Reviewing the 8bitdo Ultimate Bluetooth Controller.

The 8bitdo Ultimate Bluetooth Controller Image credits:

Now, I should preface this article by saying the review will be through the lens of a PC gamer.

I went through a phase of being obsessed with controllers. I tried Xbox Elite controllers, Playstation controllers, Razer Wolverine Tournament Editions, and even the Steam Controller (that was a fun one), but I always felt like my experience was compromised when using each of these controllers.

When Sony launched the PS5, I thought the accompanying controller was going to be my knight in shining armor. Unfortunately, even the PS5 controller also fell short of my expectations.

Of the controllers I amassed, the 8bitdo Pro 2 stuck out as having most potential.

The Predecessor

8bitdo Pro 2 Controller Image credits:

8bitdo’s controllers have captivated my interest for some time now. The 8bitdo Pro 2 controller stood out as my favorite, almost perfectly meeting my needs. Its ergonomic design was nearly ideal, featuring two programmable rear buttons, three profiles with on-board storage, and great compatibility with the Nintendo Switch.

However, that wasn’t entirely sufficient. While it had shown no issues, my concerns of stick drift nagged at my neurotic mind. Along with my preference for the Xbox controller layout, this did somewhat diminish my experience. Yet, nothing was more unforgivable than the latency I couldn’t overcome. Whether through Bluetooth or wired connections, I always faced more latency than with other controllers. A couple of years later, my luck with controllers would turn around, and I would find true love.

The Enhanced Successor

8bitdo Ultimate tech specs sheet Image credits:

Priced at $69.00, the 8bitdo Ultimate Bluetooth Controller takes the mantle from its predecessor, the 8bitdo Pro 2 controller. It not only inherits the Pro 2's foundation but also introduces a range of enhancements, such as:

Where the 8bitdo Pro 2 controller laid the groundwork, the 8bitdo Ultimate sprinted ahead. The days of weighing feature preferences are now behind me.

Considering the challenges I outlined earlier, this controller neatly checks all the boxes. No compatibility issues with the PC and a flawless replacement for the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. Furthermore, it solves the problem of the Switch's sluggish Bluetooth mode by utilizing the compatible dongle, facilitating instant pairing when incorporating additional controllers. The inclusion of the free charging dock enhances the value proposition. Even today, I continue to rely on this device, thoroughly enjoying its numerous merits.

Areas for Improvement

While the 8bitdo Ultimate Bluetooth Controller excels in many aspects, there are a few minor areas that could benefit from enhancement.

Firstly, although the ergonomics are commendable, they could be further improved by slightly angling the controllers' “wings” (handles) outward. This adjustment would allow the wrists to maintain a straight alignment, preventing early fatigue caused by upward bending. This refinement would bring it in line with the ergonomic standards set by the new Series X controllers from Xbox.

Secondly, an enlargement of the face buttons would provide a significant advantage. Larger buttons not only allow for more predictable button presses but also facilitate easier muscle memory training. This enhancement should extend to the shoulder and trigger buttons as well. Matching the dimensions of first-party controllers would be a welcomed improvement.

Lastly, the accessibility of software support on their website requires attention. I encountered an instance where my controller became de-synchronized from the dongle after a firmware update. Unfortunately, 8bitdo's dongle lacks an easily accessible sync button to rectify this situation. It took online searching to discover a Reddit thread where someone else had faced the same problem. Eventually, I found that they do offer software to address this issue, but its location on their site is obscure and buried (direct link provided).

Is This Controller for You?

Back of controller being shown with dock Image credits:

Without a doubt, the 8bitdo Ultimate Bluetooth Controller stands as a remarkable offering, delivering substantial value at a price point of $69.00. Serving as a dependable PC controller with minimal latency, it extends its versatility to the Switch and mobile devices, offering compatibility through USB OTG or Bluetooth connections. I extend my recommendation to anyone seeking a controller that aligns with the criteria I highlighted earlier.

The Ultimate Choice

In the realm of gaming controllers, the 8bitdo Ultimate Bluetooth Controller truly shines. Its evolution from the 8bitdo Pro 2 represents a significant leap forward, enhancing the gaming experience with features like the hall effect joysticks, a massive reduction in latency, and a more ergonomic Xbox style layout.

While no device is flawless, the 8bitdo Ultimate Controller is the best offering on the market so far. Priced at $69.00 it offers exceptional features and versatility, making it a worthy investment for PC gamers.

#gaming #tech

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