NINTENDO SWITCH PRO CONTROLLER REVIEW: A GREAT CONTROLLER THAT SHAMES THE JOY-CONS

NINTENDO SWITCH PRO CONTROLLER main

The official Nintendo Switch Pro controller is the most obvious option for Switch gamers, but it’s expensive compared to third-party options.

PROS

  • Solid heft and feel
  • Analogs feel fantastic
  • Responsive control inputs

CONS

  • Expensive for a controller
  • Looks a bit boring in black
  • Other colors are super rare

If you’ve sat down to read a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller review, you’re almost certainly wondering if it’s worth the money. Let’s face it, it’s expensive for a traditional-style controller and there are certainly a lot of far cheaper third-party alternatives on Amazon. 

You’ve probably also noticed that some of them seem a bit on the dodgy side to say the least. Stick with us though and we’ll run through why we think the Pro is one of the best Nintendo Switch controllers

Today’s best Nintendo Switch Pro Controller deals:

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NINTENDO SWITCH PRO CONTROLLER

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller – Design

Nintendo has kept things simple here with the traditional Xbox-style asymmetric design for the analog stick positioning. Four face buttons and four shoulder buttons are in the traditional places, with no GameCube-style shenanigans spicing things up.

The Joy-Con’s home, share, plus and minus buttons are all present too although you’d be forgiven for not quite noticing the share and home buttons as the buttons aren’t raised at all. A row of LEDs on the bottom indicates which player number the controller is currently assigned to.

A USB-C slot for charging (a cable is included in the box) is on the top side of the Switch Pro controller with a small LED that glows orange while charging and goes out once fully charged. You can also charge the controller with your USB-C phone charging cable too which is handy if you want to top up the controller while the Switch isn’t powered up so you can use it straight away next time you play.

If you’re one of those players who see a weighty controller as a sign of quality then you’ll be very happy with the heft on the Switch Pro Controller for sure. Pleasingly, it also feels really solid – there are no awkward hollow plastic noises when you tap your way around the chassis and button presses don’t produce any awkward loud clicks – when did we all get so fussy?

The Switch Pro Controller’s handles are ever so slightly textured too, adding some extra grip to the pad which means you won’t have to worry about it squirming around in your hands during those Blue Shell-fearing final laps in Mario Kart 8. We appreciated the extra grip during some of the more sudden motion control elements in games too, as we didn’t have to worry about the controller flying across the room.

NINTENDO SWITCH PRO CONTROLLER

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller – Features

Despite the Pro in the name of this official Nintendo Switch controller, this isn’t what we’d associate with ‘Pro’ adjustable controllers on other consoles like the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller or Nacom Revolution Unlimited on PS4. This is cheaper than those fancier models though to be fair.

There are no remappable buttons, extra buttons around the back, adjustable weights or interchangeable analog sticks or swappable d-pads. So you’d be forgiven for thinking the name is a little misleading.

Motion-controls are available with the Switch Pro Controller though, so you won’t miss out on steering functionality in Mario Kart 8 or the slightly cheaty spin move attack in Super Mario Odyssey where you jerk the controller sideways to initiate.

Rumble vibration effects are present as is NFC-functionality. So if you have any Amiibos lying around, you’ll be able to tap them on the controller when prompted for a few extras in select first-party Nintendo titles.

NFC-functionality is very much an optional part of games though, but it’s something to be mindful of with third-party controllers as we’ve noticed most of them don’t have this ability. And rumble features are often a casualty too. So if you are after the complete feature set, the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is the way to go and the top of our list picks for the best Nintendo Switch accessories.

NINTENDO SWITCH PRO CONTROLLER

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller – Performance

Long story short, after picking up a Nintendo Switch Pro controller, the Joy-Cons have barely left the dock on my Nintendo Switch. If you’re playing a game where any sort of precision is required, be it nailing a drift in Mario Kart or navigating a tricky platform section in Super Mario Odyssey, the Pro leaves the Joy-Cons for dead.

It’s all about the analog sticks. They’re larger than the tiny ones on the Joy-Cons and much more comfortable under the thumb. They offer more resistance too (without ever being too stiff) meaning there are far fewer instances of frantically over-correcting precise jumps and ballsing it up royally because the left analog feels too loose, which is a frequent complaint for me with the Joy-Cons’ lightweight PS Vita-like analogs.

