Accessory maker 8BitDo isn't a company that's content to sit back and relax. It has been iterating and improving on its range of wireless controllers for many years now, releasing new variants (as well as welcome firmware updates) to ensure they meet the needs of the widest range of players.
The 8BitDo SN30 Pro+ is the latest and perhaps greatest example of this constant desire to improve; it's based on the existing SN30 Pro but comes with some very welcome extras; 8BitDo is proudly proclaiming it to be the best controller it has ever created, and we're inclined to agree.
As you can see, it's heavily inspired by the iconic SNES controller. The design is an evolution of the 8BitDo SN30 from a while back, which would later mutate into the SN30 Pro, which offered twin analogue sticks. The Pro+ takes things to the next level by adding in two prongs for improved comfort, making the pad feel even closer to the official Switch Pro Controller – and that's no bad thing, we're sure you'll agree.
The SN30 Pro+ also offers spongy L2 and R2 triggers which mimic the "analogue, but not" feel of the triggers on the aforementioned Pro Controller. The other big change is that there's a removable battery, which should ensure the pad has a longer shelf life than its rivals.
The four face buttons are nice and responsive, and there are Home and Screenshot buttons on the front, too
The rest of the design will be familiar to existing 8BitDo fans; the D-Pad is based on the famous 'cross' directional controller seen on the Game & Watch, NES, Game Boy and SNES, and is comfortable enough to use – although it's not as spongy as the one on the Pro Controller as there's a lot less travel when you push on it (and, if we're being honest, the rolling D-Pad on the 8BitDo M30 is better). The four face buttons are nice and responsive, and there are Home and Screenshot buttons on the front, too. The analogue sticks are fantastic as well, but they're positioned in-line with on another, rather than having the left stick higher up on the pad, as is the case on the Pro Controller. You might actually prefer this if you're used to using PlayStation controllers.
As well as being compatible with the Switch, the SN30 Pro+ also works on PC, Mac and Android – there's even a smartphone holder which clips onto the pad and allows you to use it with your phone, like some kind of unwieldy handheld games console. You can also use the pad in wired mode if you're concerned about latency, but to be honest, we didn't detect any delay when using the controller with the Switch over a wireless connection.
Another exciting element about the SN30 Pro+ is the fact that 8BitDo has developed a piece of software which allows you to re-map buttons and customise the way the pad works. The 8BitDo Ultimate Software is available for PC (there's no Mac version at present, but we assume it's on the way) and offers a full suite of options. Don't like the way the buttons are mapped currently? You can switch them around easily. Annoyed by the intensity of the vibration coming from the pad's internal motors? Tone it down a little. Want to assign multiple buttons presses or commands to a single button? You can do that, too – you'll be a master at Street Fighter in seconds.
The only thing the SN30 Pro+ is lacking is NFC support, so if you're keen on using amiibo for in-game rewards, you'll need to either resort to using your Joy-Con or your existing Pro Controller. It's a shame this feature isn't present, as it would mean 8BitDo's pad is a genuine like-for-like rival to Nintendo's.
As it stands, this is still a superb controller that feels well-built, controls brilliantly and costs $50. The ability to customise how the pad works via software is actually a lot more useful than you might expect, and there's the added benefit that the SN30 Pro+ works with devices other than your Switch. We're not sure where 8BitDo can take its SN30 line beyond this design, but that matters little; what we have here is perhaps the best third-party wireless controller for Switch.
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