8bitdo sn30 pro plus review

8BitDo

Everything a Switch controller can do, 8BitDo SN30 Pro Plus can do better

A better––and cheaper––Pro Controller alternative.

 

Jaime Carrillo

The Daily Dot Bazaar

Published May 6, 2021   Updated May 6, 2021, 1:53 pm CDT

In a world full of gaming rife with 4K graphics, online play, and now even virtual reality, many gamers are happily stuck in the past. As fun as modern triple A titles are, you truly cannot discount the power of nostalgia. Most major home consoles, especially the Nintendo Switch, allow you to play classic titles from the 8 and 16 bit eras (and using a legacy controller, no less). Do these controllers have a place in modern gaming? If we’re talking about the 8BitDo SNES Pro Plus, the answer is a resounding yes. Let’s dive deep into the controller with a full-blown 8BitDo SN30 Pro Plus Review.

8BitDo SN30 Pro Plus specifications 

  • Dimensions: 153.6 x 102.7 x 64.3mm
  • Weight: 222g
  • Platforms: Windows, macOS, Android, Steam, Nintendo Switch, Raspberry Pi
  • Connectivity: USB-C and Bluetooth 4.0
  • Input Modes: X-input, D-Input, Mac, Switch
  • Battery Type: 1000mAh Li-on battery, rechargeable/20 play hours with 4 hour charging time

At first glance, the 8BitDo SNES Pro Plus smacks of the Super Famicom. The ubiquitous D-Pad, the four face buttons, start and select buttons and even two familiar left and right triggers are exactly where you would find them on the SNES controllers from your childhood. But wait…there’s more. 

This reimagining has two extra left and right triggers, two comfortable shoulder grips,, and even two clickable control sticks. If you’re keeping track, that adds up to 16 buttons, the industry standard for just about every modern title made under the sun. 


8BitDo SN30 Pro Plus Review: Is it worth it?

Remember when 3rd party controllers were hot trash? I can still remember the countless sleepovers ruined by these shoddy devices. Friends would draw straws to see who would be saddled with the MadCatz controller with the unresponsive buttons and drifting joystick. I’m happy to say that the market for 3rd party controllers these days, especially on the Nintendo Switch, mostly range from “pretty good” to “earth-shatteringly good.” Here are three reasons why I fell in love with this humble controller. 

1) It’s a Nostalgia Bomb

Of course, the first place I decided to try this controller was on the SNES library available through Nintendo Switch online. One of my favorite titles of all time, Super Mario World offered a veritable time warp when played with the 8BitDo SN30 Pro Plus. I might as well been snacking on Dunkaroos and slurping down Ecto Cooler with the uncut rail of nostalgia this controller brought. 

But is it worth having a dedicated controller for a niche retro gaming service? Of course not. It’s still baffling to me that Nintendo has sold even one set of its Nintendo Switch online exclusive controllers. You know, the ones that only work with their online service and no other games on the system. Which brings me to the second reason the controller is so dang cool.


2) It’s an affordable Pro Controller alternative

Listen. I like the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. The Nintendo Switch Pro controller is a good friend of mine. We came up together. I even made a nice speech at its wedding. The issue is that I only own one of them because it’s $70. 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the kind of scratch to drop 70 big ones every time I want to add a controller to my collection. While I still occasionally reach for my Pro Controller (usually when I forget to charge my 8BitDo SN30 Pro Plus) the SN30 Pro Plus is my go-to gaming controller. In fact, when you sink it up to your system, the console reads it as a Pro Controller. 

And why wouldn’t it? After all, they are both 16 button controllers. Granted, the Pro Controller is a tad heavier, but not in any way that would change up the way you game. The main difference between the two is cost. The 8BitDo SN30 Pro Plus is $20 bucks cheaper. Sink the money you save on an awesome indie game. 


3) PC Gamer’s best friend

If you game on a PC, you can easily get double duty out of the controller. Because it can sync up to devices with X-Input and Mac with a couple simple button combinations, it’s fantastic as a go-to PC controller. I’ve used it to play every game in my Steam library. Because of the way the controller is laid out, it’s also a universal controller for every emulator under the sun, from MAME to Gamecube, and of course, SNES. 

If you’re the sort of gamer who likes to blame your poor online performance on “latency issues,” you can connect to your computer with wired connection through USB-C. It’s also equally at home on mobile devices whether they be in the iOS or Android families.


8BitDo SN30 Pro Plus Review: Final Verdict

I’m trying to dig deep into just why I love this controller. Is it simply for the obvious reasons: Because it’s inexpensive, reliable, and works across countless gaming platforms? Probably. But what I think makes this controller most impressive is that it beats Nintendo at its own controller-making game. Truly, 8BitDo SN30 Pro Plus does what Nintendon’t, all while being $20 cheaper than the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. It’s not just my preferred Switch controller, it’s my favorite controller of all time. 

Perfect as it is, there are a few minor variations on this controller that are also worth checking out. 

  1. When the controller originally launched, it didn’t have the grips. I think it makes it less than ideal, but if nostalgia is your goal, this one is far closer to the classic SNES controller. If you want to save even more scratch, you can opt for a wired version which will only run you $24.99. 
  2. If you’re gaming on a smartphone, this clip will attach your device to your 8BitDo controller for a smooth gaming experience.

The 8BitDo SN30 Pro is available in NES, Genesis, and SNES styles on Amazon for $49.99. 


How do I connect 8BitDo SN30 Pro Plus to my device?

So you decided to treat yourself to a timeless gaming experience with a fantastic gaming controller. Mazel tov. But how do you connect wirelessly to your device? It’s pretty simple. Here’s how.

For Nintendo Switch

  1. Press and hold “Y and Start” to power on the controller. Press the pair button for three seconds. LED lights on the controller should flicker left to right. 
  2. Go to your Switch home page and click on “controllers.” Click on “change grip order.” LED will become solid once connection is successful. 

For Android/D-Input

  1. Press and hold “B and Start” to power on the controller. Press the pair button for three seconds. LED lights on the controller should flicker left to right. 
  2. Go to your Android device’s Bluetooth settings. Click pair “8BitDo Pro+.” LED will become solid once connection is successful. 

For Windows/X-Input

  1. Press and hold “X and Start” to power on the controller. Press the pair button for three seconds. LED lights on the controller should flicker left to right. 
  2. Go to your Windows device’s Bluetooth settings. Click pair “8BitDo Pro+.” LED will become solid once connection is successful. 

For macOS

  1. Press and hold “A and Start” to power on the controller. Press the pair button for three seconds. LED lights on the controller should flicker left to right. 
  2. Go to your Windows device’s Bluetooth settings. Click pair “Wireless Controller.” LED will become solid once connection is successful. 

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*First Published: May 6, 2021, 11:56 am CDT