2019 Nintendo Switch Pro Controller Review - Why You Should Go Pro
Hands strain and fatigue are things of the past when the Switch Pro Controller comes into play.
When thinking of a gaming system that can be used in a variety of ways, what comes to mind first? Right, the answer is the Nintendo Switch console. Nintendo developer team set a goal to take the best parts of the brand previous consoles (such as Wii, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS) and put them together in one product that will deliver the most diverse and fun video game experience whatsoever. Nintendo Switch is a premium class gaming system offering a regular console and a handheld experiences without compromises on graphical quality and system power. Its unique design features premium materials including glass, metal and plastic parts and comes with several components: the console, 2 controllers called Joy-Cons, a grip module for them and a dock. The components can be detached and attached back to the console in one of 3 configurations offering a home console gaming, a tablet mode or an individual handheld experience.
The idea of the gaming system appeared five years prior to the product launch when the company started working on the concept of creating an absolutely new experience for users. Players’ feedback on existing Nintendo consoles helped to determine the needs and wishes of gamers and develop a gaming console that combined portable and home gaming capabilities. Nintendo Switch was released in March of 2017 at a price of $300.00 and got great feedback from critics and users topping the best technical innovation award for that year. When compared to its closest rivals, PS4, and Xbox One gaming consoles, it’s fair to note that the Switch may lose few points on some technical aspects, but when playing on the go games such as Fortnite, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Odyssey Nintendo - the console has no competitors.
- Motion Controls, HD Rumble, Built-in NFC Reader (Amiibo)
- USB Type C Charging Cable
- Wireless (VIA Bluetooth) Or Wired (VIA USB) Connectivity
- Built-In Ion Lithium Battery (Up to 40 hours on a single charge)
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For You to Consider
One of the most wanted and most discussed accessories for the console, players are encouraged to purchase in addition to the standard package, is a premium gaming Pro controller. What is the Nintendo Switch Pro controller? It’s a gaming pad created to take advantage of the platform to the fullest extent. It is designed in the best traditions of regular gaming controllers with a shape built so that the user’s hands won’t get tired from operating the gadget during long sessions. All design features and technical specs of the gadget will be covered further in this review.
Nintendo Pro controller release date doesn’t differ from the console launch, it also hit store shelves in early March of 2017 quickly topping the list of most desired gaming accessories for the holiday season. Depending on the retailer, the Switch Pro controller price varies from $60 to $70 for a standard configuration which makes it a rather pricey gadget. If you wish to get an exclusively looking accessory, prepare to pay more on top of that. There is a variety of stores offering all kinds of deals on Switch Pro Controllers and it makes perfect sense to shop around and compare the offers before making a purchase.
Is Nintendo Switch Pro Controller well worth the money, what are the benefits of using it and does it make sense to customize the gadget and spend extra on that? These are the questions we will answer through the course of this review to help our readers make a decision before investing a few tens of dollars.
Design and Build - Developed For Extended Gameplay Sessions
The Switch Pro controller design doesn’t significantly differ from many other branded or third-party pro controllers on the market and comes as a familiarly looking gamepad with two handles, a pair of analog sticks, a d-pad, four face and shoulder buttons along with several navigational buttons located at the center of the remote. It’s a mix of Xbox 360, Xbox One and PS4 controllers but feels more volumetric and is heavier. The controller is made of quality matte plastic mostly to prevent an annoying fingerprint issue with every part of the product being put together in the most precise way. Even if you strain all your muscles trying to hold it as hard as you can, you won’t feel the slightest movement of any controller element.
Let’s talk about the design pros in more detail and then dwell on the cons. Nintendo Pro gamepad offers the same layout as the Switch Joy-Cons, once used in the handheld mode, just has a more user-oriented shape and super convenient navigation. Users can have their thumbs straight when moving between buttons and sticks, there are no more bent fingers as it is in the case with the console native Joy-Cons. Round A, B, X, Y buttons form a usual diamond shape and come in a perfect, larger size and depth that will fit all hand sizes. The sticks of the pro pad feel very smooth and greatly offset while delivering an ideal resistance level.
