Nyko Playpad vs Playpad pro comparison

Recently, I picked up and reviewed the Nyko Playpad Pro, a Bluetooth gamepad for Android devices. While the controller was good, I decided to return it and try out the regular playpad for comparison. I played the same games on both, and here’s what I found as far as differences go. Don’t worry, this won’t be a long review.

The playpad works almost identically to its ‘pro’ counterpart. Functionally, it has the same abilities and features. Maps to touchscreen controls, usable for games that support gamepads, usable as a mouse, and so on. Both controllers are easy to pair with Android devices, and are very customizable and responsive. The main differences are these.

I know, I suck at photoshop....

I know, I suck at photoshop….

Kepp in mind, I have very large hands.

Kepp in mind, I have very large hands.

First, the feel. The playpad has low profile thumbsticks, similar to the original PSP’s analog stick. The tension is similar, but it’s a bit more awkward to use when compared to the pro. The pro has traditional style thumbsticks, like a PS or XBOX controller. It may just take more getting used to, but I’m not as crazy about the low profile ones. They don’t feel as “natural”. The PP is also smaller, which can be a turnoff for those with large hands, and could promote cramping during long sessions. I say ‘could’ because I never experience things like that. This controller is slightly bigger than an original NES controller, and I never had an issue with that one either. And yes, I’ve used it as an adult. It’s more comfortable, in my opinion, than a Wiimote turned sideways.

Case and Controller. Great design.

Case and Controller. Great design.

Second, the packaging. No, I’m not referring to the box it came in. The PP comes with a case, a little bigger than a large sunglasses case. This hard case keeps the controller safe from damage while toting it around in a bag. This is the main reason I decided to try this controller, and trade in the Pro. The pro is basically like tossing an Xbox 360 controller in your bag. I’m concerned that the lack of protection could damage the thumbsticks since they stick out so far. I’d also be concerned with it turning on by being pressed up against something in my bag.

Fold up stand

Fold up stand

Third, and this is more pedantic, the PP comes with a stand for your phone or tablet. I tried it out with my Droid Incredible 2, and my Asus TF300. It held both well enough, but it’s a bit narrow for tablets. I have another stand that I use that’s much more secure for my Asus. The stand also folds up to fit in the case, along with the USB charging dongle.

Now I’m at an impasse of sorts. I like the safe portability of the Playpad, and how it keeps all related stuff in one convenient case, but I also prefer the Pro’s feel and size. It’s certainly a preference thing, and I’ll most likely play with the PP more and see if it feels better after a little breaking in. If it doesn’t, I’ll be going back to the Pro, and maybe I’ll just make some sort of case for it.


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