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FragFX Shark Controller Review

I’m not a gamer.  There, I said it.  I think the last time I was addicted played any game was World of Warcraft with my younger brothers in law for a few months, but had to quit cold turkey in 2004.  Nowadays, with kids and less free time, we MIGHT play a few rounds of casual zombie co-op shooters.  Would this odd-looking game controller pair improve my family-zombie bonding time?

The FragFX Shark from SplitFish is a wireless mouse-and-chuck controller pair that works with PS3, Mac and PC.  The first question I thought of was, “why a mouse-and-chuck”?  Why not just a Playstation/Xbox style controller?

Key Features:


• 2 AA batteries (not included)
• NEW 50h + play time
• NEW 500h + power save standby
• Mouse 1750 DPI resolution
• Play with the mouse on the PS3 as you would do on a PC
• Full PC and MAC support, either as a gamepad or mouse/keyboard control
• Fast access to special features (eg macro, rapid-fire, button swap, stick swap, etc.)
• Brand new wireless technology to 2.4 GHz
• Plug and Play
• NEW dead zone adjustment wheel
• SixAxis support

I saw a demo of the FragFX Shark at a SplitFish media event in San Francisco, where I met professional gamer Dennis “zDD” Dozier, who worked with SplitFish to refine the Shark.  Mr. Dozier considers the mouse-and-chuck style of control the next evolution after the commonplace home game console controller.

If you're playing up against this guy, I suggest you run- unless you've got a FragFX Shark.

I started to see why.  A properly tuned mouse control would work better for precise aiming (vs an analog thumbstick) and a analog thumbstick might work better for some on a PC/Mac for movement.  The FragFX Shark combines both of these characteristics in a uniquely, user-configurable manner.

The sample I received was a first-mold batch.  The final retail version will include textured plastics and graphics on some parts, but otherwise, identical in function.

Box contents: Mouse, chuck, USB receiver and mouse pad

First, the mouse.  It’s shaped like many “ergo” mice, with four “playstation” style buttons on the left.  Those buttons really correspond to keyboard strokes, which you will likely re-map in your game specific settings.  it’s hard to tell from these photos, but the mouse is a little large for my medium-sized hands.  I use a Logitech MX518 mouse.  This one is definitely bigger.

By default, these buttons are mapped to Space, F, R and C. The "start" button on top maps to T.

Illuminated SplitFish logo

Takes 1xAA battery. Note the on-off switch.

The USB dongle receiver is a little larger than your standard USB flash drive.  Two LEDs on the end glow green or blue depending if the mouse or chuck is connected wirelessly.  A switch toggles between keyboard vs. gamepad mode, if supported by your game software.

Now the chuck.  I’ve never used one of these.  It reminded me of a larger version of the Nintendo Wii chuck, but without the wire.  A single AA battery powers the chuck.

Under playing conditions, the D-pad maps to Z, E, X and Q. The analog pad maps to W, D, S and A. Shaking the chuck is "G". PS = Esc.

Top button is "Frag". Middle = Shift, Lower = Ctrl

See that dial? According to SplitFish, this adjusts the "dead zone", an area around the center of the analog stick which allows for the aim to rest without the on screen reticule moving all over the place. You can adjust this in a way to get pixel point accuracy.

If the chuck looks bewildering, well, it is to a non-gamer like me.  But for you gamers out there, rejoice.  By pressing the “Frag” button and SELECT, you enter the special functions that perhaps only a gamer geek can appreciate.  Options include stick swap, rapid fire select (3 levels), button remapping, macros, erase single function, and the all-important factory reset.

USER IMPRESSIONS

I fired up Left for Dead 2 on my 27″ quad-core iMac and plugged in the FragFX Shark.  I spent some time fine-tuning the button mappings and went to town.

There is definitely a learning curve if you’re used to a mouse-and-keyboard approach.  I didn’t realize the chuck’s analog stick clicks down, which gives you yet another button.  I spent most of the afternoon changing and changing key mappings again and again to get it “just right”.