The face buttons are raised surprisingly high from the controller’s body and would have benefitted from sloping down or being rounded off at the edges a little. But despite the height of each button, responsiveness doesn’t seem to be an issue at all and they’re reasonably quiet, especially compared to some of the third-party controllers we’ve got our hands on. I’m also relieved the buttons are much bigger than the Joy-Cons’ little thumb pokers.

The wireless connection to the Switch is super simple and reliable. Once synced up you won’t have to do it again. Unlike some of the really cheap Switch controller alternatives out there which constantly forget all about the console between gameplay sessions and need plugging in again and again to resync.

The built-in rechargeable battery in the Switch Pro controller is seriously impressive and lasts around 40 hours between charges. It takes around six hours to fully charge when you do fully deplete it but seeing as you have a range of charging options (plug it into the console, the mains or a portable battery) it’s more than fair.

NINTENDO SWITCH PRO CONTROLLER

Overall

While more expensive than the standard controllers found on PS4 or Xbox One, we have to admit, the official Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is the best one to buy to enhance your gameplay experience on the super popular console. So if you’re sitting down with a longer title like Zelda: Breath of the Wild, or want to ensure perfectly-judged jumps in Super Mario Odyssey, or to line up a perfect shot in Overwatch then this is a great purchase. Can we have some more exciting color choices anytime soon though please, Nintendo?

https://www.gamesradar.com/au/nintendo-switch-pro-controller-review/

ALIENWARE 610M REVIEW: “COMFY, RESPONSIVE, AND MEMORABLE”

alien ware mouse

PROS

  • Bold, comfortable design
  • 1000hz polling rate
  • Long battery life…

CONS

  • …but only in certain situations
  • Slippery side buttons

It’s tough to stand out when it comes to gaming mice, but the wireless Alienware 610M manages it. For one thing, it looks like a Ghost hovercraft from Halo with its spearhead shape and flared rubber back. As a result, I wasn’t sure I’d like it; it’s an unusual design that seems as if it’d be bulky underhand. Thankfully, I was wrong. The 610M is comfy, responsive, and memorable precisely because it’s so different (much like the eye-catching Alienware Aurora R9). Yes, there’s room for improvement, but I walked away impressed nonetheless. 

Today’s best Alienware AW610M deals: https://www.amazon.com.au/s?k=Alienware+AW610M&ascsubtag=grd-3274225344556392161-22&tag=georiot-au-default-22&ref=nb_sb_noss

Features

One of the selling points of the Alienware 610M is its longevity: the company claims it’ll last 350 hours on one full charge of its lithium ion battery. That’s pretty exceptional – as is the 1000hz polling rate in both wired and wireless modes.

The 610M also offers 16,000 DPI and seven programmable buttons (two of which are on the mouse’s left-hand side), an adjustable scrollwheel that offers 12 or 24 steps per revolution, and a DPI button which adjusts sensitivity by being pushed up or down rather than pressed. All in, a mouse with these features feels like good value for $100 / £80.

Design

You’ll either love or hate the 610M’s design. Either way, it’s a bold departure from the norm. While most of its shell is a smooth, shiny plastic (including side buttons that sit above a series of grooves down both flanks), the rear-end is a grippy matte rubber with distinctive ‘wings’ jutting out to either side. Meanwhile, the scrollwheel reminded me of a Land Rover tyre or something similarly rugged. 

alien ware mouse 2

In short, the whole thing gives off a distinct sci-fi vibe. It shares a lot of DNA with pop-culture spacecraft, a similarity highlighted by strips of RGB lighting at the end of each wing. It’s definitely, unashamedly an Alienware gaming peripheral.

Performance

Even though I had reservations about the design at first blush, I’ve got absolutely no criticisms of the 610M’s performance. It’s a slick, accurate, and responsive tool with crisp and satisfying clicks. In The Division 2, it allowed me to rapidly twitch from headshot to headshot with little more than a flick of my wrist. Scrolling over a chaotic battlefield at ground-level in Total War: Warhammer 2 or getting a better view of the map in DOTA 2 was also a smooth experience thanks to that 1000hz polling rate. 

The DPI button is one of the mouse’s more useful assets, too. Rather than pressing to cycle between settings (and not knowing which one you’re on without giving the pointer a shake), this one makes you push up and down to increase or decrease sensitivity. It’s intuitive, logical, and a design choice I’d love to see more of from other manufacturers. It’s a train of thought also present in the scrollwheel, which you can adjust with a switch on the bottom of the mouse.

