[Review] 8BitDo SN30 Pro+ Controller

Written by Myles Jordan

Product Details

  • Compatible with Switch, PC & Mac, Mobile and more
  • Ability to customize button mapping, stick sensitivity and more with free software
  • Motion controls & rumble
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Play using included rechargeable battery or AA batteries
  • SNES and GameBoy editions available!
  • Price: £39.99 / $49.99

INTRODUCING: 8BitDo SN30 Pro+ REVIEW

It’s fair to say that many people find the Joy-Con to be a weak link in the Nintendo Switch chain. The Joy-Con’s inherently small form factor is a function of the Switch’s hybrid design and by extension, its focus on portability. This leads to the controller being less than ideal for TV play.

The common solution for this is using a Joy-Con grip or shelling out an insane £60 for Nintendo’s Pro Controller. It’s due to this issue that so many third parties jumped into action with their own alternatives.

THE BEST OF THE BEST

As someone that plays a wide variety of games, I look for mastery of these three important elements in my controllers: the D-pad, the analogue sticks and the triggers. These are the sugar, spice and all that’s nice that impact me the most during gameplay.

Fret no longer, as 8BitDo have stepped up to the plate with their SN range of controllers. These pads, in my opinion, have the BEST D-pads on the market, making the SN30 Pro+ an absolute must for fans of the abundance of platformers on the Switch, like Sonic Mania, Celeste or Shovel Knight. 

What’s more, the Pro+ has a PlayStation-styled layout with parallel analogue sticks complete with convex grips and a textured rim. On top of that, through the use of free software available on 8BitDo’s site, you can even tune the stick sensitivity to your preference.

TRIGGER ME TIMBERS

Something that’s boggled my mind to no end is how Nintendo seemingly refuses to jump on the trigger train. We’ve seen rivals Xbox and PlayStation innovate and iterate on trigger design for their pads over generations at this point, with many games capitalizing on this feature to great effect.

Some, myself included, would argue that having an advanced trigger setup is imperative for any FPS or racing sim. Pressing an analogue trigger just meshes so well with the intended action and does wonders for immersion and game feel. I can only imagine how pulling back a bowstring might feel in Breath of the Wild or how much analog support could add to the likes of DOOM or Wolfenstein’s Switch ports.

The SN30 Pro+ gets us close. The controller delivers excellent triggers, that, despite functioning with the Switch as normal buttons, give the illusion of an analogue trigger press, which has made popping a drift in Mario Kart or putting up a block in Smash feel infinitely more satisfying to pull off.

FORMIDABLE FORM FACTOR

I find the SN30 Pro+ to be an excellent solution to my Joy-Con woes. Not only does this controller work well as a general use pad, it even manages to hit beats that other third parties do not. Let it be known, motion controls are here and are fully compatible with the hat-slinging antics of Mario Odyssey or the gyro intensive splattering of Splatoon 2. 

Somehow, this controller only costs around £40. That is £20 cheaper than the official alternative, with the only missing features being HD rumble and NFC scanning functionality. Instead, you’re getting a premium feeling controller that is compatible with Switch, PC, Mac, mobile and more which is a great trade off, especially for those looking to save on shelf space.

The battery life is also fantastic with the included rechargeable battery pack providing twenty hours of use per charge. However, you’ve also got the choice of rocking AA batteries or taking the battery out all together and using the included USB-C cable for a lighter, wired alternative. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

I wholeheartedly recommend this controller to anyone looking for a better experience across the board with their Nintendo Switch. Not only does the price make Nintendo’s Pro Controller seem ridiculously expensive by comparison, but the D-pad, sticks and triggers blew Nintendo’s out of the water. We’re talking about a substantially better product for a substantially better price here. There are literally no drawbacks as far as I’m concerned. 

The Pro+ is also available in three different styles, with the standard Jet Black colour if you’re a boring person, or the much more exciting Game Boy or SNES designs! I honestly hope we see 8BitDo grow a stronger retail presence on store shelves soon.

PROS:

  • Impeccable build quality
  • Long lasting battery life
  • Customizable button mapping/sensitivity
  • Excellent price point
  • Responsive motion controls

CONS:

  • No HD rumble
  • No NFC reader

Verdict
The SN30 Pro+ demonstrates an amazing performance to value ratio at an excellent price point.

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