Updated: January 31, 2021
Not all joysticks are created equal. This is always true in the case of hardware and equipment. In the gaming industry, the disparity between the low, mid and high-end top of the line technology is quite large. You can generally gauge the number of features you will receive, with just assessing the price associated with hardware. The pricier tech will always have more features and better performance than the less pricey equipment.
The Qanba Dragon Joystick is one of the tops of the line, arcade stick or fight stick as they are commonly referred to as. The gaming industry always puts focus on new and high-end products. For those of us who pursue total perfection in their gaming experience or for those of us that are always willing to experiment with new tech, the Qanba Dragon arcade stick brings with it new possibilities along with satisfying features.
This enthusiast-level product has excited us with its possibilities for a while now. The Qanba Dragon has been one of the main ruling forces in the market for a few years now. We aim to look at some of the reasons why that is the case.
Unboxing of Qanba Dragon
The Qanba Dragon joystick comes in a standard PS4 themed box with a primarily blue-accented color scheme. The entire box is covered with PS4 themes, the product logos, some specifications and other advertisements. The top slides off and afterward the box opens like window doors, upon which you are greeted with the user manual and the Qanba Dragon resting in protective foam.
The fight stick comes with fairly standard packaging nothing out of the ordinary here. Consequently, the joystick itself was well encircled by protective foam separately. This thoughtfulness was a nice touch which we appreciated.
We would have liked some extra goodies considering we paid a premium for this product. Maybe if the cable was detachable. Especially if we got some extra buttons or even some stickers, this would have surely been great. Any accessories could and probably should have been included, as this is a big buy.
The first thing that everyone will notice regarding the Qanba Dragon joystick is the fact that it is literally a big boy. This is definitely one of the largest, if not the largest arcade sticks out in the market today. The fightstick weighs about 11.6 lbs. and measures 20” x 12.5” x 5” (all in inches). It comes with a braided wired USB cable which can be sort of wrapped around two shiny posts at the back of the Qanba Dragon.
The Qanba Dragon joystick definitely feels really top class, but it also feels extremely durable and sturdy. The moment you pick it up you will feel its presence, literally. Most of the design concept is black and silver with some red accents. You get a complete line of eight Sanwa OBSF- 30 buttons. Along with the buttons you get a shiny critically acclaimed JSF joystick with a square gate.
The joystick sports a chrome ball at the top, adding to the appeal and class of the product. The buttons are 30mm and are of the highest quality in the market. The top area of the joystick is covered with a black shiny pixel glass sheet and at the very top, you will see the LED panel.
The screw holes of the pixel sheet are also covered so that they don’t stand out. There are also LED lighting effects on the sides of the joystick. The unnecessary or seldom-used settings buttons are all located at the center or the LED panel at the top.
These can be used to control lighting effects, game functions, and various other aspects. The base of the Qanba Dragon is made out of metal, but the big thing to notice here is that it sports two large rubber anti-slip mats. This enables the large joystick to stick to its position of a table during intense gaming sessions. The frame of the joystick is made of high-grade aluminum.
All of this makes this not only feel and look high class but also enables the Qanba Dragon arcade stick to dwarf all other joysticks you may have seen. There is also a 3.55mm headphone jack at the front near the bottom. The Qanba logo is situated at the bottom left of the black pixel glass sheet which covers most of the area. Underneath the LED panel you can find a touchpad. This touchpad can be used to control the Consoles.
Quite possibly the best feature of the Qanba Dragon joystick is that it is very easily modifiable. The device can be modded incredibly easily by just flipping open the joystick. It can be opened with one move after which you will be greeted by all the buttons and the joystick in a transparent plastic container. You can open the container to remove or replace buttons or the joystick itself quite quickly.
One special thing to notice about all of this is such modification does not void the product’s warranty as you work around anything that could do so. Secondly, the cable management of the buttons is done in a remarkable way. No extra cable is left dangling from the buttons. You can swap buttons quickly at any time with one motion.
Space here is large enough for you to store your extra buttons, headphones or even snacks. This is very neat indeed. One thing we really liked about the storage area or the modding area is that the base was covered with what Qanba calls the aluminum dragon scale interior. What this interior actually does is that it saves anything you put inside from damage.
All in all, we really liked what we got here. This is a really well-made machine, designed to match the price tag of about 300$ that it comes with. It is eye-catching and stunning in all aspects. The designers gave thought towards most of what you see on the joystick.
Everything was done with some intentions behind it. This was deliberately made to be large. The Braided cable gives a very premium feel. Some people may have liked a compartment for the USB cable, instead of wrapping the cable. Some may even like the cable to be detach-able to enable portability and quick replacement of a worn-out cable.
The shifting of unnecessary buttons towards the top and out of the way is also a good improvement. You don’t want them getting in your way when you are gaming. There is one drawback though; this is probably not a portable joystick considering its large dimensions and about 5 kg of weight.
Realistically you won’t like to carry something this heavy or large, even if you can find a bag big enough. Perhaps more rubber padding could have been added as this is a large joystick and can sometimes slip on slippery surfaces. The availability of modding is also extremely easy in the Qanba Dragon arcade sticks for arcade cabinet machine as explained above.
Features and Modding
The Qanba Dragon Joystick is supported by the PS3 and PS4 obviously, but it also works flawlessly with a PC. The PlayStation consoles can easily identify the product upon plugging in, and once you install its drivers it will run seamlessly on PC as well. Via the buttons on the LED panel, you can switch between PS3, PS4 and PC modes, you can also turn the LEDs off or on.
