When I preordered the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller without ever having touched it, I did so through gritted teeth. The $70 price tag is a shock next to the $60 Sony DualShock 4 and Microsoft Xbox One gamepads, but I was buying the system primarily to play games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey – and I was banking on a better experience with the Pro Controller than the then-uncertain ergonomics of the Joy-Con Grip. I’m still not thrilled about the price tag, but I’m extremely satisfied with the Pro Controller.
Ergonomically, the highest compliment I can pay Nintendo’s new gamepad is that it feels almost identical in your hands to the Hall of Fame-worthy Xbox 360 controller. The two are almost the exact same size and shape, and the Pro Controller’s build quality is even higher. But despite the
The Pro Controller’s face buttons are big – much bigger than the tiny Joy-Con buttons – and give a nice press. Thumbsticks also feel excellent, and, Miyamoto be praised, they’re offset just like on Xbox. The handles feel great, too; they’re just the right size for comfortable, extended gameplay sessions. You also get a real d-pad, which is an undeniable advantage over the tiny, separate directional buttons found on the left Joy-Con when it comes to playing classic-style 2D platformers – that might come in handy on a Nintendo console. I also had no issues using motion controls to solve
Battery life from the built-in, rechargeable power source is phenomenal, with a claimed 40 hours that I’ve yet to successfully run down. That crushes the seven to eight-hour life of the DualShock
My only real complaints about the Pro Controller are more nitpicks than serious criticisms. First, the Z triggers don’t depress as far as I’d like in order to sufficiently differentiate them from the L and R shoulder buttons (or, to put it less scientifically, they don’t feel as “trigger-y” as I’d prefer). Second, the rumble feedback effect is a bit mild compared to the more intense response you get on the Joy-Con.
And finally, that price. At $70, it’s more expensive than either a DualShock 4 or an Xbox One gamepad. But that extra $10 is buying you that impressive rechargeable battery and an NFC reader that can be used to scan in amiibo, so at least we know where the extra money goes.
Nintendo Switch Pro Controller Verdict
Even if, like me, the Pro Controller’s price gives you pause, I can’t deny that you absolutely get a high-quality gamepad that rivals the default input devices on the other two consoles. If it’s anything like the Xbox 360 controller it so closely resembles, it’s likely to serve you very well for the duration of the Switch’s lifecycle. I plan on using it regularly both at home and on the road.