Review: SCUF Infinity1 (Hardware)
What The Scuf?
Scuf Gaming is a company focused on designing and producing professional, customized gaming controllers. The word “professional” is already an indication of the premium cost of Scuf’s products: the basic iteration of SCUF Infinity1 starts from € 129.95 (at the time of writing). And it does not end there! Each customization is a paid add-on, further inflating the final cost.
The price tag itself is enough to scare many gamers away. However, the SCUF controller is quite an interesting one as it was “invented to increase hand use and reduce latency, achieved by adding several functional features, which go toward improving your gameplay by displaying more dexterity in a safe and ergonomic way.”
As experimental as this might sound, the SCUF indeed might be paving the way for the future of controllers. As a matter of fact, for their Xbox One Elite Controller Microsoft licensed Scuf Gaming’s under-paddle patent.
Speaking of patents, Scuf Gaming is quite protective of its intellectual property with 36 granted patents, and another 69 pending which you can see under its dedicated patent page on its website. The patents protect 3 key areas of a controller; back control functions and handles, trigger control mechanisms and thumbstick control area.
That said, let’s see what all this scuf is all about!
The SCUF Box
In this review we’ll be taking a look at the SCUF Infinity1 controller which looks very much like an Xbox One controller and is compatible with Xbox One (duh!) and PC.
So out of the box you will have the following:
- The SCUF Infinity1 controller
- Welcome message from Duncan Ironmonger, CEO & Co-Founder
- Product Guide
- EMR Mag Key
- A pair of AA Duracell batteries
- #TEAMSCUF sticker
Scuf It Your Way
On the side of the box is the moto “Your Scuf, Your Way”. That’s because the SCUF is all about customization. And not just on an aesthetical aspect either.
From the controller's appearance, to the thumbsticks and the extra control paddles - the SCUF joypad fits your style.
The “Build Yours” option on Scuf Gaming’s website will allow you, at an additional cost for each, to choose the colors of your controller’s shell and buttons, choose the grip type and include more useful features like the back paddles and adjustable hair triggers. The latter two are my favorite and most recommended features to include in your custom gamepad, should you consider building one.
The back paddles are the most intriguing feature of the controller. They were included in Scuf’s Xbox 360 controller, the SCUF Hybrid, and are back in their Xbox One controllers.
If you’ve tried an Xbox One Elite controller, you know more or less what to expect. But if you haven’t then it might reconsider what you look for in a controller…
I was myself quite reticent at first to adopt the new features, thinking that it would be hard to pull me out of the comfort zone of the good old standard Xbox controller. However, upon unleashing the full potential of the Infinity1, I realized how much more regular controllers can be improved for a more ergonomic gaming experience.
So each back paddle does the simple job of functioning as another front-facing key (A, B, X, Y, Left Dpad, Right Dpad, Left Thumbstick down, Right Thumbstick down) that you can assign it to on the fly thanks to the SCUF Mag Key. This will extend your reach of operating your controller solely from the front and top by using your index and thumb on each hand to include the middle and ring fingers in the mix (you can forget about the pinky though, mine were not too capable of hitting the paddles). The paddles require a small effort to operate so that they are not accidentally pressed. This new control paradigm effectively decreases latency and reduces the risk of hand injuries caused by techniques like CLAW. The advantage for competitive gaming is obvious here, hence the adoption of SCUF controllers by many competitive gamers.
I’ve been trying out the back paddles on various titles from Metal Gear Survive to DOOM VFR and found that it is pretty handy to be able to modify which key each one is assigned to whenever I want, especially if I found that I will need to access another action more frequently than another one already mapped.
As for the adjustable Trigger Control System, it comprises of two core features: the Adjustable Hair Triggers and the Trigger Stop Mechanism.
These options will allow you, with the help of the 0.9mm Hex SCUF key, to fine tune the LB and RB triggers to modify their tension to your liking and even stop them from fully pressing down, so you can press them quicker and more frequently.
Scuf Gaming points to the advantage of these features for FPS titles like Call of Duty, Gears of War and Borderlands but does not recommended for games like Destiny, Halo Series, GTA5, Battlefield Series and most racing games.
Further adjustments to the Infinity1 comes with the thumbsticks. Other than their color, you can easily swap them for ones of different heights or even shape! The SCUF XB1 precision thumbsticks are available in three height options: regular, medium and long and two shape options: domed and concave.