As for the cons, there are only two points of contention, and it is up to you to decide if these features can make a difference in your gameplay. The first one is the absence of the headphone jack. Yes, you got it right - the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller doesn’t have one, neither it has Bluetooth for the headphones. You will have to compromise here, is this a flaw that overweights all the above benefits? We surely don’t think so. The second one is triggers depth that many gamers don’t find to be sufficient enough noting its similarity to additional shoulder buttons. We don’t find this critical, however, it can be the factor that will affect your performance in shooting and racing games.
Performance and Specs - Traits Of a Pro Controller
A gamer-oriented Switch Pro Controller design makes a statement, setting high hopes on the insides of the product. Does the controller really have what it takes to grab its place among other premium gaming gadgets presently available on the market? Let’s cover Nintendo Switch Pro Controller Key Specs to determine how powerful the gadget is.
The first question that pops up is about the length of an interrupted (for charge) gameplay session. How long does the Switch Pro Controller battery last? Here the device is a clear winner with its impressive forty hours of allowed playtime. There is no other pro controller on the market offering such duration of a gaming session on a single charge. We know this is a crucial factor for many gamers out there.
The second most popular product question whether the Switch Pro Controller is wireless, gets a positive answer. The full name of the product is Nintendo Switch Pro Wireless Controller, and it is able to connect to the console or other devices like PC via Bluetooth. Once your tireless fingers drain the battery, you will be able to charge the gadget via its USB-C port (USB Type-C cable comes included in the package).
Right below the charging port, on the front of the controller, you will find an NFC Reader touch point, located over the logo of the Nintendo Switch. If you are not familiar with this feature, and the word Amiibo puzzles you, this section is for you. Special toy figures, each representing a character from a video game, come with RFID chip that is recognized by the Nintendo system.
How to Use Amiibo? You will need to scan a figure with the NFC Reader. Once scanned and matched with a corresponding game, they unlock some cool options and upgrades in various Nintendo gaming titles. Amiibos are not required to play the games on the Switch console, but they make the whole experience a lot more fun and engaging. Try it yourself! Similarly to original Joy-Con controllers that are default gamepads for the console, the Nintendo Pro Controller delivers an amazing sense of realism that is produced by the HD rumble functionality. What are HD Rumbles? It’s a next-gen vibration and sensing technology that gets the user immersed into the game to the depth not possible via sounds and images alone.
The list of specs looks pretty impressive, doesn’t it? Let’s see who the winner is once compared with the original Joy-Con controller.
Switch Pro Controller VS Joy-Con - Which One Fits Your Needs Best?
There has been a lot of controversy going on around 2 types of the Switch gaming controllers. Nintendo Switch Joy-Con has been compared to the Pro Switch Controller by nearly every blogger in terms of every aspect. We did our best to put together two years worth of feedback from players globally to give you the most comprehensive and up-to-date summary on both products along with our honest recommendation.
Both the Switch Pro Controller and Joy-Cons are brand official gaming pads built to deliver an enjoyable experience with Nintendo games. Among the features, both products share are face buttons, NFC Reader, HD Rumbles and motion controls. These specs have been touched on the paragraph above, we are mainly interested in their differences and what makes each product unique.
The most obvious advantage of the Switch Pro controller is the design. It’s not even that it looks and feels more premium, it’s the fact the pad has been built to offer a smarter button layout and size for users to play video games with maximum comfort for the hands and fingers. Joy-Con buttons are small and are not very ergonomically located with analog sticks and ABXY being over each other and causing gamers to bend the thumbs.
In terms of the games, the controller preference depends on the genre. To get an edge in major fighting titles such as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or Dragon Ball FighterZ, you want to use Pro Controller due to the buttons size and travel distance. Unless you are a kid or have small hands, you will find the d-pad and operational buttons to be too small for smooth implementation of some movements.
