Haute42 T16 Review – A Near Perfect Leverless Controller?

Ever since I got the Razer Kitsune, I’ve been getting more and more used to leverless controllers. The Kitsune works on PS5 and PC, and I’ve since been looking to try more controllers like it. Most brands have been either too expensive or had very long lead times to deliver controllers like it. When I discovered Haute42, the controllers seemed too good to be true for the low asking price. I bought the Haute42 Board mini and was sold. I decided to try out another controller from the company, and went with the T16 which I bought a few weeks ago. I wanted something big enough to be comfortable on my lap, and also wanted to try out a 16 button controller. Having used it daily since buying it, the controller is unbelievably good, but has a few small issues holding it back.

While I wanted to try out one of Haute42’s leverless controllers after liking the Board mini, I also wanted to use a 16 button controller to see how much of a difference it made for me in games like Street Fighter 6 or Tekken 8. The Haute42 T16 let me tackle both of those in one go. While I’ve not found myself using every extra button, two of them have helped a lot, and even made me use the T16 for shmups in one situation. This Haute42 T16 will focus on the controller and how it works on the platforms we cover: iOS, Switch, and Steam Deck, but I will also have a bit about using it on the PS5 and Xbox Series X to be as thorough as I can based on my experience with the Haute42 T16. Let’s get into it then.

Haute42 T16 controller features, setup, and firmware

The Haute42 T16 is a leverless controller that has 16 main buttons, a small display to indicate inputs and mode (which can be customized), very low latency, and a turbo function in addition to the usual secondary buttons you’d expect in a controller. The buttons use Kailh low profile red switches, and each of the buttons are the same size (30mm). This is worth noting since some other leverless controllers use smaller buttons for everything but the jump button on the bottom.

The controller has a very interesting design because it is essentially a board sandwiched between acrylic layers. The layer on top is transparent which allows for adding your own artwork below it, while the one on the bottom has a frosted finish. The buttons support RGB lighting, and the Haute42 T16 controller also ships with a USB A extension port on the right in addition to the USB C port on top that you use to connect it to whatever platform you’re using. The extension port is what you’re going to use if you want to use the Haute42 T16 controller on a PS5 or Xbox Series X, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

The Haute42 T16 uses GP2040-CE and supports SOCD cleaning options. You can customize this and update the controller using an easy drag and drop process. Since this was my first Haute42 controller, I used this specific YouTube guide for help. The official Haute42 Discord server is also very useful for any customization or update related things. This is one of the easier controllers to update and customize as well. I’m also glad I wasn’t forced to do this on Windows like I was with the Razer Kitsune firmware updater.

Haute42 T16 controller compatibility –

What drew me to the Haute42 T16 controller outside the curiosity for its quality given the price, were its thinness and the 16 buttons. But what about compatibility? The Haute42 T16 officially supports Windows, Steam Deck, Android, PS3, PS4, Nintendo Switch, MiSTer, iPadOS, Linux, and Raspberry Pi as indicated on the official website. Not supporting the PS5 is definitely a negative if you want to use it in locals that run on PS5, or want to buy one for your own PS5.

When you plug your controller in, you need to press a specific button (indicated on the backside) to use it on Switch, PS4, Xinput, Dinput/PS3, or keyboard mode.

Haute42 T16 controller – what’s in the box

The Haute42 T16 ships with the controller itself, a USB cable, an instruction manual, and accessories (an extra switch, a switch puller, button caps, and anti slip pads). The controller is in a padded envelope, and all of this is packed in a cardboard box. As for using a case or storing your Haute42 T16, I recommend getting a laptop sleeve or finding a larger iPad sleeve that fits. I also recommend getting your own braided USB cable to use like this one.

Haute42 T16 controller performance – buttons and feel

Having used the Razer Kitsune which I love, I was curious to see how the Haute42 T16 buttons would feel. They feel excellent. I’m not sure which ones I like more, but I can safely say that the Haute42 T16 buttons feel excellent and work perfectly. I’ve had no trouble with the button size or responsiveness across any game. These buttons and switches are easy to swap out as well if you’d rather get your own buttons and switches here.

As for the Haute42 T16 itself, the edges are a bit sharp and it creaks sometimes. These are my only minor complaints with this. I expected a bit of creaking, but I hope a future revision can resolve this or make it less of an issue. I know the Haute42 T16 is more of a DIY controller than the rest, but these minor issues hold it back.

The buttons I dislike are the secondary ones. The buttons for start, back, home, and more on the top right are not comfortable to use. I had a similar issue with some of these in the Kitsune as well, but that is better overall for secondary buttons at least right now. The touchpad and an easy to click and spot button for the PlayStation input on a PS5 controller also help.

