Over the past few weeks I’ve been using a PowerA Enhanced Wireless Switch Controller. This third party controller is one of the few officially licensed controllers for everyone’s new favorite device. As such, when the opportunity to review one presented itself, I couldn’t refuse. PowerA sent us two of these new controllers and of course I made sure to take them through their paces. The two controllers we got were one of their standard white/red models and the Mario silhouette model. The difference between the two is the design on them. Other than that the two are basically the same.
The official specs from PowerA are as follows:
- Bluetooth Wireless freedom
- Mappable Advanced Gaming Buttons on back
- Integrated motion controls
- 2 analog sticks: precision tuned to eliminate dead zones
- 8-way plus shaped Directional Pad (D-Pad)
- Integrated motion controls • Ergonomic design with standard button layout
- LEDs for power, button mapping, player number and low battery warning
- Includes two AA batteries for up to 30 hours of gameplay
- Official licensed product with 2-year limited warranty
Specs out of the way, what is it like to use this controller? Well I’m not gonna sugar coat it. The PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller For Nintendo Switch feels cheap to the touch. It feels very plasticy (Yea I know that’s not really a word, or is it? Hmm… my auto correct is going with it). So yea, this device feels cheap to the touch with clicky buttons, no built in rechargeable battery and a texture that reminds me of a child’s toy. Now I’m not stating this to take a jab at the controller. I’m stating it because it’s true, but wanna know something interesting? Well you see that initial feel goes out of the window as soon as you insert some batteries and start using the thing. Yes the weight is still noticeable in use, but it’s not so much that it would affect play.
I’d say they grow on you the more you use them
In my time with the controllers I actually found myself more and more comfortable with them the more I used them. They are about the same size and shape of an Xbox One controller, even borrowing the button placement. As a fan of that particular controller design It was easy to get accustomed to and eventually like this one. Even the clicky buttons also became comfortable for me the more I played. If I had to sum up the feel of these controllers in as few words as possible, I’d say they grow on you the more you use them.
This being a third party controller it also has one really big perk. The controller has two programmable buttons along the back of the grips. These buttons can be programmed quite easily by holding another button near the battery tray till the LED on the face of the controller starts blinking. When this happens you’ll be able to press any button on the controller and then press one of the programmable buttons to map them. The placement of these buttons make this such a big perk because you fingers naturally fall over them when gripping the controller.
Despite this perk, and the overall comfort of the controller, it does have its flaws. One is the lack of rumble support and the other is the one I mentioned before. The lack of rumble means that this controller will make some gaming experiences lack some impact. This may not be the biggest issue for all players or games, but some games use the rumble feature to great effect to relay much needed information to the player. Some games use it for relaying damage, others use it as a health indicator. Some even use it to relay the feel of the environment and motion of the player character. Omitting this industry standard while leaving in motion controls, which mind you, not much players really use is a poor decision.
The other flaw is the lack of a built in battery. There’s absolutely no reason that I can think of for leaving out a battery in a controller in 2018. I’ve used many other third party controllers in the past few years and wireless ones all have batteries in them, rechargeable batteries. What you get with these controllers are two AA batteries, and that’s it. After they eventually die you’ll need to either swap them out for rechargeable AAs or another pair of the standard ones. For the price of MSRP: $49.99 USD (international prices varies) PowerA should have included battery and rumble. I’m not sure how much the Nintendo licence cost them, but if they had to add another $10 to the cost to include those two omissions I think this controller would be perfect.
The PowerA Enhanced Wireless Switch Controller is ultimately a good option for those looking for another controller for their Switch. It’s comfortable, functional and most of all it’s cheaper than the standard pro controller by Nintendo. That controller usually retails around the $70 mark so at $50 dollars this saves you a lot. Yes it lacks rumble, rechargeable batteries, and no NFC support. Two of those are are unfortunate omissions, but not bad enough to not consider this as an option.
The Enhanced Wireless Controller For Nintendo Switch used for this review was provided by its manufacturer, PowerA.