CMX Jedi
06-20-2004, 12:30 AM
Same here....

These 3rd party controllers can't really handle the wear and tear of intense gaming IMO... :D

Looks nice though.... :)
i have to completely dissagree with you there. the gamester game pad is less money and is IMO better than the MS ones. i smashed that thig threw it up aganced my dresser and it has servived my temper tantrums for over 6 months. my ms one has lost its back button cus of me throwing it. if you want a good controler go with the gamester pad.or just go with the MS one.

06-21-2004, 08:52 AM
Champ...i award you biggest Copy and PAste job of the year... :yikes:

anyways... it would be cool if first party controllers had like a cooling rod in it or something... to keep the controller warm or cold...
Yeah. I wish they had warmers to to keep my Pizza warm and a seperate cooler to Keep my beer cold. I'd buy that!