- Official Store: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005003624801819.html
One could argue that the bane of modern controllers is the notorious joystick drift. Even after multiple reports and class-action lawsuits, the issue persists in first-party manufacturer’s controllers from Nintendo’s Joy-Cons to the Xbox One Elite. The culprit is multifold, ranging from wear and tear of the conductive material to the accumulation of dust. One feature that the drift-prone controllers share is that they rely on carbon film potentiometers.
To by-pass the issue altogether, gaming peripheral manufacturer GuliKit designed new joysticks that use a system of magnets and leverages the Hall effect to make the use of carbon film and its associated issues a thing of the past; or so it claims. The company revealed its so-called Electromagnetic technology-based joysticks at E3 2021 and integrated it in its newly-released KingKong 2 Pro Controller.
At $60 at the time of writing on the official AliExpress store, the GuliKit KingKong 2 Pro Controller package comes with the following items:
- GuliKit KingKong 2 Pro Controller
- USB-C charging cable
- Protective case
- User manual
What caught my eye after unboxing the controller is its protective case. It stands out with its matte, translucent white finish, takes the mould of the KingKong 2 Pro for a snug fit, and has a small compartment to just accommodate the USB cable. It’s sturdy and rather minimalist.
The controller itself looks like another Switch Pro Controller alternative but packs a sturdy build with a premium finish. This is accentuated by the lightly-textured matte black shell. More textured are the back of the hand grips which bear a dotted pattern which have a nice feel to the touch.
All of the keys deliver nice tactile feedback and are responsive while in use. The patented sticks are also smooth, and I would say slightly smoother than an Xbox controller like the Nacon Revolution X; but that feeling is minimal, if noticeable at all. The face buttons are also apparently patented to prevent them from getting stuck and disconnected. These also feel and function as you’d expect them to.
When putting it in use, the GuliKit KingKong 2 Pro ticks most of the boxes for your requirements of a pro controller. It is mainly geared towards the Nintendo Switch and for that system, it is a whole upgrade from the official pro controller. You’ll find every feature you’d expect from Amiibo support to gyro controls and more.
Indeed, GuliKit brings back its innovative touch with the Auto-Pilot Gaming (APG) feature. With the dedicated APG button, you can map a series of inputs that can run automatically. For example, you can map the fire button in a shooting game and press the APG button in a heated session to take care of the shooting while you concentrate on aiming and dodging with the sticks. Pressing any other button will stop APG mode, so it’s quite easy to activate and deactivate.
Moreover, you can calibrate the a number of the controller’s features like the ZL/ZR triggers’ sensitivity, vibration intensity, stick sensitivity, dead zone and swapping A-B/X-Y. The latter feature can be especially handy when switching between PC and Switch gaming. Indeed, the KingKong 2 Pro is also versatile as it is compatible with Android, Windows and Mac systems as well.
It is also versatile in that it supports both wired and wireless gameplay, a feature that even pricier counterparts don’t include. Its integrated 1000 mAh battery will also last for several dozens of hours which help provide some peace of mind to the user.
However, all of these calibrations can be intimidating since they require a number of button presses that might not seep into one’s memory from the get-go. They are explained in the user manual but having a dedicated app to tune those settings would have enhanced the user experience and the overall user-friendliness of the KingKong 2 Pro.
A companion software would also help with updating the firmware of the controller which GuliKit regularly does. At the time being, update packages have to be downloaded from the website and manually uploaded to the controller with another series of button presses. Updating from a software would have made things much easier for users.
And since GuliKit seems keen on innovation, I will be a bit nit-picky here to point out that it doesn’t include handy features that some Xbox controllers have for some years already. For example, a headphone jack and back buttons would tremendously help here and I hope to see them in GuliKit’s future controllers.
As for its drift-free claims, drifting is an issue that generally shows up with time and we might not know soon enough if other issues related to the electromagnetic tech that it uses, like influence from external magnets, can be significant and game-breaking. These might be issues that spring up after time but for the time being, I haven’t had issues with the KingKong 2 Pro. In fact, it is a very enjoyable controller to use that packs lots of handy features and is quite versatile. It’s also promising to see that GuliKit is keeping with its innovation ethos in this space and I look forward to what they come up with next.
- Feature-rich controller
- Promising tech
- Build quality
- Affordable Pro controller alternative
- Learning curve to customising features
- No software for calibration
- No back buttons
- No headphone jack