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Posted by Raine Hutchens on Oct 14, 2011

Review – Splitfish FragFX Shark 360 Gaming Controller (Xbox 360)

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For quite some time now PS3 owners have been able to bask in the glory of the Splitfish FragFX controller for their system, which essentially swaps out the normal controller for a joystick and mouse. Many players have found this setup to be much more useful when playing competitively, because the mouse offers up much more accuracy that using an analog stick. This was proven, especially when you test console players against PC players in a first-person shooter. PC players beat out the console gamers by a mile, and with the FragFX controller, PS3 players have found a way to match up with the likes of these gaming gurus. Of course this left Xbox 360 owners in the dark, and with their console topping the sales charts, it was unfortunate that something like this didn’t exist for them. Finally, however, after much time spent planning and working, the FragFX Shark has made its way to the 360. We were fortunate enough to receive one of our very own, and I sat down to put it to the test. A while back I was able to test one of these out for the PS3, and it stood to the challenge. Now, let’s take a look and see how the FragFX Shark performed on the Xbox 360.

Appearance and Feel

The first thing I noticed about this Shark is its finish. The 360 Shark is solid black, except for the colored buttons on the mouse which stand out among all else. The finish is resembling that of most gaming mice out there, and it allows for a firm grip when used. This controller won’t be slipping out of your hands anytime soon, so have no doubts.

Aside from the obvious aesthetic differences, this Shark looks identical to the one available for the PS3. I will say, though, that the PS3 Shark has a much better paint job. I think that Splitfish could have offered up more of a catchy design for this product, seeing as how right now 360 users are topping those on the PS3. I was expecting it to be a crazy green with some black accents, but sadly it was a solid midnight color, which isn’t all that bad.

The controller fits nicely in your hands, and it doesn’t offer any suffering after long hours of play. I will note that in order to maintain comfort while using the Shark, you’ll want to sit as if you were at a PC. Your right hand (mouse hand) will need to sit up, as playing with the Shark angled or on the floor will cause discomfort. The buttons on the mouse are positioned accurately, and are big enough that they stood out with no issue. It was easy to quickly maneuver back and forth between each button when needed.

Usage and Playability

Unlike the Shark for the PS3, this one isn’t plug-and-play friendly. On the packaging it states that an official or licensed wired Xbox 360 controller is needed for authentication. While you’re pondering that I will go ahead and answer you: no, a wireless controller that has a charging cable will not work. You will need an actual wired controller in order to authenticate and use the Shark. This came as a bit of a hassle, and let me explain.

When setting up the Shark, you’ll need to plug in the USB dongle to your system, and to that you’ll need to attach the wired controller. After this is done, you can turn on both parts to the Shark (which are powered by a single AA battery each). Ensuring the dongle is switched to Xbox 360 and not PC, you;; see both a blue and green light shown on the dongle which means the Shark is connected. Then you’re ready to start using the new Shark to maneuver Xbox menus, start games, and so forth. This is where I ran into the issue.

Once I had the Shark connected, I unplugged the wired controller. I started up a game, and all of a sudden the Shark wouldn’t respond. It wouldn’t change menus, start the game, anything. I found that I had to reconnect the wired controller to get it to work again. In the manual and on the package, it stated that a wired controller was needed for authentication, not continued use, but in my case that wasn’t true. This being said, from then on whenever I wanted to use the Shark I had to have my wired controller connected at all times. This became a pain, especially if I didn’t intend to have it out. Also, not all players have a wired controller, so if you borrow one from a friend in order to authenticate your Shark, there’s a possibility you’ll need to keep it.

Besides this hiccup, the Shark performed very well. It allowed for pinpoint accuracy and on-spot firing when playing shooters. One of the best things I found with using it was that the response time was instantaneous. I broke into sprint faster, reloaded on time, and even was able to round corners tighter. The best feature I found with the Shark was the aiming sensitivity. Once I turned it down I found a perfect comfortable setting and I was able to snap to enemies, no matter where they were in my field of vision.

Another fantastic feature with the Shark is its battery life. I left the controller on for literal days and it was ready to go whenever I needed it. As advertised, the Shark has a gaming battery life of 50 hours, and standby it can last up to 500 hours. That’s plenty of time to own some noobs on any game of your choice.

Conclusion

When it comes down to it, the FragFX Shark 360 is an amazing peripheral. The long battery life and comfort provided with the controller is top-notch, and it performs with accuracy and prowess. The real issue I found with it was its connectivity to the system. Though it’s a wireless controller,
I still felt tethered through a surrogate connection. This could have been a fluke, but with every game I tried it came out the same way. I still wouldn’t let this kill my playing, though, as the Shark really provided the edge when I needed it. I think that the FragFX Shark 360 is just what the 360 crowd has been needing for a long while. Right now you can pick up your own Shark for about $90, which isn’t a bad price tag.

The Good

  • excellent battery life
  • still comfortable through hours of play
  • top of the line performance and increased accuracy

The Bad

  • can have connectivity issues, requires a wired controller to authenticate

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