Aimed at the increasingly popular esports market, “Pro”-grade controllers have exploded in the past few years, featuring customizable parts and the promise of giving you a competitive advantage over your opponents. Victrix’s Gambit Dual Core Tournament controller makes a compelling case, as it claims to be the “world’s fastest licensed Xbox controller.” While it’s definitely snappy, its overly sensitive triggers and subpar build quality keep it from achieving greatness.
The first thing you’ll notice upon unboxing the Victrix Gambit is the sheer number of customizable options available. In total, you can swap between 14 different components ranging from faceplate covers to thumbsticks – all designed to provide a comfortable gaming experience and give you the edge over your opponents.
Inside the zippered carrying case, you’ll find two faceplates: a hard plastic shell with textured plastic grips on the front, as well as a silicone faceplate intended to provide a quieter experience while playing. There are two additional thumbsticks that you can swap out the standard sticks for, including a tall stick designed to be more precise, and a short, rounded stick for quick movement. The standard 4-way D-Pad can also be swapped out for a hybrid-style D-Pad that provides more circular movement and is ideal for fighting games. On the rear is the option to swap out the back paddle for either a two-button or four-button layout, depending on your preference. Additionally, there are both circular and octagonal gates for use with the thumbsticks to help with directional control. Lastly, you’ll find a detachable 10-foot-long USB-C cable that’s required to utilize the controller with either Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, or PC.
Victrix claims the Gambit controller has the “fastest thumbsticks, triggers, and buttons on Xbox” thanks to a dual-core processor which dedicates half of its processing power to input recognition, allowing it to achieve just over 2ms of latency for both digital and analog inputs. While it’s nearly impossible to test these claims outside of optimal lab conditions, I can say the Gambit feels snappy. Unfortunately, it also feels like it cuts a lot of corners on build quality.
My biggest gripe with the Victrix Gambit is the overall feel of the controller. Its exterior is built entirely out of plastic and doesn’t feel like a premium product at all, despite its price tag. It weighs in at 243 grams, making it a very lightweight controller when compared to the standard Xbox controller, but has an almost hollow sensation when held. If you prioritize weight over everything, then this is a totally serviceable controller. However, if you’re used to the build quality and heft of Microsoft’s first-party offering, then this is a noticeable step down.
On the face of the controller, you’ll find the traditional Xbox controller layout, complete with offset thumbsticks and A, B, X, Y buttons on the right side. Aside from the standard Menu and View buttons, the Gambit also includes the new Share button, although its massive size and positioning is a bit odd. Instead of placing the more frequently used Menu and View buttons in the center of the controller, they have been relegated to the top of the controller on opposite sides of the Xbox button, while the Share button occupies the entire center of the controller and takes up a good chunk of real estate thanks to its large triangular shape. It’s an odd decision, but could be great if you prefer sharing game clips frequently, I guess. At the bottom of the controller, you’ll find a Program button, which can be used to quickly remap buttons on the fly.
As previously mentioned, much of the controller is customizable – from various thumbsticks to an entirely different faceplate. All of the thumbsticks are made from a soft rubber and plastic hybrid material with little-to-no texture on them. The actual thumbsticks are snappy and responsive, gliding effortlessly in a circular pattern, while snapping back to the center instantaneously.
The D-Pad is the standout on this controller for me, however. Whether you prefer a traditional 4-way D-Pad for platformers and retro games or opt for the hybrid D-Pad, you won’t be disappointed. The hybrid D-Pad is actually one solid piece of plastic laid out in a diamond shape with a slight indent to allow your finger to rest comfortably in the center and slide around the edges easily.
The rear triggers are larger than what you’re probably used to on standard Xbox controllers – both wider and deeper – with a fin that flares upwards. Both are light as a feather and easy to press down with a textured plastic grip adorning the area where your finger rests. The shoulder buttons are light and clicky and also feature the same plastic grip to keep your finger put in the heat of the battle.
Both triggers also have five adjustable stop points, which can be adjusted using the clutch button on the rear of the controller. By default, they will be locked in a “hair-trigger” mode, which provides the fastest response time. However, if you are playing a racing game or something that needs more analog control, you can slide and hold either button while squeezing the trigger to your desired position. When you let go of the toggle, it will place a stop point as close to where the trigger’s current position is. While this system is great in concept, it’s not super precise and a bit awkward to pull off – especially mid-game.
Victrix Gambit – Software
As with most “Pro” level controllers these days, the Victrix Gambit has plenty of detailed customization options through the optional Victrix Control Hub app, available on Xbox or PC. Here, you can tinker with your controller by remapping buttons and rear paddles, adjusting analog stick dead zones, creating custom audio EQ profiles, and dialing in your preferred vibration levels. Additionally, you can run diagnostics on the controller to ensure everything is in tip-top shape, as well as update the firmware when required.
Victrix Gambit – Software Screenshots
Thankfully, some customization can also be done outside the app using the controller’s Program button, located below the D-Pad and right thumbstick. By holding this button for a moment, you can rebind up to four rear paddle buttons, depending on which paddle configuration you’re using. You can also adjust game and chat audio on the fly or cycle through preconfigured audio presets using the shoulder buttons.
Victrix Gambit – Gaming
During my testing, I found the lightweight nature of the Gambit to be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it didn’t cause much fatigue while playing for extended periods, which is important for tournament play. However, the hollow-feeling nature made every button press, flick of the thumbstick, and trigger pull reverberate throughout the controller in a way that was distracting and downright annoying after just a few minutes in hand.
The Gambit’s main selling point, being the “fastest” performance on Xbox, is also a double-edged sword. When locked in hair-trigger mode, even the slightest movement of the shoulder buttons registered input in-game. It was so fast, in fact, it felt as though the controller was almost predicting my input before I even pressed a button. The glaring issue lies in just how sensitive the triggers are, though. I found even lightly resting my fingers on the rear triggers would occasionally register input, causing me to misfire more often than I’d like to admit. In order to avoid any accidental input, you’d have to learn to play with your fingers hovering slightly above the triggers. But, that almost negates any advantage you’d have over any other controller with the added distance your finger would need to travel before even making contact with the trigger in the first place. If you can get used to the overly sensitive triggers, you’ll no doubt have some sort of an advantage over your opponents, but it requires holding the controller in a way I didn’t find natural.
Ergonomically, the Gambit feels like a cross between a standard Xbox controller and a DualSense. The layout is undoubtedly Xbox, but the grips are set a bit wider than you may be used to. Unlike most controllers, though, the Gambit doesn’t feature any grip on the rear – save for the back paddles – making it very slippery during prolonged use. Oddly enough, the only “grip” is a small bit of raised textured plastic on the front of both handles that serves almost no purpose. Truthfully, the best grip is achieved when swapping out for the silicone faceplate, which I found to be a more comfortable experience overall. I would have still preferred something on the rear of the controller, though.
Similar to the non-grip on the rear of the controller, the thumbsticks share an equally minimal amount of traction to keep your thumbs put while playing. Each one is made from a hard rubber and plastic hybrid that isn’t particularly comfortable to use for long periods of play. The standard concave thumbsticks feature a small circular patch of texture in the center, but it doesn’t have enough surface area to keep your thumb on it when any movement is introduced. As a result, I often found my fingers would slowly slide off when holding the thumbstick in one direction for long periods. The short convex thumbstick has no grip at all, and I frequently found quick movement to be difficult as my thumb would slide off too easily without any friction. The only stick with any semblance of “grip” is the tall precision thumbstick. That one features a small crosshair icon in the center and multiple rings around the curved edges, although a true grip pattern would’ve been more preferable.