Because of the drift issues plaguing Nintendo’s Joy Con controllers, I’ve been looking for better alternatives. In my search for good replacement options, I came across the JYS NS-191 controllers. Let me talk about my thoughts and experiences with the pair that I received.
The JYS NS-191 controllers caught my attention when I saw someone else’s recommendation in a Facebook Nintendo Switch group. His review centered mostly around the durability of the analog sticks, and he cited two weeks of constant use of these controllers with games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Later on, I saw the same controllers being offered in Shopee (a local online shopping app) and decided to pull the trigger on a purchase since I wasn’t satisfied with my Kinvoca controllers nor Hori’s Split Pad Pro.
It’s been two months since I’ve had my pair of JYS NS-191 controllers. Throughout that time, I’ve played the following games using these controllers: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Resident Evil Revelations 1 and 2, and Doom 2016. With that established, let’s get on with the review.
Look and Feel
The JYS NS-191 comes in five different color schemes. They have a blue and red pair, an all black pair, a mint green and blue pair (ala Animal Crossing colors), and a brown and yellow pair (Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee colors). I ordered the gray pair that resembles the classic SNES controllers to match my original gray Joy Con and my Super Famicom inspired Kinvoca controllers.
The plastic used for the shells feel premium to my touch, almost the same plastic used on original Joy Con. The controllers also have a certain weight to them, not as heavy as the Joy Con but definitely not light in the hand either. The JYS NS-191 are as wide as Nintendo’s Joy Con, but are approximately twice as thick at their thickest point. This thickness forms a grip and despite the lack of contours, I like how these JYS NS-191 controllers feel in my hands.
Having a similar width allowed me to use a regular carrying case for my Nintendo Switch with the JYS NS-191 attached. Somehow, the additional thickness did not play a factor. This is probably because the JYS NS-191 controllers are about as thick as the plastic extension found below the ZL and ZR buttons of original Joy Con.
There is a trade-off though. Because of the extra thickness, the JYS NS-191 won’t fit in standard Joy Con plastic grips. If you want to use these controllers as standard controllers when playing in docked mode, you’ll need to look for 3rd party grips. I imagine you will encounter similar issues when using accessories made for regular Joy Con with this pair of controllers.
This might be bad news to some, but the left JYS NS-191 controller does not have a true D-Pad. However, the buttons forming the D-Pad are shaped in a way that a D-Pad is simulated, with as close a gap between each button as possible. It still isn’t a full D-Pad but reducing the gap does help when doing diagonal motions. The face buttons on the right controller are as small as the original Joy Con buttons in terms of diameter, and are even thinner in terms of thickness. This was not a problem for me during gameplay, but I did wish for larger buttons.
The JYS NS-191 controllers have both a Home and Screenshot button where you expect them to be. Right beside them are two Turbo buttons that allow you to enable a Turbo function for any face or shoulder button (press Turbo and your desired button at the same time). It only works for one button at a time per controller though. I’ve never really needed to use this function, but it’s there for any one who needs it.
Finally, the shoulder buttons feel excellent. At least for me, they feel like the same quality of plastic and build as what normal Joy Con have. The added thickness of the JYS NS-191 means that the ZL and ZR buttons don’t protrude awkwardly so it feels much better to press them.
The Analog Sticks
And now we get to the star of the show. The analog sticks of the JYS NS-191 are awesome. They are like smaller versions of the analog sticks used on Nintendo’s official Pro Controllers, with a plastic circular mold protecting the actual sticks underneath. This is very different from the rubber flaps that Nintendo uses on their Joy Con analog sticks.
I don’t know if this will have any effect on analog stick drift. I’d like to think that by avoiding the use of a soft flap, the makers of these JYS controllers will have reduced the chances of dust getting into the stick contacts. So far, I have yet to experience stick drift with these controllers. If ever I do, I will update this review.
Because the JYS controllers follow the same stick and button layout of original Joy Con, playing games that make heavy use of the right analog stick still isn’t optimal. It works, but long play sessions strain my right thumb a lot. If you play games like first person shooters or twin-stick shooters a lot, you may want to stick with the Hori Split Pad Pro.
Aside from the usual control features, the JYS NS-191 controllers also have wireless capability so you can still use them in docked mode. They also have gyro controls, although the results vary depending on the game that you’re playing and in what mode. They’ve performed well for me in handheld mode for the games that I tested them on. I did run into some issues in docked mode, specifically with Resident Evil Revelations 2. For Doom and Breath of the Wild, the gyro seemed a little too sensitive when used wirelessly. I’m not sure if that’s because I tried the controllers without a grip; I don’t have a grip that can fit them so I’m currently unable to test.
As you can expect, not all of the normal Joy Con’s features are replicated here. The JYS NS-191 has regular rumble which is fine for me. This pair of controllers cannot wake the Switch, and they also do not have the IR camera. Finally, they do not have the NFC reader but instead, these controllers have an alternative feature that might be a little controversial.
I don’t know what the legal implications are of selling a product with this feature but I do have to mention that the JYS NS-191 have built-in amiibo profiles (up to 500, based on their website). If you press a specific button combination, the JYS NS-191 will act like you just scanned an amiibo figurine.
Personally, I do not support piracy and I have a decent collection of amiibo figurines. So it’s not like I’m cheating Nintendo of any sales by using the JYS NS-191. Not having to reach for my box of amiibo and do the scan manually is very convenient though. And if you consider using this on the go in handheld mode, then you won’t have to lug around your amiibo just so you can do your scans when you’re outside your home.
The JYS NS-191 controllers so far are able to meet the most out of what I require in Nintendo Switch controllers. They are as small as regular Joy Con, so they are as portable as the latter. These controllers have analog sticks that feel better in terms of quality and ergonomics. They have a better feeling D-Pad equivalent compared to others that I’ve tried, except for maybe the special Hori Left controller with an actual D-Pad. And the built-in amiibo, legal or not, are very convenient.
These controllers however, are not perfect. Nothing beats the ergonomics of the Hori Split Pad Pro or similar controllers (e.g. Dobe, Binbok). These do not have some Joy Con features that you might need, depending on the games that you want to play. The built-in amiibo, while convenient, is limited only to what is programmed in so you may need to buy the new amiibo releases later on, which won’t work with these controllers. Depending on what you need, these issues may be negligible or game-breaking.
The perfect controller will be highly dependent on what you are looking for. Specific to this, I was looking for a portable pair controllers to replace my drifting Joy Con for my on-the-go gaming sessions. For that scenario, the JYS NS-191 are perfect and have the added benefit of still being usable controllers at home in docked mode. I’d recommend this to the Nintendo Switch owner who plays a lot on-the-go and wants something reasonably sized. Right now, the JYS NS-191 are my favorite handheld controllers.