Why the Switch Pro Is the Best Controller to Buy for Gaming
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Why the Switch Pro Is the Best Controller to Buy for Gaming

Jun 19, 2023

When it comes to gaming, not all controllers are equal. Some feel better in the hand, while others come with unique and exclusive features. You used to be locked into using the controller that came with your console—but now, new wireless standards and adapters make it easy to swap controllers from one system to another. So how do you choose which controller is best?

There was a time when the Xbox controller was considered one of—if not the— best controllers around. Not only was it built for your Xbox console, it was also wired to work perfectly with your PC. And now that adapters exist, you can even connect an Xbox controller to a PlayStation 5 or a Nintendo Switch. (But that doesn’t mean you should.)

The Xbox controller is by far one of the most recognizable controllers on the planet. For the most part, it feels good in your hands, so you might pick one up thinking you’re holding the pinnacle of game controllers. However, there’s one area the Xbox controller falls short: gyro controls. It seems bizarre that a modern game controller wouldn’t ship with this motion feature, as you can find gyro controls in plenty of Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 5 games, but that’s why the Xbox controller isn’t always a good choice for playing on other consoles.

There are some points where the Xbox controller does stand out, though, like how clicky the buttons are. Because they’re so clicky, it’s easy to tell when you’ve pressed a button, and they have a good amount of resistance when pressing down. This means they’ll hold that clickiness for years of use. The triggers also have a nice amount of resistance to them, though they don’t offer the two positions the PS5's DualSense controller does.

If you want something that feels ergonomically the same as the Xbox controller, but offers gyro controls, then the Nintendo Switch Pro controller might be a good option for you. Not only does it offer a similar analog setup as the Xbox controller, but it has smaller triggers, which may be easier to press more rapidly if needed.

There’s also the factor of Amiibo support, something you may want to keep in mind if you plan on using any of these controllers with a Nintendo Switch. The Switch Pro controller is the only one out of the three that will read Amiibo cards, making it a must-have for those who need Amiibo support. You can always use your Switch in handheld mode instead, but that’s an extra step that might get annoying to deal with.

The buttons on the Switch Pro controller aren’t as clicky as the Xbox controller, but they’re around the same level of clickiness as the PlayStation 5’s Dualsense, so you’ll have no problem recognizing when you’ve pressed a button. It also sits better on flat surfaces, whereas both the Xbox control and PS5 DualSense tend to press their triggers in when sitting on tabletop surfaces.

When it comes to controllers, the PS5’s Dualsense controller is a joy to use. Not only is it comfortable, but the side-by-side analog sticks are much easier to use for many. It’s also a smaller design than the Xbox and Nintendo Switch Pro controllers, making it better for small hands.

The triggers also feature the improved haptic feedback system, which allows you to feel resistance when pushing them in. That feature is only supported in certain PS5 games, though, so it isn’t a benefit you’ll see across multiple systems. They’re also nicely sized, with a similar scale to the Switch Pro’s triggers. The buttons here are clicky, but not as clicky as the Xbox, though that quieter design may be welcome for some. As noted above, it does offer gyro motion control support, something that the Xbox controller is sorely missing out on.

The PS5 controller also has the added bonus of being supported in many PC games, too, something you don’t really see with the Nintendo Switch Pro controller. That means that some games will register the PS5 controller, and allow for the correct button prompts to show on screen when using it. Otherwise, you’ll need to remember which of the PS5 buttons correspond to the Xbox controller’s buttons when playing games on other consoles or PC.

Each has its own strengths. However, if we’re strictly looking at features and the ability to use most of the different options and features on all three consoles, then the Nintendo Switch Pro controller wins.

The Switch Pro controller strikes a solid middle ground between each of these controllers, offering the pros of both without any cons. It offers the closest ergonomic fit between the Xbox and PlayStation 5 controller, and while its joysticks aren’t at the same angle as the PS5, the size of the controller is a bit closer to that of the PS5’s DualSense controller. It also sports full Amiibo support for Nintendo Switch gamers who need it.

You shouldn’t overlook the Switch Pro controller’s built-in batteries. While the DualSense also has built-in batteries, the Switch Pro controller’s last a lot longer: Nintendo rates the Switch Pro controller at 40 hours from a single charge, while Sony doesn’t even have an official estimate (some claim it to be anywhere from six to 12 hours). So, if you’re sporting the Switch Pro without a wire, you’re going to see much longer gaming sessions before you need to worry about recharging it.

Of course, you’ll need something like the 8Bitdo controller adapter to use the Switch Pro controller on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox. The adapter will also let you use the other two controllers on different consoles. (It also looks like something out of Super Mario, which is always a plus.)