While researching gamepads for an upcoming project (stay tuned!), I found myself time and time again ogling the Xbox 360 controller.
There are few consumer devices available that look half as good as this. The console itself looks like a large print book that’s gone through the wash, but I like the pad. The current version is compatible with Windows PCs, and if I was a fan of ANY game that played better with a pad than with a keyboard and mouse, I would’ve bought one and written a drooly review of it long ago.
Anyway, I also found this.
This isn’t some bizarre photoshop job like all those iPhone Nano hopefuls. It’s a real product; that keyboard is the XBox 360 Chatpad, and it comes in a “Messenger Kit” with a talky headset. It just plugs into the bottom of your 360 pad, has backlit keys, and is meant for chatting with your chums via XBox Live.
I couldn’t give two hoots about XBox Live, though My first thought was actually “that would make the best media PC controller ever.”
This is Logitech’s diNovo Mini, a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse (that circle on the right is a trackpad) intended for media PC use. I own one, and slightly flawed as it is, it’s the best media PC controller ever.
It is also AU$190. Which, if you’re not familiar with money, is a lot for a glorified remote control with buttons that make your teevee do stuff. You need all those buttons for a media PC, though; play/pause/volume isn’t enough, because you sometimes have to type stuff as well.
It’s better than a fullsize keyboard, and better than not having a separate mouse, and that makes it vastly better than Microsoft’s Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000, which goes for about the same price as the diNovo.
The XBox 360 wireless controller and chatpad, in contrast, could be had on eBay for about $120 all up. If Microsoft allowed the chatpad to be used on PCs, they’d basically be shooting themselves in the foot that props up the wireless desktop kits.
Come on, internet. Just one awesome super-fiddly platformer game, and I can buy one and retire the diNovo to Linux box duties.