SCUF's Infinity Controllers Are A Real Hard Sell

Image: Kotaku

People are prepared to pay vastly different amounts for quality. For some, $80 for a standard Xbox or PlayStation controller is enough, while the $200 for an Elite is pushing it. Others might be happy to pay $300 or $400 on headphones, but would never spend more than $100 on a gaming mouse.

It's a tricky business, peripherals. And that's the problem facing the SCUF Infinity1 and Infinity4PS, controllers that start at $220 and go up to a staggering $320.

What Is It?

The SCUF Infinity1 PRO in all its camo blue glory.

While Xbox fans and PC players have been able to enjoy the luscious, rubberised grips and magnetic thumbsticks of the Elite controller for a while now, Sony has shown no desire to start manufacturing higher-end pads.

And while you can get other controllers going with the PS4, that introduces another set of problems. There's nothing more annoying than having your controller drop out or start spinning around mid-fight because your precious dongle suddenly lost connection.

So SCUF has a solution: its professional-grade competitive controllers, complete with customisable thumbsticks, extended triggers with a key for adjusting the tension (on certain models), a magnet for button mapping, and customisable hand grips. The Infinity4PS is SCUF's PS4 controller, while the Infinity1 pad is for the Xbox One. You can use both with the PC, as they connect via standard Micro USB, and both are wireless.

The level of customisation you get, however, depends on how much you spend. The basic SCUF controllers start at $220 and come with back paddles (2 for the PS4, 4 for the Xbox One), removable thumbstick rings, batteries and thumbsticks. (If you get the cheapest SCUF controller for Xbox One, it only has standard Xbox One thumbsticks instead of the domed ones SCUF produces.)

If you want a basic SCUF controller in a different colour, you'll have to pay between $260-270. Want a SCUF controller that lets you remap the paddles and adjust the tension of the triggers? Those cost $270 or $280 depending on the platform. And if you want a less boring version of those in red, camo green or something else, it'll cost up to $320.

Other accessories are available, but they don't come cheap. Adjustable trigger and pro grips for the Xbox One controller? $44.95. Different thumbsticks for SCUF's PS4 pad, including ones closer to those you get on the standard DualShock 4, will set you back $34.95. None of the controllers come packaged with a carrying case - that's an extra $30. And 10ft braided Micro-USB charging cables will set you back $30 as well.

What's It Good At?

Image: SCUF/Bluemouth Interactive

Having paddles is, by default, an immediate upgrade over the standard PS4 controller. The paddles are bound to X and O, however, and they can't be rebound without the special magnet that comes with the more expensive Pro controller. That's not a problem in games with in-built key remapping, or multiple configurations like Halo and Call of Duty.

The expensive custom Pro controller ships with the aforementioned magnet. But provided you avoid any accidents, it's actually a much faster process than rebinding controls through an app (like you do with the Xbox Elite controller).

All you have to do, at any time, is simply place the magnet on the dedicated spot on the back of the controller until it latches. After that you press the paddle you want to rebind, and then you press the key that you want it bound to. You then release the key and the paddle and put the magnet away. That's it. It's not as exhaustive as the remapping available on the Elite controller, but it's a much faster process that can be done in the middle of a game if necessary.

Replacing the thumbsticks and adjusting the hair triggers is simple enough. All of the controllers ship with a ring lock to remove the thumbsticks, and from there it's just a matter of dropping in the sticks you want and removing the ones you don't.

The paddles are well placed, at least on the PS4 model. Rather than going across, they run vertically on either side of the battery pack on the back of the controller. It explains why the Infinity4PS only has two paddles, compared to the Infinity1's four. The extra two paddles make the Infinity1 feel fairly cramped and uncomfortable to hold, so less is definitely more in this instance. You can unclip the paddles if you like, though.

It's handy to have something that feels like a standard DualShock 4, but comes with extra functionality. There's a practical reason for wanting a native PS4 controller too: the sensitivity curves and acceleration on the Xbox One/Elite controllers is different to that of the DualShock 4, and consequently the Infinity4PS. That's not a distinction that most people will care about, but it matters if you have years of baked in experience playing a particular game (like Call of Duty) and you don't want to lose your edge.

The sticks on both the Infinity1 and the Infinity4PS are a little looser than you may be used to. It allows for finer adjustments once you become accustomed to it. The convex domes that come standard on the SCUF sticks are quite comfortable too; I thought they'd be a little tricky to handle compared to regular PS4 and Xbox One controllers, but I stopped noticing them after a couple of days.

