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Razer Hydra

*Est. $140
Reviewed
October 2011
by ConsumerSearch
Razer Hydra

Motion-based controller

Pros
  • Motion-sensitive
  • Highly accurate for a motion-controller
  • Offers 14 buttons and two analog sticks between two controllers
  • Customizable controls
Cons
  • Not fully supported by most games
  • Not as accurate as keyboard and mouse
  • Learning curve
  • Relatively expensive
  • Controllers must be wired to base station
Where to Buy
 

Reviewers seem torn about the Razer Hydra motion controller. On one hand, the Hydra -- which consists of a futuristic looking base station and two Wiimote nunchuk-style controllers -- is far and away the most accurate and responsive handheld motion-control device available for the PC. Unlike the Wiimote, though, the Razer Hydra is not wireless; the controllers connect to the base station. There are five face buttons, two rear buttons and an analog on each of the controllers, and all of those are fully customizable, albeit through the terrible method of editing config files in a text editor. That isn't necessary for every title, though; the Hydra offers preset control configurations for 125 of the top PC games around. Plus, critics say playing the "Portal 2" game bundled with the controller feels more natural and enjoyable than ever with the addition of the detailed motion control.

On the other hand, no other games are yet developed to fully support the Hydra, and users need to tweak the sensitivity settings depending on what style of game they're playing. As accurate as the Hydra is for a motion-control device, reviewers report that it still isn't as precise as a gaming mouse, so using it in competitive situations or games that require extreme accuracy isn't recommended. Critics say there's also a learning curve involved before using the device feels natural. All in all, reviewers recommend that dedicated motion-control fans and gamers who want an interesting new experience should nab the Razer Hydra, but the majority of people should wait for more expansive software support, especially considering the Hydra's cost. Alternatively, critics say that most hardcore racing and aircraft simulation fans would find the head-tracking NaturalPoint TrackIR 4 PRO (*Est. $100) a purchase well worth the money.

Maximum PC provides the only review from a mainstream publication, while GamingShogun.com, CravingTech.com and AbleGamers.com all offer reasonably detailed critiques of the Razer Hydra. Reviews are just starting to trickle in at Newegg.com

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Naturalpoint Trackir 4: Pro By Ergoguys
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Where To Buy
Razer Hydra PC Gaming Motion Sensing Controllers Portal 2 Bundle (RZ80-00630200-B3U1)

 (59 reviews)
Buy new: $139.99   2 New from $225.00

 

Our Sources

1. MaximumPC.com

Alex Castle's review of the Razer Hydra echoes the comments found in other reviews. He says that while the Hydra is nicely designed and responsive from a hardware point of view, the controller is slightly less accurate than a mouse, so you won't want to use it for precision gaming. In the end, he says motion-control fanatics should rush out to pick up the peripheral, but mainstream gamers should hold off until more titles include full software support for the product.

Review: Razer Hydra Review, Alex Castle, Sept. 12, 2011

2. CravingTech.com

Aussie reviewer Michael Aulia's look at the Razer Hydra includes his impressions of the peripheral from the first minute the package arrives to several hours of hands-on play testing. Like Alex Castle at Maximum PC, he finds the hardware itself to be ergonomic and exquisitely designed. While he has fun playing shooter games with the Hydra, he says that it just isn't quite as accurate as a mouse, and he doesn't like that tweaking button configurations for non-supported games requires users to edit configuration files in a text editor. He loves the technology, however, and hopes developers start supporting the hardware heavily.

Review: Razer Hydra Review, Michael Aulia, July 11, 2011

3. GamingShogun.com

The editors of GamingShogun.com playtest the Razer Hydra and end up enthusiastic about the peripheral. Their comments mirror the ones found on CravingTech.com; while playing shooters with the Hydra is fun, there's a learning curve involved and it just isn't quite as accurate as a mouse. However, they say the Hydra is by far the best way to play "Portal 2," and they come away crossing their fingers that developers start releasing more games with Hydra-specific programming.

Review: Razer Hydra PC Motion Controller Review, Editors of GamingShogun.com, July 12, 2011

4. Examiner.com

This review of the Razer Hydra is much more detailed than many articles found on Examiner.com. Bryan Edge-Salois describes play testing several games with the device in detail, and notes every annoyance and highlight that pops up while gaming. Like other reviewers, he suggests mainstream gamers wait until a few of the kinks are ironed out with software support. "When the Hydra works with games well-suited to it, it's a pleasure to play with -- and when newer drivers are released that allow you to customize the controllers the Hydra will be a more compelling piece of technology," Edge-Salois writes.

Review: Razer Hydra Review: Smooth Controller, Rough around the Edges, Bryan Edge-Salois, July 6, 2011

5. AbleGamers.com

Marco Pasqua examines the Razer Hydra for its use as a therapeutic device for disabled individuals as well as its use as a gaming peripheral, which adds a perspective not often found in reviews. He recommends walking through the training modes to get a handle on the peripheral's controls, which he says "requires a fair bit of precision to use." All in all, he enjoys the product, although he suggests that gamers try before they buy due to the steep $140 price tag.

Review: Razer Hydra Review, Marco Pasqua, July 8, 2011

6. NewEgg.com

Reviews are only just starting to appear at Newegg.com, but consumer opinion largely matches the comments from professionals. Users say that the Razer Hydra brings a very fun and unique experience to the PC, albeit one that isn't quite as accurate as a mouse and takes a bit of practice to get used to. The steep price and lack of software support are repeatedly listed as negatives.

Review: Razer Hydra PC Gaming Motion Sensing Controllers Portal 2 Bundle, Contributors to Newegg.com

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