Built from science to improve your game. As the holiday season approaches we go through the impressive KontrolFreek range to talk about what makes them the sort of real-world mod or buff every gamer needs.
KontrolFreek has been in the controller performance enhancing business for a while, creating Performance Thumbsticks and Performance Grips, alongside other gear, to suit just about every type of gamer, and game. Think of them like mods for your controller, adding all manner of bonus stats and buffs to boost your skill.
There’s an old saying that talks about how it’s not about the tools, but how you use them. A fairly general bit of wisdom sure, but when you apply that to the games we play, the most important tool might just be the one that sits in hand. As you fire up Call of Duty: Vanguard or decide that tonight is going to be all about exploring the beautiful digital Mexico in Forza Horizon 5, you’ll be gripping a PlayStation 5 DualSense, a classic PlayStation 4 DualShock or an Xbox controller, first and foremost.
The quality of your kit and its responsiveness can make the difference between landing a shot or missing the mark. Between making a turn or sliding into a rail. The good news is that a controller is very much a work-in-progress. A weapon that still has room for a mod or two.
KontrolFreek’s Performance Thumbsticks alone cover everything from first-person shooters to action-adventure games to sports titles and beyond. Add in specialised and easy-to-install Grips and Precision Rings (think of these as a squishy support mod) and it won’t take long before your controller of choice is levelled and geared in much the same way Geralt might be towards the end of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Or, like your Call of Duty profile after getting a feel for the new weapons and maps and maybe a Prestige or two.
Best of all though, KontrolFreek’s products are all based on science. You know science -- that stuff that we all learnt in school at some stage. Presumably. And so, in addition to looking all colour-coordinated and cool when they fit onto your favourite pad, everything from the Performance Thumbsticks to KontrolFreek’s Gaming Lights range have been designed and built using research.
Yeah, the school of RGB is for real. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Change the Game with Performance Thumbsticks
A thumbstick that clips onto your controller’s existing analogue sticks? It’s a question that has an answer rooted in the real-world way an analogue stick is used for things like aiming and movement in a 3D space. Each of KontrolFreek’s Performance Thumbsticks add height, which immediately increases the arc distance for a larger field of movement. And that larger field of movement requires less force to move. A win-win in terms of outcome. More accuracy and less stress on the ol’ digits.
In, well, in-game terms this means more room to line-up a shot or carefully maneuver through a particularly challenging platforming spot. When it comes to first-person shooters the increased height and larger field of movement also means being able to adjust sensitivity sliders for improved accuracy. Which is legit like getting a buff or perk. And with that, and through testing, KontrolFreek has created a range of Thumbsticks covering ‘Low’, ‘Mid’, and ‘High’ heights -- built around the needs of certain types of game. FPS players will of course benefit from the ‘High’ range.
Although science sits at the core of KontrolFreek’s Performance Thumbstick range, it’s a good thing it’s taken the time to create comfortable and grippy materials -- with a new and improved four-prong design that won't budge or slip as it stylishly sits on the latest Xbox controller, Nintendo Switch Pro Controller or Sony DualSense PS5 pad.
As seen in the CQC Rush Performance Thumbsticks, which fall under the ‘Mid’ size for height. Their concave design also keeps your thumbs smack-bam in the middle of each stick, with the white finish making these a great fit for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One.
With the recent release of the game itself, the Call of Duty: Vanguard Performance Thumbsticks feature a stylish, limited edition red design that also has a bit of ergonomics and the Vanguard logo, for authenticity. Plus, a cool in-game KontrolFreek Aviator Weapon Charm. Performance Thumbsticks are more than simple add-ons, with the added height here giving you the perfect opportunity to optimise in-game sensitivity to level up your accuracy.
Take Hold with Performance Grips
If you’ve ever used a peripheral or controller with rubberised grips, you’ll no doubt have walked away from that experience with a newfound love for the comfort that comes from a soft and friction-free experience. Which is what makes KontrolFreek Performance Grips for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox more than a simple and easy way to add a bit of colour to your pad of choice.
The science here is simple: less friction and more comfort leads to less slipping and hand-alignment that stays in place. These are designed for a competitive edge. Plus, the use of special ‘memory foam’ materials lets your hands breathe and stay cool. No more sweaty palms! Well, unless of course it’s the final moments of a round and it’s up to you to go into clutch mode.
Best of all, installing KontrolFreek Performance Grips is a breeze, with the ability to reposition and realign the grips without leaving behind any residue. So no need to stress like it’s a protective screen for your phone or Switch and it’s make or break come installation time. KontrolFreek Performance Grips also come in different thicknesses to suit your own personal preference.
Then there’s the very cool KontrolFreek Inferno Kit that features both Performance Grips and Performance Thumbsticks in raised-height FPS-ready-to-dominate form.
A Precision Ring to Rule Them All
Okay, so there’s no way to describe what a KontrolFreek Performance Ring is without sounding a little... well, you know. It’s a soft cushiony ring that sits between the top of your analogue stick and the base of the controller.
Compatible with PS4, PS5, Xbox and the Switch Pro controller, these highly elastic bits of squishiness are meant to go the distance by adding resistance to movement. Like all things KontrolFreek, they work great with Performance Thumbsticks and Performance Grips and come in three different strengths: Green for soft, Purple for medium and Black for hard. And they compliment in-game sensitivity settings to further add precision to aiming.
Plus, they’re all made with the same high-quality moisture wicking antimicrobial materials found in things like tanks and aircraft. Which is fun to know when you’re playing a game with tanks and aircraft.
Gaming Lights to Light the Way
Okay, so you might be thinking that the science stops at USB powered LED lights that make up KontrolFreek’s Gaming Lights range. RGB lighting is all about flexing personality and showcasing your gear. At least that’s the idea. But, placing lights directly behind your display has a real-world benefit in the form of less strain on your eyes and increasing the quality of contrast and on-screen lighting. And then there’s the whole science of colour where Blue is calming and Red adds a dose of strength. See -- science!
KontrolFreek’s Gaming Lights range come in two sizes, 2.74 metres or 3.6 metres made up of 45.7cm LED strips. This means installation takes on a creative build-it-yourself quality with connectors providing an easy way to position each strip to best suit your setup.
From here the included controller offers up the ability to easily switch between different colours, effects, speeds and brightness options. A range of expansion strips also means that no setup or rig is too big or too small for KontrolFreek’s Gaming Lights range. Be it a PC rig setup on a desk, a TV with a PS5 or Xbox Series X connected, or even a bedside table housing you phone charger. LED strip lighting, like the entire KontrolFreek product line-up, is one of those things that once you’ve tried it, is hard to live without.
The KontrolFreek range is currently available in stores Australia-wide - via EB Games and JB Hi-Fi.