The Switch controller scene has been evolving ever since the console released back in 2017. 8bitdo, PowerA and other manufacturers are trying to create an alternative controller for people wanting to buy an extra controller or maybe save some money. 8bitdo has created what could be the best alternative Switch controller in the current market. The SN30 Pro+ is an evolution of their popular SN30 Pro controller. Recently released on August 7th, the SN30 Pro+ is already considered one of the best 3rd party controllers for Switch. Here’s what this controller brings to the table:
The SN30 Pro+ currently comes in 3 different editions: Black, G Classic and SN. I chose the G Classic, which is designed with a classic Game Boy aesthetic. The controller has a very comfortable form similar to the official Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. Analog sticks are similar to those of Sony’s Dual shock 4 controllers and the d-pad is modeled after the classic Game Boy d-pad. The controller feels very sturdy due to being having clips on the inside of the shell with screws to reinforce the build, giving the controller a premium feel. The buttons have a satisfying click when pressed. The triggers are analog unlike the digital triggers from the official Pro Controller. However, the triggers are tuned to respond with the slightest pull. This ensures that the travel distance between pulling the triggers and response is almost identical to that of the official Pro Controller.
8bitdo’s SN30 Pro+ controller comes with a rechargeable battery which can be replaced with AA batteries. The controller is charged via USB-C just like Nintendo’s Pro Controller. Home and share buttons are also present. This controller even includes a 6 axis motion sensor. The battery life is projected to run around 20 hours on one charge. A major feature of the SN30 Pro+ is compatibility with 8bitdo’s Ultimate Software. Ultimate Software will allow the controller to receive firmware updates and a user could customize the functionality of the controller to their liking. Button mapping, stick sensitivity, trigger range, vibration and macros are all customizable. However, this software is currently only available on Windows. Another neat feature is the range of supported devices which includes macOS, Windows, Steam, Android and Raspberry Pi.
The SN30 Pro+ costs $50, 5 dollars more than the SN30 Pro. Although it costs more that its predecessor, the amount of features and upgrades makes it an affordable but premium product. It’s $15 to $20 cheaper than Nintendo’s official Pro Controller depending on the retailer and comes with most features a Pro Controller would offer.
Like most controllers, the SN30 Pro+ isn’t perfect. It lacks NFC capabilities so it won’t be able to scan amiibo. Unfortunately, the Switch can’t be turned on remotely by pressing the home button on the controller, which the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller can do. However, its possible that a firmware update may arrive to add this feature into the controller. Another important note is that the controller may have some syncing issues out of the box. Fortunately, this can be remedied by updating the controller to the latest firmware, version 3.0.1.
Lastly, I’ve tested out a few games with the SN30 Pro+ over the past week. I’ve been addicted to Fire Emblem Three Houses lately so this is the first game I tested. The SN30 Pro+ is a very comfortable controller for this game and the battery lasts quite a while since vibration doesn’t occur often. It can last multiple long play sessions on one charge. Warframe is the second game I tried out on Switch and the controller performs excellently. The battery life doesn’t last as long as the official Switch Pro Controller but it comes close in some regards. With vibration turned off, long play sessions of Warframe over a few days is possible. The d-pad is great so it also works with puzzle games like Tetris 99 and fighting games like BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle.