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The Nintendo Switch continues to be one of the most versatile gaming consoles around, with a massive catalog of great games to play and the ability to switch between TV, tabletop, and handheld mode on a whim – meaning you never have to put down your game for long. It’s an easy sell to anyone with even a casual interest in gaming (though it features plenty of 100+ hour, high-concept single-player games in its roster) which is likely why it’s sold over 129.53 million units since releasing in March 2017.
One of the coolest parts of setting up a Nintendo Switch in your room is playing it with retro-style controllers that feel better and often work better than the default Joy-Cons the console ships with. The Nintendo Switch Pro controller is a highly popular option thanks to its wealth of features and high build quality, but what if you want a more specialized look for your gaming room? I created this list to showcase a few of my top picks for Nintendo Switch controllers that feature a unique style. Whether you’re shooting for a retro look or adding more RGB to the space, there’s almost assuredly something here for you:
1. 8BitDo SN30 Pro Controller
The premiere retro controller of the bunch, the 8BitDo SN30 Pro looks just like an old SNES controller, and if you go for the crystal purple or jade green colors, it comes in a see-through case that exposes its internals and makes it look similar to an old GameBoy color. It’s completely unlike an actual SNES controller, however, thanks to its complete range of modern buttons and thumbsticks, rumble vibration, Bluetooth support, motion controls, and plug-and-play compatibility with your Nintendo Switch. It’s also rechargeable via USB-C.
Like many of the controllers on this list, it also connects to most other devices that take a Bluetooth controller, including: iPhone, iPad, Macintosh, Apple TV, Windows PC, Android, Steam Deck, and Raspberry Pi. This means you can buy this one controller and comfortably use it as your main controller for several systems.
2. 8BitDo Pro 2
The 8BitDo Pro 2 wireless controller is a step up from the SN30 albeit with a slightly less retro look. In exchange for that, it adds a few more bells and whistles like customizable back paddle buttons, a button that switches between input presets, a button that switches between custom profiles, a larger 1000 mAh battery (vs. the SN30’s 400 mAh battery), and access to 8BitDo’s Ultimate Software on PC and mobile where you can adjust button mappings and get granular with sensitivity.
Like the SN30, the 8BitDo Pro 2 is compatible with Windows, Apple, Android, SteamOS, and Raspberry Pi devices via Bluetooth 4.
3. PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller
PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller for Nintendo Switch is a quick way to connect an extra player or two to a docked Switch connected to a TV, but that’s not why I’d personally buy one. I haven’t found too many RGB-lit controllers for the Switch, but this is the perfect storm: PowerA is a respectable Switch controller manufacturer, and this happens to be one of the prettiest Switch controllers you can buy.
The RGB LEDs can cycle between eight different colors with a built-in Rainbow Phase or sync to the visuals of the game. Mappable buttons on the back of the PowerA Spectra controller can also make it easier to do certain actions. To be clear: there’s no vibration or motion control support, which may not make it the best first choice, but at least there’s no need to recharge a battery – for whatever that’s worth. And it has a 3.5mm AUX jack for an external headset, enabling voice chat within certain Switch games.
4. NYXI Wizard Wireless Joy-pad
We really liked the NYXI Wizard wireless Switch controller when it first appeared in January. It’s not just a stylish competitor to the official Switch Pro Controller, clocking in at roughly the same price albeit with a stunning purple GameCube controller-esque design. Utilizing the magnetic NYXI Hall Joystick, it actively fights against the entropic forces that eventually bring every Joy-Con to its knees… figuratively speaking. In plain English, the NYXI Wizard is designed to be especially good at preventing Joy-Con drift, and that alone is why the controller is a perfect long-term option if you regularly play twitchy, action-heavy games like Super Smash Bros.
5. Nintendo Switch REALMz Controller (Wired or Wireless)
If you really love showing off character art in your room – especially if your room is themed around Sonic, which seems to be the flagship REALMz controller theme – you’d probably really appreciate these bespoke see-through PDP REALMz controller designs. REALMz offers both wired and wireless controllers, but no matter your preference, you’re getting a LED-backlit piece of artwork designed to boost the ambience of your gaming room. Every controller is layered with graphics and imagery from the IP it’s themed off of, and there’s at least one figurine inside of the bottom left grip to bring the entire design to life.
The wireless version of the REALMz Nintendo Switch controller is rated to last for 40 hours, and uses a rechargeable battery.
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