Posted on 27 July 2022
The 8BitDo SF30 Pro (often confused with the SN30 Pro) features a retro, matt plastic design, typical of Nintendo, which is extremely attractive. This model operates with or without a cable and is compatible with numerous platforms such as Windows, Mac, and even Linux (other devices also support Android, Switch, and Wii).
The different Switch controllers we tested.
We analyzed their design.
We checked if the buttons are easy and comfortable to press.
We also paid special attention to the fragility of the joysticks.
Further on, we checked the connectivity and compatibility of each controller.
The final tests determined the ergonomics and hand-feel of each game controller.
The quality and ergonomics of this controller make it an excellent choice for anyone who wants to ditch the Joy-Cons for a real controller, without breaking the bank. It’s not wireless, but it has responsive buttons that are pleasant to the touch, as well as a headphone jack (which is rare for a console). Its only real flaw is the absence of the vibration system, which minimizes the sense of immersion.
Inspired by the Xbox One’s official controller, Nintendo has managed to make a big splash, even going so far as to “mock” this reference. However, it can be criticised for the absence of analogue triggers (progressive firing), its rather slow loading and its buttons, which are too deep for some players. On the other hand, the grip is excellent, with a format that is pleasant to use for several hours.
With a very similar format to the competition, the PowerA is positioned as a more than attractive alternative, especially if we look at its attractive price/quality ratio. This model sacrifices some functionality (vibration and NFC) to offer a good gaming experience for competitive players. Also, both the commands and the buttons are an example of good reactivity.
|Our choice, Best mid-range||Best budget||Best high-end||High-end alternative|
|8Bitdo SF30 Pro||PDP Pro Deluxe Faceoff||Nintendo Switch Pro||PowerA Nintendo Switch|
|This 8Bitdo will take you back to the '90s. It is lightweight, cross-platform compatible, and has long battery life.||This model is designed for lovers of classic game controllers. It takes the codes of the Pro controller and adds the jack connection.||The Nintendo Switch Pro offers everything you would expect from an official brand model with a full range of features and ergonomics.||Model designed for those looking for an effective and quality gaming accessory. In fact, it is rather focused on hardcore gamers.|
8Bitdo Wireless Bluetooth Adapter (£17.14 upon publication): a lesser-known alternative. This model is not a controller per se, but an adapter that allows you to use several models that are not compatible with your original Switch. It is useful if you already have another game console at home and don’t want to invest in a “Pro” controller. The list includes: ProWiimote, Wii U Pro, Joy-cons, Dualshock 3 and 4, Xbox One (V2 and V3) and, of course, 8bitdo controllers. It can also be used with a PC, Raspberry Pi or Android TV.
PowerA GameCube Wireless Controller (£49.98 upon publication): a slight lack of versatility. Nintendo nostalgics will appreciate this controller. Based on the Gamecube one, it features a very similar look to the original, but with slight modifications to the D-Pad to make it more spacious and add the necessary keys for the Switch and motion capture. However, there is no vibration. Connection is via Bluetooth, but a more affordable wired version is also available.
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How did we test?
To find out which controller is best suited to this console, we have decided to test each model for an hour with different types of video games. This allowed us to define the level of comfort and ergonomics of the different proposals, as well as to get a clearer picture of the sensations during long-term use.
As the Switch doesn’t have a wide range of racing or FPS games, we also decided to test each controller on the PC. The compatibility of the Nintendo Switch controllers is ensured by the Steam app, which automatically recognizes them as official professional controllers.
As mentioned above, we have used different video games to test the comfort and sensations during gameplay.
For Nintendo Switch, we have chosen:
- For racing games, Asphalt and its pure arcade orientation.
- For jump ´n´ run games, we opted for Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy, Dragon Quest Builder and Super Meat Boy.
Unfortunately, we don’t have an FPS for Switch.
On the PC, we have played:
- Ori and The Blind Forest (jump ´n´ run game).
- Call of Duty Black Ops 3 (FPS)
- The Crew 2 (open world racing video game).
These video games allowed us to test the advantages and disadvantages of the different controllers.
Of course, in our PC tests, we took into account the inherent limitations of Nintendo’s console, such as the lack of support for progressive triggers, for example.
How to choose your Switch controller?
The Nintendo Switch is the ultimate hybrid console. It is equipped with a pair of well-designed Joy-Cons, which gives it a high degree of flexibility. However, such a format is rarely appealing to “living room gamers”, who are used to more classic controllers. Consequently, it is not uncommon for these users to look for an alternative that is closer to their habits.
The operation of the Nintendo system impedes the use of certain controllers (unless… ). Therefore, it is important to determine which are the most relevant alternatives among the specific models of this console. To help you, here is a list of criteria:
- Ergonomics: this factor is, in our opinion, the most important one, as it combines the comfort of use and the hand-friendliness of the different controllers. Both elements must be taken into account so that you can enjoy your favourite games to the fullest. Therefore, make sure you have a pleasant and natural grip together with reactive and well-placed buttons. The controller’s template also has an impact, but it depends on the specific criteria of each individual.
- Integrated buttons: some devices have additional controls to the usual ones. These keys are usually located on the back of the controller and provide additional shortcuts.
- The attached functions: gyroscope, NFC, vibration… These elements are functions that can be very useful, depending on how you use the console. For example, while some players make very little use of motion capture, others master it very well. Vibration, on the other hand, is advantageous for immersion, but is a source of distraction for some gamers.
- Connectivity and compatibility: whether wireless or wired, a controller must be connected to the console to work. Both are good and essentially depend on your budget. Compatibility, however, influences the versatility of the controller: do you want to use it with multiple devices or limit yourself to your Switch? In general, the compatible devices for this hybrid console can be used with your computer (via Steam or dedicated software, sometimes even on Android via Bluetooth).
- Build quality and design: this last point concerns the durability and style of the controller. The quality of the materials takes a central place and it is important to make sure that your controller can withstand several knocks and a few good falls… Design, on the other hand, is a matter of taste.
Translated by Ramsés El Hajje