I didn’t appreciate the 610M’s side buttons as much, however. The action on them is a little spongy, and the surface is just too slippy for my taste. Equally, the side grips aren’t all that effective. They feel somewhat underwhelming despite adding to the slick design.

The rubber tail is a different story, though. It offers a satisfying, comfortable grip while providing support for your thumb and pinky finger during use. The flourish of RGB lighting on the sides only add to the mouse’s sci-fi appearance.

alien ware mouse 3

Sadly, they don’t do much to help the 610M’s battery life. You can get 350 hours of use only under certain conditions, like turning off all the already-minimal RGB lighting or adjusting your settings. Keep everything on and you’ll get much less. I averaged five or so days of constant use in the office before needing to recharge. Which is a lot better than many other entries on our best wireless gaming mouse guide, granted, but that’s not the performance I’d hoped for considering how the 610M has been advertised.

Overall

If you’re hunting down a good wireless mouse and/or want to complete your Alienware setup, I can happily recommend the 610M. It doesn’t always hit the right notes, but those misses are the exception rather than the rule. 

https://www.gamesradar.com/au/alienware-610m-review/

SENNHEISER GSP 370 GAMING HEADSET REVIEW: “SHEER EXCELLENCE IN AUDIO QUALITY AND INCREDIBLE BATTERY LIFE MAKE THIS ONE OF THE BEST”

PROS

  • Excellent, Sennheiser-quality audio
  • Incredible battery life
  • Supreme audio range and surround sound
  • Reliable wireless performance

CONS

  • No chat/game audio balancer

Another week, another Sennheiser gaming headset. A bit after the Very Excellent but Very Expensive GSP 670s graced us with their presence, I was able to check out the GSP 370 model that’s a little cheaper and shouts about a supposedly incredible battery life. They retain a classic Sennheiser look and offer a medium-high premium level headset for PS4 and PC users, retailing around the $200 / £170 mark. But are they any good?Today’s best Sennheiser GSP 370 Wireless Gaming Headset deals

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Design

The GSP 370 retain an exceptionally ‘Sennheiser design’ and are very much in keeping with their traditional aesthetic: smooth, matte black finishes covering the solid cups, dual overhead bands, and the flip down mic. As a result, they are immediately identifiable. They’re solid in the hand, and the closed-cup over-the-ear design is not too heavy or too light, though they are at the lighter end of the spectrum coming in at 285g. This aids their comfort, which is exceptional, and is enhanced by the close but not squashing cups that are finished with faux suede. This achieves comfort enough to be able to wear them for hours at a time, ensuring you can make the most out of the battery life the GSP 370s offer (more on that later).

Overall, though, it is a premium headset in terms of design and build quality – the robustness of the headset is clear. It’d probably survive a good bump or two whereas some headsets feel like they’re held together with hopes and dreams. The GSP 370’s design is also one that promotes noise cancelling through its composition: the way the ear cups snugly cuddle your head mean that their very design stops external noise getting in. This is probably something I’d expect on a headset from Sennheiser and one that demands such a price tag, but it’s reassuring to experience it being executed so sublimely.

Features

Attached to that quality build are a few on-board controls that make using the headset nice and straightforward. Under the mic on the left cup there’s a triumvirate of little features: the LED battery and status indicator; the micro-USB charging; then the on/off switch. Simple stuff and easy to get used to and navigate by feel. On the right cup the large volume dial does all the work – large but seamlessly part of the design. Elsewhere, the USB dongle that the 370s talk to on either PC or PS4 is of a good and decent size – imagine a small-ish USB pen drive. It’s nowhere near as small as the one found in the more expensive GSP 670s, but I prefer this as the 670 USB is smart but small to the point of quite fiddly, particularly when interacting with the PS4. But no such issues exist here, as it’s an easy-to-work-with USB for the 370s.

The Bluetooth connection provided by said dongle is always strong and has a decent range too, if you should find yourself needing to step away, hide behind the sofa, or do anything else away from your PC or PS4 for a moment. Elsewhere, and on PC, the GSP 370 uses Sennheiser’s Gaming Suite software (which is only compatible with Windows 10 currently). This is pretty handy and enables you to customise and alter the settings as you see fit, with a few presets to choose from and other changes available. However, out of the box, the audio is so good and exquisite that I doubt many would have to do any altering in reality. 

