PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller for Nintendo Switch review LED lights

Nintendo Switch has multifaceted third-party controller support, and PowerA is responsible for a solid chunk of it. This time around, we have a review of the new PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller for Nintendo Switch, retailing for $34.99 (or on sale for less), and it’s a really solid value for what it brings to the table.

The PowerA Spectra Switch controller’s key feature is clearly its LED lighting, which at the press of a button (on the back of the controller) can be set to glow in one of eight colors or cycle through all eight colors. It’s a well-done effect that pops in the dark or in daytime alike, making it attractive for streamers or just anyone who likes to stare at cool colors.

Other than that, the controller offers a 3.5 mm stereo audio jack for headphones or earbuds, thumbsticks with anti-friction rings (like on an Xbox One controller), and two extra buttons on the back of the controller that can be programmed. You can program those extra buttons to be anything except apparently the + or – buttons, and it truly only takes a few seconds to set up, using yet another button on the back of the controller. I opted to program them to function like the ZL and ZR triggers.

The reason I selected those buttons is that the PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller has some slightly pointy trigger buttons, and they rest higher on the controller than on a typical Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. My hands would sometimes get poked by the pointy triggers, making them slightly but by no means overwhelmingly uncomfortable, but my hands are also kind of small. Perhaps someone with larger hands would find the triggers more comfortable than I did.

PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller for Nintendo Switch review LED lights

LED lighting is not active in these images.

Otherwise, the PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller feels a lot like the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. The PowerA buttons descend a bit deeper into the controller when you press them compared to those of a Pro Controller, which could feel more satisfying to you or maybe just looser depending on your mindset. Either way, it’s not a big deal. I had a perfectly fun time playing Persona 5 Strikers with it, complete with radiant LED light and crisp audio coming through my earbuds plugged into the controller.

True to its name, this controller must be plugged in to the Switch to function, but its 9.8-foot USB cable with snap-lock and inline release give you plenty of room to maneuver. It is also lacking HD Rumble, gyroscopic controls, IR, and amiibo interactivity, but for a lot of games, these won’t be huge concessions. Ultimately, the PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller is a great option for those who want a stereo audio jack and don’t want to pay twice as much for a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. Plus, ya know, it lights up in cool colors. It’s hard to argue with flashing lights.

A review unit was provided by the manufacturer.

PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller for Nintendo Switch review LED lights

PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller

With striking LED lighting, a 3.5 mm stereo audio jack, and two programmable extra buttons, the PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller is a great value for its affordable price. It requires a wired connection and lacks HD Rumble, gyroscopic controls, IR, and amiibo interactivity, but none of those things will matter much for most games. Just watch out for the controller's slightly pointy triggers.

John Friscia
Head Copy Editor for Enthusiast Gaming, Managing Editor at The Escapist. I'm a writer who loves Super Nintendo and Japanese role-playing games to an impractical degree. I really miss living in South Korea. And I'm developing the game Boss Saga!

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