[REVIEW] Qanba RAF3 Stick [PS3/PC]

Before I start, just gotta point out that the buttons and ball top were swapped out, the original color were white and for a larger image, click the pictures. I am not a professional writer but expect spelling, run on sentences and grammar errors

This is a somewhat quick review of the Qanba?s Real Arcade Fighting stick 3(RAF 3) for the PS3/PC.
Before I get reviewing, I would just like to mention that Street Fighter IV was my first fighting game that I got hardcore and bought a arcade stick for and my first stick was Madcatz Standard Edition Fightstick. Being that all the fighters I?ve played at home were either the Playstation Dual Shock pad or Sega Astro City cabs out doors, I felt that the SE stick was rather lacking in weight and overall dimensions.
It was until I started browsing SRK?s tech forums for alternative choices in sticks and being that I live in Canada, getting a hold of a Hori Real Arcade Pro 3 or Madcatz Tournament Edition was going to be tough for a good price. I eventually ran into Xianglong?s Qanba thread(username llx8000 on SRK) and I was skeptical at first seeing how it is a Chinese brand.
What got me was that this stick has a wood housing, all Sanwa parts(JLF stick, 8x30mm & 6x24mm push buttons) and is as big or bigger than the TE & HRAP3 stick and comes with plexi-glass for the graphic happy players who swap often. Note that the Q3 is only wireless play, this could show some implication to EVO attendees since the rules state no wireless peripherals. The USB to USB cord is only for charging the stick which does last to their quoted 40 hours.

So what were my initial thoughts on the stick out of the box? The Q3 feels great whether on a desk or on the lap. Preference wise, I prefer my arcade sticks to be very big and hefty(and I’m average asian height and weight), from my understanding, the Q3 weighs about 11lbs while the TE stick weighs about 6lbs which makes the Q3 feel very sturdy and stable. The face of the stick has absolutely no obstructions on it aside from the necessities of the stick, 8 buttons and a 6 LED indicator cleverly flush under the artwork top right corner while the each sides of the stick contains 3 24mm buttons(right side contains Select, PS/Home, and Start respectively while the left side houses a mode button, turbo and a extra blank button which I assume is for dual modding??). The top of the stick is where the on/off switch and USB plug are located.
After 9 minutes of figuring out how the USB dongle connects to the stick, it was smooth sailing with the buttons mapped exactly the same as the default button settings. Before buying the Q3, I attended a local comic store for casuals and I got a test out how the HRAP3 and TE stick felt. I have to say that both the Q3 and TE stick feel great both being VELIX standard button placement and the Q3 makes a tight competitor next to Madcatz. Also nice to know that they included a shaft protector for the stick which doesn’t cost much but still nice to get.
Modding the stick with different equipment is a piece of cake, just take the 6 screws and 4 rubber things off and voila, a scary mess(well not really…) of wires to the non tekkies. Comes with quick disconnects and you can pretty much follow the general TE/SE stick guides out there. I had to mod my previous SE stick with a Sanwa stick and buttons so this was no surprise to me, it?s the added equipment/placement that caught me off guard(on/off switch, placement of the side buttons and battery ).
So after 1 1/2 months owning the stick with moderate play, I have ran into no problems except for the lack of template support under the plexiglass but that’s cosmetic and I accidentally cracked the plexiglass but that was due to over excitement in “inspecting” the stick and a minor paint chip that’s hardly noticeable.

Miscellaneous stuff:
Q3 sticks sits lower than the standard sticks?
People were stating that the stick sits a couple of millimeters lower than standard arcade style and said it was because of the extra mounting plate(which is pretty cool) was the cause of it, I later found out that it sits the exact same height as the TE stick from a Singapore forum. Pictures that showed both measurements with a rule and another item prove the stick sits the same.
This is a Chinese brand stick, are they reliable??
Yes they are, Xianglong frequents the Official Qanba thread at SRK and answers the FAQ posted there. I had a problem with my stick not responding after I swapped out my buttons for custom colors and I thought I had received a dud, a day later, I got a response from Xiang and the tech team. Turns out I didn?t secure all cables haha!
On their homepage, I believe they have offices in Asia(China and Hong Kong) and one in the U.S. so no worries on the lack of support.
In the end, like many say, this is the closest thing you?ll get next to a custom stick for a fraction of the price! I don?t participate in huge tourneys that have the no wireless rule and it fits all criteria?s of the ideal arcade stick. We don’t know what the future holds for Qanba(software compatibility for 360 through the dongle as well as USB wired play?), Madcatz(collaboration between them and Daigo might give birth to some sweet arcade sticks) or Hori(Their V3 SA looks sweet but their Premium VLX is too much for what you’re getting) but I gotta say I will strongly support Qanba since the Q3/RAF3 is certainly a hit!

I also hear that wood cases are ideal for dual modding since you can go ahead and drill whatever you need in it rather than working with a plastic case.

Hope this helps the community and broadens the support for lesser known brands.

You can find detailed specs on page 3 of the Official Qanba Thread

What does the mode button do exactly?

Quoting this from the manual,
it can set (direction control stick )direction and X axis Y axis mode of conversion”

Invert controls I guess? I would thought it would be D-Pad/Analog selector like the TE/SE sticks have for a switch.

where’d u buy this stick?


damn, play-asia last time i checked is pretty pricey. are the shipping rates ok?