Share option, settings button, and L3, R3 buttons are also situated at the same place. The turbo feature is also available and can be turned on via its button. With this, you can do big combos and button mashing without too much hassles and play more effectively.
The Qanba Dragon does not come with any built-in games but is compatible with games on other platforms like PS3, PS4, and PC. The importance of an audio jack cannot be overstated, you can just plug your headset in the 3.5mm jack on the Qanba Dragon instead of the game platform. You can enjoy online communication in any games without having to get a larger wire or having to resolve to less optimal means anymore.
Speaking of headphones, they can be stored in a very large compartment under the Qanba Dragon joystick. This is perhaps the best feature in this particular model. You can easily access the button and joystick chamber which is protected by a plastic cover. Remove the plastic cover easily, swap the buttons or even the joystick to whatever kind you want and put it back.
The cover protects the already install equipment from damage and it allows you to store additional buttons or anything else you want, without having to worry about damage. You can also mod its pixel glass sheet, simply by removing it and replacing it with one of your own choice. This, however, is a personal choice; it can also be sort of challenging to do that. Adding buttons or joysticks of your choice has never been easier, now you can add led buttons or your own preferred buttons at your own leisure.
Performance of Qanba Dragon Joystick
You get what you pay for with the Qanba Dragon and since you are paying the premium highest amount for one of the most expensive arcade joysticks around, the performance you are getting is also tailored to match that fact. The machine offers perfect pro-level responsiveness. The Sanwa buttons are very effective and offer the proper level of pushing down or pressing effect.
One of the reasons people buy such products is for a more hands-on or physical approach to gaming. This delivers a hundred percent on that front as you get the appropriate response from both the button presses and the movement of the joystick. Games like Street fighter and Tekken 7 worked fantastically well, there was no noticeable input lag and the use of the Qanba Dragon felt really rewarding.
Old arcade fighting games such as King of fighters also delivered the appropriate results. Both the JSF joystick and the Sanwa OBSF-30 buttons make sure that what you get is the very best both in performance and in durability of equipment. World’s best tech goes into making this the great arcade stick that it is.
Size of Qanba Dragon
Although we loved the large size of the Qanba Dragon, we do believe that for some people it might just be too big. It might also not be feasible for some people to use this heavy a device for long gaming sessions on their lap, remember it does weigh about 5 kg or 11.6 lbs. to be exact. A table might be required in such a case.
All in all, no matter what games we tried, we did not feel any lack in any move execution, the joystick was also fantastic to use. No issues in this regard, the Qanba Dragon is almost too good to be true.
Qanba Dragon vs Qanba Obsidian
Naturally, you will end up comparing this joystick with the Qanba Obsidian. Not only are they from the same manufacturer, but they also offer similar specs both in platforms supported and their size. You can think of the Obsidian as the predecessor to the Qanba Dragon.
The Qanba Dragon is 20 x 12.5 x 5 inch and the Qanba Obsidian is 18.1 x 10.2 x 4.7 inch. So, it can be clearly seen that the Qanba Dragon is much larger in all dimensions. The Qanba dragon is also significantly heavier than the Qanba Obsidian, there is about a 5 lbs. difference between their weights. There is an obvious difference in the shape as well.
The Obsidian offers a more simplistic box-like shape, while the Qanba Dragon is a sleek, mean and stunning machine. The biggest difference is in the individual price of the two products. The Qanba Dragon is about 100$ more expensive than the Qanba Obsidian which is priced at close to 200$. The Qanba Obsidian might be more portable though, only because it weighs less than the Qanba Dragon.
The Qanba obsidian arcade stick and the dragon, both are very easy to customize. The dragon, however, takes customize-ability to another level due to its one-touch access to storage panel which contains access to the buttons, etc. Lastly, the Obsidian has a longer USB cable than the Qanba Dragon. The cable of the Obsidian is 8.8” whereas the Dragon is at 8.5”.
Top of the line Sanwa Denshi buttons also add to the higher value of the Qanba Dragon. The Dragon looks more stylish and modern and offers better customizing abilities; it also delivers a far better satisfying gaming experience due to having better Sanwa product installed.
- Easy Modding
- 3 mm Audio jack
- Sanwa Denshi OBSF-30 buttons
- Storage possibilities
- Quite Expensive
- Limited portability due to size and weight
The Qanba Dragon is an all-round top of the line product, which offers all the prominent features of fight sticks as well as introducing some new features such as the compartment and the easy modification ability. While this is a very expensive product, we do feel that its price is properly reflected in the kind of product it is.
The buttons are 30mm and all of the eight buttons are top of the line Sanwa products. The buttons are extremely satisfying to use and press, the joystick feels sublime and works to expected efficiency levels. The product is very durable, it looks stunning and we cannot really find any real direct issues with this product.
The only drawback would be that the Qanba Dragon is not realistically portable. You would probably not want to travel to tournaments with a 12 lbs. arcade stick holding you down. It is big and heavy, so it is probably best suited to home use.
If you have the bank to spend, you go for the Qanba Dragon. Keep in mind its lack of portability. This is better than the Qanba Obsidian, if you can afford to spend that much more for the Dragon you should. If you are not really interested in regular modding, the storage space or other specific differential features on the Qanba Dragon you can switch towards the Qanba Obsidian. If you go after the very top of the line, high end and the most premium products, then the stellar Qanba Dragon is the one for you.
As far as joysticks go, we believe the Qanba Dragon is the flag bearer of this particular area of industry. There is no real equal; it is a beast that offers extremely pleasing visuals and perfect performance. It holds features that are second to none, its performance is exemplary. The Qanba Dragon is and has been one of the best, if not the best and will continue to be so for years to come.