Joy-Cons are perfectly adequate for the job, but if you’re siting down for a lengthy gaming session with your Switch docked, it’s better to play with a proper controller.
Going official is often considered the best choice, but with an RRP of £59.99 the Switch Pro controller isn’t cheap. It’s also not that impressive. You might want to look at third-party options, then, and if you don’t mind your controller being wired, the Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller by PowerA should perhaps be at the top of your list.
On the front, the PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller looks just like your normal Switch Pro controller – it has all the same buttons in all the same places. Flip it over though, and you’ll find some differences. Firstly, there are two mappable buttons just behind each handgrip. They’re handy for games like first-person shooters, where you can map functions normally produced by having to take your right thumb off the analogue stick to hit a face button. To assign them, you use the ‘Program’ button, also located on the rear.
There’s another button on the reverse of the PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller, too, which I’ve dubbed the “Hello Mr. Fancy Pants!” button. Press it, and strategically-placed LED accents around the controller light up in one of numerous colours. You can keep pressing the button to cycle through them if you wish, or there’s also a setting that allows it to change automatically. Does it serve a function? No. But does it give the controller a bit of a wow factor? Hell yes.
Other notable aspects of the PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller include a soft-touch finish which makes it feel really nice in your hands, a long three-metre cable so you don’t need to sit close to your TV (it’s detachable too, for easy storage), and there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack, allowing you to easily plug in some headphones for a more intimate gaming session without disturbing others. All good stuff.
Perhaps what’s most important though, is that the PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller feels every bit as good as a Switch Pro controller to use. The buttons are responsive and have a nice feel to them, while the analogue sticks are possibly better than those on the Switch Pro thanks to the anti-friction rings placed around them. The only thing I’m not too keen on are the triggers, which are a bit too pointy for my liking. Still, they work well enough.
So, if you’re after a controller for your Switch and don’t mind one that’s wired, you should seriously consider the PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller. As well as saving yourself a considerable bit of money, you get mappable buttons, a premium finish, and sumptuous LED lights that say “look at me, I’ve got a fancy controller!”. Aside from the fact that it’s wired rather than wireless, it’s better than the standard Switch Pro controller in every way.
A sample unit was provided by PowerA for the purposes of this review.