My journey with Nintendo Switch Joy-cons have been an adventure to say the least.
Much like many of you, I have played through many versions of Joy-Cons due to drifting issues mostly. I refuse to send my Joy-Cons away to Nintendo to fix them because that process would take forever, and it would keep me from playing. I would go from buying a new pair to even buying DIY kits to fix the problem. While those are good methods to approach, one should not have to go to those tedious methods to acquire a better gaming experience. I decided to go away from the traditional and flawed Nintendo branded Joy-Con controllers and try out some of the third-party brands out there on the market. If you checked out my last UNBOX review of the HORI SPLIT PAD "Pokémon edition" controllers, you know that I thought highly of them yet lacked some things it needed to really pull me in. Added to that, the controllers were a bit bulky for me who has medium size hands. Plus, the lack of a rumble feature and motion control abilities did not sit with me especially when playing games like "Mario & Sonic at The Olympic Games" where some of the mini games requires motion control features. While the ability to use turbo features and assigned button configuration are great the inability to use to home button to wake the Switch from sleep mode as well as fact that I couldn't use case to protect the base of the Switch was also daunting. So, I decided to invest in another third-party product that hopefully is capable to meet all my needs of the traditional Joy-Cons and more. The BINBOK Joy-Cons come with USB cord for charging and frame to connect the Joy-cons like a full controller.
ENTER THE BINBOK JOY-CON:
The BINBOK was something that I was eyeing for a while, but I opted out because of the popularity of the HORI controller. When I look up the product on Amazon, I was thrilled to see that it claimed to provide not only the elements that the HORI controller had but also the features that I was looking for including dual shock rumble feature and 6-AXIS CUSTOM GYRO motion control features. Unlike the HORI controller, you can use the BINBOK in all the ways you would use the traditional whether it be on Handheld mode, controller mode using the frame, or independently for games that require you to detach the Joy-Cons. Added to that the controller are slightly smaller in dimension to the HORI controllers yet, slightly bigger than the traditional Nintendo Joy-Cons.
The contrast of the three controllers reminds me of Goldilocks and the three Bears story where she would find something that was too little, one that was too big, and one that was just right. This is the same situation with these controllers. The BINBOK controller feels great in my hands when playing for hours. One big positive to the BINBOK Joy-Cons compared to the other two is the design. One of the biggest problems when it comes to the traditional Joy-Cons is that they allow your hands to immediately touch the base of the Switch which heats up considerably and makes it uncomfortable at times. The HORI controller solves that problem by making it big and bulky enough that you will never put your fingers on the base which is great but after a while the feeling of the controller begins to feel overwhelming if you don't have big hands. BINBOK solves that problem by meeting it down the middle. The back of the controller is designed so you can easily wrap your fingers around the handles of the controllers never needing to reach or touch the base. I played for hours with them and never once did I ever touch the base.
The RETURN of RUMBLE:
When I was playing with the HORI controller for a while it felt incomplete not getting the vibration in your hands during certain games. That was one of the main reasons for investing in this controller. The rumble feature has been a staple for game consoles and Switch was no different. Not getting emersed in the game with a rumble feature felt like I was not getting the full experience they provided. Thankfully, BINBOK wanted gamers to have the wonderful experience by combining the concept of the traditional Joy-Con along with the added features of the HORI controller to give us the perfect Joy-Con experience. The great part about the BINBOK is that not only does it have Rumble features, but you can also configure the level of vibration you want to have. Simply hold the "T (turbo)" button and using the analog stick to go up or down a level of vibration that you desire. This made for a very enjoyable experience and at this point I am falling for this controller hard. But wait, if you think what I feel for this controller is an infatuation you need to hold on to your smartphones, tablets, and mouse for the next feature.
BUTTON and D-PAD
The D-Pad and button layout is awfully familiar to what you would expect for the Nintendo Joy-Con format. As I mentioned before in terms of dimensions, the BINBOK Joy-Con button layout are once again slightly larger than the traditional Joy-Cons yet smaller than the HORI.
For someone with medium size hands these are perfect. Another plus to the four buttons is that they are engraved with the X, Y, B, A letters on them as opposed to having them painted on them like the HORI controller which after constant use, they begin to fade. Another problem that I mentioned about the HORI controller is completely troubleshooted with the BINBOK with the home button which for some reason it was hard to use to wake up the Switch which forced me to use the power button to turn on the console. This is no longer an issue as the Joy-Con's react very fast and awakes the Switch with ease. As far as it goes for the feel of the buttons and D-Pad when playing almost everything feels fluid and responsive. Analog sticks and buttons feel comfortable and are very responsive to the game play. I had no problems when playing and raised my enjoyment even further.
That ONE NEGATIVE:
If you read early about me saying that "almost everything" feels fluid and responsive. The "almost" part of that sentence was meant for unfortunate D-PAD. The D-PAD on the other hand may be the only negative I give for this controller and the only positive I will give HORI in comparison. The D-PAD unfortunate holds no comfort or fluidity for those like me who enjoys using the D-PAD for fighting games. The D-PAD is very tight with barely any flexibility which hinders any means to pull off half circle motions that would allow you to do a basic fireball move in fighting games like Street Fighter II and other fighters out there. If you by Joy-Con controller strictly for the use of a classic D-PAD feature, then this may not be the controller for you as it is so stiff that it is even hard to pull off a character horizontal or vertical move (Sonic Boom or Flash kick for example). Fortunately. the analog stick works great for fighters as I was able to easy pull of those move sets in games like Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Edition and Samurai Showdown. Since most of my games are platformers or other action-based games, this was not a deal breaker for me, yet I do hope in the future they work on that.
EXTRA FEATURES: BINBOK is nothing short of flashy and sleek as it provides a stylish feature that let you configure the LED light colors on your analog sticks by once again holding the "T" button and pushing the analog sticks down to choose the color you want. It's a feature that is not necessary or needed but very cool to have and fortunately for the company that is not the only cool feature about the controller. I will admit, seeing it glow as I play the game give my Nintendo Switch tricked out Maybach look it deserves.
Stiff D-PAD aside, this is without a doubt one of the best Joy-Cons I've used so far. This provided me with everything that the original model has and more. While the controllers are still fresh in my hands, I can't let you know whether I will experience any drifting issues. Rest assure that I will update all of you on that if that ever occurs down the line. If you are looking for an alternative with the epic experience you want and deserve on the Nintendo Switch, why not give the BINBOK Joy-Con a try even if you are using it for fighting games. This one is a quality investment.