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Home / Technology / 8Bitdo Pro 2 gamepad review: cool features and killer performance at a cheap $50

8Bitdo Pro 2 gamepad review: cool features and killer performance at a cheap $50



What is the best all-round gamepad you can buy for most video games? You would think that in 2021, the answer will be simple. But between game consoles, PCs and smartphones, even the most comfortable, cheapest and sturdy gamepads have compatibility warnings.

In the 25 years of writing video games, I tested a lot of The controller, and my current favorite comfort and performance is the Xbox wireless gaming pad (recommended retail price: $65, depending on the year and color). But it can only be officially used on Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android. You can purchase a third-party adapter to synchronize it with platforms such as PlayStation or Switch, but this is not necessarily ideal. From entry-level keyboards to high-priced “pro” variants, there is also an entire console-dedicated controller market, but I usually don’t comment on the weed of niche compatibility.

8Bitdo Pro 2 product picture

8-bit version Pro 2

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In the past, I made exceptions to 8Bitdo’s controllers, especially its retro-specific gems (and a strange super micro antique). However, I have been hesitant to recommend the company’s mainstream product “Pro” series of gamepads, which incorporate modern beauty into the Super Nintendo prototype. My music has changed a lot with the 8Bitdo Pro 2 that will be launched next week for $50. This is the fourth-generation controller used by hardware manufacturers for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Switch and Raspberry Pi. Released on Tuesday, April 12.

It is an isolated cute gamepad that is cheaper than Nintendo’s official Switch Pro Controller in terms of features, design and options-it can be activated for only $20. If you have been looking for a great all-round Bluetooth controller, then 8Bitdo is now officially on par with Xbox’s $65 default settings.

8Bitdo primer

8Bitdo Pro 2 can be traced back to the 2017 “SN30” gamepad, which was designed for the original Super Nintendo console. Not only is it almost the same as Nintendo’s officially discontinued gamepad (even using a similar rubber membrane), it also includes a rad 2.4 GHz wireless receiver for SNES-shaped ports. (Its release is conveniently timed with Analogue Super NT, which requires a real SNES gamepad.)

Soon after, 8Bitdo ran the template and produced an updated Bluetooth version called SN30 Pro. Comparing them side by side, it is almost ridiculous how 8Bitdo mutated the SN30 to add two analog joysticks and another pair of narrow index finger trigger buttons. The latter mimics the “two triggers, two bumpers” prototypes found on most modern gamepads. This is a cool Bluetooth option, but it feels cramped in the end, so I am very happy to see SN30 Pro+ launched in 2020, and its size and new approach are welcomed.

I like SN30 Pro+ very much, even though it didn’t make me exceed the recommended threshold, and Pro 2 (there is no longer the “SN30” brand) replicated its advantages. The design language distinguishes the SNES controller from the original PlayStation 1 DualShock. The usage of d-pad and other buttons is very similar to that of SNES, and its handle and symmetrically placed joystick are more in line with the PS1 era. Both Pro+ and Pro 2 include Switch-specific shortcut buttons for “home” and “share”, as well as the same standard button assignments for console-friendly video games. Both are equipped with a removable 1000 mAh rechargeable battery, which can be used for about 20 hours per charge. (Yes, this battery is removable. Thank you.)

As good as before-then some

Some aspects of Pro 2 are almost identical to other “SN30” brand products. The d-pad is still similar to the SNES pad (again, the same rubber film base), so it is strong and sensitive, compared to the Sega Genesis gamepad or the soft, flexible genius, it has a loose, smooth and satisfying effect The latest Xbox options. Although I ultimately prefer the feel of the latter two, I do like the compact action of Pro 2-especially in common use cases that require 2D fares on Pro 2 compatible systems. Very suitable for platform games, “shmups” and puzzle games. (Unlike the Switch Pro controller, you do not need to disassemble the Pro 2 and insert a piece of tape to ensure its d-pad response speed.)

8Bitdo did the right thing on the Pro+ joystick, face buttons and bumper, which is good enough for this revision. The facial buttons are large, flat and responsive. The joystick achieves an ideal balance between tension and relaxation. Contrary to the smaller or sunken controller designs on other gamepads, 8Bitdo’s bumper buttons stand out in a way I always like.

However, this week’s Pro 2 is a few steps ahead of Pro+, and it gets better with every change. The handle includes a slightly redesigned curve to fit my palm better. The pressure-sensitive trigger (L2/R2 on PlayStation, LT/RT on Xbox) has been adjusted to require less pressure, but still somewhat bite. The plastic cover on the back now has a slight texture, and I never felt it until I used the 8Bitdo pad – I am a fan, especially because it is very subtle. (Anyone who sweats in the middle of the game will get more grip anywhere.) When you want to switch from the controller’s “Xinput” protocol (for Windows PC) to Android, iOS/MacOS or Switch, You no longer need to remember and press weird button combinations. The gamepad includes a physical switch that can switch between modes.


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