Hardware: Power A’s E3 Lineup

If you’ve ever fancied an Afterglow controller or if you’ve ever purchased DS styluses shaped like Star Wars lightsabers, then you’re probably a fan of or have at least heard of Power A, an accessory company responsible for producing gaming accessories under some of the most familiar licenses: Pokémon, Zelda, Lego, Star Wars, and now Batman. Behind closed doors at the Power A booth at E3, Steve Cherrier of Step-3 and John Moore, VP of Power A demonstrated several of their upcoming products that will be available for purchase in the near future.

Power A was rife with plenty more colorful accessories running the gambit from your favorite Mario character to even more obscure Pokémon, from those of us who want fashionable accessories, to anyone who knows their consoles will take a beating. These have been but a brief showcase of what is available and what’s to come, and personally, I hope they continue taking cues from my rainbow hair – colors are great, give us more color! I only wish the Big Three would get the hint! Thanks, Power A.

Batarang Controllers (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)

Created especially as tie-ins for the upcoming Batman: Arkham City, Power A has introduced the Batarang for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, a modified version of their Air-Flo controller without the internal cooling fan. Featuring dual-rumble motors and customizable lights (you can change the under-lighting on the buttons to your liking) these hefty controllers loosely resemble Batman’s famous tool and will be sold separately from the actual game. I found that the Xbox 360 version was much more svelte than the PlayStation 3 version and defaulted to green lights rather than red, but the PlayStation 3 controller’s lights on top made for a pleasing aesthetic quality that would make it a bit difficult for multi-console owners to choose. I’m not sure the gray was a good choice in color, as I would have gravitated toward black, but these controllers felt sturdy in the hands and should do the trick just nicely.

Tested on Batman: Arkham Asylum, the bumpers click with just the right amount of pressure and the analog sticks are beveled brilliantly – they did work quite well and their packaging, as early as it might have been, was quite attractive. They will be priced at $49.99 apiece.

Nintendo 3DS Stereo & Chat Headset (3DS)

Meant for use as headphones or a mic for use to chat with friends on your 3DS, these cushy headphones were one of my favorite items on display. John let me squeeze the ear cushions, which were pleasantly soft and should work great for little ears. The mic, though seemingly flimsy, is actually solidly built, and with the upcoming Netflix support for 3DS this headset would certainly be a better option than earbuds or proprietary clip-ons. I didn’t get a chance to test the headset out, but going as far as looks and build, I’d say this would be a viable option for heavy users of Nintendo’s new handheld. You can purchase it for $29.99.

Air-Flo Controllers (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)

You’ve likely seen this technology before, but Power A is doing it right, offering controllers very similar to the Batarangs in bright, impressive black and blue and black and green customizable controllers with built-in fans. These controllers are meant to keep your hands fresh and clean, fighting the sweaties, as you delve deeper and deeper into your favorite game. Both functional and stylish, these were my favorite products of the tour, as simply holding the controller feels a bit as though your hands are gliding on them, what with the rubberized grip and the finish. I could certainly see these as useful items for particularly long gaming sessions, or for those germaphobes like me who just hate the warmth of hands on a controller after switching out from a tag-team. These will run you $34.99 apiece.

Pro EX Controllers (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)

For the hardcore gamers such as myself who have found themselves partial to the Xbox 360 controller’s design, you can pick up a Pro EX for either console, featuring a standard layout for the Xbox and a reverse one for the PS3, letting gamers new to the platform or stubborn gamers who like one method of input best pretend they’re actually using a 360 controller, much like Nyko products we have reviewed in the past. Tough, durable, and topped off with a smooth finish, these controllers mean business. If you’re looking to do some serious gaming, these are your best bet.

Speaker Dock (3DS)

The 3DS may already have a decent speaker system of its own, but Power A is looking to literally power it up with their new Speaker Dock for Nintendo’s dimension-shifting portable. While I wasn’t able to try out the Speaker Dock for myself, its clear that its better designed as a stationary unit, and with services like Netflix and other video playback options coming soon, being able to effectively turn your 3DS into a mini-theater does sound awfully appealing.

Like all good docking stations, it even allows you to charge the 3DS using the original AC adapter as a pass-thru solution, and even holds up to 3 additional game cards for easy-access. Look for Power A’s Speaker Dock for 3DS to retail for $29.99 when it hits.

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