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Nintendo Switch Pro Controller review

The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is there for when a Joy-Con just won’t do

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

TechRadar Verdict

The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is a must-have addition to any serious Switch owner’s arsenal. Comfortable for extended play sessions, this curvy accessory also boasts the best D-Pad you can get on a controller.


  • +

    Excellent D-Pad

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    Amazing battery life

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    NFC and USB-C are forward thinking


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    Triggers could be deeper

The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is a great alternative for those after a beefier gamepad. Much was made of the Nintendo Switch’s detachable Joy-Con controllers at the super-popular console’s launch, but, as any owner of the console can attest to, those tiny controllers could get a little uncomfortable over extended play sessions. 

Sure, the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons are an ingenious design for on-the-go, transformable play, but they’re not best suited to bigger hands or extended play sessions. Even sliding them into one of the optional Grip accessories, turning the Joy-Con halves into a more traditional single unit, left many wanting.

Enter the Pro Controller, a perfect match for the PS4’s DualShock 4 and the Xbox Wireless Controller for Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S, too. In fact, in many respects, it may even best those pads, even if it is one of the pricier offerings. Like any other official accessories, that also works for the Nintendo Switch Lite and Nintendo Switch OLED model, too. 

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller: design

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller doesn’t break the mould when it comes to design. Where the split nun-chuck look of the Joy-Cons takes some getting used to, the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is instead your standard two-analogue stick, handle-gripped pad.

It feels very much like an Xbox 360 controller, if a little curvier in the hand. Nicely weighted for balanced play, it has a slightly translucent finish to its plastic casing, with a circuit board-style pattern delicately etched into its surface.

If you found the Joy-Con buttons a little fiddly, the Pro Controller is far beefier, with larger A, B, X and Y buttons sat in the traditional diamond formation on the right hand side, backed by two triggers and offset analogue sticks.

The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller feels a little chunkier than its PS4 and Xbox One counterparts, but that could be down to its class-leading battery life. Where you’ll get around six or seven hours from a DualShock 4, for instance, you’ll get a whopping average of 40 from the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. That’s a hell of a lot of play time, so a little top up now and then means you’ll probably never see it totally wiped out.

It’s a forward thinking pad too. It features a USB-C reversible charging port, meaning you won't have to fiddle around to get it to plug in, while there’s also NFC built in for connecting up your Amiibo collectible figurines. If the black aesthetic isn't to your liking, Nintendo's released several themed options over the years, including tie-ins for Splatoon 2 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller: functionality

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

As innovative as they are, the Joy-Con pads can be an act in perfecting hand contortion when used singularly, and the optional Grip pads still don’t quite make up the difference with the competition.

The Switch Pro Controller is much better however. Its sticks have a great level of resistance and are comfortably offset, and the face buttons have a perfect amount of depth too. When it comes to the D-Pad, Nintendo’s has unarguably had the best one since the days of the NES, allowing for pinpoint accuracy in 2D sidescrollers. 

It’s still present and correct with the Pro Controller here, and really shows up just how lacking the split-button D-Pad attempt on the right-hand side of the Joy-Con (when used in a singular set up) is.

If there’s one point of contention, it’d be with the rear triggers, which don’t have quite the depth we’ve come to expect from triggers on other pads. They’re far closer to additional shoulder buttons than deep triggers. That’s not an issue with many games, but can be a bit jarring with shooters or racing titles.

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller: verdict

The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is an excellent pad. It’s a must-have if you primarily use your Nintendo Switch at home, but is great for tabletop mode too. However, it is also one of the more expensive pads on the market compared to those paired with rival consoles at £59.99 / $69.99 – but none offers its NFC capabilities, or capacious built in battery capabilities. It’s a premium addition to your Switch set up, but we’d say it’s an essential one, too.

Gerald Lynch
Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.