Qanba Obsidian Review

Qanba Obsidian Review
OVERALL VERDICT
The Qanba Obsidian looks and performs beautifully.
PROS
+ Beautiful design
+ Solid build quality
+ Sanwa buttons and lever

CONS
- Difficult to customize artwork
- No easy access option for modding


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The Qanba Obsidian is a fightstick which is targeted at those who want a premium mid-range stick, but don’t want to pay the price tag of the more expensive Qanba Dragon.

As a mid-range fighstick, the Obsidian competes directly with the Razer Panthera which is a pretty tough stick to beat.

So let’s get down to the unboxing and find out what this fightstick is capable of.

Unboxing and set up

Included in the box is the manual and the Qanba Obsidian stick, which I have to say is well packaged. I suppose it has to be for a stick that is quite large and to ensure it doesn’t get damaged in shipping.

Connecting the Obsidian is fairly simple. Just assign the switch to the desired platform, which will either be PS3, PS4 or PC and then plug in and play.  

On PC, it recognized my fightstick straightway downloading the relevant drivers.

The design and feel of the fightstick

The Obsidian is quite big, measuring 46 x 26 x 12 cm which is bigger than the Razer Panthera, although not as big as the Qanba Dragon. Because of its size, therefore, it also has a nice weight to it at almost 3kg.

The design of the Qanba Obsidian is, in a word, awesome. On the surface of the stick is a black gloss finish which is complemented by silver metal sides. The only downside is that the gloss finish is prone to fingerprints, so be prepared to wipe this stick down after every use.

Underneath the stick are two rubber anti-slip pads. I find these work quite well and prevent the stick from slipping on my lap. Although this will work equally well on a flat surface.

In the metal sides of the fightstick is an indent or gap. These act like handles meaning the fightstick can be carried almost like a serving tray. That’s not all though. There’s also an LED strip within the metal that lights up. This can be turned on all the time or only when a button is pressed. Although it’s not very practical, it does look cool when viewed from the side.

On to the buttons now and across the top you have a number of them that perform a variety of functions. From left to right, you have the PS and SHARE buttons, Turbo button; a Mode button which controls whether the joystick is a left analog stick, right analog stick or D-pad, L3/R3 buttons,  LED button and OPTIONS button. There’s also a couple of switches; one to assign a console and another disable the SHARE and OPTIONS buttons. Finally, there’s also a handy PS4 touchpad located above the function buttons along the top side of the stick.

The USB cable is a bit short at 3 meters but it does the job. There’s a storage compartment for the cable which quite stiff and takes a bit of prying to open. Not sure why Qanba did this. I guess it’s because normal cable compartments on other sticks are usually so flimsy and easy to break, that I guess Qanba decided to make it stiff to give it more of a premium feel.

The Obsidian also includes a useful headphone jack on the bottom of the stick. This is becoming pretty much the standard now on nearly all PS4 fightsticks so it’s not too surprising to see it here.  

What does it feel like to play?

The Qanba Obsidian has Sanwa Denshi buttons and a Sanwa joystick which is a square gate. The layout of the buttons is the industry-standard Viewlix layout.

As expected then, the performance of the Obsidian is pretty much faultless. The buttons and joystick feel very responsive, on par with other premium fightsticks like the Razer Panthera.

I was slightly worried at first because the joystick and buttons are quite close together, but it was fine. I tested this fightstick on games like Street Fighter V and Tekken 7 and was able to get comfortable very quickly, pulling off moves and combos with ease.

The only really minor complaint that I have is, because of the fightstick’s size, it gets pretty cumbersome to carry around, especially to tournaments. It’s not that heavy, but it’s quite wide making it difficult to carry around in a standard sized backpack.

Modding the Qanba Obsidian

It’s a shame that there’s no quick access option to open up the Obsidian. Instead, you have to unscrew the base in order to access the inside of the fightstick. This isn’t particularly hard but a quick access option would have been nice, like on the Razer Panthera.

Once on the inside, everything seems to be in order. Swapping out the buttons and joystick is easy enough to do. Although be warned,  you may need some pliers to remove the button connectors as these were quite difficult to do by hand.

Unfortunately, swapping out the artwork is a lot more difficult. There’s no plexiglass so you have to either buy a third party one or just settle for the plain black design.

The Good

  • Beautiful design
  • Solid build quality
  • Sanwa buttons and lever
  • Cheaper than the Qanba Dragon

The Bad

  • Awkard to travel with because of its size
  • Difficult to customize artwork
  • No easy access option for modding

Overall Verdict

The Qanba Obsidian looks and performs beautifully. Whilst the Razer Panthera edges out slightly with its customization features, the Obsidian is still a worthy competitor and one of the best fightsticks on the market.

Qanba Obsidian

8.9

Design

9.7/10

Performance

9.5/10

Modding

8.0/10

Value for money

8.5/10

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