We’ve had a few different third party controllers for the Switch now. There was the premium WX4 wireless controller from Gioteck, and who could forget the bizarre-looking MULTI:PLAYCON controllers from snakebyte. Well, we have a new set from Gioteck this time, as they offer up the JC-20; a more wallet-friendly version of Nintendo’s Joy-Cons.
Whilst the price looks a lot better though, how do the controllers themselves stack up? Let’s find out.
Build Quality & Design – 8/10
Having got so used to using the Joy-Cons when playing my switch, it was a bit of a shock using the JC-20. Not in a negative way at all, just they are a bit bulkier, but it actually works a bit better in favour of the gamer as it allows you to get a better grip. Especially with the back shell’s mould giving it a bit more of a bump, making it a little more ergonomically designed and offering comfort even after prolonged use.
The rest of the shell is a little more rounded on the edges, but the inside track that slots into the Switch to use in handheld mode is very similar. Sadly, they do lack a certain feature I’ll cover later in the review when in handheld, but in terms of the design for gameplay, they work great. And despite the larger size I mentioned, they’re not much heavier at all, although the plastic does feel a bit less premium quality compared to Nintendo’s, I’ll accept that though if they don’t have the Joy-Cons drift issues.
Probably one of the best points to the design is they come in various designs, including some inspired by your favourite games. The particular one we received was a Minecraft inspired design, but there are also Animal Crossing and Fortnite inspired designs, as well as standard colours, matching the neon red and blue that I have from Nintendo. And unlike Nintendo’s official controllers, the JC-20 designs are much more creative than just solid colours.
Features – 7/10
For the most part, the JC-20 has the exact same features of the official Joy-Con controllers. They feature both motion controls and vibration support, similar to the HD Rumble used by Nintendo. Something not found in many budget 3rd party controllers. They can also be used in handheld mode on the Switch, as a combined gamepad using the provided adapter (won’t fit into an official Nintendo one) or separately as two controllers if you’re on the move.
However, we did have some connectivity issues when trying to set them up on the Switch. Either they wouldn’t connect right away, or one would and the other wouldn’t. But normally, switching the console off and on again would resolve this, not a big issue, but a little niggle nonetheless. And, when using them as single controllers, despite the lovely inclusion of the gamepad, you don’t get any bumpers to run on top of the controllers, making them a little less comfortable to use horizontally.
That said, once they did connect, they worked fine, and I think I actually preferred the grip on these over the official Nintendo ones. And with 12-hour battery life in these bad boys, they’ll keep going for a very long time before they need recharging again. Sadly, this is the issue I mentioned further up. They don’t charge when connected to the Switch itself, instead, you have to manually charge them with a USB-C cable, of which a double-headed one is provided so you can charge both at the same time. And it doesn’t take long at all. But again, might be an issue for some.
Value for Money – 10/10
When it comes to value for money, I can’t grumble with the JC-20. I mean you can pick a set up for £34.99 from Argos right now (price correct as of 23/08/2020) and that’s half the cost of the official Nintendo controllers. In fact, you’d pay more for a single Joy-Con at somewhere like CEX. And they’ll be secondhand. So what’s not to love?
They pack all the same features really, as well as coming with a gamepad. The only downside is that they need to be charged separately. But, you can look at this as a good point too, as it’ll make your Switch last longer in handheld mode, because it won’t be charging the controllers up as you play, taking some of that much-needed juice from your game time. Instead, the Switch keeps its power, and you have a set of controllers that will last up to 12 hours, which will outlive the console anyway.
Plus, if you have multiple kids or friends wanting to play with you and you need a cheap set as a spare, these will do the job perfectly. And if someone does break them in a fit of rage, it won’t cost you anywhere near as much to replace.
Overall thoughts of the Gioteck JC-20 Controller?
Well, I have to say, I think I prefer the JC-20 to the official Joy-Cons. Their design whilst bulkier is a little more comfortable with its bump on the rear side and rounded edges. And despite not charging with the Switch, they hold enough power to outlive it anyway, and they won’t steal juice from your console’s battery, so for some, this may even be a plus. Add to that the fact it has motion and vibration support, at half the cost of an official set, with some snazzier designs I may add, the JC-20 is probably one of the best Joy-Con alternatives on the market from third-party manufacturers, and definitely the best I’ve used so far.
You can grab yourself a JC-20 controller yourself right now, online or at various high-street stores such as Argos and Smyths. If you need more info on these, head over to the official Gioteck site HERE. And whilst you wait for them to arrive once you’ve placed your order, or even as you wait for them to charge up, head HERE to check out some more of our hardware reviews.