Anko RGB Wireless Controller Review: Fair value

Anko RGB Wireless Controller

The Anko RGB Wireless Controller works reasonably well across Switch, PC, PS3/4 and mobile, but you aren’t buying premium quality here.

Pros
Relatively inexpensive
Supports connections to Switch, PC, Mobile, PS3 and PS4
Sticks and buttons are better than expected

Cons
RGB lighting is pretty horrible
Battery life is on the lower side
Phone clip has limited viewing angles

Score: 3.5/5

A little while ago, I hit a problem that’s going to be all too familiar to anyone who owns a Nintendo Switch.

One of my Joy-Con controllers started drifting, because that’s what Joy-Cons are for, it seems.

It’s a common misconception that they’re actually game controllers, when in fact they simply exist to cost a lot and create stress for gamers who might not have enough.

I felt like I had enough stress already, but I also didn’t quite want to cough up the cash for a full set of Joy-Cons, because they’re pricey little sods, even when you can find them on sale.

Then I remembered that, a while back, K-Mart had been selling its own wireless Switch controllers under its Anko brand.

For those unaware, Anko is the brand that K-Mart (the Australian entity, don’t get at me American readers just because it’s still a brand here) sells about 95% of its stock under. You can get Anko frying pans, Anko T-Shirts, Anko Undies… and Anko games peripherals.

However, when I ducked into my local K-Mart, they no longer sold the Switch specific model. Instead, they offered up the “Anko RGB Wireless Controller”, promising not only Switch but also PC, Android, iOS, PS3 and PS4 compatibility. It’s a little more expensive than their first Switch controller I think, but that’s an interesting mix.

Not a unique mix, mind. I’ve reviewed a few of these multi-device Bluetooth controllers before. But my curiosity was piqued, and I figured it could at least get a review out of it… so I bought one.

But was it worth buying? Read on.

Design

Anko RGB Wireless Controller: That sure looks like a controller to me.

That sure looks like a controller to me.

The age of really unique controller design is, I fear, behind us. That’s not absolutely a bad thing for ergonomic reasons, but it does mean that if you say “game controller” to anyone, you’ll instantly get a view of a mostly homogenous twin stick affair with four face buttons, a D-Pad and four shoulder buttons. Yes, there are smaller differences, but not many.

That’s mostly what you get with the Anko RGB Wireless Controller, save for the fact that it’s a clear body controller with integrated RGB lighting. I don’t mind the clear look, but the RGB lighting left me badly wanting.

Anko RGB Wireless Controller: BRIGHT LIGHT! DON'T GET IT ANYWHERE NEAR GIZMO!

BRIGHT LIGHT! DON’T GET IT ANYWHERE NEAR GIZMO!

Mostly wanting to switch it off, which thankfully you can. Your taste with regards to RGB can of course vary, but the bigger problem I had here was that the actual light tube just looks cheap and tacky. You can flick between a breathing mode, a fixed light mode or switching it off, which I’ve done rather rapidly every time I’ve used it.

Like so many other low-cost controllers, the Anko RGB Wireless Controller isn’t particularly heavy at just 214 grams.

That’s a good thing given the inclusion of a mobile phone clip, because you don’t really want lots of weight if you’re using it for mobile gaming, but it does also indicate a relatively low level of robustness.

I’ve not broken the Anko RGB Wireless Controller… yet… but I doubt it’s going to stand up to the level of punishment you might be able to put a better branded controller to.

Entertainingly, the box informs you that it does not contain a mobile phone as well. I for one was shocked that a $45 controller wouldn’t come with a free phone. I’m sure you’d feel the same.

Performance

Anko RGB Wireless Controller

There’s a common little trick that these Bluetooth multi-controllers use to pair, using different button combinations when you power them up for different devices. For my Switch use, that’s L1+Home, while Android is X+Home, iOS (13 or better) is B+Home and the PC and PS3/4 modes require cabled connection at first to pair.

One nice factor here was that the Anko RGB Wireless Controller connects rapidly to a Switch once you set it to Change Grip/Order on the Switch itself.

Anko RGB Wireless Controller

The one catch here is that it always takes the player one controller position, every time. For games where Player One might not want to use this particular controller that could be problematic.

I honestly wasn’t expecting much in terms of controller quality out of the Anko RGB Wireless Controller, if only because cheap controllers often have spongy buttons, dodgy sticks or wonky D-Pads.

I was actually a little surprised, because for the asking price, the Anko RGB Wireless Controller delivered a fair level of quality. If I’m being critical – and I usually am – the D-Pad isn’t great, and won’t suit retro games fans like myself who may prefer to use it for fighting game movements. Also the turbo function feels like it fell off a 1990s era bodgy third-party SNES controller.

Anko RGB Wireless Controller

But stick and button response across a range of games has been fine, as has the inbuilt rumble feedback.

Experimentally I tested it while I was reviewing Puzzle Bobble EveryBubble! because that game is superb for showing you if there’s any level of stick drift. The Anko RGB Wireless Controller worked superbly in that aspect, never drifting once.

Outside the Switch, I also tested it for mobile gaming, because it comes with a clasp to attach a phone.

Anko RGB Wireless Controller: Oh, you don't like this angle for gaming? TOUGH.

Oh, you don’t like this angle for gaming? TOUGH.

That works… but not that well, partly because the plastic clasp is rather brittle and hard to put on, but mostly because it uses a very fixed angle for the phone screen. If you don’t want the phone sitting at that angle… tough luck.

Battery

Anko RGB Wireless Controller

The Anko RGB Wireless Controller has a sealed 800mAh battery, rechargeable via microUSB, though you’ll have to supply your own charger.

The manual’s estimate for battery life is for up to 5 hours of play time, which is on the lower side for a controller like this. I’d say that 3-4 is more typical based on my own usage, which could get annoying if you were planning to use it to hack all the way through Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom, for example.

But that’s probably not what the Anko RGB Wireless Controller is for, is it?

It’s the absolute classic example of the controller that most folks will buy as the “spare” one for guests or intermittent players.

As a party controller to keep the games going, it’s got enough battery life, even though I could wish for more.

Alex’s Verdict

Anko RGB Wireless Controller

I was expecting to feel like I’d bought something from a cheap, probably Chinese factory for a little too much… and in one respect I absolutely did.

It’s not as though there’s an Anko factory out there expressly just making K-Mart products. Its buyers are just sourcing controllers from the mostly-lowest bidders in the same way that most store brand electronics are acquired.

Equally, though, the Anko RGB Wireless Controller did narrowly punch above it weight in value terms. I wouldn’t give up my Switch Pro Controller for it any time soon, but if my kids pass it to me for a multiplayer gaming session, I’m not going to complain too much.

Well, once I’ve switched off the RGB lighting, anyway.

Anko RGB Wireless Controller: Pricing and availability

 

K-Mart sells the Anko RGB Wireless Controller for $45. Well, until they replace it with some kind of upgraded model, or that factory stops making them, that is.

Anko RGB Wireless Controller: Alternatives

It’s worth noting that a lot of Bluetooth controllers will work rather nicely with the Nintendo Switch, which was my primary use case here. But for wireless Switch purposes, if your budget can stretch to it, the Switch Pro controller is still my go-to-recommendation.

If you’re more keen on the mobile game side of use of this device, also consider the HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller – it’s a bit more expensive, but it’s a much better controller, though sadly not specifically Switch compatible.

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