Will wake Switch console
Plenty of colors and designs
Customizable grip buttons
Full motion controls
Runs on AA batteries
Missing a ton of features/integrations
Doesn't work well with Android/Windows
Not much cheaper than official Pro Controller
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nintendo Switch consoles are flying off shelves. With those consoles in low supply, official accessories are also difficult to get. As such, if you’re looking for a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, you might be tempted to grab a knock-off model to get something fast. One of those devices might be the PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch.
In our PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch review, I’m going to lay out why you should probably avoid grabbing one of these — unless you can find it for a heavy discount.
PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch: What is it?
If you glanced at it, you’d think the PowerA controller was just a more colorful variant of the official Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. Since PowerA creates officially-licensed products, it is allowed to borrow many of the design elements and features of that device.
However, Nintendo doesn’t let PowerA go hog wild. The controller doesn’t replicate every feature of the official Pro Controller and cuts a lot of corners to keep its profit margin up. It does offer a ton of colorways and designs, though, which makes the PowerA device appealing, especially for younger gamers.
This controller will work with either model of the Nintendo Switch as well as the Nintendo Switch Lite. Keep in mind, though, that your Switch will need to be upgraded to software version 6.0.1 or later.
As I mentioned earlier, the ergonomics of the PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch are incredibly similar to the official Pro Controller. The weight is different — the PowerA is lighter and feels less premium — but the feel is close.
Setting up the PowerA with your Switch is a snap. You head to the controller settings of your Switch, hold down the Sync button on the back of the controller for a second, and poof: you’re ready to game. Next time you turn on the controller, it will automatically sync to the Switch. You can even use it to power on your Switch, just like with the official model.
On the back of the PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch, you’ll find three additional buttons. These do not appear on the official Pro Controller. One button enters the controller into customization mode, and the other two are the remappable buttons. You can assign any of the other buttons on the controller to these extra triggers. This would be useful if, for example, you wanted the “fire” button of a shooting game to be easier to access.
Finally, the controller comes in literally dozens of colors and designs. There are designs themed to famous Nintendo properties (Mario, Zelda, Pokémon, etc.) as well as third-party properties, such as Doom and The Witcher.
What’s not so good?
Despite PowerA nailing the look and overall feel of the Pro Controller, there’s no denying that it pales in comparison. The buttons themselves feel cheap and the plastic is of a lower grade. The lack of a rechargeable battery is also unfortunate (although PowerA does include two AA batteries with the controller).
Outside of the basic feel of the PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch, there are so many features it doesn’t have:
- There is no rumble, Amiibo, or IR support. There is full motion support, however.
- You cannot remap the main buttons as you can with the official Nintendo model.
- Using it with Android, Windows, etc. results in incredibly laggy performance.
- Your Switch will not be able to tell you the controller’s battery life.
- There is no way to connect it to a Switch Dock with a USB-C cable.
Ultimately, PowerA left out so many integral features here that the value of the controller is basically halved when compared to the Pro Controller. However, the price definitely wasn’t halved.
PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch: Should I buy it?
At an average price of $47.99, the PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch is roughly $12 cheaper than the real deal — the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. To save those $12, you need to give up a litany of features that make the Switch Pro Controller the powerhouse that it is. That’s just not worth it.
Related: Best Nintendo Switch accessories
Granted, the Switch Pro Controller is in high demand and you might not want to wait for it to be in stock. If you can find this PowerA model at a hefty discount (like, 50% off), it might be worth it and with Black Friday around the corner, it is likely you could find it for as much as half off. But if you are even thinking about spending $48 on this, don’t: just work harder to find a Switch Pro Controller. You’ll be glad you did.