TechKen SNES Classic Pro controller for Switch, PC and Android
One of my favorite things about owning a Switch is the enthusiasm Nintendo has for their classic games. In fact, I recently acquired the Collection of Mana (greatness) and it occurred to me that I was going to be stuck playing it on one of them new-fangled Switch controllers. Sort of spoils the retro experience, if you ask me.
Enter the TechKen SNES Classic Pro controller for Switch, PC, and Android. It’s all the buttons and stuff you need to play the latest games, but packed into the familiar and compact form of a classic SNES controller.
The TechKen SNES Classic doesn’t sacrifice anything, either. It has motion controls, Rumble, clickable thumbsticks, Bluetooth wireless functionality with easy setup, turbo buttons (for those classic shoot-em-ups. Save a thumb!) and all the Switch-standard buttons you need to play Astral Chain.
Equally important (especially to ghetto gamers like us (wink wink)), this thing retails for right under $27 on Amazon, with free shipping. By comparison, the 8BitDo controller with all the same functions and SNES design goes for $45.
So why is this so much cheaper?
Something has to give, right? In this case, the plastic itself feels a bit cheaper and a bit less “finished” in its construction. There is a faint seam line along the L/R buttons and the angles of the grip are a little more square than the traditional, rounded edges of SNES controllers (Or maybe SNES controllers are just broken in from 30 years of wear & tear?).
There is an overall difference in the feel of the TechKen controller. At first I thought it felt lighter than the traditional SNES controller, but a scale told me otherwise. The TechKen is actually a half-ounce heavier. The difference is in the actual shape of the controller. TechKen’s version features flatter surfaces, softer plastic, and more of a matte finish.
The D-pad on the TechKen controller is flat on top, rather than featuring Nintendo’s arrowhead imprints. At first I was a little sad, just for nostalgic reasons. Then I realized that, without those arrows, my thumb no longer got arrow indentations from death-gripping the controller too intensely (Tetris 99 a serious culprit).
So yeah, there are a few changes from the familiar design, but they are subtle. This still has all the functionality you expect from a Switch controller AND the aesthetic and hand-filling form you require from a retro controller.
I tested this controller with Trials of Mana from the Collection of Mana for the retro feels, and with Mario Kart 8, to get a grip on the motion control, analog sticks and other modern functionality.
I’ve never used an SNES-style controller with thumbsticks before and I was worried they’d get in the way. They did not. The controls layout is ergonomic and just fine. If you didn’t look down at the controller, you might never realize the thumbsticks were there. The wireless connection was a lifesaver. No more sitting on the floor 3 feet from the TV like in my tweenage years. Hooray! Collection of Mana reaffirmed that this is a fine controller choice for retro gaming.
Mario Kart 8 was the true test. I rely heavily on the motion controls when I’m charging my powerslides. The TechKen controller delivered the exact response my hands expected. In fact, I think unleashing my retro-power might have improved my game.
The placement of the shoulder L and R buttons feels much more natural to me on top of an SNES controller. Probably my hands were wrapped around an SNES controller so many years as a kid, they just grew that way. Who knows?
I have yet to try this controller with my PC or my Android device (though I really should,) so I can’t vouch for that compatibility. But just the fact that I can use this device with all of my modern consoles and devices with a minimalist Bluetooth setup is a bonus.
I can’t say much about the battery life because I haven’t charged it yet. I’ve been playing with the controller for about 3 days and it hasn’t even occurred to me. So that’s a good sign, too.
So what’s the verdict?
Wireless – Good.
Motion Control – Good.
Response/functionality – Great
Price – Great
Construction/handfeel – Fair
Overall, I think this is an excellent controller for the price. We don’t all have $45 or $60 to spend on accessories, especially when a brand new Switch game is the same price. And even if you would normally spend that, this would make a great “extra” controller for when you are obligated to let your nephew play, too.