Bottom line: With comfortably textured grips, an internal battery, and extra programmable buttons, this controller is perfect for any Switch owner.
- Excellent texture grips
- Great rumble and motion controls
- 15-hour battery life
- Programmable back buttons
- Three color options
- Cannot scan amiibo
Anyone who's used Joy-Cons for extended periods knows that they aren't the most comfortable gamepads out there. With no grip and a unique design that flouts traditional controller designs, they are prone to causing finger strain. Thankfully, there are more traditional controllers out there to use, including some made by third parties.
Now, third-party Nintendo Switch controllers are a dime a dozen online, so it can be hard to know which ones are actually worth using. This is why I'm always eager to check new ones out. Over the last couple of weeks, I've been playing with two EasySMX ESM-9124 Wireless Controllers and have come to love them.
They're comfortable to hold, provide all of the buttons I need, and even offer some extras. However, they are lacking one major function of the Pro Controller, which we'll get into below.
EasySMX ESM-9124 Wireless Controller: Price and availablility
The EasySMX ESM-9124 wireless controllers can be purchased on Amazon or EasySMX's website. They have an MRSP of $39.99, but often go on sale for cheaper. It comes in three different colors: black, white, or Red Dragon. Currently, Amazon Prime members can use a coupon before checkout to get 50% off.
Additionally, anyone using this special discount code can receive 14% off this controller purchase. Just make sure to enter the discount code pasted below.
Get it for 14% off
With its traditional design, comfortable grips, and extra buttons, the EasySMX ESM-9124 is a great Switch controller. Get it 14% off with this discount code.
Discount Code: RS14
Buy From: EasySMX (opens in new tab)
EasySMX ESM-9124 Wireless Controller: What you'll like
In addition to owning the official Nintendo Switch Pro Controller since it came out, numerous third-party Switch controllers have come into my life over the last few years. This has given me a good sense of how gamepad options for the hybrid console compare against each other.
I've got to say that the EasySMX ESM-9124 has one of the best grip designs I've seen so far. It's textured to the perfect extent, making it so that the controller won't slip out of hands during a heart-pounding moment. This texture even wraps around slightly to the front side of the controllers, which allows the palms of my hands to also help stabilize the controller better.
|Compatible devices||Switch, Switch OLED, Switch Lite|
|Battery||Up to 15 hours|
All of the basic controls needed for Switch games are there and then some. As is common with traditional third-party controllers, the joysticks and main buttons are larger than that of the Joy-Cons and there's also a D-pad, which is helpful when it comes to more minute control in certain games like the best platformers. For the most part, everything pressed in and responded beautifully during my testing. My only complaint is a minor one. The D-Pad presses down a little too softly and would provide a better response if it clicked in faster.
The backside of the controller features four extra buttons, which aren't assigned by default. However, they can easily be remapped to any of the other buttons on the controller. This is a feature that competitive players like to take advantage of as it makes it easier to press certain controls while in the heat of the moment.
After connecting the controller to my Switch OLED for the first time, I was happy to find that the controller could wake my console up with a press of the Home button. Not all third-party controllers offer this ability. You also know if the controller is on because the A, B, X, and Y buttons light up.
This controller also offers motion controls and rumble, which are both features that are necessary for some Switch games. To test these features out, I played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The vibrations are at a good level and the motion controls are responsive without issue.
Battery-wise, EasySMX states that the power can last for up to 15 hours, which admittedly isn't nearly as much as the 40-hour life of the Pro Controller. However, this range is typical with third-party options.
I was able to play multiple gaming sessions throughout the week before I needed to recharge. This being the case, as long as you remember to charge it up between every one or two gaming sessions, you won't run out of juice while playing.
EasySMX ESM-9124 Wireless Controller: What you won't like
As is often the case with third-party Switch controllers, this model does not include NFC scanning abilities. In other words, you won't be able to scan amiibo using the EasySMX ESM-9124.
This usually isn't a problem for most titles. However, amiibo do provide extra perks for many of the best Switch games out there. So if you have an amiibo collection you want to take advantage of, you might want to look into using a different controller.
My only other complaint is the one I stated above. If the D-Pad clicked in faster, it would have a better response time. It's a bit too soft for my preference, although this likely won't bother too many players.
EasySMX ESM-9124 Wireless Controller: Competition
If you're an amiibo collector, then the best third-party Switch controller out there is the YCCTEAM Game Controller for Nintendo Switch, which we reviewed and loved. It has all of the buttons and functions of the Pro Controller and you scan amiibo by hovering them over the massive Home button in the top center of the gamepad.
Another reliable option is the PowerA Enhanced Wireless controller. It's officially licensed by Nintendo and comes in a number of different designs. You can even find these controllers with character themes from Zelda, Mario, Metroid, Pokémon, and more. They do not feature internal batteries, however, they do run using two AAA batteries.
EasySMX ESM-9124 Wireless Controller: Should you buy it?
Anyone looking for a reliable Switch controller that doesn't cost as much as the official option will appreciate the EasySMX ESM-9124 Wireless Controller. It comes in three designs, provides decent battery life, has great rumble and motion controls, and the textured grips are comfortable while preventing slippage.
The only thing it's missing is amiibo scanning, which is something that's often lacking from third-party offerings. But as long as you don't need to scan those collectible figures, you'll get a lot of use out of this classy gamepad.
An alternative to the Pro Controller
With its traditional design, D-pad, and extra buttons on the back, this controller is a great choice for any Switch owner. The buttons and joysticks are larger than what's offered on the Joy-Cons and make this a great fit for adult 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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