Thrustmaster eSwap XR Professional Controller evaluate: Modular motorsporting

The Thrustmaster eSwap XR is a PC and Xbox controller not like any that we have seen earlier than. After catching a glimpse of it, we had been so curious that we could not resist getting it in for testing.

It has a hot-swappable modular design, similar to the model’s previous eSwap controllers, however this time there is a new module. It is a tiny racing wheel in your thumb, and it is designed to bridge the hole between racing on a controller and utilizing a full-blown sim rig.


This controller can also be made in partnership with Forza Horizon 5, which implies we get a daring paint job that followers of the collection are certain to like.

The query is, how does it carry out? and is it value your hard-earned money? We have been attempting it out.


Thrustmaster eSwap XR Professional Controller

The Thrustmaster eSwap XR is totally distinctive controller. Not solely does it provide the flexibility to swap your controls round to go well with the sport that you simply’re enjoying, however it additionally provides a novel new option to play racing video games.


  • Intelligent modular design
  • Practical racing wheel
  • Mechanical face buttons
  • Elevated longevity attributable to replaceable sticks
  • Straightforward set-up and mapping

  • It is very dear
  • No wi-fi choice


  • Dimensions: 160 x 120 x 60mm
  • Weight: 324 grams
  • Forza Horizon 5 particular version colourway

The eSwap XR, in its signature Forza Horizon 5 livery, goes to be a love-it or hate-it kinda factor. It is a daring color mixture of largely white, pink and black, and it’s miles from refined. We’re fairly into it, however we are able to equally think about individuals craving a barely extra grown-up aesthetic – particularly at such a premium value level.

Thrustmaster eSwap XR Pro Controller (3)-1

On the plus facet, although, the modular design means you can go for one among Thrustmasters’ extra conventional designs, just like the all-black eSwap X Pro, and easily add the racing wheel, which is available separately for round $45.

The controller is of a superb dimension, with longer palm grips than the usual Microsoft controller, which makes it very snug for prolonged play periods. We should always word that we have now pretty giant fingers, although, so with smaller fingers, you may need a unique expertise.

It has a strong building, with no audible creaking from the plastics while you grip it tightly and no rattle while you shake it about. That is particularly spectacular contemplating the quantity of elements which can be held into place by magnets, Thrustmaster has completed an excellent job making this factor really feel strong within the fingers.

Thrustmaster eSwap XR Pro Controller (17)

The end does not really feel particularly premium, although, the plastics are clean and untextured, placing it a step behind controllers just like the Xbox Elite Series 2 – which might be discovered for much less cash.

Nevertheless, there are some premium touches, the joysticks have metallic posts, for instance – which isn’t one thing that you simply see on cheaper controllers.

It is a wired controller and the cable is detachable. It has a braided cable with a 3-metre size, which makes it lengthy sufficient for sofa gaming within the majority of eventualities. It locks into place with a proprietary latching system, and it is a normal micro USB connector below the latch. USB-C would have made issues really feel a contact extra fashionable, however it’s not one thing that issues in use.


  • Modules included: 2x joysticks, 1x D-pad, 1x racing wheel
  • The grips, triggers and energy cable are additionally modular
  • Screwdriver and module storage bag included

The headline function of Thrustmasters’ eSwap controllers is the modular hot-swap system. It is a very intelligent thought, permitting you to modify up your gamepad to go well with the model of recreation that you simply’re enjoying.

Thrustmaster eSwap XR Pro Controller (13)

We had our reservations entering into, we assumed it could really feel much less sturdy than an everyday controller, and imagined some annoying configuration can be required each time you swap, however that was not the case.

As we have already talked about, the controller feels reassuringly sturdy, with no rattling or motion from the modules as soon as they’re snapped into place. They’re simple to take away, too, excluding the D-pad, which has much less to seize onto. Thrustmaster has considered this, although, and features a helpful device that will help you take away it.

As soon as you have swapped the structure round, there’s nothing else that you want to do, it simply works – it is a actually spectacular system. The one method it may very well be improved can be so as to add modularity to the face buttons (A, B, X, Y) as at the moment, their place is mounted.

Thrustmaster eSwap XR Pro Controller (15)

There’s extra to this modularity than simply the joysticks and D-pad, too. You’ll be able to swap the grips on the facet simply as simply, they’re merely held in by magnets, and you may even swap the triggers out – though that can require a screwdriver.

