Qanba Crystal Joystick Review
|Product Name:||Qanba Crystal Arcade Stick|
|Platform:||PS4, PS3, PC|
|Features:||Qanba Stick and Buttons have LED lights. Includes PS4 Touchpad button. Hidden Carrying Handle and USB Cable Compartment|
If you were a fan of the Qanba, especially it’s Q-line of arcade sticks (like the Q4, for instance), you may have been wondering as to why they were in the dark for a brief period of time that fighting games started to gain momentum on the PS4. Look no more as they had released two new products into the fray, beginning with the Qanba Crystal.
Sizing Up The Product
Measuring approximately 17 inches long, 11 inches wide and 5 inches tall and weighing in at about 7 pounds, the Qanba Crystal figures to be in the mid-size range of arcade sticks currently in the market. It is not as small as the entire Q-series ad the entry-level Drone; it is, however, a tinge lighter than Qanba’s current poster boy, the Dragon. The Crystal is definitely much easier to lug around than the massive Hori RAP4 Premium VLX, and is just as sturdy, too.
As with most arcade sticks available on the market these days, the Qanba Crystal uses an 8-button Viewlix layout and ball top joystick. These parts are positioned closer to the center of the top panel (as compared to being near either end of the of the playing surface) – it does not look cramped, but rather makes use of the wide frames to rest a the player’s wrist and forearms. If you are a fan of fully-securing your stick on your lap or on a surface, then this product’s frame gives you enough leverage to do so (especially with the two rubberized strips at the bottom of the stick).
Support for 3 platforms
Qanba has always been known for providing multi-platform products, but much like the newer sticks available in the market, the Crystal’s compatibility with consoles are akin to both its legacy and continuation than the best of both worlds. To put it simply, the Crystal is compatible with the PS4, the legacy PS3 and PC platforms, thereby ditching the Xbox brand in terms of console support.
The platform and directional input switch tabs are still existent in this product and can be found at the right side of the stick along with 7 buttons – PS Home, Share, Turbo, L3, R3, LED and Options. The white Options button is made to be larger than the other buttons as it pretty much functions for accessing the menus and pausing the game, while the other buttons are colored black and smaller, being the more secondary buttons to press on this side of the stick.
I like that these buttons are in a less-extruded section of the stick to prevent getting pressed accidentally in a competitive setting.
To further extend its compatibility with the PS4 (and as seen in the newer arcades sticks), the Qanba Crystal also includes a touch pad similar to the DualShock4 and recognizes touch, swipe and multi-touch. This allows you to access special-functions within games, like position resets in training for Street Fighter, for instance.
For a player who is extremely familiar with the current line of arcade stick products, these features are already commonplace. Then again, these are welcome features to have and make the Qanba Crystal all the more well-rounded.
Extrusions from the Product’s Frame
As with other Qanba products in the market, the Crystal also has a USB storage compartment located to its side, which is perfect for organizing and stowing away the cable when it is not being used and in keeping your USB cable nicely wound-up together. If you are NOT a fan of wrapping your arcade stick’s 15-30ft long cable around its frame and would prefer this bit of the product to be more organized, then this is definitely a welcome addition for you.
One big difference to note: Unlike previous iterations of this compartment door on Qanba sticks where it snap-locks into place, this door is held closed by magnets – great design decision by the brand! Now you won’t have to worry about the plastic scraping as it locks (and eventually not closing shut anymore).
Hidden Carrying Handle
Another recurring feature on the Qanba Crystal is the carrying handle. Unlike previous handles where it was strappy in nature, this handle can be twisted outward to be brought out (and inward to hide again). The material on this handle is similar to the frame of the stick, giving it a more seamless design and function to the overall product.
The Crystal’s Illumination
Qanba Joystick and Buttons.. that light up.
Perhaps the most interesting feature on the Qanba Crystal is where all the action comes from. The Qanba-branded joystick and buttons have blue LED lights inside them, which provides an added flair to the product.
These lights can be configured using the LED button, and you are provided with 3 glow modes – glowing per push or wiggle, vibrate-related glow, or consistently glowing. This may seem to be a bit more novelty-like in nature, but it does give you advantages if you play in dimmed areas (..although it does make it easier for your opponent to read your button presses as well).
The inclusion of the LEDs in the stick and buttons does make them a bit more stiff compared to the Sanwa Denshi parts. Not exactly a deal-breaker, however, and will surely fit the bill as durable parts to have on you stick.
Is the Qanba Crystal as clear and fine as its name?
Having read through the aforementioned, there are a couple of things that might be of concern:
- The plexi-glass and base art are similar to the older Qanba sticks; as such, they are not the quick remove-type that can be seen in other products. Not the biggest of deals as you can always make slightly larger holes on the new art where the buttons go to compensate.
- The frame does not snap open for internal modification, so you will have to remove the bottom screws in order to get inside. Again, not the biggest of deals, but this would void your product warranty.
- Finally, if you really like your Sanwa Denshi parts, then there is a long process to mod the stick and buttons to use Sanwa’s buttons and octagon-gate along with the LEDs. There are guides on YouTube to do this, but proceed with caution.
On the plus side, however:
- Qanba’s PCBs have always performed extremely well, especially for being multi-console. No need to do firmware updates, as it will run well out of the box.
- While there may be no official details on input lag, this product seems to perform really well and looks pretty responsive.
Overall, if you want an absolutely durable stick, or are looking for decent-sized starting stick with some cool features like the LED parts, then the Qanba Crystal is definitely the arcade stick for you.
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