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8Bitdo SN30 Pro review: retro is back in fashion

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The nostalgia for a joypad as emblematic as the Super Nintendo is perfectly understandable. On the other hand, technological and ergonomic advances in the last 25 years have rendered it useless… This is why we must tip our hats for the existence of companies such as 8Bitdo, which managed to revise Nintendo’s gamepad in the form of the SN30 Pro (Check on by adding two analog sticks and two triggers, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and support for PC, Mac, Android, and Nintendo Switch!

8Bitdo SNES30 Pro – Classic-modern design

8Bitdo SNES30 Pro – Classic-modern design

If you don’t live under a rock you will have heard of 8Bitdo and its controllers for video games. I have heard of the brand for a while, but I had never been interested in trying out one of their gamepads. I believe in always going forward so a “retro” label is an attempt on selling me an inferior product for nostalgia reasons. Fortunately, this is not always true.

The original joystick provided a D-pad, four buttons, Select, Start and two shoulder buttons; the 8Bitdo SN30 Pro adds two analog sticks, two triggers, a “Star” and a Home button. It is wireless and there is also a USB-C connector for charging, wired connection and firmware update, as well as a pairing button between the triggers.

The only problem we found, and we are nitpicking here, is the Y button that suffers from the proximity of the right analog stick. Nothing insurmountable, and something that you will get used to it eventually. All the buttons are quite thick and very responsive; the cross is a little rigid but very precise and is ideal for platform games. It seemed somewhat less suited for fighting games but once we got used to it works very well also.

The two shoulder buttons, L1 and R1, are way thinner than the original and thus harder to find and press, but this was a necessary compromise in order to make room for the triggers which are way more accessible and ergonomic.

The analog sticks are placed symmetrically, similar to the DualShock 4 (Check on, with the thumbs oriented towards the center. These are real sticks of a standard size similar to the ones we find in the Switch Pro Controller. They offer good handling and are very precise. Sadly they are not at all that comfortable to use. Especially when you use both of them simultaneously. The problem here is the gamepad’s overall size that doesn’t give you the necessary space to grip it as you should in order to use the sticks comfortably.

Approfondisci: Sony DualShock 4 review: tradition and innovation

On the other hand, it is obvious that with its compact size, portability is one of its strong suits, especially since it is natively compatible with most platforms including Windows (D-input or X-input and Steam recognition) macOS, Linux, Raspberry Pi, Android, and Switch. It is also on the latter that the controller is best distinguished with the management of vibrations, a little soft all the same, but also the recognition of movements.

Using Bluetooth 4.0, it has no noticeable lag (provided to use it with a device that has equivalent Bluetooth protocol. We tested it with an Android tablet with Bluetooth 2.0 and the result was a little disappointing). It also offers 15 hours of autonomy and takes about 3 hours to recharge.

8Bitdo SNES30 Pro – Verdict

The 8Bitdo SN30 Pro (Check on is a controller that gambles everything on the nostalgia. It doesn’t excel in most areas since it has to maintain a format that lacks comfort, but it is a safe bet for retro-gaming lovers and multi-platform players or gaming nomads.

If you want a controller with a better price/quality ratio for the Nintendo Switch (it recognizes it like a Pro controller without the motion controls) and also one that you can hook up to your PC, this 8Bitdo SNES30 Pro is your best bet.

If you don’t care about the Switch a want the best PC gamepad then the Xbox One Controller is way better.

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