QRD Stellar T5 Hall Effect Switch Joycons Review

With a console as popular as the Switch, it is no surprise third parties want to try and claim a piece of its success. QRD, makers of third party controllers, has released their T5 wireless joypad for Switch, a variant over the original T3 model. Targeting more serious Switch players, this Hall Effect joypad is aiming to be the definitive “pro” joycon controller for Switch. Sold for slightly less than Nintendo’s design, does the T5 hold its weight against the stock 1st party model?

T5 on the right. Nintendo left Joy Con on the left. Notice the difference in shape.

On paper, the T5 has a lot of impressive features. Here is a snapshot:

-compatible with all Switch models and can be used with PC and mobile devices
-contains propriety Hall Effect sensors which promises drift-free, accurate control
-both sides have gyro controls
-there is a turbo option complete with different turbo speeds
-adjustable vibration
-many different LED light effects and modes
-programmable macro back button
-bundled with both an 8-way and 4-way dpad
-includes USB-C charging cable and each side of the controller has its own USB port

To be clear, this is a split joycon controller. It is important to mention this as the Switch recognizes each side individually just like Nintendo’s 1st party model. The Switch doesn’t register this controller as a single Pro Controller, for example.

To be clear, this is a split joycon controller. It is important to mention this as the Switch recognizes each side individually just like Nintendo’s 1st party model. The Switch doesn’t register this controller as a single Pro Controller, for example.

Speaking of syncing, the T5 initially made a bad impression as they would not wirelessly sync with my Switch. Instead, I removed my Nintendo 1st party joycons and attached the T5 to each side to make the connection. It was here that I ran into the first issue. While each side can slide onto each end of the Switch while docked, the left side specifically cannot be attached if the USB slots of the dock are in use. Because I enjoy using a GameCube controller when playing Smash Ultimate, I have the USB GameCube controller base connected to my Switch at all times. Due to the bulky design of these 3rd party joycons, they will not fit on a docked Switch as they get in the way of the USB ports. Granted, once you make connection with the Switch, they will sync wirelessly, and you wouldn’t use the joycons while docked, but still. The size difference over the 1st party model is rather big and cannot be connected to the dock when the USB ports are in use. A strange oversight.

The beefy, swooping design interferes with USB devices when docked.

Staying on the topic of size, the shape is fine when both sides are held together using the included controller connector but found them nearly impossible to hold in split joycon mode. The overly rounded design doesn’t allow for the edges to fit within the shape of the hand, making it extremely difficult to get a grip let alone accurately press buttons at will.  Making matters worse, there is no included topper to connect over the split controller’s tiny L and R buttons. Nintendo includes this top piece to make hitting the shoulder buttons of the split Joycons much easier, and it also includes a wrist strap.  These accessories are missing entirely from the T5. Also keep in mind, the left side has a d-pad, not face buttons. Therefore, it is only recommended to use this controller as one, not split for two players, drastically limiting its functionality especially when compared to Nintendo’s model.

No buttons so cannot play split-joy con 2-player mode.

Moving from size to comfort level, the T5 does not feel like a quality, pro controller. While still usable, all the buttons have this empty, hollow feeling that doesn’t feel sturdy or satisfying. Compared to the standard Nintendo 1st party design, this feels like a low-cost knockoff. The worst part, however, is the positioning of the right analog stick. Since it is located immediately below the face buttons, I cannot tap the B button without accidentally hitting or slightly flicking the right analog stick. This is actually a huge problem, making this controller nearly unplayable. Even adjusting my hands to approach the face buttons at a different angle didn’t help and only made it more awkward to hold.

The right stick gets directly in the way of the lowest face button.

Unfortunately, the biggest selling features of this 3rd party Switch peripheral, at the end of the day, do not drastically alter control for the better. For example, including LED lights is a cool cosmetic effect but doesn’t make the controller better/easier to use. In fact, I think I would have preferred this featured removed, and the price cut by ten bucks instead. The included turbo feature sounds nice, but I cannot think of a game needing this feature. Perhaps there is some shooter on the eShop that could make gameplay a little easier but any game that needs auto fire probably has it set as an in-game option. The assignable back button is probably the best/coolest addition, but this feature probably won’t be used other than serious FPS or Fortnite players. And adjustable vibration is no big deal. Players are either going to want it on or off.

The text is small in this pic but the English translation is not written well.

Even though there are several features exclusive to this controller, there is one that is sorely missing – no NFC support. This means players cannot scan amiibo using the T5. With so many features added to this controller, not having amiibo scanning supports seems like a horrible oversight.

Unlike the Nacon Xbox controllers, there is no dedicated app on console or PC for the T5. Point being, the user must follow light and vibration indicators when making adjustments to the controller. This is tedious and misleading at best especially because the physical instruction manual doesn’t clearly explain how to make these modifications. If you experiment long enough, you will probably be able to adjust the lighting, vibration, and macro settings but it will require some trial and error. For a product trying to be so professional, it is a shame that the instructions were not translated with care and precision. 

It comes with an extra d-pad… but no one knows how to swap it.

Given the slightly less price point over Nintendo’s 1st party Joycons, I would still encourage Switch owners to consider the original Nintendo design over this model. At the same time, props must be given to QRD for attempting to fill a sorely missing niche in the Switch market. It will be interesting to see if a T7 upgrade will ever release to offset these T5 issues, or possibly something entirely new whenever the alleged Switch 2 gets released.


-lower cost than 1st party Joycons by about 20 bucks
-has turbo function (but does any game really need a turbo function?)
-has an assignable back button on each side
-can program macros
-ships with 1 USB-C cable – each side has a USB port
-can also work with PC and mobile if so inclined
-adjustable LED lighting options
-has built-in gyro and can adjust vibration intensity

-buttons feel hollow and lower quality
-the right analog stick gets in the way of the face buttons making it difficult avoid accidental RS flicks
-no NFC option so you cannot scan amiibo
-can’t be docked to official Nintendo dock when USB ports are in use due to the fatter design
-no dedicated app so you must follow confusing light and vibration indicators to take advantage of the special features
-poorly translated instruction manual doesn’t clearly explain how to use the controller’s exclusive features
-comes with an extra rounded d-pad but instructions do not explain how to swap it (it does not just easily pull out… I think you might need to use a screwdriver and take apart the entire controller to swap the dpads)
-Can’t play split Joy Con because the left controller doesn’t have buttons – it has a Dpad
-Uncomfortable to hold in split Joy Con mode due to awkward curved shape and difficult to hit the indented L and R buttons

SCORE: 5/10

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief

Twitter: @ZackGaz

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