PDP Nintendo Switch Pro Joy-Con Charging Grip review

I spent over 10 hours testing the PDP Pro Joy-Con Charging Grip to see how it worked during intense gaming sessions. While evaluating it, I considered price, grip comfort, battery life, and its abilities. Typically, you need to pay more for a quality controller, but sometimes, as is the case here, cheaper alternatives can work just as well.

The PDP Pro Joy-Con Charging Grip is a great alternative to other Nintendo Switch controller options. It certainly has its flaws but it also makes the Joy-Cons more usable during intense gaming sessions. In some ways, it functions better than some of the third-party Nintendo Switch controllers out there. Anyone looking to protect their wallet should definitely consider getting one.

The Good

  • Comes with charger
  • Makes trigger buttons bigger
  • Feels like standard controller
  • Small footprint

The Bad

  • Buttons feel small
  • Can't plug and play
  • Can't wrap fingers around handholds

Here's how the PDP Pro Joy-Con Charging Grip sizes up next to a Pro Controller and a regular grip.

A great controller

PDP Pro Joy-Con Charging Grip: What I like

At $22 it's much cheaper than other controller options out there. It also comes with its own charging stand. If you were to buy any other Nintendo Switch controller you'd have to pay additional money to get a stand.

One of the first things I noticed when I started testing the Pro Joy-Con Charging Grip was that it is slightly wider than the grip that comes with the Switch and about the same size of the Pro Controller. This larger size makes it fit in your hand better than the regular grip.

Since it's just the regular Joy-Cons in a plastic casing, the Pro Joy-Con Charging Grip still responds to motion controls and vibrates during key game moments. It also works with amiibo, unlike many of the other third-party Nintendo Switch controllers out there.

Perhaps the best thing that the charging grip provides is larger L, R, ZL, and ZR buttons. I found that clicking in these buttons didn't feel as nice as depressing the trigger buttons on the Pro Controller, but they get the job done and respond appropriately. If you want to know how the Pro Controller and the PDP Pro Joy-Con Charging Grip compare read this article.

This charging grip also comes with rubber joystick caps that you can attach to the Joy-Cons. I was pretty skeptical about these at first, but they really enhanced my gaming experience. The rubber makes it so the joysticks respond to every minute thumb movement so I could handle trickier moves easier.

PDP Pro Joy-Con Charging Grip: What I don't like

One big thing I noticed was that I couldn't plug the charging grip in and continue playing if the battery was low. In order for this device to charge, the Joy-Cons need to be in place and the metal contact points on the grip need to be touching the metal prongs on the stand. There is no USB on the grip so you cannot plug and play.

Additionally, the USB cable is permanently attached to the base of the charging stand. So you cannot remove it for safer, easy travel. There is no included outlet plug so you'll need to supply your own if you want it to plug in anywhere other than the Nintendo Switch Dock.

Joy-Con batteries last up to 20 hours so you likely won't run out of power if you make sure to dock the charger between playing sessions. When you dock the charging grip, the battery life indicator will let you know if the Joy-Cons are done charging by changing from red to green. It stands upright during charging so it will take up less space on your entertainment center or end table, than other charging options.

The plastic backside did get in the way of the textured handholds so I couldn't have as firm of a grip as I do with the Pro Controller or even the plain grip. I thought this would be a deal breaker, but after a few minutes of gaming, I didn't notice this anymore. Still, it might be a problem for people with big hands.

Pro Joy-Con Charging Grip Bottom line

All in all, the Pro Joy-Con Charging Grip is a great alternative to the expensive standard-looking Nintendo Switch controllers on the market. It comes with a charging stand to keep your video game space tidy, it enlarges the trigger buttons, and the rubber analog caps make the joysticks more responsive. It doesn't feel quite as good as other controllers in your hands, but it's something you can get used to. Considering the low price, this is a great option for anyone who wants a controller with amiibo functionality, rumble, and motion controls.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

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.