PowerA Fusion for Nintendo Change assessment: Elite Change controller has trade-offs

“The PowerA Fusion is a strong third-party possibility so long as you are comfy buying and selling key options for personalisation.”

Sturdy package deal

Simple customization

Sturdy construct

Useful again paddles


Lacking key options

Decreased battery life

The PowerA Fusion may simply be the closest we get to having an Xbox Elite Sequence 2 equal for the Nintendo Change. The third-party controller is loaded with bells and whistles that make it really feel like a forward-thinking redesign of one of the best Nintendo Change controllers.

Contemplating that Nintendo typically strikes sideways fairly than forwards with tech, there’s quite a bit to get enthusiastic about right here. The PowerA Fusion comes with mappable again paddles, swappable joysticks, and different customization choices which have by no means been doable on an formally licensed Nintendo controller. Although in terms of third-party gear, there’s all the time a degree of compromise. Some lacking elementary options add a degree of give-and-take that gamers might want to weigh earlier than making a dear dedication.

The entire package deal

The PowerA Fusion retails for $100, which makes it costlier than a typical Change Professional controller. When trying on the full package deal, it’s straightforward to see why. The field doesn’t simply embrace a wi-fi controller. There’s a again paddle pack, 4 thumbsticks, two swappable faceplates, and extra — all housed inside a useful carrying case.

It’s exhausting to think about Nintendo making one thing with the identical form of utility …

Contemplating that the official Professional Controller retails for $70 with none of that justifies the additional $30.The closest parallel to the PowerA Fusion is the $180 Xbox Elite Sequence 2, which is a equally wealthy package deal. They aren’t actual comparisons contemplating that the Elite Sequence 2 is rather more technologically superior, nevertheless it’s the closest we’ve seen in terms of Change expertise.

The controller itself (with out the again paddles put in) is completely comfy and doesn’t really feel terribly totally different from a typical Professional controller. A few of its buttons protrude out a bit extra and the grips really feel a contact thick, nevertheless it doesn’t have the knockoff design of the third-party pads we grew up with.

Eradicating and changing elements is a snap, actually. The magnetic faceplates pop proper off and the thumbsticks are straightforward to swap. There’s even some flexibility with the paddle pack. Every paddle may be simply changed, and the pack itself may be popped out at any time if its getting in the way in which. Simply trying on the Fusion from a customization standpoint, all of its shifting elements are intuitive and simple to deal with. It’s exhausting to think about Nintendo making one thing with the identical form of utility within the Change’s lifetime.

The enjoyment of again buttons

The again paddles are the primary attraction right here. When the professional pack is hooked up, the controller will get 4 steel paddles that sit between the grips. Buttons may be simply mapped to every paddle with simply three fast inputs.

There are some limits to the mapping. Button mixtures can’t be assigned to at least one paddle. I used to be additionally hoping to map the precise stick’s cardinal instructions to the paddles to manage Tetris 99’s concentrating on system, however no cube. The extra possible use is that gamers will map the 4 major face buttons to the again in order that they by no means need to take away their thumb from the precise stick.

Even with their limits, the paddles may be extremely helpful. Whereas I couldn’t map my concentrating on in Tetris 99, I may assign my rotate buttons to them. It’s a easy change, nevertheless it meant that I by no means needed to swap between goal and rotate, which may have risked a misfire when dropping items within the fast-paced late sport. When testing with New Pokemon Snap, I mapped every paddle to one of many face buttons, which added extra fluidity to taking photographs. I by no means misplaced full management of the digicam and will scan or throw fruit with out shifting a finger.

I discovered that my fingers felt a bit cramped at instances attempting to place my fingers across the thick controller. I wouldn’t name it uncomfortable by an extended shot, nevertheless it did require a much less pure grip. One good perk right here is that the paddle pack is solely detachable and the slot it pops into may be closed up when it’s out. Anybody who feels prefer it’s getting in the way in which can simply take away it.

Even with their limits, the paddles may be extremely helpful.

I did expertise a difficulty with the 2 left paddles all the time mapping to the identical button. PowerA says that’s possible as a consequence of a faulty mannequin. Provided that others didn’t have that drawback, that does appear to be the case. Nonetheless, it does function a reminder of a danger you run with third-party gaming tech; it’s tougher to guarantee consistentcy versus a first-party product from an organization like Microsoft. Although contemplating Nintendo’s personal, official controllers are notoriously faulty (spurring Pleasure-Con drift lawsuits), the PowerA isn’t actually unreliable by comparability.


All of these shiny options could sound too good to be true — and they’re, to an extent. Whereas the Fusion options all types of customization that Change gamers have solely dreamed of, it’s additionally lacking some fundamentals.

There’s give-and-take right here as gamers will likely be sacrificing some fundamentals for personalisation potential.

Probably the most obtrusive drawback is that the controller options no rumble. I don’t imply that it’s missing the Pleasure-Cons’ HD rumble; it doesn’t shake in any respect. Even with all of the thrilling extras, that may be a deal breaker for some. It’s additionally lacking the amiibo reader performance, which is current in a standard Professional controller. That’s a lot much less of an issue contemplating that Amiibo help has all the time been area of interest, however devoted followers could also be a bit delay by its absence right here.

The battery life is a step down, too. Whereas the Professional controller can last as long as 40 hours, the Fusion faucets out at round 20.

That’s the place the $100 worth level turns into extra of a debate. It’s not like PowerA is providing all of the capabilities of a Professional controller with a number of extras. There’s give-and-take right here as gamers will likely be sacrificing some fundamentals for personalisation potential. Whether or not or not it’s value it finally comes right down to what a participant values in a Change controller. Those that simply need one thing nearer to an Xbox controller can stick to the Professional controller.

If the precedence is customization, there’s no comparability, as a result of Nintendo affords subsequent to nothing in that division. It will also be plugged in, which is a step up from a few of PowerA’s traditional AA-powered wi-fi Change pads.

Our take

The PowerA Fusion is a strong Nintendo Change Professional controller various for gamers who need, effectively, extra management. The again paddles, swappable faceplates, and detachable joysticks all make this really feel like a worthwhile funding. If the PowerA had rumble performance and Amiibo help, it’d be a simple improve. These omissions make the $100 price ticket really feel a bit steep for anybody who merely needs a greater model of the Professional controller, fairly than a powerful, alternate one.

Is there a greater various?

The official Nintendo Change Professional controller is sturdier and cheaper, although the Fusion is uncontested in terms of its customization.

How lengthy will it final?

The battery lasts as much as 20 hours, which is half of what the official Professional controller affords. In comparison with different third-party controllers, it feels sturdier than usua, even with some plasticy buttons.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure. When you’re particularly searching for extra in-depth customization for Change controls, the Fusion is a reasonably strong package deal. In any other case, stick to the Professional.

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