Though uncommon, there are some fighting game players who play on arcade sticks that have a special preference to how they use the joystick lever and buttons. Eventually you might see the player who crosses their arms in which they have their right hand on the lever and their left hand on the buttons or someone with a custom stick using a reverse layout. Qanba took the chance to make a new stick allowing to cater to those preferences while not compromising players who play on stick normally.
The Qanba Q2 Pro Standard is the company's latest stick in the market after their successful multi-console Q4 series (as well as the Fusion models by distributor Eightarc). Even if the Q2 Pro is only compatible on PlayStation 3, it shows that Qanba has the ability to provide interesting ideas and upgrades really fast while still being generally solid sticks for everyone.
The body is constructed of ABS plastic, a common trait in most commercial arcade sticks. While it's nothing too special, it's the design of it how it correlates with the Q2 Pro's main objective of being a stick for right-hand/left-hand users. The core design is symmetrical so it can be played on both regular side and the reverse side. The very round and smooth hand rest is icing. The symmetry also makes the body visually striking when seeing it in person
The main playing panel is also straightend instead of the usual Taito Vewlix or Namco Noir layouts for neutral purposes. Players who might have loved straight button layouts in American sticks and cabinets will probably be in love with this, just add a bat top to the Sanwa Denshi JLF lever.
Because of the ability to play on both regular and reverse positions, the utility buttons (start, select, home, turbo, and d-pad/left stick mode) are moved to the side allowing maximum playability. While I was not much fond of the Q4's special buttons placed on the top right and was very closed in visually, Qanba did a much better job with the Q2 Pro Standard. The control panel is apparent and less cramped in. The Sanwa-based start button is appropriately placed as well so both sides can press it easily.
The body is at a total weight of 9 lbs. It's a bit more than common sticks but it doesn't feel too overwhelmingly heavy. Being a Qanba stick, there has to be a handle and the Q2 Pro Standard is no exception. Placed on the reverse side, the handle is swirl when in use and sits flat like there was no handle there in the first place when unused. The handle is kept in its unused position by magnets in which the USB cable compartment door also inherits. It's good that Qanba looked into the shortcomings of an all plastic door and adapted with the magnet system.
Qanba introduced an all felt material bottom in their Q4 models to prevent slipping on jeans and other leggings. The Q2 Pro Standard uses a light brown faux-leather bottom to replace the felt. It's unfortunately not as good as the non-slipping felt but still reduces the effect to a certain degree as well as avoiding the issue of the metal bottom rusting. A darker color faux-leather would be better though to fit within the stick's central color choices.
Back to the main draw of the stick: The ability to play on both the regular and reverse sides. On the control panel, there is a switch that displays what it will be played on. L refers to the default standard style with the joystick lever on the left and the buttons on the right. R is the other way around with lever on the right and the buttons on the left. With the flick of the switch, it will instantly change the input orientation to cater to what was selected. After playing the default way, I gave the reverse side a try. Aside from the obvious errors when adapting to the new orientation, I didn't notice any issues with inputs performing incorrectly. Those special players, especially cross-armed players, will definitely like the convenience of the feature. There is another model with the Vewlix layout and the orientation feature included. There seem to be no chance of using the first two buttons if switching sides which can be an unfortunate problem. Regardless for owners of that model, at the least have a cool looking stick.
Even if the box shipped with the arcade stick referred to the Xbox 360 as one of the supported systems, the Qanba Q2 Pro Standard stick that Eightarc and other related outlets are shipping is only compatible on PlayStation 3 (with USB headset support) and PC. The multi-console compatibility is considered a trait for Qanba sticks though. Although it's unfortunate to not see that feature available, I have hope that it will be re-released with the capability. Note that next to the PS3 USB headset port is an unopened hole where likely the Xbox 360 headset would be plugged into so I will stay optimistic. For the folks who want to play this on 360 now, there is always dual-modding the stick but take note of the orientation switch in case it gets affected during the process.
Even if it's not multi-console out of the box, Qanba's Q2 Pro Standard has some neat technology in it. Their ideas doesn't seem to have any limits! The Q2 Pro stick in general is a very good looking and very playable stick that for those who don't care much about layout will probably enjoy using and carrying around. While before if you wanted a stick with a reverse layout, it would have resulted in a pricey custom stick but Qanba has made an affordable answer to the issue. It's really good that they are trying to cater to a lot of players including those who have arcade stick preferences different from the majority. It really shows their support for fighting game players.
The Qanba Q2 Pro Standard is now available for PlayStation 3 and PC for $124.99 USD on Eightarc (also on Amazon)! The Professional model with the Vewlix layout can be found on Play-Asia for $129.90 USD!