The Qanba Dragon (Amazon) is a legend amongst fightstick enthusiasts and it’s also one of the most premium fightsticks on the market.
So I was very excited to finally get my hands on one and see for myself if it truly is the best fightstick money can buy.
Unboxing and set up
The Qanba Dragon is packaged well reflecting its premium price tag. Included in the box is a manual and the fightstick.
Setting up is as easy as plugging in the fightstick and playing. That’s it. Just make sure to toggle the assigned switch to the correct platform which is either PS3, PS4 or PC.
My PC had no issues and was able to recognize the fightstick straight away and download the relevant drivers.
The design and feel of the fightstick
The Qanba Dragon is no doubt one of, if not, the best quality fightstick I’ve ever had the pleasure of laying my eyes on. Everything about it screams high quality.
The housing is made of aluminum metal. Whilst the surface of the stick is solid piano black plexiglass (fingerprint magnet). The rest of the fightstick is high-quality plastic. The bottom of the stick is metal and has 2 large anti-slip rubber mats.
All these high-quality materials mean the Qanba Dragon is big, really big. I mean, it pretty much dwarfs all my other fightsticks. That includes the already large Qanba Obsidian. It’s also heavy, weighing almost 12 pounds (5kg). The downside of this is that it can get pretty cumbersome carrying this stick around, and that’s if you can get a bag that’s big enough to fit the entire fightstick. It’s safe to say that I won’t be lugging this stick around to tournaments any time soon.
In terms of the artwork, it’s, well, simple. There’s a Qanba Dragon logo on the bottom left and that’s about it. I’m ok with this. Because of its metallic casing, sleek lines and general high-quality look; it’s already pleasing to the eye. It also has some neat LED lights on the side which can be turned on or off and respond to either button presses or vibrations. It’s nice, but only really used for aesthetic purposes.
On the front of the fightstick are two metal studs or brackets. These are used to store the lengthy USB cable. Instead of a compartment for the cable, which you’ll find on most other sticks, Qanba has chosen to go the more traditional route of wrapping the cable around these metal studs. I have to say that this is a welcome feature. No messing around with the compartment slot just wrap up and go. I should also mention that the cable is braided which adds to the premium feel of the stick.
Finally, this fightstick also has a handy headphone jack which you can use to connect your favorite headphones or a gaming headset.
What does it feel like to play?
The performance of the Qanba Dragon is second to none; it comes fitted with Sanwa parts as standard. This includes 8 Sanwa OBSF 30mm pushbuttons and a Sanwa JLF joystick which has nice chrome ball top.
If you’re at all familiar with the Qanba Obsidian you’ll feel right at home. The button response is very good and the joystick equally performs well. I can’t fault the Dragon’s performance, it’s what you would expect for such a premium fightstick and then some.
Apart from the main action buttons, there are also the standard L3/R3, OPTIONS, SHARE, Turbo, and LED buttons, all of which are located at the top of the front panel. There’s also a PS4 touchpad located just below which is definitely handy.
The Qanba Dragon is also surprisingly comfortable. For a stick that is so big and weighty, it fits quite well on the lap. The weight is also nice; yes it’s heavy, but not overly so and I can mash the buttons all day and the Dragon still won’t move. Of course, that is also helped by the anti-slip rubber mats on the bottom of the stick.
Modding the Qanba Dragon
Accessing the inside of the Qanba Dragon is a piece of cake: push two buttons on the front of the stick and the front panel simply pops open. It’s like the Razer Panthera and MadCatz TE2 sticks which also have a similar feature.
The inside of the stick is very clean. In fact, it’s probably the most well put together stick I’ve seen. There’s some storage for things like extra buttons or ball tops. It’s also fairly spacious enough to store other things too like games for example.
The buttons and joystick are housed in a clear plastic case which is easy to open by removing one screw. Once inside, everything is well labeled with a button map which is color-coded. I probably won’t be swapping out anything as I’m happy with the standard Sanwa parts Qanba has, but it’s nice to know that I can easily if I want to.
In terms of swapping out the artwork, like the Obsidian, this isn’t as easy to do on the Dragon. You’ll probably want to install a third party plexiglass in order to put in your own custom artwork. I’m personally happy with the simple artwork Qanba has with the Dragon, so this really isn’t too big of an issue for me.
- Solid premium build quality
- Hefty design reinforces it’s premium look
- Sanwa buttons and joystick
- Performance is top notch
- Unique method to store cables
- Understated artwork
- Easy access to inside for modding
- Headphone Jack
- Hefty size means difficult to travel with
- It’s expensive
- Artwork difficult to customize
The Qanba Dragon maybe expensive, but at this price, you’re getting the best of the best.