Qanba Crystal Review

Qanba Crystal
OVERALL VERDICT
The Qanba Crystal is a decent mid-tier fightstick that boasts beautiful design, responsive buttons, and a unique LED light system.
PROS
+ Good size and weight makes the Crystal comfortable to hold
+ Eye-catching design
+ LED lights look cool and have different modes
+ Qanba buttons and stick are responsive

CONS
- Modding the stick is difficult
- Plexi panel tends to squeak



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After the moderate success of the Qanba Drone, Eightarc decided to release the Qanba Crystal, aimed at the growing mid-tier fightstick market.

The Qanba Crystal’s price range means it competes with the likes of the HORI RAP4 and HORI RAP N. Two excellent sticks in their own right!

So how does the Qanba Crystal fair? Is it worth getting in 2020? find out in this review.

Unboxing and set up – what’s in the box and how to set it up

The Qanba Crystal is well packaged to prevent any potential knocks or bangs whilst in shipping. Included in the box are the fightstick and an instructions manual.

Like with the Drone, the Qanba Crystal is officially licensed by Sony, therefore it’s very easy to set up on PS3 or PS4. Just set the switch, on the right side of the stick. to the desired platform and simply plug-in and play.

The Qanba Crystal works on PC too. Just set the switch to PS3 (XINPUT) and it should download the relevant drivers and start working straight away. This is a little easier than the Drone which I understand had some issues connecting to PC.

The design and feel of the fightstick

The Qanba Crystal is noticeably bigger than the Drone. it measures roughly 17 inches across (43cm). I’ve had bigger sticks, of course, but it’s size pretty much fits perfectly on my lap.

At 7 pounds (3kg) the Crystal has a decent weight to it. Rest assured the stick doesn’t move around on my lap and feels comfortable to hold. There are 2 anti-slip strips on the bottom which further prevent it from sliding on a table, for instance.

The design of the Qanba Crystal is, in a word, awesome. Firstly, the case is made up of solid plastic and is translucent for that crystal-like effect. The artwork has been illustrated with some cool Chinese calligraphy. The buttons and ball-top are white with a translucent effect around for the LED (more on that later). If I have one minor complaint, it’s that it would have been nice to have the ball-top translucent as well, just to match the stick’s overall design. Although, this can be modded in so no biggie.

The Crystal has a pop-out carrying handle at the top. This is useful for carrying the stick around, say, like in a tournament setting. In addition, there’s also a hidden compartment for cable storage. Unlike, in other sticks, this doesn’t have a flap to open and close the compartment door. Instead, this is done by a magnet. In my opinion, this is a lot better and doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy.

 

What does it feel like to play?

Qanba Crystal Button
Qanba Crystal

Eightarc has opted to use their own joystick and buttons in the Qanba Crystal. Interestingly, this is different from the Qanba Obsidian and Qanba Dragon. These are, however, more expensive fightsticks and so it makes sense Eightarc would choose to go with their own parts.

So how does the Crystal fair? Surprisingly really good. First off, the buttons are a bit heavy (probably because of the LEDs) and not light to touch like on a Sanwa stick. You do have to press them a bit. At the same, however, they are very responsive.

I would probably compare them to Seimitsu buttons which are by no means a bad thing. The joystick isn’t too bad either and responds well. As far as I could see I didn’t get any missed inputs,  like I sometimes get with the Drone, no matter how much I messed with it.

Would I prefer Sanwa parts? yes, probably. But for a beginner, the standard Qanba parts would be more than sufficient, and a lot better than a stock Qanba Drone or other budget fightsticks.

One annoying thing I noticed, when playing, was the stock plexi that comes with the stick does tend to make a squeaking sound, especially when resting my wrists on it. It’s not a dealbreaker and you do get used to it after a while but it’s just something that’s a bit off.

In terms of the functional buttons, such as the START, OPTIONS, PS BUTTON, etc,  you have these located on the right side of the stick. These are slightly positioned downwards and away from the main buttons to prevent accidentally pressing these whilst in a match. In addition, there’s also a handy PS4 touchpad located on the top right of the stick.

LED Lights

Now for the Crystal’s party trick. The LED light system. By default, pressing any of the buttons or moving the joystick will trigger the LED system. That is, the buttons and joystick will light-up.

There are different modes to this which controlled by a button on the right. This button will change color depending on what mode the stick is in. The default mode is red, which, as mentioned above, triggers the LED system on an input. In green mode, all LED lights will turn on whenever there is a vibration trigger in the game. Blue mode activates all the LED lights and keeps them on at all times. Finally, if you don’t want the LED lights you can turn them off.

It’s a neat trick. Probably one of the more appealing features of the stick. Does it help you play better? probably not. Therefore it is only a gimmick, in my opinion. But it definitely looks cool, especially when playing in the dark.

Modding

Having the LED system in place means modding the Qanba Crystal is more difficult than a normal fightstick.

It’s not impossible, but you’ll require, at least, a tutorial to make sense of the LED lights and wires. Here’s a good one.

Whilst the stock buttons aren’t bad, they could be better. That’s why I recommend putting in Sanwa buttons and a Sanwa JLF lever. Having Sanwa parts will instantly elevate the stick to match its higher-end brothers like the Qanba Obsidian and Dragon.

Another thing you might want to replace is the stock plexi that comes with the stick. This is to add your own custom artwork but also to fix the annoying squeak the plexi makes when playing.

The Good

  • Good size and weight makes the Crystal comfortable to hold
  • Eye-catching design
  • LED lights look cool and have different modes
  • Qanba buttons and stick are responsive
  • Carrying handle
  • Magnetic storage compartment for cable management
  • Handy PS4 touchpad
  • Reasonably priced mid-range stick

The Bad

  • Modding the stick is difficult
  • Plexi panel tends to squeak

Overall Verdict

The Qanba Crystal is a decent mid-tier fightstick that boasts beautiful design, responsive buttons, and a unique LED light system.

Qanba Crystal

8.6

Design

9.1/10

Performance

8.5/10

Modding

7.9/10

Value for money

8.9/10

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