Hori Reveals Split Pad Compact, A New Switch Controller For Handheld Mode

The Split Pad Pro is one of the best Switch controllers, so we're excited for the Split Pad Compact.

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Hori has revealed the Split Pad Compact, a new handheld-only Switch controller that connects to the sides of the console just like the Joy-Con. The name "Split Pad" might sound familiar already. Hori initially cornered the alternative Joy-Con market in 2019 with the Split Pad Pro, a superb controller that beefed up the ergonomics, added conventional handles, and larger buttons and triggers. It has remained our pick for the best handheld Switch controller ever since. Suffice to say, we're looking forward to the Split Pad Compact, a sleeker, redesigned option that will likely appeal to those who think the Split Pad Pro is too big.

Officially licensed by Nintendo, the Split Pad compact will be available at Walmart, Best Buy, and Target in October. The controller costs $50 and comes in two color schemes: Apricot Red and a dual-color design that is light gray on the front and yellow on the back.

As the name suggests, the main difference between the Split Pad Pro and its younger brother is size. The Split Pad Compact drops the beefy handles in favor of a design that doesn't look all that different from the Joy-Con controllers--at least when looking at the two attachments head on. The Split Pad Compact is still wider than the Joy-Con, though. The backside of each of the attachments has a curved design intended to offer improved ergonomics. The shape is fairly similar to the compact grips featured on our best Nintendo Switch grips roundup.

Like the Pro version, the Compact has larger buttons and triggers as well as full-length analog sticks. Another major bonus with the Compact over the regular Joy-Con is that it has a real D-pad, which is far more ideal for retro games and side-scrollers than using separated directional buttons. It also has a pair of remappable rear triggers, home/screenshot buttons, and turbo functionality.

Keep in mind that the Split Pad Compact is a handheld-only controller. It's not powered by anything but the console itself, so you can't use the controller wirelessly when playing on TV or in tabletop mode. Earlier this year, Hori released a Split Pad Pro that comes with an attachment so you can use it as a wired controller when gaming with the Switch docked. Hori hasn't announced plans to give the Split Pad Compact the same treatment. It's also worth noting that the Split Pad Compact doesn't have rumble, gyro, or NFC support for Amiibo.

Nonetheless, the Split Pad Compact is an exciting new Switch controller. If it's as high-performing as the Split Pad Pro, Switch owners will have another intriguing controller to choose from. Look for our Split Pad Compact review in the coming weeks to see if it lives up to the Split Pad name.

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