Review: Trident Pro-S Controller (Hardware)

Reviewed by Tom Bond, posted Dec 19, 2017
Dec 19, 2017
Ahhhh Turbo buttons, helping gamers save their thumbs from shmups and various other button-mashing required games for years and years. And now, it's the Switch's turn, with the Trident Pro-S controller! Featuring swappable D-pads and a turbo button, the Trident Pro-S looks like a fairly decent controller! But is it really worth the $25 you'd save instead of buying an official Pro Controller?
Tom Bond


Activate the Turbo!

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The Trident Pro-S is one of the newer third party Switch controllers, offering some interesting features like a swappable D-pad and a Turbo button. But how good of a controller is it? To be perfectly frank, not that great. This review will generally be about the Trident Pro-S, but it will also occasionally be compared to other controllers like the official Switch Pro Controller, as well as the officially licensed wired Zelda PowerA Controller and the Joycons.

Price-wise, the Trident Pro-S currently retails for $45 on Amazon US, and £28.86 on Amazon UK, the PowerA Zelda Edition retails for $19.99/£22.99, and the official Pro Controller retails for $69.99/£59.85. This makes the Trident Pro-S $25/£30 cheaper than the Pro Controller, but $25/£5 more expensive than the officially licensed Wired PowerA Zelda Edition controller. The Trident Pro-S, as well as the PowerA Zelda controller, lacks motion controls and NFC, and only has lame-o "standard" rumble support unlike the Pro Controller, which features all of the above. This means some games that require motion controls may not be fully compatible with the Trident Pro-S, like BOTW's motion-based puzzles in shrines, and the lack of NFC support means you'll have to swap to the Joycons or the official Pro Controller when you want to scan Amiibos in various games. 


Now we'll talk about the actual designs of the controller. The Trident Pro-S features longer handles than the standard Pro and PowerA controller, which has a nice rubber non-slip grip that both the Pro and PowerA controllers lack. The analogue sticks use the same "button" config as you see on Playstation controllers, and has a nice concave, rubberized surface so your fingers don't go all sliding around everywhere during intense gaming sessions. Unfortunately, the analogue sticks are one of the drawbacks of the controller, as the sticks being so far apart and so close to the handles gave my hand cramps with prolonged play that simply doesn't exist with the other "high-low" controller designs.

The triggers appear to be analogue and have a nice feel to them, as well as the L/R buttons. The turbo function on the controller works quite well, and is activated simply by holding the turbo button and pressing the face button you wish to "turbo-ize". Only face buttons appear to work with the turbo (so you won't be machine gunning arrows on BOTW), but otherwise it works as you'd normally expect on any turbo controller. The face buttons themselves, however, are another problem with this particular controller and the way it's designed; the A and B buttons are on a slight curvature of the handles of the controller, and the A button appears more "sunken in" to the controller than the other face buttons. This makes them feel uneven with the X and Y buttons, and in turn feels cheap and unresponsive, and also slightly uncomfortable if you have large hands as they're close to/on the main grip of the controller. Whereas the Pro, PowerA, and even the Joycons have nice clicky buttons, the Trident Pro-S's have a more squishy feel which I'm personally not a fan of. 

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The biggest feature the Trident Pro-S flaunts is the swappable D-pad, which allows people to customize their controllers and give them the best advantage between games. Unfortunately, this feature completely backfired for Game Devil and is one of my least favorite things about the controller. For one, the originally installed D-pad is simply the superior one, the ever loved four directional cross D-pad. The replacements (as shown below) include a circular d-pad, akin to the one included on the Xbox One Elite Controller, and what is essentially a fatty version of the cross d-pad, which feels awful. The second issue is that, because of the mechanism used to allow swappable d-pads, the d-pad ends up feeling as squishy and spongey as the rest of the controller, as opposed to the Pro Controller's d-pad which has decent, clicky switches. 


Usability is, again, another flaw for the Trident Pro-S. The biggest issue now is that the Trident Pro-S doesn't stay paired with the Switch after the Switch powers down. If you ever turn your Switch off, you have to re-pair the Trident Pro-S, every single time. Using Sleep mode doesn't appear to have this problem, so if you're ok keeping your Switch on all the time then it might not be a problem. Another issue is with pairing itself, while the initial setup is pretty simple (you just hold the "home" button for 5 seconds to enter pair mode and wait for the Switch to recognize the controller), sometimes pairing simply doesn't work and you have to try multiple times. My latest attempt to use the controller required something like 15-20 tries before I could actually get the controller to be paired and recognized, which was a rather annoying inconvenience when all I wanted to do was enjoy some Mario Kart or Skyrim.

+ Turbo button, for all that turbo-y goodness.
+ Nice rubberized grip, for better handling.
- Swappable d-pad results in sponge-y/squishy button presses.
- Replacement d-pads are all just bad options vs the superior 4-button cross.
- Buttons are also sponge-y/squishy, which is gross.
- Fairly uncomfortable to use in prolonged gaming sessions.
out of 10
Overall, this controller probably isn't worth it. While it's fairly cheaper than the Pro Controller and has that amazing Turbo button, the sponge-y/squishy buttons, relatively low quality, and inability to stay synced to the console after reboots simply make it the poorest choice vs other third party controllers that you can get.


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