The way 8BitDo has consistently improved its controllers is arguably more astounding than the company’s frenetic rate of production. Around a dozen of their gamepads, including their “elite” options like the SN30 Pro+ and Pro 2 controllers, have either been tested, reviewed, or I’ve personally owned.
Design and Features of the 8BitDo Ultimate Controller
Although the definition of a “pro” or “elite” controller is somewhat arbitrary, in my opinion, it must have back paddles or triggers and powerful customization software. Sorry, Xbox, but the basic Elite Series 2 Core gamepad does not meet the requirements.
The 8BitDo Ultimate Controller is a true professional controller in that regard. It has two large back paddles and the 8BitDo Ultimate software allows users to instantly switch between button functions, adjust stick and trigger sensitivity, change the vibration volume, and even apply macros to a single button.
Yet a closer look reveals a few key distinctions between the Xbox controller and the Ultimate controller. The Ultimate is distinguished by five menu buttons located close to its center. There is a star button, a profile switcher, a start and select button, and a home button.
Software: 8BitDo Ultimate Controller
What distinguishes the controllers from other brands is 8BitDo’s Ultimate Software. It allows you to modify practically every aspect of a controller’s operation. One of three profiles can be selected, after which you can remap buttons, alter the sensitivity of your triggers and thumbsticks, tweak vibration, and create macros that can be activated with a single button push. The best part about this is that you can do it from a PC, Mac, iPhone, or Android smartphone. Three profiles for Windows and three for Switch can each be stored on the controller.
And finally, I wish the software would let me change the charging light on the dock. The dock’s soft light lends the entire controller a sleek, minimalist appearance, however it goes out once the controller is fully charged, which happened the majority of the time.
Performance using the 8BitDo Ultimate Controller for gaming
Most of the time, the Ultimate Controller performs up to its gaming promise. In my testing, the 22-hour battery life never ran out in part because of how simple it was to place the device in its charging cradle. Also, the Ultimate switches on and pairs with only a single button, assuming you don’t regularly switch between platforms. Nevertheless, switching between two or more needs a tedious “Start + face button” combination at each consecutive wake-up.
The Ultimate controller is a pleasure to use after it has been linked. Because of its more ergonomic grips, which had a much more obvious grip than those of its predecessors—in fact, the grip feels practically identical to that of present Xbox controllers—it felt excellent in the hand. In comparison to the Pro 2’s, which felt a little mushy and cheap, the bumpers and analog triggers feel much better. Despite this, the triggers continue to feel hollow and weaker than those on other high-end controllers. Also, even if the D-pad appears to be a little different—more it’s tactical and clicky—it still feels too soft in my opinion.
What the 8Bitdo Ultimate Bluetooth Controller with Charging Dock has to offer
The most notable of the controller’s good features is a dock that comes with it and charges the internal battery. Moreover, it has two built-in rear buttons on the grips that provide additional inputs in addition to the normal ones.
The 8Bitdo Ultimate 2.4g Wireless Controller and the Ultimate Bluetooth Controller are the two different variants of the Ultimate Controller. The latter costs $50, however it only supports 2.4GHz USB-A connections and has an Xbox-style button arrangement. It is available in white, black, or pink and contains the same charging stand.
The 8Bitdo Ultimate Controller with Charging Dock is reviewed here, not the 8Bitdo Ultimate Controller (a wired controller for Windows) or the 8Bitdo Ultimate Wired Controller for Xbox. This is a crucial point of clarity (a controller wired for Xbox).
No, the 8Bitdo Pro 2 is more cost-effective.
A nice controller is the 8Bitdo Ultimate Controller. It performs everything a controller should, is pleasant to grip, is compatible with useful key mapping software, and comes packaged with an amazing charging dock. So I can’t suggest it.
The 8Bitdo Ultimate’s Bluetooth version costs $70, which is more expensive than the $50 price tags of the 8Bitdo Pro 2, HyperX Clutch, and even the 2.4GHz version of the same controller. While the HyperX Clutch comes with a mobile attachment that can carry a smartphone (the Pro 2 also supports this, but it’s extra), the Pro 2 also has rear paddle buttons. Other devices are also supported by the 8Bitdo Pro 2 and the HyperX Clutch. It costs the same as the universally praised Gulikit KingKong 2 Pro, which utilizes identical Hall Effect thumbsticks and also supports mobile devices.
The 8BitDo Ultimate Controller is unquestionably the brand’s best product to date. Little adjustments add up to a controller that is clearly more refined. It still feels a little bit less expensive than the Xbox Series controllers from which it took its aesthetic cues, but it also feels like a more comprehensive set. The 8BitDo Ultimate Controller has back paddles, a rechargeable battery and charging port, and powerful customization tools, making it feel like the greatest controller you can get for under $70.