One thing that was obvious for me was the mouse.  It was simply too big for my hands.  I turned off the mouse and used my trusty Logitech MX518 mouse in tandem with the FragFX Shark chuck.  It works!

At the end of a day of whacking hordes of zombies (OK in L4D2 they’re really “infected” but you know what I mean) I learned one thing:  My left hand hurt from grasping that chuck.  Maybe it’s because I’m a weakling or the learning curve, but boy, the level of customization is overwhelming.

I’m too casual of a gamer to fully appreciate the power of this controller.  However, if you’re a control freak and you feel yourself hampered by the limits of your current controller (gamepad or keyboard+mouse), definitely give the FragFX Shark a try.  Then clear off an entire afternoon to nit picking button mappings.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Now go frag them zombies.  Or Infected.  Whatever.

 

Product Information

Price:$89.99 (Nov. 1 2010 release date)
Manufacturer:SplitFish
Pros:
  • Unprecedented level of control. Control freaks rejoice! Works with PS3, Mac and PC.
Cons:
  • Moderate learning curve for casual gamers. Mouse is a little larger than average.

{ 21 comments… add one }

  • The Slapster November 13, 2010, 11:15 pm

    Interesting, I’ve been looking at this (or another competitor’s version) for a while now for a PS3. I’m a PC/Mac gamer, have been since I discovered Duke Nuke ‘Em and Quake but I had to break down & get a PS3 last year. Problem is, I SUCK with that miserable controller. I wish this review focused more on the use with a console instead of as a replacement for mouse/kb combo, because $90 is still way to much for me to just to experiment.

    I do like that you used that MX518 as a replacement, I have to wonder if I’d lose any functionality without the console-specific buttons though. That and mousing around while sitting on the couch could prove difficult.

  • Dirk November 20, 2010, 3:25 am

    Ok, I bought this for the PS3 and it really sucks. Most of the reviews of this on the big sites are fraudulent. I wish somebody would come up with a controller that actually worked smoothly like a real mouse.

  • The Slapster November 20, 2010, 8:12 pm

    Thanks Dirk, that was kind of my impression. I don’t think consoles were meant to use a mouse/keyboard combo so I’m not even going to try, especially for this kind of money.

  • Mike November 21, 2010, 5:38 pm

    I bought this recently. After the first few goes I was so annoyed I wanted to bin it- and I’m sure anyone would who’s used to a PS3 controller would too (playing FPS like COD). HOWEVER, after a few days playing bots on BO it started to click. Now I LOVE it! Once you get over the learning curve it’s awesome! The sensitivity wheel really works and it’s much better for your tendons (RSI) than a controller- believe me!

    p.s. the rapid fire doesn’t work on Black Ops (thank god)- it actually slows down your fire. That would be unfair if it did work.
    Highly recommended for those (like me) who get RSI using controllers with frenetic FPS games.

  • Mike November 21, 2010, 5:42 pm

    Another thing: set the in game look sensitivity to “insane” then adjust the wheel on the chuck to 3 and bingo. P.s. the wheel on the chuck actually affects the mouse sensitivity not the chuck. When set badly the mouse is aweful to use.

  • pc gamer November 26, 2010, 1:43 am

    DO NOT buy this piece of crap fragfx controller, its a waste of your money. Its poorly constructed. The mouse is light in weight and feels very cheap. The movements are glitched all around. X-Y feels horrible. ADS is slow in movement, I’m a pc gamers for many years, dating back to counterstrike 1.5. If you think this will help you, you are wrong. It will only frustrate you even more. I had mine for a week now and at first I thought it would be just simply getting used to it. NOPE, threw it against a wall and it shattered. Great concept, just poorly manufacturer. DO NOT BUY, I give it a 1 out of 5, 1 for the concept.

  • LOL December 29, 2010, 11:10 pm

    pc gamer, your stupid for throwing it against the wall. Did you think it would work better if it was smashed to bits?

  • George January 4, 2011, 12:27 pm

    COD:BLOPS – Ingame sensitivity 10, chuck sensitivity 4.

    In my opinion, 100% like playing with a PC mouse. Super smooth movements. If I lower it to 3, then the jittery movements start. So put it to 4! Shooting guys jumping down at you from ledges, and all that.

