Everything you need to know about the KontrolFreek Precision Rings.
Reviewed in the United States on 20 August 2019
Before you buy:
• All four of the precision rings that you receive in the package are considered "high-tension" (I think)...
Competitor company "Fatal Grips" offer a similar package for precision/tension rings that they have named "FPS Aim Assist". Their package includes two high-tension rings in black, and two low-tension rings in yellow. The reason that I bring this up is because Fatal Grips released their model first, and considering that all four of the rings from KontrolFreek are black, they probably followed the same color scheme. Also from personal experience using the KF rings, they definitely give a lot of resistance. So while KF doesn't explicitly mention the tension rating, I would say that it would be labeled as "high" considering what else is on the market.
• Considering that these rings have a high tension, you pretty much NEED stick extensions to reduce the force needed to move your sticks so that you can even use them properly.
Is it a mistake, or is it a marketing ploy? For KontrolFreek's "performance thumbsticks"/stick extensions, one of their main selling points is that they "reduce hand fatigue"; while their Amazon page currently advertises that their rings are a "great way to build muscle in your thumbs" (which is really just a fancy way to say that it INCREASES hand fatigue)... And considering that they only offer four high-tension rings without explicitly labeling them as such, they are probably hoping that you are disappointed when you can't use the rings on their own, and expect you to spend more money on their stick extensions to make them work. Four stars for the product just because of the marketing. But with that being said, the stick extension and precision ring combo IS a great performance boost for FPS players. I just hope that in the future they explicitly advertise that you must use them together, rather than offering it as a suggestion as "compatible", rather than a necessary addition.
Other comments/personal experience:
• "Allows you to play on higher sensitivities"
They also advertise that with these rings, you can play on max sensitivities with ease. With my week of playing with them thus far, I can tell you that this is true. However, I literally had to play on the max sensitivity, and anything less would have been too slow to play properly, so you don't have many options. And it's not a benefit whatsoever, so again of course they were just using it as a sneaky tactic. It's not a benefit because when I changed my sensitivity to max with the ring and stick extension on, the navigation literally felt exactly the same. I understand the science of it, where you are supposed to have a wider range of sensitivity from ultra-low to ultra-high... But considering that the material squishes down whenever you move it, you can never actually fully touch your stick to the edge of the controller since the material is in the way. And this completely prevents you from reaping the benefits of the increased sensitivity, so again this is bad marketing and doesn't represent the product very well.
• From other reviews: the product was "sticky and inconsistent"; "gave up after an hour"
In this area I will defend the product. Yes, upon first taking the rings out of the package they are indeed a little "sticky" on the top and the bottom. And some of them do seem a little inconsistent in the material if you just eye-ball the edges of the rings a little bit. But we're just talking first impressions without even using the product yet, here. So what this reviewer was saying is true, but after using it for a week it was never a problem in the actual gameplay. When moving your stick around, it is not sticky or inconsistent, but rather has a smooth and natural feel. Quick tip - don't listen to reviewers that instantly give bad reviews after using the product for ONE HOUR. You will only get initial reactions. I, too, wasn't very impressed with the product when I first took a look at it and tried it on my controller. The tension was high and it was actually making my gameplay worse. But I trusted the science and kept using it. After a day or two, I had already begun seeing very good results. But OF COURSE it will make your performance worse from the get go, it is something you have to adjust to. And no, it is not a magical product that will rapidly make you an FPS god, but from my experience I can definitely tell you that if you put at least 10-20 hours into playing with it and a stick extension, that it will enhance the abilities that you already had, and overall provide cleaner and more accurate gameplay without sacrificing speed.
If buying these rings, note that you should also buy a stick extension in order to use them properly. Don't fall into KontrolFreek's marketing trap on everything you read - use your brain to understand the science that they are proposing. Try to read from reviewers who have used it for a little while, rather than quitting after an hour. But overall, it is a great product and it hasn't turned me into a professional, but it has definitely emphasized the skills that I had already had, so I would say it has indeed made me better. I would highly recommend. Five stars for the product, four stars is for the marketing strategies from KF.
Two weeks into using the product daily (combined with a high-rise KF stick extension), I couldn’t imagine going back to playing without it. The ring itself took about 5 days to a week to fully “break in” and lessen some of the initial tension out of the package. Which is good, considering it was very rigid in the beginning. It seems to have settled at a new tension, and probably won’t be going any lower after the initial “breaking in” period.
This product has improved my overall control, which has improved my general aim. But the most drastic improvements from what I’ve noticed, are the close-range fights using single-burst weapons such as shotguns, where you only need to land one shot. Once you change your sensitivities with this product to reflect a similar feeling of what you had before, it basically just allows you to have some more rigidity that allows you to be more accurate. If you’re worried about sacrificing speed for precision, don’t be. You can have the best of both worlds, and my personal game has greatly improved.
In the last two weeks I’ve gone from only wiping a 3-man squad once ever in Apex Legends (PS4), to now wiping a few 3-man squads a day (if I’m lucky). I can’t say that this product made that entire change on its own as I’ve been trying harder, but I overall feel more comfortable and relaxed while using it, and it was definitely a big part in that transformation regardless.
The product is only $12 at the time of my writing this post, it can’t hurt to try if you don’t want to take my word for it! But if you want to reap the full benefits of the rings, I would recommend combining it with a high-rise stick extension on your right stick. And nothing on your left. Be patient, and spend the time tweaking your settings to adjust to the increased tension. And break it in for a week, and you’ll start seeing great results! It’s a process - just trust the science, be patient, and soon enough your game will improve. I see a lot of pros talking about the importance of increased stick tension for FPS games, and usually those are mods that you can only custom order on a $200-$400 controller. I have no experience with custom controllers, but this product offers a greatly cheaper option, and it’s worked very very well for me. And call me crazy, but this product might even be better than the custom controller mods, due to the increased tension the further you move the stick, because of the increased tension that is needed to move the stick, the more the material is compressed. Which is great for lining up your shots, and preventing from overshooting, and slowing down to stop onto your target. Whereas $200+ custom controllers only have the same consistent tension across the board - there is no “slow down” aid to help you line up your shot. So that’s the main benefit that I see for this $12 product over an expensive controller mod that is probably not as good.
Anyways that’s my incredible experience with the KF precision rings. It’s been great for improving my game, and I’m sure it would be great for you as well if you take my advice... But it’s up to you! Don’t take my word for it. Does the science make sense to you? Does my review and the benefits seem plausible? If you’re serious about improving your skills in FPS games, just take a minute to go over the benefits of the product yourself, and take the plunge if you can understand the science and think that it would be worth it. I think that this product is more important than the stick extensions, which KF are most famous for (although you should use them together), and I hope that the gaming community can soon discover these, too!
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