Looking for a good PC gamepad? How about one that is recognized by default as an Xbox 360 controller in Windows but also supports direct input used in classic games? If so, look no further than the Logitech Gamepad F310 or it’s siblings the F510 and F710.
[2015/09/08: Updated to correct receiver information] The original version of this article incorrectly stated that the wireless variant used the unifying receiver. It uses its own device specific receiver and this article has been updated to reflect this.
The F series of controllers are a family of controllers developed by Logitech. The F310 is a wired USB controller that does not have vibration or rumble feature. The discontinued(at least in North America) F510 is also wired USB but contains rumble/vibration as well as a rubberized grip, similar to the F710. The F710, which I do not own, is the wireless variant in the family; having Logitech’s proprietary receiver as well as vibration feedback. These controllers are priced between $20 and $50 USD depending on which model you are looking for and where you are looking.
Usability / Performance
Speaking to the controllers I own, the F310 and F510 have solid construction. The 310 is light weight comparing it to others such as Microsoft’s own wired Xbox 360 controller. However the F510 controllers weight is more in line with a standard 360 controller as well as others that include vibration feedback.
The controller buttons have a pleasing slight ‘click’ when depressed and have a wonderful balance of resistance allowing ease of use without unintentional presses. The buttons also are constructed in such a way that I have never had any of the keys bind up or stick while using them. Both of these features make for a great gaming experience by ensuring you have enough controller feedback to know that buttons have been pressed as well as having nothing get in the way of pressing them.
- F310 and F510 have a six feet USB cord for distance PC gaming or using them with Steam / a Media PC in your living room.
- A hardware switch allows you to change from XInput to DirectInput.
- Floating 4 Point D-Pad lets you feel each directional press click individually instead of floating from a center axis.*
- Full Xbox 360 button layout including pressable Logitech ‘Home’ button and analog triggers.
- Includes software to remap button inputs form Microsoft Windows Operating Systems
- F710 uses 2 AA batteries as well as
a controller specific nano receiver which lets you keep it plugged into your machine without worry of it being caught on objects.
- F510 and F710 have a button to disable vibration feedback.
- Although XInput mode in Windows sees this controller as an Xbox 360 controller, these controllers will not work with an Xbox 360. I have confirmed this through my own testing.
- There is no indicator or light to tell you which controller is what player as the 360. Previously this was a feature the Microsoft controller had that Logitech did not, however the new Xbox One controllers lack this feature as well.
Designed and marketed for Windows only, these gamepads can work with OS X and Linux with the proper software or drivers, although support can’t be guaranteed. As this family of controllers is one of the most popular for PC’s you should find user support and help readily available on your platform of choice.
If you are looking for a PC controller to support old as well as new games any one of these are certainly worth your consideration and hard earned money.
However, if you only casually play modern titles on Windows only and also have an Xbox 360 or Xbox One it would probably make more sense to purchase a wireless adapter(for the 360) and reuse what you have. If you need a dedicated controller and you fit the above criteria, then you may also want to consider another console controller so you have another on hand for occasional multiplayer sessions.
I personally am very satisfied owning both the F310 as well as the F510 controller. I prefer the F510, but unfortunately they are no longer listed on Logitech’s US site. However, according to a forum post by a Logitech rep, you may be able to still purchase the F510 through them directly. The post originates from 2012 and references this controller being available in select European countries. The details can be found in this forum post here. If you have the opportunity to snag the F510, I would recommend it over the F310, however both are solid choices for PC gaming. Unfortunately I cannot speak on behalf of the F710 for it’s wireless performance or battery life, but I think it’s safe to say from experiencing the other controllers that this one would have the same build quality and durability.