After only a weekend, I’m still forming my opinions about the Nintendo Switch, but I do know that I love the Joy-Con controllers. Some of my co-workers aren’t as jazzed as me, however. So I did what anyone else would do: demand to measure their hands so I could see if their feelings about the Joy-Con were based on hand size.
Back in January, Patricia Hernandez reported from the New York City Nintendo Switch event that the Joy-Con controllers felt way too small for her. My immediate thought was that that meant they would be perfect for me. I’ve always felt that my hands are on the smaller side, which sometimes makes reaching all the buttons on a controller a struggle. Even my de-facto favorite, PlayStation’s Dualshock 4, has given me issues.
So far, the Joy-Con really have been perfect for me. They slide right into the crook of my palm, and the joysticks line up perfectly with my thumbs. They’re nice in handheld mode, but detaching them and using them individually has been my go-to. In fact, I haven’t used the Joy-Con grip yet because they feel so good. It’s luxurious to be able to have my hands in whatever position I want instead of holding a controller in a vice grip.
But is this really a small-handed person’s dream, or do I just have some other weird problem? For reference, my hands are about 6.5 inches, measured from the tip of my middle finger to the base of my palm.
Editor in Chief and baby juggler Stephen Totilo likes the Joy-Con when they’re attached to the sides of the Switch in handheld mode, but has some issues with them otherwise. His hands clock in at about 7 inches.
“I like the Joy-Con less when I hold them separately,” he said. “They feel as if they’re going to roll in my hands when I press buttons on them, moreso than, say, the Wii Remote did. I’m fine with them, but would rather bolt them onto the Joy-Con grip when playing on TV. This is theoretical, though, because I’ve spent 90% of my Switch time playing handheld, such is my life in these early months of being a dad.”
Luke Plunkett, on the other hand (I’m sorry), has hands that are just over 8 inches, and he’s had a ton of problems with the Joy-Con. Like Stephen, he was alright in handheld mode, but any other mode of play was a chore.
He said, “Playing on the TV using the Joy-Con grip gets awkward after 20-30 minutes because everything is too cramped and close together. Playing using just the Joy-Con is agony.”
Notorious game delayer Jason Schreier, whose hands are only slightly larger than mine at a little over 6.5 inches inches, felt similarly to me.
“The Joy-Con feel surprisingly comfortable to me, although I could do without the left Joy-Con disconnecting every few minutes because I accidentally put one of my knees in front of it,” he said. “I haven’t used them individually, though. I imagine that trying to play Mario Kart with one of the Joy-Con would be a little tough. Maybe I can just carry the pro controller with me wherever I go!” Jason, we’ve all seen weirder things on the subway. Go for it, buddy.
It looks like if your hands are approaching 7 inches in length, the Joy-Con might give you some issues. If you’ve got baby hands like me, however, you’re in luck. While this sucks for probably the majority of Westerners buying the Switch, I’m overjoyed (fuck). Maybe this will give me the tactical advantage I need to not suck at Mario Kart.