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  • About the Thrustmaster eSwap S Pro

  • What we like

  • What we don’t like

  • Should you buy the Thrustmaster eSwap S Pro?

  • Related content

Pros

  • Responsive, tactile face buttons

  • Thumbsticks are quick and easy to swap

  • Less expensive than other premium gamepads

Cons

  • Grip may be too wide for some

  • Changing thumbsticks isn’t that useful

  • Wired only

About the Thrustmaster eSwap S Pro

  • Connectivity: Detachable USB Type-A cable
  • Dimensions: 6.3 x 4.7 x 2.4 inches
  • Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Device compatibility: PC, Xbox One and Series X/S
  • Material: Plastic
  • Special features: 3.5mm headphone jack, custom button mapping, swappable left and right thumbsticks, physical trigger locking, programmable back buttons

Premium Xbox and PC controllers often push customization as justification for high pricing. The Thrustmaster eSwap S Pro (available at Walmart for $119.99) tries to bring this level of adjustability to a lower price range than the company’s eSwap X Pro by ditching the swappable D-Pad and palm rests. Yet the thumbstick modules prove less important than the real reason to buy the eSwap S Pro: its clicky, tactile face buttons.

What we like

A close-up shot of the controller.
Credit: Reviewed / Matthew S. Smith

Different thumbsticks for all games and genres.

Clicky and responsive buttons

The Thrustmaster eSwap S Pro makes a good first impression with rigid plastics that resist flex, and the titular swappable thumbsticks aren’t the controller’s only selling point. The gamepad also uses clicky mechanical buttons, a feature common to high-end gamepads. They have a short, quick throw with a satisfying click.

The buttons feel a bit unusual at first and may disappoint purists who prefer an old-school feel, but they’re precise and do feel great. They make the face buttons on the standard Xbox Series X|S gamepad, which are quite good, feel mushy and vague.

The eSwap S Pro also throws in two extra buttons on the bottom of the gamepad, which can be useful in games that let you remap the controller. They don’t feel as clicky as the face buttons but they’re really responsive. Perfect for remapping a shooter’s crouch button from the thumbstick to the rear button, for example, as tapping a thumbstick can be difficult while moving.

The D-Pad also has a mechanical click, but it lacks a physical representation of steps between, such as right-down or up-left, which is awkward in games that use a weapon or item wheel. This differs from the standard Xbox controller as well as high-end alternatives like the Xbox Elite controller and SCUF Instinct Pro.

Thrustmaster adds spice to the triggers, with a pair of sliders providing a lockable trigger function designed to reduce throw and improve responsiveness. I don’t like this feature, personally, but it’s there if you want shorter trigger travel for specific games.

Wired for the win

Gamers should note the Thrustmaster eSwap S Pro is a wired-only controller. That might come as a surprise, given its price, but it’s not unusual for high-end gamepads that target competitive players.

The lack of a built-in battery means the eSwap S Pro feels a bit light, but the difference is marginal, and the eSwap S Pro doesn’t have the hollow feel of a budget wired controller like the PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller.

What we don’t like

A pair of hands holding the controller to play video games.
Credit: Reviewed / Matthew S. Smith

When first held, the unique feeling will immediately be apparent.

It’s very wide, for better or worse

The controller’s width may be an issue for some. By comparision, the eSwap S Pro and Xbox Series X|S wireless controller are both about 6.3 inches wide at the bottom of the gamepad, but the eSwap S Pro is wider at the top, coming in at 5.1 inches versus 4.5 inches for the standard Xbox Series X|S controller.

This could be a perk or problem, depending on your preferred grip and the size of your hands. I am six feet, one inch tall, and I thought the controller was comfortable. However, when I gave the controller to another player who was five feet, three inches tall, they found the controller too wide; Their thumbs stretched uncomfortably to reach the sticks and start/select buttons.

The swappable thumbsticks are neat, but not that useful

The Thrustmaster eSwap line earns its name from its hot-swappable thumbsticks. Both can be switched on the fly, even mid-game. The games I spent the bulk of my time playing on the eSwap S Pro included Forza Horizon 5, Halo Infinite, and Final Fantasy XIV (on PC), none of which flinched or glitched when I made the swap.

Switching the sticks is fast, too, as they’re magnetically attached. The sticks don’t wiggle or wobble in use yet easily detach with a tug from the top. It’s a great system.

And yet, I have to ask: Why?

Even Thrustmaster’s marketing is unclear. It hints the feature might be useful mid-game, as different sticks have a different feel, but swapping takes several seconds. That’s not going to work in competitive games.

Some players might swap sticks when playing games of different genres, as this will change sensitivity. A highly sensitive stick might be preferable in a shooter, while a lower sensitivity might be preferred in 2D fighting games. However, Thrustmaster offers just two stick options:a tall white stick, which is the default, and a short blue stick, which can be purchased from Thrustmaster. That’s not a lot of customization.

Swappable thumbsticks could add reliability, as a broken thumbstick can be easily replaced. However, the eSwap S Pro replacement thumbsticks are $20 each and not included with the controller purchase. At those prices, you could break a standard Xbox gamepad two or three times before the eSwap S Pro breaks even, And that’s assuming it's the thumbsticks that break—bash in the trigger, for instance, and you’re still out of luck.

Should you buy the Thrustmaster eSwap S Pro?

A pair of hands holding the controller to play video games.
Credit: Reviewed / Matthew S. Smith

Not bad for those who find clicky controllers satisfying.

Maybe, if you want clicky face buttons and swappable sticks

The Thrustmaster eSwap S Pro is great if you want an Xbox or PC controller with excellent face buttons at a somewhat reasonable price. The $130 MSRP is high, but this is true of many competitors. Some, like the official Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 and the SCUF Instinct Pro, are more expensive.

The swappable thumbsticks aren’t enough to set the eSwap S Pro apart from the similarly-priced pack. Thrustmaster’s swap mechanism is great but not quick enough to be useful in a match. Also, Thrustmaster sells only two types of thumbsticks, so choice is limited.

Thurstmaster’s own eSwap X Pro controller cuts against its own S Pro, too. Priced at $160, the eSwap X Pro adds a swappable D-Pad and palm rests. I didn’t test the X Pro but, given the $30 difference in price, it seems a better value overall.

Thrustmaster also sells additional color options for the eSwap X Pro. The thumbsticks in these packs are compatible with the eSwap S Pro, but the other components, such as the D-Pad and palm rests, are not. The eSwap S Pro makes sense if tactile, clicky buttons are the only upgrade you care about.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

Meet the tester

Matthew S. Smith

Matthew S. Smith

Contributor

@Matt_on_tech

Matthew S. Smith is a veteran tech journalist and general-purpose PC hardware nerd. Formerly the Lead Editor of Reviews at Digital Trends, he has over a decade of experience covering PC hardware. Matt often flies the virtual skies in Microsoft Flight Simulator and is on a quest to grow the perfect heirloom tomato.

See all of Matthew S. Smith's reviews

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