Page 3 - Subjective Performance Tests
In order to truly test a gamepad, it makes sense to play some games with it. All of my testing was done using my Google Pixel 3a XL, as this is only meant for Android devices, which supports Bluetooth 5.0 and Bluetooth LE. I played various genres of games to help determine the different use cases and where the Atom Controller performed well or struggled in.
Starting with a platformer, I played a game called Dead Cells. This Metroidvania-inspired game is somewhat similar to Ori and the Will of the Wisps, albeit much less cute. I found the experience with the Turtle Beach Atom Controller to be quite good. The buttons were easily accessible in my hands, making slashing with a melee weapon or shooting projectiles easy. The game also took advantage of having two sets of bumper buttons, which made me appreciate the Atom Controller even more. The second game I played was called Horizon Chase, which is an arcade racer. The triggers felt smooth and worked like an accelerator pedal in its analog response. The thumbstick movement was smooth and did not inhibit me from steering my car. The third game I tested was the mobile version of Stardew Valley, which is a simulation role playing game. All of the positives I mentioned previously translated into a fine experience here. Finally, I played some emulated games on my phone. In all of these games and applications, the controller was recognized by the game and worked as expected. The Atom Controller made my experience quite enjoyable, as I had physical buttons to press and I always had full view of the screen.
On the other hand, there were a few things that could be improved. For one, the D-pad and buttons could still be better, as they felt squishy and lacked definition in its actuation and travel. Furthermore, while I was quite alright with the primary buttons, those with larger hands may find them to be small and cramped in its layout. Unfortunately, this was done to keep the Turtle Beach Atom Controller compact, and I do not see any potential solution without increasing the size of the unit.
On area where your mileage may vary in is compatibility. As you already know, this is purely an Android gamepad and it does not work with iOS devices. Furthermore, the Atom Controller is not compatible with all games on Android either. Instead, Turtle Beach has a list of compatible games and services for their mobile gamepads on their website. While the list is quite long, it is not necessarily extensive and it is missing some games like Call of Duty: Mobile or PUBG Mobile, so do keep this in mind.
As for wireless operation, I found the Turtle Beach Atom Controller to work well with little-to-no latency observed. All button presses, triggers actuated, and thumbstick movements were recognized. I also had no issues connecting and setting up the controller with my Pixel 3a XL. In day-to-day use, I found the battery life to also be excellent. In my testing, I was able to get around 24 hours of use before needing to charge, which is above the manufacturer's estimates. Charging the Turtle Beach Atom Controller is also fast, as it was fully charged within 2.5 hours. You do need to put it in the travel mode in order to charge both sides, which means you cannot charge and use the Atom at the same time. Given its superb battery life, this should not be an issue.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware and Software
3. Subjective Performance Tests