Software program

  • ThrustmapperX Software program for Home windows and Xbox
  • Button mapping and vibration changes
  • Stick, wheel and set off calibration

Thrustmaster supplies configuration software program that’s accessible via the Microsoft Retailer on PC, Xbox Sequence X/S and Xbox One. It is referred to as ThrustmapperX, and because the title suggests, it means that you can remap virtually all the buttons on the controller, ought to you want to.

ThrustmapperX software

There’s additionally very in-depth customisation for the sensitivity of the triggers, joysticks, wheel and vibration motors. It even means that you can set sensitivity curves to actually dial within the stick really feel.

We have primarily been testing on PC, as that is the place we do most of our gaming, and we have not run into any points with the software program to date. Regardless of the depth of the customisation, the interface is pretty intuitive and every part appears to be working because it ought to.

It is value noting you can bypass the software program totally if you happen to want. On our Home windows 10 gaming rig, it was plug-and-play, the controller was immediately recognised and labored similar to a wired Xbox pad. For the total expertise, although, you will need to get it put in.


  • Wired connectivity for Xbox and PC
  • Racing wheel management
  • Mechanical button switches

We discovered the Thrustmaster eSwap XR could be very simple to familiarize yourself with, it is extraordinarily snug within the hand and the buttons are precisely the place you’d anticipate them to be – except you select to maneuver them, in fact.

Thrustmaster eSwap XR Pro Controller (18)

We’re very keen on the joysticks, they’ve simply the correct amount of pressure and really feel very clean. Corridor sensors would have been good to see, however that is nonetheless a rarity and who is aware of if such a design would match into the modular housings.

The mechanical face buttons have a pleasant tactile click on to them and a really brief throw, this makes actuation extraordinarily fast. We’re used to the clicky switches, because of controllers just like the Razer Wolverine Event Version, however that has an identical throw to Microsoft’s pads, whereas that is rather more shallow – and it feels fairly totally different.

The D-pad is respectable, however it’s just a little extra mushy than the face buttons, and nothing to get too enthusiastic about. What’s extra thrilling, is the headline function, the mini racing wheel.

Thrustmaster eSwap XR Pro Controller (10)

We had been just a little afraid that this was going to show to be a gimmick, however it really does add one thing to the in-game driving expertise. We would be mendacity if we stated it made us any faster in Forza, however extra exact? Maybe.

It appears like there is a smaller lifeless zone than when utilizing the joystick, which implies you may make micro-adjustments with smaller actions of your thumb. Plus, it simply feels one notch nearer to driving with a wheel, which is fairly neat.

The draw back is that we discovered it extra fatiguing to play with the wheel than with the joystick. This would possibly simply be right down to half a lifetime of enjoying with joysticks, however within the week or in order that we have been testing it positively makes our thumb extra drained than utilizing the stick.

Thrustmaster eSwap XR Pro Controller (19)

We discovered that the wheel was most snug within the decrease left-hand slot, the place the D-pad would usually be on an Xbox controller. It really works nicely within the higher slot, too, however there it feels most pure to pinch the wheel together with your forefinger and thumb, which was an excessive amount of for us to get used to.

Considered one of our favorite elements of the modular design is that, if you happen to can handle with out a D-pad, you’ll be able to have each the joystick and the wheel related. That is nice for hybrid video games like GTA V the place you might have a combination of on-foot fight and driving – as you’ll be able to simply change to the management that fits the state of affairs.


We have actually loved enjoying with the Thrustmaster eSwap XR Professional Controller. It is good to see a controller that is attempting one thing progressive amidst a sea of choices touting comparable options.

The racing wheel module works higher than we had anticipated, and whereas it is not going to switch a correct wheel anytime quickly, it does provide a pleasant center floor that does not take up anyplace close to as a lot room.

The sticking level is the worth. At an MSRP of $179.99 / €199.99 / £179.99, there is no denying that it is a hefty sum of cash for a gamepad, particularly a wired one. For that value, we might anticipate close to perfection, and to not see issues like a micro USB connection and a slightly-mushy D-pad.

Nonetheless, if the worth does not maintain you again, the eSwap XR affords a gamepad-based driving expertise like no different. If you do not have room for a full-on racing wheel, that is the subsequent smartest thing.

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