Performance

Starting with the usual suspects in terms of game audio tests, Doom and Wolfenstein’s weapon-filled gameplay and Mick Gordon-composed soundtracks were a genuine delight to listen to, seemingly giving me the whole breadth of the headset’s 20-20,000Hz frequency range. From tiny machine noises to unadulterated hellspawn screams, and from chainsaw madness to clip-emptying machine gun sprays, the audio was magnificent. Meanwhile, games with detailed and more subtle audio profiles like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey can bring to light some headsets’ inability to present anything lighter or more subtle. No such trouble here – the GSP 370s gave me an immersive audio experience travelling across ancient Greece. Every wave crashing, or indeed lapping, against ship or shore was just as real as, well, real life; the clashing of weapons on bone and sinew was grisly and detailed, and voices were rich and clear. I’m playing Dying Light co-op with my friend at the moment and the GSP 370s proved the perfect companion here, excelling at every aspect of multiplayer gaming. Or, I should say, nearly every aspect, as the lack of a game audio vs chat audio balancer function is one that feels like an oversight when playing with friends. The overall sound of the combat of the game was portrayed beautifully though, so to speak, and it was always clear how close zombies were to sneaking up on you or which way the Nocturnals were coming from in the night. The GSP 370s really enhanced that game, being able to communicate with supreme clarity – the mic is one of the best I’ve used in recent months – and, with a broad brush, the mix of the game audio is nicely balanced and can be enjoyed with chat on the top of it (despite there being no dedicated balance function). Turning to Netflix or a movie was an equal joy and with the 370s effectiveness with voices and general audio quality.

On a higher level, the performance of the GSP 370s is defined by the audio quality and the immense battery. The battery life is – somehow – a genuine phenomenon. I’ve got a note somewhere at home that says I have used the headset for seventy-something hours. And counting. It’s incredible, and not just a gimmick or overly exaggerated selling point. Team that with the excellent audio and experience the headset provides and you have a truly winning combination for a gaming headset.

Overall – should you buy it?

Absolutely yes. If you can save and stretch your budget to a premium model then this is the one to go for. If you oscillate between Sony’s console and PC, this is ideal. In fact, the GSP 370 headset is the closest to a perfect-scoring headset I’ve used and only misses out by one missing feature: the balancer between in-game audio and chat, especially as this is something both official PS4 headsets have and execute extremely well. For the 370’s price, you’d probably expect such a feature to exist in some form or another.

However, that aside, the GSP 370 is a headset that’s ridiculously easy to recommend. And I’d probably go as far as to say that it gives the much more expensive GSP 670s a serious run for their money; I’d struggle to recommend going for the 670s now as the 370s offer equally excellent audio, and all-round performance as well as that astounding battery life. And for less money, too. If you’re happy to pay a bit more for Sennheiser – which is a perfectly sensible thing to do – then you should definitely stretch to these if you can. The immense battery life is worth a few extra currencies for sure, and that Sennheiser quality will make the pricetag generally more palatable too. Basically, this is one of the very best PS4 headsets and very best PC headsets for gaming.

https://www.gamesradar.com/au/sennheiser-gsp-370-gaming-headset-review/

XBOX ELITE WIRELESS CONTROLLER SERIES 2 REVIEW

“MAKES THE BEST CONTROLLER EVEN BETTER”

+ PROS

  • Wireless charging
  • New system-level customization options
  • Adjustable analog stick tension and trigger travel
  • Better balanced

– CONS

  • Very expensive
  • Onboard memory only stores one profile
  • Arriving late in Xbox console cycle

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How do you make the best controller even better? Microsoft’s Xbox Elite controller changed the way we think about gamepads when it launched in 2015. Until that point, the default controller for each platform was the gold standard, and everything else was either a niche tool for a specific type of game, like a fight stick, or an inferior imitation. With the Elite, Microsoft opened the door to the idea that there’s room for growth with its extra customization options and ergonomic rear paddle inputs. The Xbox Elite Series 2 improves the expanded feature-set of the Elite in many ways, giving you more ways to remake your controller to run in a way that feels natural to you and you alone. Some of those features are common-sense updates, but you may be surprised by their impact. Truly, whether you are a power user looking to bend every game experience to your will, the way PC players tend to on a mouse and keyboard, or you simply want the most comfortable controller available, the Xbox One Elite Series 2 will give you what you need.

What feels like a single monumental upgrade is actually the sum of many, many improvements, big and small. The major improvements, compared to the standard Xbox One controller, are very similar. It offers the ability to remap controls, customize your how the controller feels and, of course, gives you four horizontally mounted paddle inputs that can be used to replace or augment the face buttons. Each of these broad upgrades, however, has more to offer in the Series 2.

