PowerA Spectra Switch Controller Review – Glowing Recommendation

PowerA Spectra Switch Controller Review

Nintendo Switch controllers are an absolute necessity. If you’ve only been using Joy-Cons up to this point, A) I’m so sorry, and B) there is a better way out there. I was fine with Joy-Cons until the first time I held a Pro Controller in my hands. From that point onward, Joy-Cons were considered emergency use only. If you’re not hung up on sticking with first-party gear, PowerA has some excellent alternatives lined up. Such as the Spectra, which is like a Pro Controller, only it glows!

So Bright You’ll Need Shades

There are some differences, of course. Features that have been added or removed, and whatnot. But the main takeaway you must absorb about the Spectra Switch controller is as follows: it feels great, and it lights up just beautifully. Everything else is of minor importance in the face of these facts. You can switch between eight different colors, or just set the controller to cycle through them at a steady clip. You merely hit the button to select your preference, and the light show begins. Each hue is crisp, clean, and gorgeous. Did I mention that it also feels great?

PowerA Spectra Switch Controller

PowerA has more or less landed on their ideal controller design, from a mechanical perspective. This is the second PowerA Switch controller I’ve covered for the site, and the two of them are comparable in terms of tactile feedback quality. Every button is responsive and satisfying, if a little loud. The triggers have the right amount of give, the sticks move just as I’d prefer them to, and the buttons feel smooth. This isn’t exactly on the level of the original Pro Controller, but the move from one to the other is mostly lateral. The only thing I’m still not totally sold on are programmable extra inputs along the back of the unit.

In their defense, it’s an excellent idea. You can’t expand on a controller’s functionality without taking ease of use into account. Their position directly beneath your index fingers is as convenient as possible. No extra movement is required! The only downside is one of muscle memory. Working with a controller in the first place is wrangling your conditioned reflexes to a productive end. Adding a whole new set of motions to that deep dish lizard brain layer cake is a tough sell, at least in my experience. Perhaps with enough time and attention, even a scrub like myself could find purpose in those extra inputs. For now, they remain a curious, extraneous footnote.

Two More, For Safety

My living room setup allows for things like cables and cords. This means that the Spectra’s wired status is a minor inconvenience at worst. Plus, that corded connection means you’ve got access to a headphone jack. You won’t find that on the Pro Controller, wireless functionality notwithstanding. Unfortunately, the Spectra also lacks any sort of motion controls. So what possible advantage does it hold over a fully featured controller like the Pro? That would be the price. The Spectra is around half the price of the Pro, while being comparable in terms of tactile feedback. The RGB lighting is icing on the cake when you factor in affordability.

Getting off the Joy-Con track can be terribly expensive if you keep things first-party only. Third-party gear can be an appealing alternative, but there’s often some serious drawbacks. With the PowerA line, you know exactly what you are or aren’t getting. A half-price ticket to actual controls will cost you wireless and motion control functions, yes. But you’re also getting access to that sweet RGB aesthetic. Don’t forget the headphone jack! This deal won’t be nearly sweet enough for some. On the other hand, if you’re willing to run a skeleton crew, this controller will serve you well. Whether you’re looking for bright colors or better deals, the Spectra Switch controller from PowerA is an excellent choice.

***A Retail version of the product was provided by the manufacturer***

The Good

  • Lighting is beautiful
  • Inputs feel great
  • Comes with headphone jack

The Bad

  • Wired version
  • No motion controls
  • Extra buttons still needless