Why SN30 Pro+ still challenges Nintendo's dominance

SN30 Pro+ includes pair of analogue triggers with extensive travel, enhancing control over acceleration in racing games
The image shows Nintendo Switch. —Nintendo
The image shows Nintendo Switch. —Nintendo

Nintendo's standalone controller, the Pro Controller, has long been many experts'  go-to recommendation for Switch gamers seeking a more substantial gaming experience than the Joy-Cons provide. However, 8BitDo's SN30 Pro+ which has complete customisation and reprogramming capabilities, easily outweighs its minor flaws.

If you grew up playing classic consoles like the Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, or N64, you likely recall the dismal state of third-party controllers. 

Fortunately, the quality of third-party controllers has improved over time, while remaining competitively priced. The SN30 Pro+ costs $49. If you need extra controllers for split-screen multiplayer, no one will complain about using off-brand gamepads these days, believes Andrew Liszewski from Gizmodo

In terms of design, the SN30 Pro+ combines elements from the Switch Pro Controller and the PS4 DualShock gamepad. It features side-by-side analogue joysticks, a directional pad, and a set of four action buttons. Many people like Switch Pro Controller's asymmetrical analogue stick layout. However, the SN30 Pro+'s mushier directional pad is better suited for intense button-mashing in retro 2D games. Additionally, the glossy action buttons evoke nostalgic memories of the N64 and SNES controllers.

One significant improvement over Nintendo's controllers is that the SN30 Pro+ includes a pair of analogue triggers with extensive travel, enhancing control over acceleration in racing games. This feature is supported by numerous games in the Switch library but is curiously absent in Nintendo's own controller hardware. The SN30 Pro+ also includes motion controls and rumbling, although they are not as refined as Nintendo's implementations.

The SN30 Pro+ features a rechargeable battery that can be conveniently charged using a USB-C cable. However, it provides around 20 hours of gameplay compared to Nintendo's Pro Controller, which boasts 40 hours, reported Gizmodo. Nonetheless, 8BitDo has made the SN30 Pro+'s battery pack removable, allowing for easy swapping with a backup or readily available AA batteries in case of a gaming emergency.

Syncing the SN30 Pro+ with the Switch, a computer, or even an Android device is not overly complicated, but it requires specific button combinations during power-up for each device.

8BitDo has accomplished something many gamers, including  Liszewski never thought possible: creating a controller that not only surpasses Nintendo's offering but also comes at a more affordable price.