Razer Sabertooth Xbox 360 controller ups the ante on tourney gaming, we go hands-on

Razer's Onza Xbox 360 controller is very, very nice. Sure, it's got an unbelievably long, non-detachable wire sticking out of it, but its build quality is top notch and its ultra-clicky face buttons are a pleasure to use. In the company's second Xbox 360 controller — the Sabertooth — Razer's focusing on the tournament gaming crowd rather than simply outfitting its Onza with "Tournament Edition" specs. That aside, the Sabertooth retains the quality we've come to expect from Razer products. Oh, and that crazy long wire is thankfully detachable!

It's apparent from first glance that the Sabertooth is intended as such, given the six extra (programmable) buttons found on the shoulders and back of the controller, and the tiny OLED screen found along the bottom (allowing for the programming of said buttons). Considering that a regular Xbox 360 controller comprises 12 (!!) buttons not counting the d-pad, adding another six and an OLED screen is ... intense, to say the least. While we didn't have occasion to test the programmability, we can definitively say that the Sabertooth's other functions are just as solid as with the Onza. The analog sticks are as good or better than a standard Xbox 360 controller, the d-pad is an improvement over the Onza (which was already an improvement over the dismal d-pad included on most Xbox 360 controllers), and the triggers / shoulder buttons are appropriately springy and responsive. There's even a silly backlight for several face buttons, should you be playing video games in a cave (you can opt to turn off the backlight, too — we certainly did).

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Jokes aside, between the extra bells / whistles and an $80 asking price, the Sabertooth is squarely aimed at the tourney crowd — this certainly isn't meant as a replacement for little Sally's standard issue Xbox 360 controller. Whether it holds up in that community is a question for time (and, uh, that community), but the stuff that it needs to do right is all more than accounted for, and that's what we care about most.

Update: The video above states that the extra buttons can be programmed for multi-button commands, which is not the case. Sorry about that, folks!