The Switch (and Pro Controllers) have Terrible D-Pads


I actually find the dpad on the n3ds to be extremely accurate. I mean it’s clicky, so it’s hard to hit the wrong thing accidentally. Of course it’s a bit cramped, so it’s not ideal. But I wish they basically had the n3ds dpad on the switch. The buttons are fine for some games, but it can really hurt your thumb in most games that require traditional 2d movement.

It is frustrating that nintendo hasn’t made a good console dpad for a while. They were really bad on all wii U controllers (constant accidental inputs), and it’s one thing that’s keeping me from getting a switch pro controller. Funny enough, the n64 was the last one I really liked, and I only used that for Tony Hawk really.


Looks like 8bitdo has a wireless adapter. Prepare to use your Pro controllers on the switch.


If you guys are after a good controller for the switch, this may be a good option. It’s cheap, but no motion control.

Anyone tried one? Hori make good stuff

(Canadian pricing)


thats not got a real dpad either, its just a cover for the standard buttons. have not tried it myself but not read particularly positive impressions.

i think the best solution right now is to buy a brook adapter as i imagine most round here will have ds4’s and arcade sticks already for other current gen machines.


I’m one of those mad people who actually quite likes the Joy-Con D-Pad buttons. But I think the difference between making peace with it and hating it probably depends on how you use your D-Pads.

If you slide or move the tip of your thumb around to each edge of a D-Pad the buttons aren’t great - they force you to lift your thumb off the pad each time to change directions.

But if you rock the base of your thumb around the middle of the pad, from where your thumb’s joint is, it works really well! The extremely stable switches (the Switch’s buttons never wobble about) give it a very crisp feeling and I haven’t had trouble playing most games with it…

…except for shmups. While I find the crisp feedback works well with shmups, the amount of movement you make with your thumb makes it hurt after a while. The shape of the Switch’s D-Pad buttons are causing this.

I received the HORI D-Pad Joy-Con controller in the mail today, it’ll be interesting to see how it is.


Yea, I find Sonic Mania shockingly playable with the default buttons. But shmups, for me, are not.


So I tried out the HORI D-Pad Joy-Con with a range of games: Labyrinth of Refrain (menu and dungeon navigation is done entirely with the D-Pad), Gunbird 2, Namco Museum, Money Idol Exchanger…

The D-Pad is decent, if a bit stiff to operate. It’s a ‘mushy’ D-Pad with presumably rubber switches so there’s no clicky feedback to each press. I had no trouble playing games competently with it.

For what it’s worth, I did notice, under the inputs test page in Settings, that quickly moving left-right-left-right on the pad will register the occasional up or down press, so it’s not as precise as a clicky pad or the Joy-Con buttons. But it is a lot more comfortable if you’re continuously moving directions, thus also making it more versatile to different ways of using it.

The rest of the design is so-so, though, and it makes you appreciate the switches Nintendo uses for the buttons. Presumably to cut costs, the minus and capture buttons are rubber buttons with mushy, poorly defined switches beneath them. They are difficult to press and as a result, introduce the feeling of lag when you use them. L and ZL aren’t rubber and have switches, and feel better, though different to the R and ZR of the accompanying, official Joy-Con. The stick must be a Nintendo part as it’s identical to the official Joy-Con.

If you’re going to be playing a lot of shmups and fighting games in handheld mode, I think it’s worth picking up.


I can see the issue with the joycons, but whats up with the pro controllers having terrible d-pads as well? Has that been fixed?


Yeah, The D-Pad on the pro controllers aren’t very good. I can’t stand using them when I play Puyo Puyo Tetris. I just use the joycons since they are more accurate.


My first Pro controller had a terrible d-pad but after the left stick started failing I sent it in to Nintendo and the replacement had a good d-pad. The stick on that and a second new Pro controller(!) started failing and I sent those in to Nintendo. I haven’t tested them thoroughly, but both seem to have perfectly good d-pads.

The real issue for me is what the hell is up with the left stick failing over time on three controllers. I played a lot of Splatoon but that shouldn’t be the cause since I’m not doing anything crazy with the controllers and it was over a pretty short span and not an excessive amount of playtime. And I have met no resistance from Nintendo reps about getting all these replacements, one even going as far as implying it’s a known problem.


I’m not entirely convinced by the HORI D-Pad Joy-Con for games where you’re constantly moving your thumb around. Played some Gunbird 2 and my thumb was aching by the second stage due to the amount of effort required to press a direction.

It goes well with yellow though!


I got to admit. I kinda wish I imported the blue one because I legit hate the Zelda and Mario themed ones.


Yea they’re gaudy.


Yeah, I couldn’t stand the licensed versions so I ended up importing. The battery drain issue has been fixed with OS 6.00, if anyone was wondering. Doesn’t sip any power in standby mode.


By the by, did they ever fix the disconnecting issue for the left joycon? I know I’ve updated mine a few times but I can’t play for long with it unless there is no obstruction between it and my switch at all or it starts messing up. Rarely use it separated from my system but when I did recently for Octopath when the pro was elsewhere I was still having the problem.


You mean the weak connection with the left Joycon? Nintendo fixed it at launch if you contacted them and sent it in for a free repair. You still can.

Since we no longer hear about this, it’s a safe bet this was fixed at the manufacturing stage and is no longer an issue if you buy a new one at retail.


Honestly I think the dark blue looks awful.

I ordered the Mario one which should come later today. I really rather like the transparent red but I want to see in person how the Mario theming on it will look. Hopefully it doesn’t look too bad with my transparent orange right joycon.

I did a joycon reshell a few months ago to add a d-pad but I don’t like it. It’s an improvement over stock but the d-pad doesn’t pivot and feels bad in use, plus the plastic on the new shell is of noticeably lower quality than stock.


Good to hear. I knew it was a problem but since I so rarely use the joycons disconnected I was just gonna sit on it for a while to see when it ended up being fixed/haven’t looked into it for a while. Thanks for the info chum.


Does it feel like a N3DS XL pad?


The reshelled one? It clicks with about the same force as the XL one but there is no center pivot.

On 3DS the dpads do not have any ability to push in from the center; when pressing the center your thumb will rock on the center to click points on each direction. On traditional Nintendo rubber dome pads the center can be pushed in to a pivot, from which point no direction can be pressed until you tilt to a direction.

Both of these prevent you from pressing more than two directions at once.

The reshelled pad does neither of these things. If you press the center you get up to all 4 directions hit at once, and you can’t rock from one direction to another. I still consider that better than the default and it takes the joycon directional buttons from being unusably bad to just casually bad.