What’s new with Series 2?

The Elite Series 2 features new textured grips, which now completely cover the legs of the controller, and reach up the sides all the way to the triggers. Other than when pressing a button or paddle, you won’t naturally rest your finger on an untextured face. The grip pattern itself is low-profile, and does not seem prone to scratching or wearing down.

The replaceable parts – the paddles; textured, untextured and convex analog sticks; the four- and eight-way D-Pads – return unchanged. They lock in magnetically and are easily replaceable on the fly.

Beneath the replaceable nubs, though, the analog sticks sport a new twist. You can adjust the tension in the analog sticks by removing the analog sub and twisting a column inside the stick using the tool included with the kit or a small screwdriver. The distinctions between the three settings are fairly small, but the tighter sticks work well in competitive shooters like Gears 5 and fighting games like Mortal Kombat 11, where you want more precision control and a quicker snap back to neutral position.

The buttons and triggers have also gotten a little glow up. The buttons are now clicky and easier to tap, without the squish of the standard Xbox One controller – one of my favorite features in my favorite third-party controller, the Razer Wolverine Ultimate. The back of the controller has a pair of switches, which allow you to reduce the amount of travel on the triggers from a full press to half or even a “hair trigger” tap. Personally, I prefer the standard pull, but competitive players will likely want the lower actuation point of the quick-press.

I’m also very thankful that the Xbox Elite Series 2 now has a built-in battery, which gets about 30-40 hours of battery life in a charge. You can charge it using the controller’s USB-C port, which replaces the standard Micro-USB at the top of the controller, or use the wireless charging dock, which comes with device. The dock is just a small black box, so doesn’t take up much space or feel like an eyesore, and it’s convenient to grab your controller when its time to play and charge it up when you’re done. Some of these upgrades, like building in a battery and adding Bluetooth support like the second-generation Xbox One gamepad, feel more like modernization than upgrades – these are things you expect from a $180 controller – but features like the charging dock leap-frog what should be standard and make these improvements feel luxurious.

Software improvements

In my mind, the best improvements to the Elite Series 2 are on the software side, though. As with the original Xbox Elite, you can completely remap the controller as you see fit using the Xbox Accessories app. The range of inputs you can map to each button, however, has expanded quite a bit. In addition to the buttons on the controller, you can also assign inputs to specific system-level actions like taking a screenshot, showing your achievements, or opening a specific app. If it was a Kinect voice command, you can map it to a button. It’s a huge boon for players who want to use the paddles and the face buttons together, rather simply use them as a finger-friendly replacement. You also have the ability to assign a “shift” button, which opens up a second set of alternative inputs.

At any given time, you can set and rotate among three input profiles using a new button on the front of the controller, replacing the first Elite’s profile switch. Don’t worry, there’s an LED indicator showing you which setting you’re on. You can also store extra profiles in the Xbox Accessories app on your Xbox and Windows. The three profiles on your controller get stored in onboard memory, so you can use them when you swap from device to device. You can also store and save profiles out of your rotation in the Accessories app, so there’s no reason not to try new things for every game. Those profiles get synced in the cloud, so you can access all your profiles, onboard or off, on any Xbox or Windows PC so long as you sign in with your Xbox account.

To me, though, the biggest improvement is simply how the Elite Series 2 feels in your hand. Though it is only three grams lighter – 345g versus 348g – the Elite Series 2 is much better balanced, so it’s weightiness is a strength rather than a weakness. The controller feels dense and durable, but you don’t notice you’re holding it the way you did with the original Elite and some of its premium competitors. I didn’t find myself putting it down as much during cutscenes and breaks.

The Xbox Elite Series 2 doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but at times it feels like a revolution. From taking a screenshot with a single paddle press, to wireless charging, to using tighter analog sticks, it stacks the deck with tweaks that make a huge difference depending on what games you play and what controller you’ve been using to play them. It truly is one of the best controllers for PC gaming, and Xbox One. The only real downside is the price: how do you feel about spending $180 on a controller with a new Xbox right around the corner? I really hope Microsoft does right by people who buy this thing and support it with next-gen, which does seem likely. There’s a lot to love here, and you’ll want to use it for years to come.

https://www.gamesradar.com/au/xbox-elite-wireless-controller-series-2-review/