The Batarang Wireless Controller
has a sweet, instantly recognizable Batman
-themed design and has a nice weight and balance to it. It's not a lightweight controller, but it's not overly heavy, either. The grips feature rubberized inserts, which help to keep your hands from slipping during more frantic gaming moments - even after hours of play.
If you really look at it, the physical shape of the Batarang isn't that different from any other gamepad. The part between the grips comes to a sharp point, helping to lend an bat-like shape (or Bat-Signal-like shape?) to the controller without really affecting the controller's playability, which is a good thing. In addition to this, there are various styling cues, such as lines engraved in the surface, the scalloped grips on the handle and the built-in lighting that contribute to the controller's "Batman gadgetry" feel without really having any affect on the controller's performance. This lighting can be either off or your choice of seven colors: Yellow, Blue, Purple, Red, Green, Cyan or White. Well, obviously, the lighting has an affect on the battery life, but these are LEDs, which have become quite energy efficient over the years. I found that the rechargeable battery in the Batarang Wireless Controller lasted a nice, long time, allowing me to play Arkham City gaming sessions that lasted a few hours long without having the battery die on me. Also, the Analog Sticks are pretty close to OEM PS3 size. I found that I was able to use them with the FPS Freeks Analog Stick enhancements just fine, although after they were removed, there were small indentations in the Analog Stick's rubber - nothing that would be an issue for anything, but I make sure to use the same orientation every time that I attach an FPS Freek to the Batarang to avoid introducing a lot of these marks.
All of the buttons, from the action buttons to the shoulder buttons and the topside buttons (Home, Start, Select, Lighting and Battery Indicator) have a good feel to them, and nice response. The Left Analog Stick and D-pad are in a similar layout to the Xbox 360 controller, with the Left Analog Stick on the far left and the D-pad to the left of center.
The rechargeable battery built into the Batarang Wireless Controller seemed to charge quickly to the point that it reported itself to be fully charged in a very short period of time, and the battery lasted several hours on a full charge. A Mini USB cord is included for charging the controller, but it is the same type of charging cord that is used for the OEM PS3 controllers, so you can use this charging cable interchangeably with others.
Part of why the battery lasts a long time is because the Batarang Wireless Controller has a built-in features to help ensure the controller isn't using power when it's not in use. First, there is a hard switch on the center of the face of the controller, which can be used to turn the controller completely off to save power. Secondly, there is a built-in feature that will turn the Batarang off after a few minutes of inactivity. In most games, this isn't a problem, but in turn-based games or any game that you pause for a bit, you may go to use the controller only to find that it's turned itself off. Turning it back on is as simple as hitting the (Home) button, but this might not be the best controller for slower-paced games and video.