I love my Nintendo Switch. I’ve spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours over the past four years playing countless games(Mario Odyssey, Breath of the Wild, and Metroid Dread being three of my favorites) and anticipate playing many more in the future. I’m not someone who travels often(or really ever), but I still find my time playing the Switch divided roughly 60/40 between playing in handheld vs. docked mode. For as much as I love the Switch, I must admit that I’ve become quite frustrated with the problem of Joycon drift plaguing Nintendo’s uber-profitable hybrid console. I have had drifting issues with three different Joycons at this time and have sent in two separate (left)ones for repair. So finally, I decided to try out a third-party set of Joycons – the Hori Split Pad Pro. I realize the idea of having to buy another set of Joycons as a workaround to drifting Joycons may not be ideal for everyone. Nintendo’s attempt to deny the issue before agreeing to repair the affected hardware free of charge, but not really…FIXING the problem on the manufacturing level is a rant best left for another day. Anyways….here’s a quick rundown of my initial impressions of the Split Pad Pro.
A few details from Hori USA:
Enjoy the full-size controller experience in handheld mode with the HORI Split Pad Pro! Featuring full-size analog sticks, a precision D-pad, and large shoulder buttons designed for comfort and accuracy, even during marathon gaming sessions. Advanced features include assignable rear triggers, Turbo functionally, and more. Perfect for high-pace action titles and many other genres. Enhance your gaming experience with the Split Pad Pro! (Does not include Motion Controls, HD Rumble, NFC, or IR camera.) Officially Licensed by Nintendo.
- Full-size Controller experience in handheld mode
- Larger grip, buttons, triggers, analog sticks, and D-Pad
- Assignable rear triggers, Turbo functionally, and more
- Midnight Blue design
- Officially Licensed by Nintendo
I have encountered absolutely NO drifting issues so far. This was by far my biggest reason for purchasing the Split Pad Pro, so…money well spent I guess? The joysticks have held up remarkably well and feel better to me than the stock joysticks which at times felt as though they were inhibiting range of moment by being so short. There’s also a D-pad! An actual, legit D-pad! This is another point of frustration, especially when playing any of the random assortment of Nintendo Switch Online titles or retro indie games. It also feels much better than the “mushy” Pro Controller D-pad. The larger profile is much appreciated for people with lobster claws for hands, like myself and it really does feel like playing the Switch in handheld mode while using a Pro Controller. It’s noticeably more comfortable to play for longer periods of time than the stock Joycons. The rear buttons are nice and have worked pretty well in the few times I’ve used them. These, along with the assignable Turbo buttons are nice features to have, though not necessarily something I assumed I would use all that much. I did test out the rear triggers and Turbo buttons while playing some Metroid Dread; using left rear trigger in place of ZL – allowing Samus to do a quick slide while outrunning a hostile E.M.M.I. and adding some extra firepower to Samus’ arm cannon by playing around with the Turbo button.
There’s only a few drawbacks that I’ve noted in the 5 or so weeks of using the Split Pad Pro. First off, there’s no HD rumble, motion control, or NFC features – this is something I was aware of beforehand(also mentioned right on the box) and isn’t a big deal-breaker for me, especially if I don’t have to worry about any drifting joysticks. The Split Pad Pro is significantly larger than standard Joycons, enough so, that it means finding another travel case if I want to keep it attached to the Switch when traveling. The couple times I have actually travelled somewhere over the holidays, I just had to detach the Joycons before using my Mario Odyssey travel case. Overall, nothing major enough to cancel out the frustration of a game’s camera uncontrollably rotating around me because of drifting joysticks(this was maddening while playing Dragon Quest XI). Minor drawbacks aside, I strongly feel the Split Pad Pro is the best way to play the Switch in handheld mode.
If anyone wants to take a look for themselves.
Thanks for reading!