PowerA Fusion for Nintendo Switch evaluation: Elite Switch controller has trade-offs
“The PowerA Fusion is a solid third-party option as long as you’re comfortable trading key features for customization.”
Handy again paddles
Missing key options
Reduced battery life
The PowerA Fusion would possibly simply be the closest we get to having an Xbox Elite Series 2 equal for the Nintendo Switch. The third-party controller is loaded with bells and whistles that make it really feel like a forward-thinking redesign of the very best Nintendo Switch controllers.
Considering that Nintendo typically strikes sideways reasonably than forwards with tech, there’s rather a lot to get enthusiastic about right here. The PowerA Fusion comes with mappable again paddles, swappable joysticks, and different customization choices which have by no means been attainable on an formally licensed Nintendo controller. Though in the case of third-party gear, there’s all the time a stage of compromise. Some lacking elementary options add a stage of give-and-take that gamers might want to weigh earlier than making a dear dedication.
The complete bundle
The PowerA Fusion retails for $100, which makes it dearer than a regular Switch Pro controller. When trying on the full bundle, it’s simple to see why. The field doesn’t simply embody a wi-fi controller. There’s a again paddle pack, 4 thumbsticks, two swappable faceplates, and extra — all housed inside a helpful carrying case.
It’s arduous to think about Nintendo making one thing with the identical type of utility …
Considering that the official Pro Controller retails for $70 with none of that justifies the additional $30.The closest parallel to the PowerA Fusion is the $180 Xbox Elite Series 2, which is a equally wealthy bundle. They aren’t actual comparisons contemplating that the Elite Series 2 is rather more technologically superior, nevertheless it’s the closest we’ve seen in the case of Switch expertise.
The controller itself (with out the again paddles put in) is completely snug and doesn’t really feel terribly completely different from a regular Pro controller. Some of its buttons protrude out a bit extra and the grips really feel a contact thick, nevertheless it doesn’t have the knockoff design of the third-party pads we grew up with.
Removing and changing elements is a snap, actually. The magnetic faceplates pop proper off and the thumbsticks are simple to swap. There’s even some flexibility with the paddle pack. Each paddle will be simply changed, and the pack itself will be popped out at any time if its getting in the best way. Just trying on the Fusion from a customization standpoint, all of its transferring elements are intuitive and simple to deal with. It’s arduous to think about Nintendo making one thing with the identical type of utility within the Switch’s lifetime.
The pleasure of again buttons
The again paddles are the primary attraction right here. When the professional pack is connected, the controller will get 4 steel paddles that sit between the grips. Buttons will be simply mapped to every paddle with simply three fast inputs.
There are some limits to the mapping. Button combos can’t be assigned to at least one paddle. I used to be additionally hoping to map the appropriate stick’s cardinal instructions to the paddles to manage Tetris 99’s focusing on system, however no cube. The extra doubtless use is that gamers will map the 4 important face buttons to the again in order that they by no means must take away their thumb from the appropriate stick.
Even with their limits, the paddles will be extremely helpful. While I couldn’t map my focusing on in Tetris 99, I may assign my rotate buttons to them. It’s a easy change, nevertheless it meant that I by no means needed to swap between goal and rotate, which may have risked a misfire when dropping items within the fast-paced late sport. When testing with New Pokemon Snap, I mapped every paddle to one of many face buttons, which added extra fluidity to taking images. I by no means misplaced full management of the digicam and will scan or throw fruit with out transferring a finger.
I discovered that my palms felt a bit cramped at occasions attempting to place my fingers across the thick controller. I wouldn’t name it uncomfortable by a protracted shot, nevertheless it did require a much less pure grip. One good perk right here is that the paddle pack is solely detachable and the slot it pops into will be closed up when it’s out. Anyone who feels prefer it’s getting in the best way can simply take away it.
Even with their limits, the paddles will be extremely helpful.
I did expertise a problem with the 2 left paddles all the time mapping to the identical button. PowerA says that’s doubtless on account of a faulty mannequin. Given that others didn’t have that downside, that does appear to be the case. However, it does function a reminder of a danger you run with third-party gaming tech; it’s tougher to guarantee consistentcy versus a first-party product from an organization like Microsoft. Though contemplating Nintendo’s personal, official controllers are notoriously faulty (spurring Joy-Con drift lawsuits), the PowerA isn’t actually unreliable by comparability.
All of these shiny options could sound too good to be true — and they’re, to an extent. While the Fusion options all kinds of customization that Switch gamers have solely dreamed of, it’s additionally lacking some fundamentals.
There’s give-and-take right here as gamers will probably be sacrificing some fundamentals for personalization potential.
The most obvious downside is that the controller options no rumble. I don’t imply that it’s missing the Joy-Cons’ HD rumble; it doesn’t shake in any respect. Even with all of the thrilling extras, that is perhaps a deal breaker for some. It’s additionally lacking the amiibo reader performance, which is current in a traditional Pro controller. That’s a lot much less of an issue contemplating that Amiibo assist has all the time been area of interest, however devoted followers could also be a bit delay by its absence right here.
The battery life is a step down, too. While the Pro controller can last as long as 40 hours, the Fusion faucets out at round 20.
That’s the place the $100 value level turns into extra of a debate. It’s not like PowerA is providing all of the features of a Pro controller with a variety of extras. There’s give-and-take right here as gamers will probably be sacrificing some fundamentals for personalization potential. Whether or not it’s value it finally comes all the way down to what a participant values in a Switch controller. Those who simply need one thing nearer to an Xbox controller can persist with the Pro controller.
If the precedence is customization, there’s no comparability, as a result of Nintendo provides subsequent to nothing in that division. It will also be plugged in, which is a step up from a few of PowerA’s typical AA-powered wi-fi Switch pads.
The PowerA Fusion is a sturdy Nintendo Switch Pro controller various for gamers who need, properly, extra management. The again paddles, swappable faceplates, and detachable joysticks all make this really feel like a worthwhile funding. If the PowerA had rumble performance and Amiibo assist, it’d be a straightforward improve. Those omissions make the $100 price ticket really feel a bit steep for anybody who merely desires a greater model of the Pro controller, reasonably than a formidable, alternate one.
Is there a greater various?
The official Nintendo Switch Pro controller is sturdier and cheaper, although the Fusion is uncontested in the case of its customization.
How lengthy will it final?
The battery lasts as much as 20 hours, which is half of what the official Pro controller provides. Compared to different third-party controllers, it feels sturdier than usua, even with some plasticy buttons.
Should you purchase it?
Yes. If you’re particularly on the lookout for extra in-depth customization for Switch controls, the Fusion is a reasonably sturdy bundle. Otherwise, persist with the Pro.