It's something worth considering: if you want a tournament-grade control pad for the PS4, the Infinity4PS is actually the cheapest option. It might only cost $200 or so to get an Elite to your door, but you'll have to pay another $100 or more to get the CronusMAX/Titan One/XIM4 offerings so you can use it with the PS4. That doesn't apply if you're just looking for an all-purpose pad to use across your PC and consoles, but if you're a console-only player it's worth considering.

What's It Not Good At?

The rear of the Infinity1 (Xbox One) and Infinity4PS (PS4) controllers, as well as the magnet needed to rebind the paddles.

Let's not beat around the bush - regardless of what SCUF controller you buy, you're paying a lot. Even the most basic model costs more than the Elite. Even the REVOLUTION Pro Controller has adjustable weights, four back buttons and a storage pouch - all for $180, less than the Elite, and a lot less than the $270-280 black Infinity1/Infinity4PS Pro models.

The majority of the SCUF controllers, regardless of platform, are made out of military-grade plastic. It's sturdy enough, but it doesn't feel anywhere near as nice in the hand as the rubberised grip on the back of the Elite controller, or the new Xbox One S pad.

It also feels a little too DIY. Take the back grips. They're removed and replaced through a plastic paddle that wedges between the grip and the side of the controller, until you leverage it off. It's a pretty low-rent option for a controller that costs as much as it does, and you have to wonder why SCUF couldn't manufacture a more elegant solution.

In that sense, the Elite controller wipes the floor with the Infinity1. It's better engineered and has far more customsiations that matter. It doesn't make sense, for instance, for the back paddles to default to X and O when the majority of shooters use L3 and R3 to sprint, melee or other options. And in games that don't have remappable buttons, or limited preset configs, it's effectively a waste.

If you're interested in the Infinity1 or Infinity4PS controllers, you have to spend $260 at a minimum. And even then you might take issue with a few things: the length of the modified triggers, for instance, could be uncomfortable for gamers with smaller hands. The paddles take a little getting used to as well, requiring more force to press than those on the Elite.

The SCUF's target market, then, will be the highly charged world of esports. And competitive players are more than happy to fork out for better quality, but there's little about the Infinity1 or Infinity4PS that fits that bill.

Should You Buy It?

The answer to this is two-fold. First: if you're primarily an Xbox One player or looking for a control pad to use across all platforms, there's no reason to consider the Infinity1. Given that a universal controller doesn't exist anyway, you might as well buy the best bang for buck on the market - and that's still the Elite controller.

If you're after the best controller to use with your PS4, it's still the Elite. But if you want to eliminate the cost and potential frustration of failing middleman hardware, you might be better off waiting to try Nacon's REVOLUTION Pro controller instead. The REVOLUTION Pro's main drawback is that it's wired and the thumbsticks are offset, but it's also only $180.

If that doesn't work for you, and you need a native controller that will work regardless, and you're a heavy tournament player - then you should start to consider the Infinity4PS Pro (not the basic).

My main gripe is that, while it's an improvement and a perfectly fine pad on its own, neither the SCUF Infinity4PS or Infinity1 feels like good value. One of the most crucial features costs an extra $40 to $50, because of an absurd decision to bind the paddles to two of the most used face buttons on a control pad. Other accessories that come standard with other controllers, like a case or additional sticks, are sold at $30 or more.

Customers deserve better. But if you can't tolerate offset thumbsticks and you absolutely, positively must have something that is as close as possible to the DualShock 4 but better - then there, quite literally, is no other reasonable competitor to the Infinity4PS Pro controller. But that market is exceedingly narrow. Seasoned gamers who baulked at the price of the Elite will find it even harder to justify SCUF's offerings, and those who can afford them would be well advised to shop around.

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Comments

    The only thing I don't like about the dual shock is pressing the joystick IN to run in some games. So paddles = great! But not for this price. No way. I wouldn't spend that much on any peripheral. Speakers I would.

    The problem with "professional-grade competitive controllers" is that there's fuck all competitive console gaming scene these days, it's 99% PC. Hell, most of the console competitive scene is fighting games, and they're either using retro controllers, or joystick set ups.

      That's not entirely true: the Call of Duty console scene was massive last year, thanks to more than $400k of prizes from Activision, and you also have games like Halo, FIFA and Gears that feature on the local esports circuit that have always been played on console. There's also games like Destiny, which while they don't feature on the circuit per se, maintain a strong competitive community that controllers like these would also be targeted at.

        Um how come you didnt mention the razer version for the ps4 and also the remappable buttons where limited to triangle, circle, square and x. So it wasnt entirely customisable anyway, considering you were referring to sprint being on one of the paddles (maybe for certain games that didnt use L3)

          No, you can remap the paddles to L3/R3. I bound that from the outset* and it worked just fine.

