Bottom line: The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is an essential purchase for Nintendo Switch owners. It's a comfortable, durable feature-complete controller.
Up to 40 hours of wireless play
USB included for wired play
Sturdy and comfortable build
Motion controls and amiibo support built-in
Works in Tabletop mode, as well as with the Switch Lite and PC
Price is high compared to thirdy party offerings
Black is the only color option
No headphone jack or port for headphones
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I love playing my Nintendo Switch, as do many other people. Since its release in 2017, the hybrid console has consistently been a best seller thanks in part to its great game catalog and its portability. Being able to play seamlessly by swapping from your television to your couch or bed is not to be understated, and it's a great way to keep the game going when your TV is occupied or if you're traveling on a train or plane. The Switch is such a handy device for gaming on the go.
But while I love playing my Nintendo Switch as a portable machine, I much prefer a traditional gaming experience with a traditional controller in my hand. The Joy-Cons can be detached from the tablet and are easily slid into the included Comfort Grip to simulate your typical controller, but it never felt quite right. The thumbsticks were never ideal for shooters and action titles, there was no D-pad, and the Joy-Con Comfort Grip is rather small, and not ideal for users with larger hands.
Enter the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, the official Nintendo controller for the Nintendo Switch that solves all of my issues and more. This controller has it all: comfortable control sticks, almost 40 hours of battery life, Bluetooth, built-in amiibo support, and motion controls. While it's not perfect, the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is the best Nintendo Switch controllers and an essential accessory for any Nintendo Switch owner.
The only controller you'll ever need
Nintendo Switch Pro Controller review: An essential controller
Nintendo has a long history of solid controllers, despite their fondness for oddball control schemes. As a kid, the Wireless Wavebird Controller for the Gamecube was unmatched, and I'd switch to a Pro Controller for the Wii and Wii U every chance I'd get. The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller takes inspiration from all of those, as well as Microsoft's Xbox Controller. The Switch Pro Controller is an amalgamation of all of that, and crafts a familiar, modern controller.
The Switch Pro Controller is very sturdy and doesn't feel flimsy like many other third party controllers do. It also has a nice, almost translucent shell you can see the inside of the controller through, which is really cool touch. The control sticks are slightly wider than the Joy-Cons with a greater indent and a rigged grip that allows for tighter control.
While subtle, the change is very noticeable when playing action games like Fortnite or Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The controller itself is wider than the Joy-Con comfort grip and is more comfortable overall, especially for folks with bigger hands or those who are use to other controllers.
The complete package
I bought this controller in 2018, and it's still my go to controller whenever I play on my Switch. The controller is still going strong and hasn't shown any signs of wear and tear and has not fallen victim to Joy-Con drift. The controller boasts almost 40 hours of battery life, and that's still true for my controller. It also comes with a USB-A to USB-C cable that can be plugged into a USB port on the Switch's dock or any other USB port. You can also connect your controller to your PC via USB or wirelessly via Bluetooth as well as your Switch Lite.
The Switch controller also comes with an amiibo sensor, built right into the controller. In order to scan your amiibo into amiibo-compatible games, simply tap the right stick with your figure, and viola! Motion controls are also built-in and you can enable gyro controls for some extra precision in certain games.
Some would say that gyro, when done right, rivals that of keyboard and mouse. While I'm not one of those people, games like Splatoon 2, Overwatch, and Doom make a good argument for gyro controls.
In addition to using your Nintendo Switch Pro Controller in docked mode, you can also use it while the Switch is in Tabletop Mode. The Pro Controller is compatible with pretty much every Nintendo Switch game, not counting the handful of games that require Joy-Cons exclusively, so you'll be able to play pretty much any game available on the Switch. Overall, the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller feels like something that every Switch owner should have in their repertoire.
A few steps away from greatness
Nintendo Switch Pro Controller review: Almost perfect, but not quite
The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is a great controller, but It's just shy of perfect. While there aren't any major issues with its design or its use, there are many smaller issues that add up upon closer inspection. For example, there's no headphone jack. Nintendo makes voice chat cumbersome as it is, and the Pro Controller does nothing to help the situation. Speaking of cumbersome, the buttons match the layout of the Joy-Con, so swapping between the Joy-Cons and Pro Controller is just fine. However, I always have to take a few extra minutes to re-associate myself with the controller when swapping from the PlayStation or Xbox.
Don't expect to find any other colors, either. While there are many third party Pro Controllers that come in different colors, you're primarily stuck with black, aside from the occasional special edition controller. It's also priced slightly above its competitors, sitting at $70 normally, though it occassional drops as low as $60. The price is normal for a first-party controller, but considering how limited the Joy-Con Comfort Grip is, the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller feels like something that should've been included with the system, so shelling out the additional cash hurt just a little more.
The motion controls are mostly fine, but it's the only time I'd prefer the precision of the Joy-Con. It's never a deal breaker, but using motion controls in Super Mario Galaxy or Super Mario 3D World felt distracting and take a little more effort than necessary. Again, not deal-breakers by any means, just minor annoyances that start to weigh down the controller when considered altogether.
While the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is the best route to go when you're considering another controller for your Nintendo Switch, it's not the only one. Many third-party options exist that are significantly cheaper and work just as well, with a few cost-cutting alterations.
Power A, for example, has many different versions of the Switch Pro Controller that feature different decals and designs and will save you a buck, though you'll lose the rechargeable battery and built-in amiibo support. Hori also has an officially licensed wired Pro Controller for a fraction of the Switch Pro Controller's price, but you'll have to deal with the loss of motion controls, amiibo support, and tabletop play.
Nintendo Switch Pro Controller review: Should you buy?
You should buy this if…
The Joy-Cons are just too small for you
Joy-Cons are fun but are small and uncomfortable for players with larger hands. The Joy-Con Comfort Grip helps the problem, but the Pro Controller is the most comfortable option.
You play other systems
The design of the Switch controller is in line with modern controllers. Aside from button placement, switching between an Xbox Controller and a Switch Pro Controller is almost seamless.
Looking for a multi-use controller
In addition to being usable on the Switch, you can also make use of it on your computer, both wired and wirelessly.
You should not buy this if…
You're looking for some color
Aside from the occasional special edition controller, the only color the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is available in is black.
Looking for a cheaper solution
The Pro Controller is priced at $70 and rarely drops from there. If you're looking for a cheap controller alternative, you'll have to look elsewhere.
The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is the best Nintendo Switch controller money can buy. Complete with all of the Joy-Con's features, a great battery life, and a sturdy, quality build, this Pro Controller is worthy of Nintendo's seal of quality. I only wish it came with the system from the jump. It may be a pricy addition, but the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is a necessary accessory for any Nintendo Switch owner.
A perfect fit
The best Nintendo Switch controller
The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is an almost perfect controller and an essential accessory for the Nintendo Switch.
Zackery Cuevas is a writer for Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore. He likes playing video games, talking about video games, writing about video games, and most importantly, complaining about video games. If you're cool, you can follow me on Twitter @Zackzackzackery.