8bitdo SNES30 Evaluation: A Lovingly Crafted Super Control

Emulating classic games in your own PC has never been easier, but locating a perfect retro controller to play these games with  is a different story. Input 8bitdo’s SNES30 ($35 on Amazon), a Super Nintendo Entertainment System-style controller to the modern times. And by “SNES-style” I mean “mirror image.”

But while the SNES30 reminds me of long nights enjoying The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, it also introduces a couple of subtle changes that improve upon the first–a massive feat.

Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

The SNES30 of 8bitdo feels and looks exactly like the original Nintendo controller.

8bitdo SNES30 specs

The SNES30 is fully compatible with Windows 7 and above, macOS 10.7 and after, Android 4.0 and upwards, Steam, and also the Nintendo Switch. Install the ‘Legacy’ firmware so as to use it together with Raspberry Pi, Nintendo Wii, also Wii U. 8bitdo’s controller supports button mapping and configuration service for X-input and D-input, Mac mode, and Nintendo Switch mode.

[Further reading: All these 20 absorbing PC games will consume days of your lifetime]

A 480mAh rechargeable battery rated for 18 hours of playtime is placed inside the SNES30, which (formally) requires between 1 to 2 hours to completely charge. The results held true within my time. Despite placing endless hours to Super Metroid in the last month I’ve only had to recharge it after. But since you can still play while the controller is currently charging through USB, it did not bother me to be plugged into my PC.

Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

The top of the SNES30 features a USB interface and LED’s for status indicators.

8bitdo SNES30 connectivity

The SNES30 connects to a PC through Bluetooth 4.0 or a included micro USB cable. A majority of my testing has been done on Windows 10 with a USB Bluetooth dongle. It worked like a charm. Despite being besieged by Bluetooth devices at my desk I still suffered from or never felt any latency lost signals.

By simply holding down the Start button to map it into the X-input design turn. Whenever the controller is activated, the LEDs light up. At this point you connect it to a PC by holding Select to go into Bluetooth pairing style, or by plugging in through USB.

8bitdo SNES30Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

8bitdo’s SNES feels even better than the first.

Layout & attributes

8bitdo has held true to the SNES controller’s designaside from the now-yellow patina. A wave of nostalgia washed over me every time I picked this up. All the dimensions and features are put on, right down to the texture of the plastic. I felt that the SNES controller fits and it’s the same with the SNES30. Actually, it is given a much substantial feel than the first by the extra weight of the battery inside 8bitdo’s controller. Comparing the one that is classic is today made by both feel affordable and flimsy.

The buttons on the SNES30 are clicky compared to the ones in my Super Nintendo controller. Part of this might be in the countless hours of wear and tear I’ve put on the first over time, but even so I favor the click of the hardware of 8bitdo. It gives a more signal that it’s been pressed to me and requires more stress to activate. The distance increased from media which reduces false positives and provides feedback.

Although we did not test this, a J******e layout variation is readily available for Super Famicom lovers.

Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

Included in the box of the SNES30 is a collectable series plus a USB cable.

8bitdo SNES30 conclusion

The SNES30 of 8bitdo is an amazing recreation of the SNES controller. I loved my time with it and I’ve never been happy with all the party controller options on the market. If you are into retro gaming, then this comes highly advised.

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