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The exposure of incredibly detailed and flexible customization options to players, and giving them the ability to save and share those options, is spot-on. But before I make the case for the Dual Shock 4, I should tell you why the official Steam Controller isn’t the obvious choice. When Valve first sold the retail gadget in 2015, its wild design turned heads. It replaced them with two huge circular touchpads, one of which is bare like a laptop touchpad, and one that has a cross-shaped groove to help ease the loss of those cardinal buttons. It also includes two “paddles” that the player can grip with their ring and pinky fingers, which are otherwise unused by conventional controllers. Earlier iterations that Valve tested were even more extreme. Other advanced features the Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition includes are hair trigger locks, which reduces the distance of presses to make the act of firing faster in first-person shooters.

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Also aiding competitive players is the controller’s ergonomic non-slip rubber grip, there to ensure Xbox One players always have a handle on their in-game actions. The Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition, also manages to avoid looking ugly despite its chroma lighting. That’s because it’s layered around the logo section at the top, adding a splash of style that isn’t too distracting.

You can even make the console more comfortable by improving the grip on the console itself, so you don’t drop it and damage the screen . But even if you’re looking for something else, we’re on the case. In short, the Steam Controller is a jack of all trades, functional for both PC and console controls, but excelling at neither.

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Despite these few shortcomings, I can’t see myself returning to Nintendo’s official Joy-Cons. The added size of the Split Pad Pro would be enough, but the smoother analog sticks, superior D-Pad, and bigger buttons make me excited for the next time I play my Switch.

And while that’s a decent position to be in, it’s not ideal in today’s market. Even first-person games that are clearly better-enjoyed with a mouse and keyboard, like Overwatch or Fallout 4, include support for console controllers. Valve has been tweaking the controller software, built in to the 10-foot Big Picture Mode interface and accessible to the user to an unprecedented degree, since launch. And indeed, the Steam Controller does an admirable job of controlling PC-style games without a mouse or keyboard, in ways that many skeptics thought simply couldn’t be done.

  • The skidding makes for a bit more work for the developer, but it’s so easy to navigate in the graph window it’s not much of a pain.
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The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller also boasts a lot of features most third-party controllers rarely include, as well as a pretty capable USB-C to USB-A cable. This includes NFC/Amiibo support, HD rumble, and motion controls. However, the Pro Controller’s price tag is also $70 USD, which is more expensive than both the DualShock 4 and latest Xbox One controller. That said, the Switch has been going for cheaper than its MSRP recently, even after the deluge of Black Friday deals last year, so your mileage will vary. Thankfully, Switch players have all kinds of options when it comes to Nintendo Switch accessories. Like the best PS4 controllers, there are a lot of different options for Nintendo’s platform.

It’s of course not compatible with the Switch Lite, since it doesn’t support different Joy-Con options, and you can’t get it in neon, but it should otherwise work with just about every Switch game. When I learned the Switch had a Pro controller alternative that included an audio port, boasted remappable paddles, and only cost $25, I didn’t expect much in the way of quality. The PDP Faceoff Deluxe+ wired controller exceeded my expectations and is now one of my favorites to use with the Switch. Holding it, it feels very similar to Nintendo’s Pro controller.

I don’t think any of these controllers beat the Pro controller in pure ergonomics, but this PDP pad comes close. The general shape is the same, but the sticks and triggers come up a touch higher. I like the raised height of the triggers, but I feel like they could have been reshaped a bit to better fit the natural curve of your fingers.