    I was worried when I ordered it that I would be disappointed. However, it exceeded my expectations.

  • Jveek January 30, 2011, 4:40 pm

    Speaking as a hardcore PC gamer that went to the PS3, the Shark is truly amazing! Give it time, learn to use it and you will never go back to a standard controller. I won’t game without it !

  • Moe February 15, 2011, 1:06 am

    its just a waste of money !! :S i bought one from bestbuy the other day and it does glitch and its not good at all .. but the wired one is reallly good i love it its so accurate and its just amazing i own bigg time in it :D!! i use both controllers but im used to this more cuz i used to play counter strike 1.5 ,1.6 .. and i kinda like quick scoping in mw2 with it i never miss =) !! i would recommend u buying the wired one .. but the only problem is that after a while like 6 months or so it would cutting off and it would just stop working :/ hopefully theyll work on the calibration more :/ !

  • Kirsty March 25, 2011, 10:10 pm

    This controller is the BEST thing to ever happen to online gaming and anyone who says otherwise is a douche. I’m a PC gamer at heart, but bought a PS3 and hated the controller and bought the original wired fragfx, that was great, but the Shark is a 100% improvement once you get used to the larger size of the mouse controller. These things add an entire other level to your gameplay. They will REALLY help with the conversion process for anyone looking to make the switch to console gaming. Just get the sensitivities right, and button remapping is just SOOOOO damn awesome as that’s one thing consoles are lacking.

  • Chris August 26, 2011, 1:29 pm

    Kirsty! I really appreciate your answer :) I’ve looked through alooot of videos and reviews about it. And so far I know it won’t be exactly as the PC mouse and so on. I wasn’t fully convinced to get it since some people say its rubbish but I guess its because of them not fully understanding the different settings :)

    Buying it in 2-3days!

  • mike September 3, 2011, 9:59 pm

    In Black Ops I turned the in-game sensitivity down to 9 (1 notch below insane) and the chuck to about 2.2 and it’s now fast and smooth. Much better!

    Cheers,
    Mike

  • B February 10, 2012, 6:49 pm

    Has anyone here played Battlefield 3 on PS3 with the FragFX SHARK? This is the game im most curious about.
    Thanks.

  • Rick March 12, 2012, 4:25 pm

    I bought it to use in Battlefield 3. It’s awful. It prevents diagonal movement (which is 80% of the movements allowed by the PS3 controller’s axis system). You can only go left, right, down, and up. Apparently it works better with the Call of Duty franchise.

  • Ginja March 25, 2012, 4:35 am

    As a bias one eyed pc gamer when i got a ps3 as a present i wanted nothing to do with fps game as pc was king. After a few googles i found this review and brought it. Mt first go was crap. 5 minutes later and one manual read its fantastic. All i ever played on pc was cod and my experience is exactly the same. Howver after knocking off all there is to do online in cod i moved to bf3 and unortunately its not the same. I would love to here from anyone who has got it woking better with bf3. If cods your aim then this is great!!!

  • AJBOOMER1 April 7, 2012, 5:47 am

    Battlefield 3 in game settings MAX = Chuck -5
    This works dead on with Battlefield Bad Company 2 in game settings MAX = Chuck – 4
    Battlefield 1942 in game settings MAX = Chuck – 4

  • AJBOOMER1 April 7, 2012, 5:53 am

    I give the FragFX Shark a 5/5 coming from the old school days of being a PC guy playing FPS this is great playing BFBC2 and BF 1943 feels just like the PC dead and by the BF 1943 PSN in game settings MAX = Chuck 4

  • Alex December 20, 2012, 12:46 pm

    I was thinking of buying this, but u cant recharge it? u goto buy new battery once there dead? its not like a ps3 controller so u can plug inn and recharge it? alex…

  • Andy Chen December 20, 2012, 12:48 pm

    Alex,

    It takes regular, everyday “AA” batteries. You do not plug it in like a PS3 controller to recharge.

  • Alex December 21, 2012, 1:54 pm

    Ok, thanks andy..

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