Play like a pro
The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is largely considered the best Nintendo controller in recent years. It has a killer D-pad and boasts a built-in NFC reader for scanning amiibo, motion controls, as well as rumble. You won't have to hunt for batteries when it runs low on power as it can be charged with a USB cable. It is definitely pricey, though.
- Feels fantastic in your hands
- Good D-pad
- USB Charging
- Scans amiibo
- No programmable buttons on back
The PowerA Wireless Controller may not have an NFC reader or rumble, but it still brings a lot to the table. You will get an even better D-pad, motion controls, and two programmable buttons on the back at a considerably lower price than the Pro Controller. Plus, there are dozens of designs from different games series to choose from so you can get the look you like best.
- Lower price
- Programmable buttons
- Slightly better D-pad
- More colors and designs
- Runs on two AA batteries
- No NFC reader
- No rumble
If money isn't a huge concern for you and you have to have rumble, motion controls, and an NFC reader for amiibo scanning, then the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is the obvious choice. But if you want to save a few bucks, the PowerA controller will do the job. The PowerA also has one specific additional feature that gives it a solid edge over its competition. They work on Switch, Switch OLED, and Switch Lite.
Pro Controller vs. PowerA Controller: Differences
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The Pro Controller is an absolutely fantastic controller that boasts just about all the bells and whistles you could ask for. It has a really nice build quality. The ergonmic design and weight feel great in your hands. You can use its NFC reader to scan your amiibo and it offers rumble support. Most importantly, it includes motion controls necessary when playing certain Switch games. When your Pro Controller is low on juice, you can plug a USB-C cable into it and get it all charged up. The battery can last for roughly 40 hours, so you don't have to worry about charging it all the time.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Nintendo Switch Pro Controller||PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller|
|Cost||$70 and up||$40 and up|
|Battery Life||Up to 40 Hrs.||Up to 30 Hrs.|
|Power supply||Rechargeable Battery||2 x AA Batteries|
The biggest problem with the Pro Controller is that it carries a pretty hefty price tag. While the black version can usually be found at most retailers selling for $70, some other versions sell for upwards of $90. Gaming accessories have been harder to find in recent years as demand for the Nintendo Switch and its companion hardware have gone up, so that doesn't help.
For some gamers, buying a controller that could run you nearly a third of the Switch console cost itself just isn't an option. That's when it may be time to take a closer look at the PowerA Enhanced Controller, which is also one of the best Nintendo Switch controllers out there. It is much gentler on the pocketbook with a much smaller asking price.
To offer a controller at a lower cost, certain functionality just has to go. In the case of the PowerA Enhanced Controller, NFC and rumble just didn't make the cut. However, for some people, that just isn't a big deal. The PowerA Controller cannot be charged with a USB because it runs off of AA batteries. If you're someone who prefers using disposable batteries, this won't be a bad thing. So this is really a matter of taste. The good news is that this budget controller still features motion controls.
Something that the PowerA offers more readily than the Pro Controller is different design options. There are dozens of different choices ranging from a change in color to a Mario, Pokémon, or Zelda theme, so you can find the look you like best. Finally, one of the coolest things that the PowerA offers is the programmable buttons on the back. For those who play competitively against friends and want more customization options, this is a real win.
Pro Controller vs PowerA Controller: Which should you buy?
The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller and the PowerA Enhanced Controller are great products with specific benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately there are a few things to consider when choosing which one is right for you. How important is the price? Do you need NFC, motion control, and rumble? Both of these controllers are perfectly compatible with every model of the Nintendo Switch, including the Nintendo Switch OLED, so it really comes down to price and features.
If you can afford it, the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is the better option. However, if the thought of customizable, programmable buttons sounds appealing, you want some color options, or you're still saving to buy the next big Switch game, the PowerA should be your pick.
All the bells and whistles
The Pro Controller price may be a bit on the high end of the scale, but you will get a lot for your buck. If you need that rumble or you collect amiibo and use them regularly, this might be the only choice for you.
The cheaper option
The PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller makes a few sacrifices to keep the price down. However, if the things sacrificed don't matter to you, this may be a perfect controller. Add in the programmable buttons, and that makes this controller a formidable contender.
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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.