Bottom line: Anyone looking for a better grip when playing their favorite Switch games would do well to purchase this controller. It works incredibly well, feels great in your hands, and has some fun RGB lighting options as well.
- RGB lights
- Vibration & motion controls
- Great grips
- Fits on Switch in dock
- Cheaper than Joy-Cons
- Comes with USB to USB-C charging cable
- Black or Green & Blue options
- No amiibo support
- Makes kickstand unusable
Let's be real: the Nintendo Switch is a great little gaming system, but those Joy-Cons cost way too much, and they're pretty darn small in adult hands. That's what makes knockoffs so appealing. The best third-party Joy-Cons provide a better grip, cost less, come in several colors, and sometimes feature additional buttons. The tradeoff is that they don't always have motion controls or amiibo scanning.
I recently got to test the Binbok Joy Pad controller. Either side has a built-in battery and can be used either attached to the Switch or on its own. It's so much more comfortable than Joy-Cons, features motion controls and rumble, and even has some fun RGB lighting action going for it. Overall, it's a great controller that costs less than Joy-Cons.
Binbok Joy Pad Controller: Price and availability
The Binbok Joy-Pad controller sells for $50 on Amazon. This is a very good price considering the fact that it offers RGB lighting, motion controls, rumble, and a good hand grip. What's more, it costs $30 less than official Joy-Cons and $20 less than the Pro Controller. They come in Black or Green & Blue to match the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Switch.
Binbok Joy Pad Controller: What's good
All I had to do to sync the controller with my Switch was slip them onto either side of my console; then everything was ready to go. You can keep them attached for handheld mode or can detach them for comfortable docked mode from your couch.
What's more, I discovered that when they're detached, I can wake up either side of the controller by pressing the Home and screenshot buttons. Once both are active, they turn the Switch on, which isn't always the case with third-party options. That way, I don't have to go and re-sync my docked Switch after I've done it the first time.
Controls & battery As reliable as the official thing
Binbok offers most of the features you'd find on the Pro Controller or Joy-Cons, including rumble and motion controls. I tested the rumble of an official Joy-Con in my hand against the rumble of the Binbok, and it felt the same. The motion controls and buttons also responded just the way I would have expected from an official controller. There are also extra buttons on the backside, including micro, turbo, ER, and EL buttons which you can program to do several things.
Both sides have a USB-C port to charge their internal batteries independently of the other. I've been able to play for over five hours straight without the battery running out. Just make sure to charge them up between uses to keep them ready to go. Unlike some third-party controllers, these ones do fit on my Nintendo Switch while it is docked. It only comes with one USB to USB-C cable, so you'll either have to take turns charging them or grab another cable to charge them at the same time.
Built for adults
The thing I hate the most about Joy-Cons is their small size and lack of comfortable grips. This strange combination tends to make my pinky fingers go numb if I'm playing in handheld mode for long stretches. But the Binbok Joy Pad has excellent, adult-sized, textured grips, which prevent this circulation loss from happening. Plus, the buttons and D-pad are large, and feel like their placement was meant for someone my size rather than a munchkin. Of course, that means this controller might not be suitable for someone with smaller hands.
RGB lights Colors of the rainbow
The Binbok Joy Pad features two RGB circles, one on either joystick. These can be made to display one of eight different color options: Red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, blue, purple, and rainbow. You can set either side to display a different color independently, or you can have them filter through the seven solid color options. The lighting isn't super bright, which I like. Some RGB controllers hurt my eyes and make it hard to play when it's dark out, but that wasn't the case with these ones.
The controller does remember the lighting settings you chose when you wake it up, and the two controllers will filter through colors in unison if both are activated simultaneously. It's important to note that as far as I can tell, there is no way to turn the lighting off entirely while the controller is on.
Binbok Joy Pad Controller: What's not good
It's pretty common for third-party controllers not to include rumble, motion controls, or amiibo scanning. However, Binbok does have two of those three. It's just missing those NFC reading abilities. Now, this isn't something that will bother most players. However, if you're set on finding a knockoff controller that can read your favorite amiibo, this controller won't do the trick for you.
Additionally, since these controllers are larger than Joy-Cons, they make it so the Switch's kickstand cannot touch the ground. This isn't a huge deal unless you often put the Switch in tabletop mode, though.
Binbok Joy Pad Controller: Competition
The Binbok Joy Pad is very much like an improved Hori Pad. The biggest difference being that Hori's product doesn't have built-in batteries and thus cannot work while detached from the Switch. However, there are far more designs to choose from, including Pokémon, Monster Hunter Rise, and Pac-Man themes.
The GEEMEE Tutuo Joy-Pad is another great pick. They're a little more slender than Binbok's offering but still provide extra grip from what the Joy-Cons provide. They're also charged via USB-C ports and come in several colors.
Binbok Joy Pad Controller: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You want a controller with good grip
- You really like RGB lighting
- You want a controller that offers rumble and motion controls
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You only want officially licensed Switch accessories
- You need a controller that offers amiibo scanning
- You don't care about RGB lighting
Honestly, these are some of the very best third-party Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons I've ever seen. They have all of the controls you'd expect from an official controller plus some. Not to mention, they also feature motion controls, vibration, and those sweet RGB circles around the joysticks. Plus, those large, textured grips combined with the big D-pad and buttons feels great in adult hands.
The only downside is that they are missing amiibo scanning abilities, and when they're attached to the Switch, they make the kickstand unuseable. But if that's not a problem, they'll be a great fit. Additionally, it might be a little big for children or people with smaller hands.
Rebecca Spear is the dedicated gaming editor for iMore who loves playing games on Switch and iOS. She is a Zelda nut through and through and can also talk for hours about her favorite Pokémon games. She’s written hundreds of guides and reviews over the last six years to the point that if you get stuck in a game somewhere, she can help you out. On any given day, you’ll find her following the latest tech, digitally drawing with her iPad Air and Apple Pencil, reading a good book, or - you guessed it - playing video games. Follow her on Twitter @rrspear (opens in new tab) to see her post about her corgi, foster kitties, art, and favorite video game characters.
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