When Nintendo officially uncovered the Switch and with it the Joy-Cons, many accepted the ace controller was an unquestionable requirement. Since the Switch is at long last in the hands of shoppers, a central issue is whether the master controller merits the extra $69.99 cost. This is a reasonable inquiry, one that will differ based off various components. With many energizing games, the entire transportability viewpoint and then some, would it be advisable for you to purchase a star controller or are the Joy-Cons sufficient?
Before we look at what the pro controller does, it’s important to look at what you get for $69.99. In addition to the controller, there is also a USB-C to USB-A cord. For many this is great news, since USB-C is not terribly common and this saves them an additional expense. Also, since it’s an official product, you’re sure it’s safe to use and at least decent quality. With this you can charge your Switch or pro controller without having to use the included AC cord.
Joy-Cons versus Pro Controller
While working on my review of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I had a number of issues with the Joy-Cons. They’re small, the L/R buttons are commonly used and hard to hit, with the button positioning being awkward. This lead to my hope that the pro controller would offer a better experience and I can honestly say it does.
The pro controller is roughly the same size of a DualShock 4 and feels quite comfortable to hold. The finish on the grips feel nice in your palm, with a decent weight to make the controller feel good. In addition to that, the buttons are much larger, making it significantly easier to hit L/R or the face ones, with the added bonus of placing the screenshot/home buttons in better places. The controller also supports NFC, so you can do stuff with the amiibo directly from the controller. The thumbsticks also feel slicker, making them more comfortable to move.
Above all, the real selling point in battery life. Over the course of two days playing around 10 hours a day, there wasn’t much of a dent in the battery. It’s easily better than the DualShock 4 and nice that you can casually play with it and only have to charge it once in a great while.
Is the convenience worth the price?
No matter how much better the pro controller is, the bigger question is how much is this convenience worth. It’s a fair question and one that I think depends on how often you plan on playing on your Switch. If you’re a casual player who might get a couple Nintendo games or will pick up a handful of titles, it probably isn’t worth the investment. However, if you’re going to spend over 200 hours playing, odds are you will get your money’s worth.
The only downside to the pro controller is that it isn’t as portable as the Joy-Cons, even if you include the grip, making it something that is better for those using the Switch with the dock. Sure it works fine in table top mode, but it simply doesn’t fit in cases like the special edition Zelda one and will be something you need to carry separately.
If you’re still on the fence, one of the biggest selling points was related to concerns of the screen scratching. Speaking for myself, the Joy-Cons can be difficult to remove and can move the system around if you do it while docked, making it more tedious to charge them. So, besides the pro controller feeling better, I like not having to fumble with charging the Joy-Cons all the time and better protect the system. This can also be fixed with the charging grip, but for the extra $30 you’re probably better off just getting the pro controller.