[This review was collected as part of a promotion.] Literally the best Controller I've used to date
I've used many controllers over the years including high end specialty controllers and I can't think of a single controller that gets as much right as the Switch Pro Controller. At first glance, its appearance doesn't make it look like it's of the highest quality thanks to a very basic shape and not much in the way of immediate standout extras. The moment I picked this up to play a game, however, it became immediately apparent just how high quality this controller actually is.
The material used for the controller is a hard plastic that is neither rough like the base Xbox One controller nor is it glossy like the Wii U Pro Controller. No, it's a smooth mat finish with a different texture on the handles. It is extremely pleasant to hold, much like a Dual Shock 4 or a Xbox One Elite Controller.
When it comes to the actual inputs, I was shocked to find how much I like the analogs on this controller. The analogs have a very similar shape to the Dual Shock 4 (DS4) analogs and they almost as much pressure as the DS4 analogs. However, unlike the DS4 they have tread around the edges like the Xbox One (XB1) controller but it's a lighter amount and the rubber material used is similar to the material used for the Wii U Pro Controller and Gamepad. This is all good imo. The analogs on the Switch Pro controller essentially have all the pro's of the gen 8 analogs without any of the cons.
When it comes to the buttons, in specific, the face buttons, Nintendo has delivered as expected. The face buttons protrude just as much as the Wii U Pro controller but are slightly larger and aren't as loose. They feel great to press and use. The d-pad protrudes the right amount, clicks the right amount, has a great roll, and essentially functions the way I've come to expect from high quality Nintendo d-pads. The other 4 face buttons are much smaller and don't protrude as much but they're much easier to press and use then on the Joycons.
When it comes to the shoulder buttons, unfortunately, the triggers are still digital buttons like the Wii U Pro controller and Gamepad. However, much like the Wii U Pro controller, they're extremely easy to press and comfortable use. They have a really nice feel to them.
On the note of comfort, for me, after using the Wii U Pro controller for a significant amount of time and while I do like having the 1 up and 1 down layout design, I found that the Wii U Pro controller was a vastly more comfortable controller experience then any controller before it. While the Switch Pro controller doesn't fully match the Wii U Pro controller in the level of comfort, it comes really close. After several long game sessions, I have yet to run into any instances of discomfort or stress on my hands while playing. That said, because the base molding has such a basic design, the grips don't mold as well into my palms as the Xbox One controller, DS4 controller, or Wii U Pro controller. This isn't to say that the grips are inherently bad, but they could benefit from slightly more curves in their shape. Another issue that arises from the basic molding is the back of the controller is kind of flat. While this does help to an extent because there's no protruding plastic on the inner part of my middle finger causing discomfort, it also means there's no plastic to kind of catch the middle finger for better gripping. I should note, neither issue are major complaints that cause issues with gameplay or comfort, however, I do think the Switch Pro controller could have been even better if the shell was slightly closer to the Wii U Pro controllers.
When it comes to extra features, the controller isn't as barebones as the Wii U pro controller. Because of this, instead of getting 80 hours of battery life, it gets 40. This is far from bad though. You have no obnoxious lights or useless battery draining features that you can't turn off like the DS4 and unlike the XB1 controller, it comes with a battery built in. To add to that, it uses USB type C to charge which, in my opinion, is infinitely better then Micro USB. Unfortunately, like the Wii U Pro controller, it's still missing a headset jack, which honestly, the Switch, like every other Nintendo system, doesn't have a robust online system with voice chat taking a center roll. This may change down the road, though I doubt it will, so I'm not expecting the lack of a headset jack to really mean much. Granted, I do every now and then plug in my headset to just hear the game audio late at night on my PS4 and XB1 to keep the volume low for everybody who's sleeping. That said, I can also play the system portably and plug in a headset there, which also works for me though I do understand if somebody who wants to play on the TV only finds this annoying.
They've added a share button similar to the DS4, which is always cool. There's a NFC reader built right into the controller now, which is very good for what Nintendo's doing thought I have no idea if this will really ever be used outside of what does. Though, I should note, I've already used the NFC reader several times. It also includes the HD Rumble, which is pretty awesome. While the HD rumble is definitely best suited for the Joycons, it still works well in games that support it and use the Pro controller.
Overall, while it's not the absolute perfect controller, it's one of the best controllers I've ever used. It's comfortable to hold, comfortable to use, has inputs that work exactly the way I want them to, has no annoyances I wish weren't there, and has one of the best battery situations I've ever seen in an input device. It feels very premium, even more premium then premium controllers I've purchased for other systems. Imo, if you own a Switch, this controller is a must buy. If you're looking for a controller for PC, you'd be hard pressed to find something better.