EasySMX ESM-9124 is a Switch Pro Controller with programmable turbo and macro buttons for $35 USD
(July 22, 2022 update: Users can apply the coupon code 'notebookcheck' at checkout when ordering directly from EasySMX for $5 off.)
After having released the EasySMX ESM-9110 XBox controller in 2020, the manufacturer is now ready for a Switch version called the ESM-9124. The makers have sent us a review unit for our honest impressions.
The ESM-9124 is first and foremost a Switch Pro lookalike in design and functionality. Thus, while the gamepad is also compatible with PC, iOS, and Android, keep in mind that the face buttons (A, B, Y, X) will need to be remapped since they are different from the traditional XBox configuration.
Setup is thankfully the easy part. Connecting wirelessly via Bluetooth for the first time to a Switch, iOS, or Android device requires long-pressing X+Home, B+Home, or A+Home, respectively. Connecting to PC, however, requires either a USB cable connection or the included 2.5 GHz USB dongle and the XInput/DInput software. The 8 LED indicators near the center of the controller will light in specific patterns to indicate a successful connection. The four face buttons will light up as well or they can be disabled with more button combinations as desired.
Speaking of button combinations, the ESM-9124 relies wholly on them for better or worse. The programmable M1, M2, M3, and M4 buttons on the back, for example, support macro combinations. Setting them up, however, requires very specific combinations to initiate them (Back+M1, or Back+M2, etc.). Many of the other keys can also be reprogrammed and they have their own initiation buttons as well. Be prepared to refer to the manual frequently whenever you want to take advantage of the specialized buttons on the ESM-9124.
Alternative third-party controllers like the one from Bigbig Won have specialized Android or PC software for adjusting button sensitivities, setting macros, reprogramming button inputs, controlling LEDs, and more. Having a user interface is significantly easier than relying on button combinations on the controller itself for any customizations.
As for the EasySMX controller itself, most buttons are comfortable to press and have satisfying feedback albeit with a few exceptions. Pressing on the left joystick, for example, feels weaker, shallower, and harder than when pressing on the right joystick. Additionally, the M1 and M2 buttons on the back can be difficult to press due to how they are angled against the fingers. Thankfully, most titles don't rely on these specific inputs very often making the ESM-9124 completely serviceable in most situations.
Customizable macros and turbo
Most keys are clicky and comfortable
Compatible with PC, Switch, iOS, and Android
|Pressing on left joystick feels stiff|
No software or UI for customization
High learning curve for customizing buttons
PC Bluetooth connection not supported