However, Joy-Cons bring something to the table that the Switch Pro controller is unable to do. They can be utilized in more than one way. If you opt to use them with the grip to form a shape of a gaming controller, the setup replicates the look and functionality of a traditional gamepad pretty well. Joy-Cons are the optimal choice for portable gaming experience and since Nintendo Switch is great in this mode, the winner is clear here as well.
Now let’s speak about the pricing as it's an important factor when making a purchase decision. The Pro Controller price of $70.00 for a standard configuration may seem a little high considering its closest competitors, Xbox One and PS4 gamepads, can be bought for less, but for a few extra bucks you can have a custom-built product with unique look and feel. Make sure to check out Mega Modz Gaming Controllers and all options offered within the line of Nintendo Pro Switch goods to get a cutting edge product at a reasonable cost.
If you are shopping for your crew, getting an extra pair of Joy-Cons makes much more sense. For a similar amount of money, you will get two extra Joy-Cons to give out to your friends whenever you need. Counting the two controllers already included with the console, you will have 4 fully functional gaming remotes at the price of 1 Pro controller.
When debating whether or not you should get the Pro controller, a smart strategy to follow would be taking your time to explore how you like the default gamepad. If you play on TV more than half of the time and get yourself immersed into a game for hours, get the Switch Pro Controller as Joy-Cons won’t deliver the same level of movement precision and maneuverability. On the other side, as much as the Pro Controller is perfect for at-home set up, just as much unnecessary it is for gaming on the go. If you mostly use the Switch in handheld mode, stick with standard Joy-Cons. Depending on your preferred gaming style (whether you mostly play alone or with your friends), Joy-Cons can become an obvious choice as they make two individual controllers. The perfect solution is to acquire the Pro Controller for your personal use to be able to take advantage of Nintendo technology edge when at home and use docked Joy-Cons for the handheld mode plus have them available for your buddies in case of group play.
Custom Switch Pro Controllers - Let Your Creativity Stand Out
We hope the paragraph above has convinced you that the Pro Controller for Nintendo Switch is a smart investment aimed at taking your game to the level not reachable otherwise. However, owning a standard Switch Pro gaming pad is not all. The product doesn’t really break the mold when it comes to design and looks just like any other premium controller out there. Yes, the finish and the buttons deliver a sense of top quality, but is it satisfying for you to own a controller looking like everyone else’s? Wouldn’t it be better to stand out? Here is where controller customization comes into play. For those who are new to the subject, customization or personalization of gamepads is a service that has become popular several years ago. What can be customized on a controller? Every single element on the standard configuration can be replaced with a custom one, from Nintendo Switch Pro controller skin to every product button. The service immediately created a huge demand, and third-party companies offering it proliferated like mushrooms on a rainy day. The new trend has caught the attention of serious players - this is how famous Xbox One Design Lab was brought to life.
Today there are several reputable companies that provide creative exterior altering options for gaming controllers for all major systems, including Nintendo Switch. On Design your own Switch Pro Controller platform you will be able to see a full line of exclusive personalized, chrome, hydro-dipped designs, colored buttons, custom d-pads and shoulder buttons and try them all out before confirming the final look of the product. It is useful to know that the key element, Nintendo Switch Pro Controller Shell, comes in 2 pieces, the back, and the front, delivering a complete, customized gaming pad from any way you look at it.
To wrap up our 2019 unbiased review of the Pro Controller for Nintendo Switch, here is our take. Should you go Pro? Absolutely yes, the gamepad is essential for an enjoyable online adventure and required for successful completion of missions in a broad variety of games. Should you have it customized? Another yes, if you are ready to spend $70 on a controller, you may as well add another twenty and get a one-of-a-kind looking gadget that will lighten up your lonely nights in front of the TV or become a trophy you will be proudly demonstrating to your crew.