8Bitdo Pro 2 gamepad review: A $50 bargain for cool features, killer performance

8Bitdo Professional 2 gamepad evaluate: A $50 cut price for cool options, killer efficiency

What’s the most effective all-around gamepad you should purchase for many video video games? You’d assume within the yr 2021, the reply could be easy. However between consoles, PCs, and smartphones, even probably the most snug, inexpensive, and solidly constructed gamepads include a compatibility caveat.

In my 25 years of writing about video video games, I’ve examined a lot of controllers, and my present comfort-and-performance favourite is the Xbox Wi-fi Gamepad (MSRP: $65, which may range based mostly on yr and colour). However it solely formally works on Home windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. You should buy third-party adapters to sync it with platforms like PlayStation or Swap, however that is not essentially perfect. There’s additionally a complete console-specific controller market, starting from entry-level pads to high-priced “pro” variants, however I typically do not evaluate something within the weeds of nichey compatibility.

8Bitdo Pro 2 product image

8Bitdo Professional 2

(Ars Technica might earn compensation for gross sales from hyperlinks on this publish by way of affiliate packages.)

I’ve made an exception for 8Bitdo’s controllers up to now, particularly their retro-specific gems (and one weird, super-tiny curio). But I have been hesitant to suggest the corporate’s mainstream-minded “Pro” collection of gamepads, which bolts fashionable niceties onto the Tremendous Nintendo archetype. My tune has modified significantly due to subsequent week’s $50 8Bitdo Professional 2, the {hardware} producer’s fourth-generation controller for Home windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Swap, and Raspberry Pi launching on Tuesday, April 12.

It is a candy gamepad in isolation, and it surpasses Nintendo’s official Swap Professional Controller by way of performance, design, and choices—at $20 much less, in addition. In case you’ve been on the lookout for an important all-around Bluetooth controller, 8Bitdo is now formally neck and neck with Xbox’s $65 default.

An 8Bitdo primer

The 8Bitdo Professional 2 can hint its heritage to 2017’s “SN30” gamepad, which was designed to work on unique Tremendous Nintendo consoles. Not solely was it practically similar to Nintendo’s official discontinued gamepad—even utilizing related rubber membranes—it additionally included a rad 2.4 GHz wi-fi receiver, meant for an SNES-shaped port. (Its launch was conveniently timed alongside the Analogue Tremendous NT, which requires real SNES gamepads.)

Quickly after, 8Bitdo ran with that template and made an up to date Bluetooth model known as the SN30 Professional. Evaluating them facet by facet, it is nearly comical how 8Bitdo mutated the SN30 so as to add two analog joysticks and one other pair of cramped index-finger set off buttons; the latter emulates the “two triggers, two bumpers” archetype discovered on most fashionable gamepads. It was a cool Bluetooth choice however in the end felt cramped, so I used to be glad to see the SN30 Professional+ launch in 2020 with a welcome leap in measurement and new grips.

I favored the SN30 Professional+ simply nice, though it did not ship me over the edge of heartily recommending it, and the Professional 2 (no extra “SN30” branding) copies its strengths. The design language splits the distinction between an SNES controller and the unique PlayStation 1 DualShock. The d-pad and different buttons are fairly just like the SNES’ take, whereas its handles and symmetrically posed joysticks are extra consistent with the PS1 period. Each the Professional+ and Professional 2 embrace Swap-specific shortcut buttons for “home” and “share,” together with the identical commonplace allotment of buttons for console-friendly video video games. And each include a detachable 1000 mAh rechargeable battery for roughly 20 hours of play per cost. (And, sure, this battery is detachable. Thanks.)

Pretty much as good as earlier than—after which some

Some Professional 2 points evaluate nearly identically to different “SN30”-branded merchandise. The d-pad nonetheless largely resembles that of the SNES pad—once more, identical rubber-membrane basis—so it is agency and responsive, versus the unfastened, clean, and satisfying motion of a Sega Genesis gamepad or the clicky, bouncy genius of the most recent Xbox choices. Whereas I in the end desire the texture of the latter two, I do just like the Professional 2’s tight motion—particularly within the frequent use case of demanding 2D fare on a Professional 2-compatible system. It is nice for platformers, “shmups,” and puzzle video games. (In contrast to the Swap Professional Controller, you will not have to take the Professional 2 aside and insert a chunk of tape to ensure its d-pad’s responsiveness.)

What 8Bitdo bought proper with the Professional+ joysticks, face buttons, and bumpers, it has left nicely sufficient alone for this revision. The face buttons are massive, flat, and responsive as hell. The joysticks strike a perfect steadiness between rigidity and ease. And 8Bitdo’s bumper buttons jut out in a means that I’ve at all times most well-liked, versus smaller or sunk-into-the-controller designs on different gamepads.

But this week’s Professional 2 goes just a few steps additional than the Professional+, and each change is for the higher. The handles embrace a mildly redesigned curve, which inserts higher in my palms. The pressure-sensitive triggers (L2/R2 on PlayStation, or LT/RT on Xbox) have been tweaked to require a smidge much less pressure to press however nonetheless have some chew to them. The bottom plastic masking now has a slight texture to it, which I’ve by no means felt on an 8Bitdo pad till this one—and I am a fan, particularly because it’s fairly refined. (Anybody whose arms get sweaty mid-game will recognize further grippiness wherever they’ll get it.) And if you need to swap from the controller’s “Xinput” protocol (for Home windows PCs) to Android, iOS/MacOS, or Swap, you not must memorize and press bizarre button combos. This gamepad features a bodily swap to vary from mode to mode.

READ  The most effective FPS video games | PC Gamer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *