Top Product: 8Bitdo SN30 Pro+ | $50 | Amazon
Nintendo is the most innovative of the Big 3 when it comes to controller design. It’s up for debate who is actually making the best controller, but Nintendo is making the biggest splash each time. With each new console throughout its history, Nintendo has completely overhauled its controller design. The Wii introduced much of the world to motion controls with the iconic Wiimote and Nunchuk. With the Wii U, they decided to slap an entire screen on the thing creating an experience not too different from their very own Nintendo DS. Even going further back, you’ve got the beloved monstrosity that is the N64 three-pronged controller, as well as the GameCube controller which entire fandoms will swear by it being sacrilegious to use anything but it. Nintendo even set the standard of all gaming controllers back in 1982 when tasked with creating a handheld version of their arcade smash hit. They came to the conclusion that the most functional and easy-to-use layout for their new Donkey Kong Game & Watch was to have a 4-way directional pad on the left with an action button on the right. Almost every controller we’ve seen for the next 40 years has followed this philosophy to some extent.
Everything Nintendo learned about controller design culminated in their offerings for the Nintendo Switch. The Joy-Cons incorporate the two-handed, freely moving motion controls of the Wii era while also incorporating the button layout they established way back with the SNES controller. The Joy-Cons introduced a brand new feature in that of HD Rumble and maybe Nintendo’s most innovative decision yet—being able to split one controller into two. For the more hardcore gamers, they also offer the larger, more comfortable Pro Controller designed with more traditional play in mind. Featuring gyro controls and the new rumble, this controller feels great to play with though it is not without its shortcomings. The Pro Controller launched at a whopping $70, and even though sales will pop up now and then, the experience of playing certain games with the controller can sometimes be hindered by an unreliable D-Pad.
Earlier this week, we asked our readers what their favorite alternative is to the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. Now the reasoning for it can vary from the reduced price to wanting more variety in your collection of controllers, to flat-out preferring it over the Pro. We just want to know what else is out there to get the best out of your time with your Nintendo Switch.
8Bitdo SN30 Pro+ | $50
I use the 8Bitdo Sn30 Pro+. First off it has a great feel in hand compared to sticking the two Joy-Cons together and as someone who grew up playing on the Sony PlayStation controller layout, it feels a little more intuitive for me as well.
It also has a surprising amount of options for customizing things like button remapping, dead-zones, sensitivity macros, and the turbo function. Also the fact I can use it as a controller for PC is great. Buttons and sticks feel great and the build quality is solid. It also has 6 Action Motion Sensor. Even though I don’t really use those for most of the games I play, it’s cool that it’s there. No Switch HD Rumble but you can adjust the strength of the vibration with the configuration software. Battery lasts long and charging is done with USB-C.
Honestly there isn’t much bad to say about it and the thing clocks in at just $50.
-Caton Del Rosario
We have several PowerA Enhanced wireless controllers. I like them because they have two rear paddle buttons that can be programmed on-the-fly to any of the other buttons (except +, -, Home, and Screenshot). They lack rumble and Amiibo support, so if you don’t need those functions, it’s a great controller. Multiple designs, too.
This little piece of tech is quite amazing. It actually lets you sync and use a Dualshock 4 or Xbox controller with your switch. Only $20 (or I guess $85 if you don’t already own one of those controllers..), nd a great way to use a controller you’re already comfortable with. (And get some wide-eyed looks at your local Smash tournament.
The licensed HORI wired controllers are really similar to the Pro, other than obviously not being wireless. They’re also a little lighter, but a ton less expensive.