          Re. the Razer pad: it adds a lot more and the weight is very different to the SCUF and the original DualShock 4, so that's a different beast entirely. But you're right in that it is another cheaper option if you want an Elite-style controller on the PS4, so thanks for that.

          *edited what was a horribly confusing sentence to be less bad

        Local esports circuits are a pretty small player base these days, the CoD pro scene doesn't have a large amount of teams, and $400k is chump change for esports these days. Compared to the enthusiast competitive PC scene, consoles are miniscule.

          Not chump change as far as the Australian scene is considered, though.

      "Professional-grade competitive controller" is a marketing term to sell controllers to the thousands of people who think this will improve their KDR when playing against their friends (and it might, mine certainly went up when I got my first gaming mouse a decade ago).

    That one chubby rich kid that everyone picks on in middle school is definitely getting some of these

    Don't get a Scuf. I had one for my PS4, and it broke in less than a year (left-hand paddle still "worked" but it no longer moved or clicked, so it was really offputting).

    Get a Battle Beaver Custom instead. I've had mine for a couple of months, and it's vastly superior. They also use a genuine, first party PS4 controller as the base - unlike Scuf.

    I paid sub-$200 and got:

    - Custom colour.
    - Two remappable back buttons. I much prefer them to paddles.
    - PS3-style domed analogue sticks.

    I could not recommend it more over Scuf.

    Last edited 13/12/16 2:02 pm

    because of an absurd decision to bind the paddles to two of the most used face buttons on a control pad

    Huh? That is the entire point of the paddles -moving commonly used functions off the buttons so you don't need to press them with your thumbs but your fingers. You can use the paddles to jump or slide/melee/crouch without needing to take your thumbs of the sticks. Why would I want R3 or L3 mapped to the paddles when pressing them doesn't affect my ability to use the sticks. Why would I need sprint mapped to another button when I can move/look around just fine while I push the stick down.

    I have a Scuf for my PS4 and I have the remapping and the only thing I ever change the mapping on is O to Square in destiny so I can revive people while still aiming and shooting.

    Last edited 13/12/16 2:23 pm

      destiny square remap was my most used setup for it too, always had to remember to swap it back for cod though lol (shoot, go to knife, reloads, proceeds to throw controller)

      The one reason I can see for remapping L3/R3 to the paddles is for sniping. When the "hold breath to steady" button is on the movement stick, there's a lot of potential for accidental slip ups and the like.

      But yes, otherwise the entire point of these controllers (and the way I currently have my Battle Beaver mapped) is to put oft-used buttons like jump and slide/crouch in a position where you don't need to take your thumb off the aim stick to press them.

    Looked into getting a DS4 with back paddles a few weeks back. Went with Sharq cos it wound up being $40 cheaper than Scuf, and they supposedly have better build quality and customer service, the only real downside being the long lead time. Keen to try it out - love the paddles on my steam controller, but just can't get used to the trackpads...

      Got my Sharq in about 2-3 weeks - wasn't too bad of a wait.
      The back paddles feel a little flimsy and one of the paddles wasn't ideally placed so it doesn't click as easy. Does the job though - I paid $160 for different colour + grip + trigger stops vs scuf being an extra $100 for the same thing.

    DON'T BUY FROM SCUF.

    That is my warning considering I forked out probably over $200 for a PS3 Scuf back in the Black Ops 2 days. When it finally arrived, 3 of the buttons did not work and it was useless. Emailed their customer support about returning it and getting it repaired and they said they would only pay for $20 of the return shipping, which was $120 or something through DHL. I argued that they should cover the entire shipping cost seeing as they sent it to me broken and this went on for weeks as they kept refusing and I even called them once which wasn't cheap either. Eventually my Dad caved and said he'd pay the return shipping for me.

    The controller was lost in transit and I never got it back and it never got to Scuf. $300 later and I had nothing to show for it. Do not buy Scuf. Get Cinch or Battle Beaver Customs or the new Razer/Nacon models coming out. I'm not even sure if there was anything legally I could do about that if I wanted to, which is the most frustrating thing.

    Theres a local guy doing customs & mods here in Melbourne; controllermodz au. He was trained by some guy in the US.
    I have 2 x modded DS4's from him with X & O rear mapped buttons, XB1 thumbsticks, trigger stops, cool Hydrographic shells, black out buttons. He'll even do send in service on your existing DS4. My first one was $150, second was a bit specced up and was about $180.
    I also sent in my first in for a service after about 2 years use to refresh the back buttons for like $25. The website's a bit rudimentary though.

    Once you have taste for rear mapped buttons, hard to go back to vanilla DS4!

    Last edited 13/12/16 5:33 pm

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