8Bitdo’s SF30 Pro Controller – Switch Review

8Bitdo’s SF30 Pro Controller – Switch Review

8Bitdo have always been famous for their retro inspired Bluetooth controllers, but only recently have they gained more mainstream attention with their focus on making their products compatible with the unstoppably successful Nintendo Switch.
I previously reviewed the NES30 Pro, which would act like a Pro Controller. I really liked it and I often used it instead of the Joy Con Grip on occasions. It wasn’t perfect though as, even if it was quite the capable little controller, it didn’t have entire functionality as there was no motion controls, no NFC reader for amiibo and my personal issue, the ZL and R buttons weren’t in the most comfortable of positions for certain types of games.

Needless to say I was hugely excited when it was announced they were producing a Super Famicom/SNES30 Pro. This was promised to eliminate all the previously mentioned problems. But does it? Well, sort of.

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First off, the shoulder buttons. My main gripe with the NES30 Pro was that the shoulder buttons weren’t in the most comfortable position. Being side by side, the ZL and ZR buttons needed to be pressed by stretching over the normal shoulder buttons and it just wasn’t the ideal solution and hindered certain games that relied on those controls. Thankfully with the SNES30 and SF30 Pro, they’ve cracked it. They’re now in the standard position that you’d find them on any real controller and they work just fine. As a result of this the normal R and L buttons are a little on the thin side but it’s not a major issue. I much prefer it this way and it’s a huge step up in form factor for the product. 

The analogue sticks have been greatly increased in size in comparison to its predecessor. Whereas before, they were more like the diminutive Vita analogue sticks, now they are far more chunky like a proper controller. They feel nice and work well, much better than before. They seem to have more range and you feel like you’re fully in control this time, not that I had too much of a problem before, but other people did.

For me, while there is an improvement in control, there’s a massive downside in the portability department. The now giant analogue sticks have made this product not suitable for my personal carry case. Whereas the predecessor was a nice, snug fit, perfect for travel, this just isn’t anymore. At least not for me. Sure, it’s still far more portable that a real Pro Controller and I’m sure I can still pop it in my bag outside of the carrying case, but the incentive to do so has lessened.

One of the best additions is the gyroscopic controls. Now you can actually move your controller around and aim with motion controls. This worked well in the handful of games I tried it in; Skyrim and Zelda for aiming with bows as well as Mario’s cap throwing technique which, surprisingly made it far more easier to do the spin around, which I could very rarely do with the Joy Cons.

Another addition that I thought would be fantastic was the rumble feature. Not HD Rumble, just standard. I do love a bit of rumble and I was excited about this feature, but honestly, it’s far too over zealous. The controller goes absolutely mental at anything and shakes like a madman. It even becomes somewhat uncomfortable, even playing Mario I really couldn’t bare it. I’m sure software updates for the controller could contain this, but I’m sure I’d be tempted to turn rumble off at every opportunity when using this controller.

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One feature that didn’t arrive is the NFC reader. Basically meaning, no amiibo scanning for the controller. Not as major issue I would assume, although to be honest I’m not much of an amiibo user. Maybe those who love scanning their little figures into games could find this annoying, I don’t.

Overall, the SNES30 Pro or SF30 Pro are solid choices as a secondary Pro Controller option. They offer just about the same thing with a cheaper price tag as well as a more portable design. I’m still in two minds as to whether it’s a better option than the NES30 Pro though. The SF30 Pro is less portable than its predecessor, which was a huge plus point for that controller in why you should get it over the Pro Controller. So it actually loses a big part of what made it more special. Sure, it’s still more portable than the Pro, and other carry cases may be more spacious than mine so it may not bother everyone. The rumble, too, while a great addition in principal, is far to exuberant and can be unbearable at times. Still, it has an excellent form factor and looks great and plays games well enough, especially with the cool addition of gyro controls. It’s a tough choice as to whether I’d choose the NES30 Pro of SNES30 Pro though. Either way, you’re going to get an excellent, cheaper Pro Controller experience.

Controller was purchased.

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