Haute42 T16 controller – why 16 buttons make a difference

A traditional leverless controller or Hitbox-style controller uses four buttons for movement (up, down, left, right) and eight action buttons as you can see in my Razer Kitsune review. The Haute42 T16 controller or other 16 button controllers from Haute42 opt for five movement buttons and 11 action buttons. For movement, the fifth button is above the three on the top left. This is for those who are used to WASD movement on a keyboard. I use the jump button here while playing shmups or platformers while I’ve been using the normal jump button on the bottom in fighting games.

As for the action buttons, you can map them to different things. As with most things relating to controllers or setups I’m not used to, I’ve been looking at YouTube and talking to friends who have more experience. In this case, I found a great video on how a 16 button layout helps with Street Fighter 6 and Tekken 8. I haven’t stuck to that beyond testing it out, but did manage to change a few things to fit my needs better since. At this point, the 16 buttons aren’t essential, but they definitely help in specific games and with convenience.

Haute42 T16 controller customization – artwork, keys, and more

The clear acrylic layer on top can be removed easily to insert your own art in the Haute42 T16. Beyond that, you can customize the buttons and switches in the Haute42 T16 as well without any trouble. You can even add artwork on the bottom to be viewed from the back, but I recommend leaving that be as you get used to what key press is required to switch modes.

Haute42 T16 controller problems

Outside the creaking and edges, my only complaint with the Haute42 T16 is the top acrylic layer scratches easily. It isn’t too noticeable, but I noticed quite a few small scuffs or scratches on mine after a week with it. These complaints are minor given what you’re getting at a sub $100 price point including shipping though, but are worth highlighting.

Haute 42 T16 controller on PS5 and Xbox Series X

Since the Haute42 T16 doesn’t work natively on PS5 and Xbox Series X, you need a dongle or adapter used in the passthrough port. I bought the Brook Wingman Converter FGC to test out different controllers in fighting games on PS5, but I know there are other options. My Brook converter for Xbox stopped working since Microsoft keeps updating the console to block it. I’ve stopped bothering with this on the Xbox side because of that. If you do plan on buying the Haute 42 T16 for PS5, factor in the cost of the dongle, and keep in mind that this will not work in every native PS5 game.

Haute42 T16 controller vs Razer Kitsune

It feels weird comparing a sub $100 controller with a $300 controller, but that’s exactly what I’ve been doing in my head while using both of them. The Haute42 T16 does much more than the Kitsune, but it doesn’t do everything as elegantly. It is also missing native PS5 functionality, a tournament lock, and isn’t as comfortable on the lap or table. It does however have more buttons, supports multiple platforms in addition to PC, and is much easier to customize and mod. They both are clearly tackling different sides of the market, and with the T16, I have a controller I can recommend to newcomers directly with its low asking price.

Comfort and things like that are subjective, and ideally everyone would be able to try out multiple controllers before buying one, but sadly that isn’t possible for many. The Kitsune is much more comfortable on my lap and when I play, and I appreciate the quieter buttons. I feel like Haute42 (AKA COSMOX now) will have resolved a few of my issues with the upcoming M Plus line shown here.

Right now, my ideal leverless controller would be a Razer Kitsune with 16 buttons like this one. It is going to be interesting to see what else we get in 2024 from note just Haute42, but also Razer.

Should you buy the Haute42 T16 controller in 2024?

For its price, it is hard to not recommend the Haute42 T16 if you enjoy playing fighting games and want to try out a great leverless controller on Switch, PC, Steam Deck, or PS4. For PS5, factor in the cost of the adapter. For iOS, I wouldn’t buy this specific controller just to play on iPad or iPhone. I used it with Streets of Rage 4 and games like that, but I wouldn’t buy the Haute 42 T16 outside of wanting a great controller for PC, Switch, or PlayStation right now.

When I first got the controller, I was almost ready to buy a second one just to have a backup because it is so good. It isn’t something I’d recommend to everyone, but if you are in the market for a fantastic leverless controller, the Haute42 T16 is definitely worth considering. Just factor in the creaking/scratching issue and the fact that you need to buy an additional dongle if you want to use this on PS5.

If you’d like to grab it, the Haute42 T16 controller is usually available for $83 (or so) on Amazon here. If you do end up buying it or already own one, I’d love to know what you think about it. Let us know in the comments below, and also if you’d like to see any specific controller reviewed.

If you buy the controllers or items listed and linked above through our links on Amazon, it helps TouchArcade in a small way.

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