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Scuf Vantage PS4 Controller Review

By Christopher Coke on January 15, 2019 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

Scuf Vantage PS4 Controller Review

Every gaming accessory claims to make you a better gamer but how many actually accomplish that goal? Today we’re looking at one that might just deliver on its promises with the Scuf Vantage. It’s a premium controller with loads of customization but does it earn its $169.95 - $199.95 asking price? Join us as we dig in and find out.


Specifications

  • Current Pricing: Wired: $169.95 Wireless: $199.95
  • Key Features:
    • Sax Buttons
    • Mechanical Bumpers
    • Touch Pad
    • SCUF Thumbsticks
    • Swappable D-pad & Control Disc
    • Audio Touch Bar
    • Removable Faceplate
    • Wired-to-Wireless Switch
    • Remapping Switch
    • Adjustable Hair Triggers & Interchangeable Trigger Covers
    • Quick Shift Trigger Stops
    • Grip Handles
    • Seal of Approval
    • Back Paddles
  • Dimensions: L 4.25” W 6.5” H 2.5”
  • Weight: 194–216g Wired, 256–287g Wireless
  • Directional Control: D-pad, Thumbsticks (2), Control Disc
  • Vibration Support: Yes (Removable)
  • Connectivity: Wired (micro-USB to USB), Wireless (Bluetooth®)*
  • Battery: 3.7V – 1000mAh (Rechargeable)
  • Audio: 3.5mm Jack Port and Built-In Speaker

If you’ve been in the console gaming scene for any length of time, you’ve almost surely heard of Scuf Gaming’s controllers. Even before Xbox came out with their Elite controller, Scuf was leading the way, offering customizable gamepads with programmable buttons and extra paddles that could completely change your control scheme. In the world of competitive shooters, and especially Call of Duty, Scufs have become incredibly popular for extra mobility they provide. There have been a number of different iterations on the concept over the years and we have the most recent with the Scuf Vantage.

The Vantage is an expensive device at nearly $200 for the wireless version, so let’s look at what it brings to the table. The first thing to know is that every additional button or paddle on this controller is remappable but only to buttons already on the controller. This isn’t a cheating device, so there’s no recording macros or other clear “cheats” to using a device like this.

At the same time, the additional buttons allow you to keep your fingers on the sticks when you would otherwise need to stop aiming to press a button. The famous “drop shot” where you drop into a prone position to dodge/shoot an enemy usually requires you hold “O” instead of aiming. Mapping “O” to a rear paddle means you can aim the entire time you’re dropping making you all the more deadly. The same can be said for jumping. Leap into the air, pull a wall run, trigger your special, without any of the usual vulnerability.

When it comes to remappable buttons, you have two SAX (shoulder access) buttons you can easily press with the side of your index finger and four paddles on the rear. Mapping these is as easy as flipping the remap switch, holding the button or paddle you want to remap, and pressing the action you’d like placed there. These remappings stay until you reset the controller. It’s as easy as that - just make sure you update the controller’s firmware so that everything works as intended.

The controller also feels great in the hand. It has a nice weight to it that feels more substantial than the standard DualShock. As you can tell in the picture above, Scuf has also offset the joysticks into the Xbox orientation which, in my opinion, feels much better for shooters. The buttons, joystick clicks, and triggers all feel good. There’s nothing cheap or less-than about the Vantage, not should there be at this price. They’ve really done a good job of making it feel solid and better than the pack-in controller.

The Vantage also has a couple other neat tricks up its sleeve. For one, there’s an audio touch-bar along the bottom. Adjust the volume by sliding your finger along its surface and mute your mic with a quick tap.

The triggers are also customizable, allowing you to tweak their feel for depth and tension, effectively turning each one into a hair trigger. This might seem small but is exactly the kind of small advantage that can make the difference between who lands the first shot.

Of course, programming is only half the game when it comes to a controller like this. It’s also extremely configurable on the physical end, too. With just a few minutes of prying, that beautiful shiny controller above turns into something like this:

Inside the box, the Vantage ships with replaceable joysticks short and tall, convex and concave. Replacement grip-rings can be fit around their base to adjust how sensitive they are. The D-Pad can be swapped for a movement disc (though I’m not sure why you would). You can opt for short or long triggers, the long option coming with multiple contours to keep you on point. The vibration motors can also be completely removed if rumble throws off your aim. In separate packs you can get different, even custom, faceplates.

The franken-controller above quickly turned into the above. Not bad for five minutes, start to finish. You can also see here that Scuf has included a nice hardshell case as well as a high-quality braided charging cable. Both are nice touches at this price point.

That said, not everything is perfect on the Vantage. The shells of certain buttons aren’t swappable; like Options, Share, or either SAX button. It’s odd considering even the friction rings around the sticks can be swapped out.

And that price…  It’s more than the Xbox One Elite controller and more than half the price of a whole new PS4 Slim. That’s a hard sell for most gamers - but then, is the Scuf Vantage for most gamers? I’d argue not. The fact is, this is a specialty item for a subsection of gamers: the hardest of the hardcore shooter fans, the gamers who want every advantage they can get and don’t like being outplayed simply because the other guy is running a Scuf. Let’s also be real here, part of what you’re paying for here is the status symbol.

Final Thoughts

For all that, the Scuf Vantage feels darn nice in the hand. Once you get used to using the back paddles to crouch and go prone, it’s hard to go back. The Vantage is a great controller that delivers on its promise of giving you an actual advantage. At this price point, it’s not for everyone, but if that doesn’t scare you off, you’re in for one of the best controller experiences available on PS4.

Pros

  • Easy remapping across four paddles and dual SAX buttons
  • Customizable sticks and triggers provide exceptional control
  • Remaps keep your thumbs on the sticks - never stop aiming
  • Easy to disassemble/reassemble
  • Feels good in the hand, premium build

Cons

  • Not all buttons are replaceable in custom kits
  • Quite expensive

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.

Christopher Coke / Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight