HORI Split Pad Pro Review: A portable Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

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Ever since I initially covered the debut of HORI Split Pad Pro, I’ve been anxious to take it for a spin. While my PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch both take up a bit of my time, the portable option has made the latter my go-to console more often than not. One gripe that I have had is that when in portable mode, Nintendo Switch can become uncomfortable to use over time. On top of that, I find Joy-Con joysticks to be very stiff, making any sort of aiming maneuver difficult. This is why I bought HORI Split Pad Pro. I’ve spent more than three weeks with it, continue reading to see what I think.

Definitely not a Joy-Con

When I ordered HORI’s controller, I knew it would be quite a bit different than a Joy-Con, but I wasn’t exactly sure if that would be a good thing or not. The first thing I noticed is that it added a fair amount of bulk to my Nintendo Switch. While this may sound like a drawback, I have found it to be precisely the size I was looking for. Sure, it’s a bit harder to fit in a bag, but I find the tradeoff in comfort and smooth, Pro Controller-like joysticks to be entirely worth it.

A direct connection is required

One drawback to worth noting is that Split Pad Pro only works when directly connected to Nintendo Switch. This means your consoles built-in kickstand won’t get much use. Speaking of the kickstand, it is unusable when Split Pad Pro is connected because the controller makes Switch a tad too top-heavy, resulting in the console immediately falling over.

Not a fan of extra buttons

One of the perks touted about HORI Split Pad Pro is its programmable rear, turbo, and assignable buttons. Truth be told, I have yet to dabble with these. In fact, I find the rear buttons to be an annoying addition and I am always pressing them while playing regularly. This doesn’t make anything happen, but it feels strange and distracts its otherwise-stellar gaming experience.

It docks without a hitch

With such a cavalcade of features, HORI Split Pad Pro manages to get yet another thing right. It rests perfectly in the official Nintendo Switch dock. This is fantastic news as I can always leave it attached to ensure its ready to be played in portable mode. To keep my Joy-Con and Pro controllers topped off, I use PowerA’s dual-charging dock. This means that every single one of my controllers somewhere to rest.

While every concession mentioned above is worth bearing in mind, I do not regret my purchase one bit. In fact, I heartily recommend HORI Split Pad Pro to anyone that frequently uses Nintendo Switch in portable mode. That’s how I play most of the time and have logged 15 to 20-hours in that manor since receiving this controller and starting a fresh game in Breath of the Wild.

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