Controllers for the Nintendo Switch are about as wide and varied as the games themselves. From the JoyCons to the Pro Controllers to the classic NES and SNES bluetooth models, Nintendo has pushed a lot of possibility in this department alone. Third-party manufacturers have even made their own versions of JoyCons, wired and wireless pro-like controllers, GameCube controllers, and even the classic controllers to play NES and SNES games for Nintendo Switch Online members. But PowerA is one of the largest contributors to controllers on the Switch, and their new PowerA FUSION Pro Wireless Controller is a cut above the rest.
We have done many controller reviews here at Nintendo Link, and I can already tell you that the PowerA FUSION Pro Wireless Controller is the most impressive controller I have ever gotten my hands on for the hybrid console. It is not the perfect controller, though, as we will get into, but its pros heavily outweigh its cons. Let’s get into it!
Right off the bat, the presentation is excellent. The PowerA FUSION Pro Wireless Controller is cradled within a provided case that fits snugly into the plastic molding. The design of the box and how the controller is represented before even opening is incredible. This is some Apple-level care.
As you take out the protective case, opening it reveals the controller itself, a USB-C to USB wire for wired gameplay and charging, two extra joysticks, and a second faceplate to customize the look. This whole package shows that PowerA went above and beyond to make sure their customers feel extra special when purchasing their most ambitious and costly Nintendo Switch controller yet.
The $99.99 price tag may be a bit intimidating for players who do not fully understand exactly what they are getting, but let me assure you, the PowerA FUSION Pro Wireless Controller for the Nintendo Switch is well worth its asking price, and it is a controller that can very well become your go-to one, even outclassing the Pro Controller in many, many ways.
For starters, it is comfortable. I mean, really comfortable. It has the ergonomics of a Switch Pro Controller and an Xbox 360 controller’s lovechild, and yet it also feels like its own. It is a bit difficult to explain, but simply, the weight and feel of the FUSION Pro is top-tier and should be lined up with any other highly acclaimed controller on the market. The injected rubber grips also help to provide comfortable long-term play for those sessions that demand more of your time.
The buttons all feel and press amazingly, which is very important for a pro-level controller. The face buttons and triggers all have great action and are genuinely fun to press, but the joysticks are an area I want to focus on because it is quite special.
The casing comes with two swappable analog sticks, one with a convex cap (Like the N64 stick or the GameCube left stick) and the other with a common concave cap. Both of the swappable sticks are elevated compared to the sticks already on the FUSION Pro, which are both ALPS analog thumbsticks. The ability to change these out so easily is an awesome feature, and it really allows you to customize the lift and feel of your sticks however you like.
Also, the fact that the controller has two magnetic faceplates allows for even further customization options, making the possibilities of the PowerA FUSION Pro Wireless Controller to be more tailored to your liking.
One of the biggest selling points of the FUSION Pro is the Mappable Pro Pack, which allows you to remap certain button presses to one of the four back paddles on the controller. They don’t necessarily add more controls, but they give you the option to assign one action to two buttons. For example, in a game like Monster Hunter Rise which requires heavy use of both the left and right sticks, remapping some of the face buttons, like evading, makes hunts even more comfortable as you do not have to take your right thumb off the right stick in order to press. You can simply use a ring finger or pinky to press one of the back paddles instead. Essentially, the possibilities are massive and allow for a lot of first and third-person controlled games to have better controls.
If you are not a fan of the back paddles (Maybe you shouldn’t invest in this controller then), they are easy to remove as well, and there is a replacement piece to fill in the hole within the carrying case.
There are two things I found to be a bit disappointing, one much moreso than the other. The lesser issue is that there is no NFC reader, which means no amiibo scanning. This is commonplace for third-party controllers, so I was not expecting it. However, it is something that still gives the Pro Controller purpose for games that use the function. The other issue is a bit more baffling, and that is the lack of rumble. PowerA does not seem to include rumble in any of their controllers, but I was anticipating a full package with the FUSION Pro. The lack of rumble definitely hurts a little bit, but the rest of the package is stellar.
Back to the pros, the gyro sensor in the PowerA Fusion Pro is excellent and responds incredibly well in games that benefit tremendously from it, like Splatoon 2 (This has become my go-to game for testing gyro). This was the first time I used gyro in a game and properly enjoyed it, and I think it has a lot to do with the comfort of the Fusion Pro. I never felt like the controller was getting tiresome to hold, which is exactly what PowerA have been advertising.
I kind of covered everything about the controller itself, but I want to touch base on the following: the provided carrying case is wonderful! It is rather bulky, and I’m not too sure how often I will travel with this controller, but I have to admit, I keep the controller in this case if I am not using it. It is protected, safe, and fits snugly with the second faceplate and wire. I even tested dropping the case from a few different heights to test durability, and it does precisely what it is called to do. If you have some rowdy kids in your life like I do, this controller is officially my most protected one yet.
One last cool feature that PowerA snuck into the controller is a small toggle switch on the back just below the USB-C port which allows you to choose a bluetooth connection or USB. Granted, if it is set to USB, you will not be able to connect to bluetooth, but the advantage of this setting is response time on button presses. A USB setting has a slightly higher response time than bluetooth, which is common, but for those who enjoy fighting games (Or other genres that need high response time), this is a very important point, as the PowerA FUSION Pro gives a pro-level experience to players who prefer a wired connection.
So how does the PowerA FUSION Pro stack up against the competition? Well, ultimately it comes down to you and your preferences. The PS5 controller is solid but lacks rumble and gyro (And it is a bit expensive for just a Switch controller). The 8Bitdo Pro 2 is fantastic, but it does not have HD rumble and cannot wake up the Switch on its own. The Pro Controller is the jack-of-all-trades controller, but the joysticks grind and the D-pad is not very good. And you know what? None of these top-tier controllers have the following: back paddles, joystick customization, swappable faceplates, and a solid carrying case.
Sure, the price difference is pretty large, and the 8Bitdo Pro 2 takes the cake in regards to bang-for-your-buck. However, the customization options alone justify the price of the PowerA Fusion Pro, but I would also say that the bluetooth/USB toggle switch is huge for certain players and the Mappable Pro Pack can be a legit game-changer. Oh, and did I forget to mention that you can wake up the Switch in either bluetooth or USB mode? That is something usually only the Pro Controller is capable of.
Honestly, there is currently nothing like the FUSION Pro for the Nintendo Switch right now, and the quality and durability of the product from controller to wire to carrying case is tremendous. This is a love letter of sorts from PowerA, and you can feel it all over. Sure, the lack of rumble is disappointing, but they knocked everything else out of the park, making this one of the best, if not the best, controllers on the Nintendo Switch.
Fantastic design and ergonomics
All buttons feel and press excellently
Grip provides top-notch comfort
Customization makes the controller feel even better
Included carrying case is wonderful
Mappable Pro Pack is a game-changer
Can wake up Switch! (Unlike most 3rd-party controllers)
No NFC reader for amiibo
No rumble support
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.