Bottom line: It costs less than the Pro Controller but feels just as hefty. The extra buttons on the backside are wonderful as they are designed in such a way that they aren't intrusive when you're playing. You can have the controller cycle through colors or choose a specific color to stay on. This is a great option to have as it looks gorgeous, is easy to program, and runs for long stretches between charges.
Mappable back buttons
Several color options
Cheaper than Pro Controller
Decent battery length
Features motion controls
No NFC functionality
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Controllers are one of the most important aspects of gaming. They determine how well you interact with the characters on screen, and if they don't work well or feel funny, it distracts from the overall gaming experience. If you're looking for something less expensive than Nintendo's official Pro Controller or a pair of Joy-Cons, but want it to still feel good in your grasp, you should really consider PDP's Afterglow Wireless Deluxe Controller.
After playing with this accessory for several hours, I've determined that it's a great option for any Nintendo Switch owners. Read on to see my full review of the PDP Afterglow Wireless Deluxe Controller.
Looks good, works good, feels good
PDP Afterglow Wireless Deluxe Controller What I like
It's surprisingly difficult to find a good wireless Switch controller. While the PDP Afterglow Wireless Deluxe isn't perfect, it's a really great option and not just because it costs less than the Pro Controller.
Several colors and hues Play with all the colors
I was really happy to find that this controller offers several different hues within the same color. If you want a bright blue or more of a turquoise blue, all you have to do is press the function button (located below the right controller) and then press the left or right buttons on the D-pad to shift up or down a shade with each press.
If you'd prefer to play with all of the colors of the rainbow, you simply hold the function button and then press the L or R button. This controller transitions beautifully from one color to the next while in this mode. What's more, changing the color option is seamless, so you can easily change colors while in the middle of your game.
The colors are bright and look really good whenever I glance down during a gaming session. Additionally, the casing is clear and makes this a great controller for anyone who likes seeing all the wiring and microships that make these accessories tick.
Excellent design Great feel and control
Unlike some other controllers, this one doesn't have any textured grip around the handholds. However, I never felt like it was going to slip out of my hands. Speaking of which, it feels great. It has more heft to it than those wireless controllers that are powered by AA batteries. In fact, if feels a lot like the Pro Controller without costing as much.
Something I love about this accessory is that the joysticks have some texture in the center and raised rings on the tips, making this controller feel more responsive than my other ones. On top of that, the trigger buttons feel amazing. They press down with a satisfying, soft click and feel pretty similar to a Pro Controller's triggers.
For all of you competitive players, there are mappable buttons on the backside. What I like about these buttons is that they're super simple to program to the commands you want and they are designed to be less intrusive than others I've used. If you don't particularly like having those button on the back, you can actually remove them. There's a sliding switch on the backside of the controller that allows you to pop the back plate off. I think this is specifically meant for switching out with another backplate that features different-shaped back buttons, but it's also great for anyone who doesn't want to deal with the extra, backside buttons in the first place.
Long battery life Lasts for a long time
The battery lasts up to 20 hours, which is half as long as the Pro Controller, but is plenty long enough to last through most gaming sessions. You'll just want to make sure you charge the Afterglow whenever you're done playing, so it's ready for you the next time you boot up your Switch.
It's not too surprising that the battery life wouldn't be the best, considering that the colorful LEDs are contantly pulling power while you play. Something else I like is that when charging, the Afterglow glows red. When it finishes charging, the LEDs change to green to let you know it's ready to go.
Something I find odd is that it uses a micro-USB charging port instead of a USB-C port, but it's not a bad thing. Additionally, the micro USB port has a strange-but-smart design. Instead of being on the surface, it's recessed into the controller. This protects the micro USB's contact area and makes it less likely to get damaged.
To help you charge the controller, the Afterglow Deluxe comes with its own USB to micro USB cable. You simply plug the USB end into your Switch Dock and you're good to charge the controller. At a little more than 3-feet long, the cable isn't the longest, but you can easily store it or travel with it.
Lacking some functionality
PDP Afterglow Wireless Deluxe Controller What I don't like
Despite being somewhat pricey, this controller doesn't feature rumble or NFC functionality. That means that you won't be able to use amiibo with this controller or feel the haptic feedback you'd experience using regular Joy-Cons or the Pro Controller.
To be fair, NFC functionality is only important for a handful of Switch games, so depending on the games you're playing, you might not even miss it. As long as these things aren't a deal breaker, this is still a great controller to have. The Afterglow Deluxe does have motion controls, so it responds to movement in games where that's an important feature.
Something else to be aware of is that the Home and Screenshot buttons have basically switched places with the + and - buttons. This felt very strange at first since I kept hitting the wrong buttons, but it didn't take me long to get used to this formatting.
PDP Afterglow Wireless Deluxe Controller Bottom Line
In addition to looking awesome and offering customizable color options, the PDP Afterglow Wireless Deluxe Controller works phenomenally. True, it doesn't have rumble or amiibo functionality, but unless that's a deal breaker for you, it's a great option to have. Additionally, some of the buttons are in different places, but it's nothing you can't get used to. The colors are bright and the clear casing allows you to see everything that's inside. Anyone looking for an alternative to the Pro Controller will be plenty happy with this purchase.
It has good run time of up to 20 hours, feels sturdy, and offers motion controls to help you play various games. It has a perfect weight and is super easy to program the back buttons or remove them if you don't want them. If you're looking for a less-expensive alternative from the Pro Controller or Joy-Cons, this is the accessory to get.
Colorful and comfortable
This controller feels great in your hands, lasts for long stretches, and is easy to program. You can have it cycle through several colors or specifically select a color you like.
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.