The new Xbox 360 Chatpad is pretty great. Despite most LIVE users being more inclined to voice chat than text message online, I can appreciate the solid construction of Microsoft's new peripheral. At first glance, the Chatpad looks like it will never fit on the controller, but the unit snaps on snugly. And you quickly find that its well-spaced keys are comfortable and prevent spillover button presses. Going from playing to typing requires a simple shift of balance—there has clearly been a tonne of thought put behind the device's practical ergonomics.
But it really tires out the hands.Holding the Chatpadised controller is a bulkier matter, but it's not uncomfortable. So when I found my fingers slow to respond on the thumbsticks after about an hour of play, I thought it was just me. Then I remembered my recent time in Germany, or more specifically, the countless gallons of steins that I've been lifting over the past 2 weeks. If anything, my hands should have increased their strength as of late...possibly to levels bordering on superheroic.
Realising the Chatpad must be to blame, I popped it off. And yes, gaming was easy again.
If one were to keep playing with the Chatpad, I expect their hands would make the proper adjustments. And some may even look at the Chatpad as a training device—like adding weight to a runner's legs, or a second hot dog in the bun of a competitive eater.
But for now, I'm removing the Chatpad until I need to enter long strings of text information. Because like most gamers, my body needs to be in a perpetual top condition for my level of play.