Controller Modz Xbox One controller review Sticker Bomb
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Review – 'Sticker Bomb' Xbox One controller from Controller Modz

Last month we reported on a new Xbox One controller design from Controller Modz, a UK-based controller modding specialist. The company basically allows users to buy authentic first-party controllers for a variety of consoles and choose to have them decorated with a variety of custom paint jobs and designs. The service doesn't come cheap, but Controller Modz promises professional-quality results.

Reading about the Controller Modz service via press release is one thing, but as a controller enthusiast I was eager to get my hands on a custom controller for review. Controller Modz offers 19 unique Xbox One designs to choose from, as well as a "Build Your Own" feature for greater customization. For this review, I went with the "Sticker Bomb" design that features a colorful combination of racing-style livery across the front of the controller.

Controller Modz Xbox One controller box

Packaging

Controller Modz' Sticker Bomb controller is a genuine Microsoft Wireless Controller for Xbox One whose face panel has been modified with a unique design. The controller comes in the original green retail box, emblazoned with a Controller Modz sticker on the front of the box. Inside are the box's original contents: the controller (now prettied up with the user's choice of design) and 2 AA batteries.

Controller Modz Xbox One controller review Sticker Bomb

The Sticker Bomb

Although Controller Modz offers some designs that span both the front and back of the Xbox One controller (including full-body chrome designs), the Sticker Bomb only affects the front of the controller. The shiny top portion and matte black back portion of the controller look identical to those of a stock controller. I wouldn't have minded having the Sticker Bomb design stretch across the back as well, but it still looks great with a black back.

This particular design is made up of numerous racing stickers/images overlaid across each other on top of a white background. The design I got varies a little from the one shown on the Sticker Bomb product page. Given that the assortment of stickers is placed randomly in the original design, it's kind of cool for that randomness to carry over to individual controllers.

Controller Modz Xbox One controller review Sticker Bomb

Hydro dip design

The random pattern seems to stem from the modification process. This is no do-it-yourself paintjob. Custom Modz applies the unique artwork by hydro dipping the controller shell. According to Wikipedia, hydro dipping is also known as water transfer printing or hydrographics. The printing method allows designs to be applied to three-dimensional objects, such as controllers. The result is a beautiful and complex design that won't come off or fade over time.

Although hydro dipping sounds like the best way to apply custom designs like those offered by Custom Modz, the controller I received does betray some minor flaws. The face of the controller has several tiny pinhole-sized bumps scattered over its surface. These appear to be air bubbles or a similar type of imperfection resulting from the water transfer process. They're difficult to see unless you closely study the controller, but can be felt by running one's fingers over the controller surface.

Overall impression

The "air bubbles" in this Sticker Bomb controller wouldn't be present in a Microsoft-produced design such as the Titanfall Limited Edition controller, but otherwise the Sticker Bomb is indistinguishable from a store-bought controller. The colorful design is just what I hoped for – this controller stands out in a crowd.

Some people love for their electronics to have a uniform and plain appearance, but others will enjoy the opportunity for personal expression offered by Controller Modz' many designs. The catch is that these custom controllers don't come cheap. Each controller starts out as a retail Xbox One controller before going through the professional modification process. UK-based customers can opt to provide their own controllers in order to cut down on the price.

Assuming you don't send in a controller, the Sticker Bomb rings up at £69.99. UK customers get free shipping, while shipping to the US costs £8.00. Enter coupon code "ecko" during checkout for a ten percent discount. That brings the total to £77.99 for US customers, which equals $130.14.

Controller Modz Xbox One controller review Sticker Bomb Day One Edition and Titanfall controllers If you want a truly unique looking controller and can afford the Controller Modz service, you won't be disappointed with the results. Controller Modz even offers a 14-day 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.

Controller Modz store links:

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Reader comments

Review – 'Sticker Bomb' Xbox One controller from Controller Modz

32 Comments

This actually looks really cool.
Paul, this may seem kind of specific, but it looks like there's a lot of red and yellow around the B and Y. Does it kinda fool your eyes a little when you're playing? Like, do the colors blend in?

I have a few designs from them that I like, but I may have to get drunk first before spending $140 on a controller lol

That's a good question! The X, Y, and B buttons definitely do blend in with the Sticker Bomb design, visually. But you know, I don't look at the controller at all when pressing buttons. I've been using Xbox controllers since getting an original Xbox in 2002 or so. The button layout is totally committed to memory by now.

Getting drunk is a perfect way to celebrate a big luxury purchase, ha ha. :)

I don't think many people look at the controller while playing. Maybe people that are new to using Xbox controllers.

It's a luxury item, for sure.

But some items and services have to be expensive by design. In this case, the company has to buy a controller at retail ($63 in the UK), disassemble it, perform the multi-step (and complex) hydro dipping process, reassemble it, ship it out, and make a profit. We can't look at it the same way that we do a normal controller that is simple mass-manufactured and sent to stores.

That said, it's understandable that a customized product like this won't be for everybody. It's really for people who care a lot about the controller's appearance and have the money to spend.

Isn't the Titanfall controller $5 cheaper then the stock black one? Send like they could save money by buying that one and then nodding it instead of buying the black one

Pretty sure the Titanfall controller has a different mould for the top piece, with ridges that follow the design. So it may not be an option.

Depending on the luxury item I am willing to spend money if I like it.

 

For that kkind of money I would expect a flawless result with no bubbles.

I'd do that too. And I would've reached to the conclusion of that I'm rich enough to spend money on stupid stuff and also have a lot free time in my hand. Both seems good.

I'd rather buy a $2 screwdriver on Amazon, a $15 plate of my choosing, and it it myself. I mean, we're talking $20 to DIY, vs. $70 to get it done with some crappy-sounding painting process.

FYI there are many companies around the US that will hydrodip your shell. You can even buy DIY kits on eBay. Its not that hard. I've done it a couple of times in the past.

The controller looks pretty sweet, the little bubbles might irk me to know end though. I might give them a whirl when I am looking to grab another pad.

The controller looks pretty sweet, the little bubbles might irk me to no end though. I might give them a whirl when I am looking to grab another pad.

Edit: fixed typo.

Meanwhile, I'm waiting for the update ghat completely eliminates the need for the controller at all. There are still screens/menus that don't respond to voice or gesture. 

You know, I never found one Xbox 360 Kinect game whose menus were 100 percent voice controllable. It used to really annoy me. The new Kinect and Xbox One menus are a lot better, of course. We'll see if Microsoft continues to improve Kinect UI navigation.

Great review Paul. I love the tech, just wish it would come to a USA dealer, and that they might left me draw up my own design. Not a huge fan of the one you got, but it definitely has potential. Seems very high quality. I need a new controller ASAP...might just grab ano0ther day one edition controller. Sadly.

I would really love a Fallout 4 console/controller, or even Elder Scrolls Online versions. I have strict standards for which crappy games I want to be reminded of when I am playing my console. Would never get Call of Duty one coming out. What a joke. Sunset Overdrive is enticing.

Do you know if the new white controller is matte or glossy?

Thanks man! I agree about the Call of Duty controller. If it was less busy and tacky-ish, I might consider it.

I'm hoping the white controller is matte. Glossy stuff shows fingerprints, etc. too easily.

Me too. I do not want glossy, especially glossy white, after seeing my buddies white Lumia 920. Looks like I will just get another black one for now. Keep up the controller reviews!