The different heights is aimed at accommodating different hand sizes while the shape is chosen for personal preference. Scuf says that the domed shaped stick is tailored for accuracy and the concave one is made to improve movements. They further add that regular height thumbsticks provide reactivity especially needed for fast movements and taller ones increase precision. However, it all comes down to what hits that sweet spot for you. And with the options available, you can surely find one that will be adequate to your taste.
One Ring To
Rule Them All Keep It In Check
Around each thumbstick is a SCUF Infinity Ring which acts as a security lock preventing the thumbstick from falling off should it detach (highly unlikely, unless you forgot to stick the thumbstick back after removing it). The ring’s color is also customizable at, you guessed it, an extra price. Scuff Gaming adds that the Infinity Rings also increase smoothness during the rotational movement of the thumbsticks. While I doubt that they do indeed add to the thumbsticks’ smoothness, the sticks themselves have a comfortable rubbery grip to them and are very responsive.
The same goes for the SCUF grip on the handles which are textured military-grade grip ensuring comfort and secure handling of the gamepad. They can also be swapped with the SCUF Pro Grip. Embossed with the SCUF logo, these handles provide extra grip and are contoured to fit your hands. Again, these come at an extra cost.
For The Fighters
Another module is the Control Disc. This removable rubber-like disc covers the D-pad to provide a larger surface area for a control system similar to a thumbstick. It is geared towards fighting games for quicker thumb movements and combos.
Since the Infinity1 uses a default Microsoft Board and charging function, the wireless function is powered through batteries (or with the rechargeable official Xbox One Play & Charge Kit) and to play wirelessly on PCs you will need the Microsoft Xbox One Wireless Adapter for Windows. Just keep that in mind.
The controller also features a handy 3.5mm headphone jack at its base next to the proprietary Xbox One port to cover a wider spectrum of headset.
That's A Lot Of Scuf
The most obvious downside to this fancy controller is that on top of its premium price tag, each level of customization stacks up an extra cost. Let’s take a look at some of the customization options:
- Basic SCUF Infinity 1 – From €129.95
- Colored shell – €10-20
- Colored buttons - €7.95-14.95
- Colored Infinity ring - €1.95
- Control disc – €7.95
- Electro Magnetic Remapping – €14.95
- Trigger System – €14.95
You are looking at about €200 for a basic Infinity1 controller with remapping functionality and trigger system! Yeah, pricey scuf... On top of that, the whole customization thing can get confusing, most them are, frankly unnecessary.
Now if you want a hard shell to protect this expensive gear, you’ll have to drop an extra €9.95 for that. It’s a pretty sturdy piece that has an extra space to accommodate additional gears like the Mag Key and the 0.9mm Hex SCUF key.
Another noticeable aspect is that most adjustments need to be done manually. For those wondering if they have to go through tedious customizing processes in order to game with the SCUF Infinity1, then let me reassure you that the controller is ready to use out of the box. But to unlock its full potential, you will have to sit down and learn what it packs. Why else would you want this controller anyway?
I said it at the beginning of this review and I will say it again now: the SCUF Infinity1 controller is very expensive. It is a very responsive device suitable for all video game genres with a build quality and feel that is expected for the price. Given its price point, you should probably consider investing in one only if you are a professional and/or competitive gamer who will put the controller's added functionality to good use. For that audience, one that Scuf Gaming particularly aims its product at, it will prove to be a worthy investment. Or if you have deep enough pockets and want a fancy controller, it's yours to buy too.
Financial aspects aside, Scuf Gaming’s additional functionality in its controllers is a healthy push towards innovation in gamepads and gives us a glimpse into what could possibly be the natural evolution of controllers. Standard gamepads could similarly embrace the concept of expanding controls beyond the face and top of controllers and come with extra, re-mappable buttons for a more ergonomic gaming experience and provide it to a wider audience at a more affordable price or included with new consoles.
+ On the fly customizable back paddles
+ Adjustable hair triggers
+ Highly customizable and modular
+ Quality build
- Each customization requires an additional cost
- No carry case included
out of 10
While very pricey, investing in a SCUF Infinity1 will deliver a premium experience that you can fine tune to your liking and make a controller that is uniquely yours.