One of the best peripheral makers is back with a fully featured wireless gamepad that works with PC, Mac, Android, and Switch. The N30 Pro 2 from 8BitDo is $40, and comes in four flavors that mimic the look of the NES, GameCube, Sega Genesis, and Famicom. But in terms of functionality, it has everything you need in a compact, travel-friendly design.
The N30 Pro 2 is available now (and is even getting a Cyber Monday Lighting Deal on Amazon).
What you’ll like
Great design and comfort
This isn’t 8BitDo’s only gamepad. The company also has the excellent SN30 Pro. But unlike that device, which tries to mimic the design of a Super Nintendo controller, the N30 Pro 2 has its own, unique shape.
It is by far the thinnest controller I’ve ever used, which makes it excellent for travel. But at the same time, it is easy to hold. I found that it fits comfortably into my hands. That’s surprising because, due to its size, it puts the shoulder buttons next to each other instead of one in front of the other. It also uses nub-style analog sticks. I thought I would hate these, but — overall — I’ve really enjoyed using the N30 Pro 2.
On top of that, the controller just looks great. It comes in a variety of color schemes that evoke retro systems. I think all of those look great, but I especially like the Master System (Genesis) and GameCube looks.
Packed with features
The N30 Pro 2 has everything you would get in a Nintendo Switch Pro controller. It’s Bluetooth wireless. It has every button you need including the two shoulder buttons, full dual analogs, a home button, and a screenshot button. It even has vibration and motion control.
You could easily use this as your everyday controller for the Switch or PC games, and you may want to if you play a lot of D-pad-heavy retro-style games.
What you won’t like
Second shoulder button and analog sticks take some getting used to
The size of the N30 Pro 2 means it does have some idiosyncrasies. While 8BitDo puts its shoulder buttons front-and-back on its SN30 Pro controller, it has to put this side-by-side on this gamepad. This enables it to remain skinny for travel, but it’s not as natural to use as most other gamepads.
The analog sticks are also a bit short and stubby. Maybe this is because I was using the GameCube one so much, but the sticks feel more like the C-stick on a GameCube pad than anything else. Now, they are actually quite better than the C-stick, but the point is that they feel different than what most people are used to in 2018.
Now, neither of these quirks are inherently bad. But they will require you to adjust when using them.
The N30 Pro 2 is so good that I am almost tempted to use it as my daily gamepad for the Switch. The only reason I won’t is because I have an SN30 Pro. But I’m certainly going to use the N30 Pro 2 when traveling to meet friends and family to play games. They really are compact enough to just throw into a bag without thinking.
But if you don’t already have an SN30 Pro, I’m almost ready to recommend you go for the N30 Pro 2 instead. And the reasoning is because I’ve had a much easier time pairing the N30 Pro 2 with the Switch than the SN30 Pro. I’m not sure if that’s real or not yet, so I’m going to look into it some more.
The final point here is that I really like the N30 Pro 2. I would recommend it even over the Switch Pro controller just based on price and the excellent D-pad on the 8BitDo pad.
The N30 Pro 2 is available now for $40. 8BitDo provided GamesBeat with a sample units for the purpose of this review.