I feel bad for controller makers. The Xbox Core Wireless and the PlayStation DualSense are pretty much the best things you can put your hands on. Once you find a controller you like, you tend to stick with it. PowerA is going to try anyway. The company has always made reliable, affordable controllers that look good, and its Advantage line of Xbox controllers does a good job of feeling familiar while also trying some new things.
The new thing that PowerA's new Advantage does over its typical Advantage controllers is the inclusion of Lumectra. It may sound like a prescription drug you see commercials for at 3 AM, but in reality, it is what it calls its RGB lighting. In fact, the controller I got for review also comes bundled with a Lumectra RGB LED light strip.
The idea is to attach the light strip to your monitor, desk, or wherever you think RGB lights would look good that can actually be adjusted from the gamepad and on the light strip itself.
The RGB can be managed on the controller itself using a number of different button combinations. For instance, if you want to change the colors to all four RGB zones on the Advantage, you need to hold the 'internal RGB LED control button' on the back and tap the right bumper to cycle through the colors. Or, if you want to adjust the brightness of the LEDs, you need to hold the back RGB control button and hit one of the triggers.
I like that you don't need to go into any software to mess with the RGB, but I found using these various button combos awfully cumbersome. And if you misplace the instructions, as I did for about a day, you'll end up using the process of elimination to figure out how to customize the RGB.
There were even several times when the controller simply didn't respond when I tried to change the color of all the zones from green to red. I eventually got things to work, but I got that by haphazardly hitting all the buttons in a fit of rage until I got what I wanted.
Much like on the Spectra controller I reviewed a while back, which the Advantage replaces, the RGB does look really good and adds a little personality to the controller. Combine that with the light strip, and you can make even the most boring gaming setup a little more flashy. When it works, that is.
I encountered some problems getting the light strip and controller to talk to each other. The light strip has its own little controls that cycle through different colors and lighting modes. The issue came in trying to change the lights from the remote.
Getting the light strip and Advantage to work in tandem was a bit frustrating since the strip only picked up the control a handful of times despite the IR sensor having a clear view of the controller.
It's a shame because I like the feel of the controller in my hands, and the buttons were quiet and responsive. The mold of the controller is nearly identical to the Xbox Core wireless controller, and even the rubberized texture on the top of the joysticks is nearly the same. I could hold my own in a few matches of Halo Infinite with the same accuracy and performance as I would one of many official Xbox controllers. However, I still wouldn't choose it over an Xbox Core controller personally because it lacks wireless.
✅ If you need a comfy controller: The Advantage is nearly identical to the Xbox Core controller, so if that's what you're used to, you'll feel right at home.
✅ If you love RGB lighting on a controller: When it works, the RGB is a treat, especially when you pair it with the bundled light strip. Again, assuming it's all playing nice.
❌ If you are looking for easy-to-adjust RGB controls: I was constantly at odds with the controller whenever I wanted to change the RGB settings.
The Advantage not being wireless is a bummer, considering you could get an Xbox Core Wireless controller for roughly the same price during a sale. It is nice that the Advantage has the advantage (hah) of having serviceable 3-stop trigger locks and a pair of extra programmable buttons in the back of the controller. You don't have to use software to customize the RGB, but if you want to, you can in the PowerA Gamer HQ app and check for joystick drift, which is neat.
The PowerA Advantage wired controller with Lumectra is available in black and white for $45. There's a bundle that includes the 4-foot RGB light strip for $55 if you have one without all the RGB (and even one with Sonic on it!) for $38, a really good price for a wired Xbox controller.
The controller is a comfortable budget alternative that keeps all the nice things I like about the official Xbox controller while adding some little touches. The RGB implementation overcomplicates things that don't justify the added cost over its non-RGB offerings. When everything works, it spruces up your desk, but it's a massive headache when it doesn't.