Review: The PowerA Fusion Pro Controller doesn't have enough features

A premium controller that doesn't feature all the bells and whistles.

When it comes to playing the Nintendo Switch in docked mode, the Pro Controller has remained the gamepad of choice for many years. That's not surprising given its traditional design, rechargeable internal battery, motion controls, amiibo functionality, and hefty feel. Many third-party Nintendo Switch controllers have tried to unseat the Pro Controller, and while they've brought their own flair to the table, they've been unable to do so.

Now, PowerA has released the Fusion Pro Wireless Controller complete with mappable back buttons, rubberized grips, and swappable faceplates. It even has a headphone jack, which the Pro Controller does not have. So how does this new controller match up to the Pro Controller? It doesn't have as many features as you'd expect given the high price point.

PowerA Fusion Pro Wireless Controller

Bottom line: The Fusion Pro works and feels amazing. Rubberized back grips and the controller's weight make it feel great in your hands. If you're going into a more intense gaming session, the optional mappable back buttons can really give you an edge. Plus, it comes with two swappable faceplates for the look you prefer.

The Good

  • Swappable parts
  • Rubberized back grips
  • Buttons press in beautifully
  • Good weight
  • Mappable back buttons
  • Carrying case

The Bad

  • No wireless sound
  • No HD Rumble, IR, or amiibo support
  • Expensive for what you get

$100 at Amazon $100 at Best Buy

PowerA Fusion Pro Wireless Controller: Price and availability

The PowerA Fusion Pro Wireless Controller is on sale for $100 at Best Buy and Amazon. It comes with two faceplates, two extra joysticks, a braided charging cable, removable back buttons, and a hard-shell carrying case to keep it all together.

PowerA Fusion Pro Wireless Controller: What's good

Nintendo Pro Controller above, PowerA Fusion Pro below.

Category Spec
Buttons X, A, B, Y, -, +, capture button, home button, L, R, ZL, ZR, mapping button, optional back buttons
Price $100
USB-C Yes, 9.8ft
Battery Life 30 hours
Textured Grips Yes
Dimensions 6.37 x 2.44 x 4.25 inches
Weight 1 lb
Release Date May 15, 2021

Build-wise, the Fusion Pro is very similar to the Pro Controller. The handgrips are roughly the same shape and the buttons are roughly the same size and basically in the same locations. However, the Fusion Pro weighs a few ounces more, making it slightly heftier. That's a good thing for me, as I personally find the weight makes it feel better in my hands. Plus, the rubberized texture on the back makes me feel like it will never slip from my fingers.

This is a very customizable controller. It comes with two additional joysticks, two interchangeable faceplates (one black, one white), and swappable backplates. If you tend to play more intensive games or like to play competitively, then you'll really appreciate the mappable back paddles. Setting up new functions for the back paddles is incredibly easy and you can even remove all or some of the paddles if you don't need them.

The faceplates are easy to swap out as you only need to lift them off with a fingernail, but the magnets hold them down firmly when in place. I do wish there were more exciting color options than just black and white, though.

The buttons press in beautifully while the joysticks all respond just the way I want them to. Being a more expensive controller, it wasn't surprising to find that it features a built-in battery that can last for up to 30 hours. Should the battery get low during a gaming session, you can plug in the included 9.8-foot USB-C to USB-A cable and continue playing. The long reach gives you plenty of wiggle room.

Considering the swappable goodies, it's very nice that the Fusion Pro comes with a hardshell carrying case to hold it all. That way you can easily bring this controller with you on trips or simply keep them organized around your home.

PowerA Fusion Pro Wireless Controller: What's not good

I was disappointed to find that despite having a headphone jack on the bottom of the controller, the Fusion Pro cannot relay sound from the Switch unless it has a wired connection and the switch on the back is set to Wired USB. You read that right. In order to actually hear anything while plugged into the Fusion Pro, the Fusion Pro in turn must be physically connected to the Switch. This limitation likely has something to do with the Nintendo's Switch design and not something PowerA could control, but it's a letdown regardless.

After testing out the mappable back buttons, I swapped them out for the flat backplate. However, getting the smooth backplate to come off again wasn't easy. So far, I've only been able to do so by slipping a butter knife into the gap and using it as a lever, which isn't ideal, especially if you were not near a kitchen. It could be that this is just something I'm experiencing with my specific unit, though.

Lastly, the most obvious con for this controller is the high price. Considering how expensive this device is, I was really surprised to find that it can't scan amiibo and doesn't feature rumble or IR. There are plenty of other options out there at a more reasonable cost that do both of those things so if you're looking for something on a budget it's not the best choice.

PowerA Fusion Pro Wireless Controller: Competition

Obviously, the biggest competitor for the PowerA Fusion Pro, and arguably the best Nintendo Switch controller out there, is the Nintendo Pro Controller. It launched in 2017 and has remained the controller of choice for many Switch owners. Plus, it features both rumble and amiibo functionality, not to mention it costs less than PowerA's premium offering.

If you want something more fun, I highly recommend going for the PDP Afterglow Wireless Deluxe Controller. It's a clear controller with lights inside that can go through just about all of the colors of the rainbow. Plus it has a rechargeable battery that can last for 20 hours.

If you like the look of PowerA controllers but want to get something less expensive, you can't go wrong with the PowerA Wireless Controller. This gamepad runs using two AA batteries and comes in over 34 different designs from simple black and red to Pikachu.

PowerA Fusion Pro Wireless Controller: Should you buy it?

You should buy this if ...

  • You want a controller with long battery life
  • You want mappable buttons
  • You want a premium controller

You shouldn't buy this if...

  • You're shopping on a budget
  • You want amiibo functionality and rumble
  • You want to plug headphones into a wireless controller for sound

I'm very torn on the PowerA Fusion Pro. It feels great and all of the buttons, including the optional back paddles, work like a dream. Changing out the faceplates is fun and lets you go with a look you like. Plus, that long 30-hour battery life makes it an appealing choice. However, while it brings some new features to the table, it's also missing some of the basics. The missing options make the price feel way too high.

4 out of 5

Players can't listen to their Switch music through the Fusion Pro's headphone jack unless the controller is wired into the Switch. Additionally, it can't scan amiibo and there is no rumble. It does have motion controls, however, which is arguably the most important feature of the three.

PowerA Fusion Pro Wireless Controller

Bottom line: Give yourself an edge in competitive gaming with the Fusion Pro's mappable back paddles. This controller has a similar shape to the Pro Controller and feels great in your hands.

$100 at Amazon $100 at Best Buy

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Technology