Bottom line: These controllers feel great in your hands and even have a few extra features compared to the official Joy-Cons. They're an excellent buy for anyone who likes hosting Nintendo Switch game nights or anyone seeking to replace drifting Joy-Cons for cheap.
Half the price of Joy-Cons
USB-C charging ports and cables
Macro and Turbo buttons
No amiibo functionality
USB-C ports get in the way of handhold
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Obviously, you're going to want the best Nintendo Switch controllers that you can get when playing your favorite titles on the hybrid console. With the official Joy-Cons being super expensive and susceptible to Joy-Con drift (not to mention incredibly hard to find during the pandemic), I've been looking to third-party controllers to meet my Switch gaming needs.
I've tested the Tutuo Joy-Pads for over two weeks, and I must say that they have exceeded my expectations. In many ways, they are better than Nintendo's official Joy-Cons as they provide a better grip, a D-pad, and extra functions, while costing half as much.
Tutuo Joy-Pad What I like
Tutuo Joy-Pads work very similarly to official Joy-Cons, easily sliding on and off the Switch console. They even come with their own grip stand for a more traditional controller feel. You'll notice that the grip puts the controllers at a slight angle. When I first saw this, I was afraid it might affect my gaming sessions, but it never has.
Ergonomic design One of the best Nintendo Switch controllers
These Joy-Pads feel great! When playing my Nintendo Switch in handheld mode for long stretches using the official Joy-Cons, my hands become uncomfortable, and my pinky fingers will even fall asleep. But these Joy-Pads have an ergonomic design to them, which makes them so much easier to hold. I don't suffer any pinky fatigue while using them.
They respond to commands beautifully, whether I'm playing a game in single-player or have handed one off to a friend for a multiplayer experience. While being used sideways, the controllers aren't the best shape, but they're no worse than the official Joy-Cons. Another vital aspect of the design is that my Nintendo Switch still fits in the dock when these controllers are attached to my console. This isn't always the case with third-party controllers.
I will admit that I don't like the look of the square buttons compared to the round buttons on the official Joy-Cons. However, since they are slightly more prominent, they are easier to tap while playing my games. The last thing I'll address design-wise is that these controllers have impressive battery life and have never run out of juice on me during one of my long gaming sessions.
Helpful functions Everything you need and then some
These controllers feature rumble, motion controls, and a large D-pad on the left side for better control during platformers. In addition to these basic functions, these controllers feature USB-C ports and come with two USB to USB-C cables for when they need a charge. They can also be charged by being connected to the Nintendo Switch. They're a great fit for either the original Nintendo Switch or the Nintendo Switch Lite.
Plus, you'll find a Turbo and a Macro button on either controller. The Turbo button spams whatever button you assign it to while the Macro button can remember a button sequence to help you quickly perform a special move in games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (opens in new tab).
Now, the most rampant problem with Nintendo's controllers is Joy-Con drift. During the time that I've tested the Tutuo Joy-Pads, I haven't experienced any connectivity or drift issues. However, it's possible that they could suffer these problems as time goes on. It just depends on how similarly the joysticks are designed.
Super inexpensive Half the cost of Joy-Cons
So, the Joy-Pads feel great, offer most of the basic Joy-Con capabilities, and even offer extra functionality. But what serves as the cherry on top is that they only cost half as much as Joy-Cons.
Now, you could buy a more traditional-looking third-party controller for cheaper. However, when it comes to certain multiplayer games like Super Mario Party (opens in new tab), which only works with Joy-Cons, these knock-offs are the way to go. I'll probably be purchasing more of these if I ever need more Joy-Cons in my house.
Tutuo Joy-Pad What I don't like
I love the Tutuo Joy-Pads, but they aren't perfect. Still, the problems I have with them aren't anywhere close to being deal-breakers.
A couple of small things Definitely not deal breakers
This is a really small gripe, but the location of the USB-C ports gets in the way of my handhold. I was definitely able to get used to the feeling, but I wish they hadn't been placed there, to begin with.
As mentioned before, the Tutuo Joy-Pad offers several fantastic functions. Really, the only thing they're missing from actual Joy-Cons is NFC scanning. Since amiibo aren't getting used with Switch games as much as they used to, this isn't the biggest issue for most people. However, if you're specifically looking for controllers to use with amiibo, this won't be a good fit for you.
Tutuo Joy-Pad Competition
There are several knock-off Joy-Cons out there for you to choose from, like SHANGCAI Joycon Replacement (opens in new tab). They cost the same as the Tutuo Joy-Pads and feature a more pronounced grip. They are available in three different colors.
Hohhon JoyCons (opens in new tab) have motion controls, rumble, and look relatively similar to Joy-Cons. However, many of the buttons are oval-shaped. They come in nine colors and even have a set that looks an awful lot like the mint and blue Animal Crossing Joy-Cons.
KINVOCA Joycon Replacements (opens in new tab) have a rounded triangular design to them and feature a thicker, ergonomic grip. They can be charged with micro USB cables. However, these cables are not included in the box.
Tutuo Joy-Pad Should you buy it?
I love having people over to play my favorite Nintendo Switch games, so purchasing multiple controllers is a must. Not to mention that I've had to replace a few Joy-Cons after they've begun to drift. The Tutuo Joy-Pads are the perfect alternative to purchasing expensive, official Joy-Cons as they work really well and feel great in your hands.
Plus, there's the D-pad on the left side, the buttons press in nicely, and the controllers even offer a few extra conveniences like USB-C charging ports and Turbo buttons. These controllers might not offer amiibo scanning capabilities, but that's common with third-party controllers. Given their low price and excellent functionality, they might just be the best third-party replacements or even the best Nintendo Switch controllers you can purchase on the market today.
Better than Joy-Cons
These controllers feel great in your hands and even have a few extra features compared to the official Joy-Cons. They're a great buy for anyone who likes hosting Nintendo Switch game nights or anyone seeking to replace drifting Joy-Cons for cheap.
Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.
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