8BitDo Ultimate Controller

Gaming device testing. Honestly, that’s not necessarily Factornews’ specialty, or even mine. However, we are quite technical in the team. But when 8BitDo contacted me to offer to test their latest controller, the 8BitDo Ultimate Controller, I must confess: I did not think very long. Let’s go for a “controller in hand” test.

A controller is generally associated directly with a console, but some controllers are even known by name, which is actually quite rare. Who doesn’t know Sony’s DualShock? The Joy-Con of the Switch? The Wii’s Wiimote? And even lately, the DualSense of the PS5? By using their name, we immediately know what we are talking about, and if not, it is often “the controller of such console”. And controllers, I can assure you that I’ve seen it happen… With around 20 home consoles at home, an average of 3 controllers per medium, not counting PC peripherals, yes, that’s starting to be a lot.

But even with all that, I never had a dedicated controller for my PC. Finally yes, the Steam Controller, but shouldn’t mess around either, I respect myself a minimum. So, I carry around my console controllers, plugged into USB for ease of connection. My PC does not have Bluetooth, it is even an obligation unless I buy a small dongle, which I never did. This is where the 8BitDo Ultimate Wireless 2.4g Controllerwhich now sits proudly on my desk, on its little dock.

I will not introduce you 8BitDo down to the smallest detail, but for those who don’t know, know that this is a Hong Kong-based company, founded in 2013, and which made itself known to us at the base with small dongles USB, capable, for example, of operating a PS4 controller on a Switch. Since then, they have also released a lot of different and varied controllers, taking up some design aspects of each manufacturer, adding connectivity. Casually, they managed to make a name for themselves and a good place in this ultra-competitive market.

For this test, I specify that I had the Wireless 2.4g version. This is important, since the 8BitDo Ultimate Controller is available in three versions:

  • wired
  • Wireless 2.4g compatible + dock
  • Wireless 2.4g and Bluetooth compatible + dock

A notion that is all the more important, as the prices are quite different, going from €35.99 for wired, to €49.99 for the one I own, before ending at € 69.99 for the most complete. Obviously, it is the same controller in its form, however, some small technical details are different. But I will come back to that later.

Gear (which seems) of quality

As much to be direct: 8BitDo does not revolutionize the design this time. This new controller looks like, from a distance, an Xbox Series controller and for once, it’s a compliment. Why reinvent the wheel when everything is working fine? The version I have being black, it is easier to appreciate the quality of manufacture and there too, nothing to complain about, even if it attracts dust and cat hair. The plastic used doesn’t seem too bad, without going to the top of the quality basket. For example, I find that the Xbox Series controller is a step above in this regard. One can also note a “grip” part on the templeswhich is not unpleasant to the touch, and more qualitative than the branches of the Switch Pro Controller for example.

1671751520 621 8BitDo Ultimate Controller

Side buttons, we find the good old A – B – X – Y in Xbox colors and placements (widely used on PC, but reversed at Nintendo), two sticks placed like Microsoft and Nintendo controllers, a directional cross, two triggers, two slice buttons, some central buttons… classic. Except at the back, where we are surprised to find two buttons falling directly under the middle fingers. To the touch and after a few hours of play, everything seems quite similar to what we find on console, and of good quality. The vibrations are present, the buttons respond perfectly, the sticks are precise and the directional cross is very pleasant. We’ll see if it all holds up over time, but at first glance, it’s very good. Besides, I took the opportunity to finish the excellent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revengeonly using the D-Pad instead of the sticks, and I found that pretty good

As for the dock, it’s just the best idea of ​​the pack. I’ve always wondered why we pay 500 bucks for our consoles, but no manufacturer had the idea of ​​offering something practical and elegant to recharge the controllers. I only have Nintendo that comes to mind, with the small dock for charging the Wii U Gamepad, supplied as standard in the console pack. For everything else, it’s always additional accessories, or with an overpriced controller.

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In short, this dock is rather simple and fits perfectly with the controller, which attaches to it without any problem. Note also that the dock can be powered with a USB-C cable, taking care of recharging the controller. It also contains in its heart a small USB dongle whose mission is to connect the controller. Concretely, I connected the base with a cable directly to my PC, which recharges my controller regularly and connects it automatically. But it is also quite possible to connect the dongle to the PC or other peripheral, and to place the dock completely elsewhere, for example connected by USB to a TV for power supply. Really, it’s very practical and well thought out.

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Very handy software

8BitDo also had the good idea to deliver its controller with software (free to download from their website), allowing you to calibrate and configure your device as you wish. A smaller stick travel? It’s possible. Lower vibrations? Easy. A button macro on a button? Very simple. Honestly, it’s pretty well done and super practical, especially since it’s possible to make 3 profiles saved in the controller. Incidentally, the software is stand-alone, so no need to install it.

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Connections too limited…

And that’s where it gets a bit messy. By dint of wanting to copy the big manufacturers, 8BitDo seems to have gotten a little lost with its Ultimate Controller, which has a lot of problems making itself understood. Usually, 8BitDo controllers are known for logging a little on anything. This is even why many buy this brand. There, it’s really different and it even seems that technical limitations have slipped in just to suit commercial packs.

For example, my Wireless 2.4g model is only compatible with Windows 10 and Android 9.0 and above. While the Bluetooth/Wireless 2.4g version is compatible with Windows 10 and the Nintendo Switch (and I assume Android devices). Neither support macOS, while the apple’s operating system accepts all kinds of controllers without flinching. And I say that, even connecting the USB dongle which is supposed to do its job. Same on the Switch with my model. No connection is made.

1671751521 163 8BitDo Ultimate Controller

So that’s totally stupid. We quickly understand that 8BitDo seems to have made the decision to deliberately limit connections (in addition to adding gyroscopy in the Bluetooth / Wireless 2.4g version), in order to stick to their commercial offer. Quite honestly, I think they should have simply made the decision to make a kind of Elite controller, at 60 or 70 euros, but which connects everywhere. There, we find ourselves having the same problems, or even more, than for the peripherals of Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony, which can be connected almost everywhere with an 8BitDo dongle, precisely, or even without anything.

Should I buy this controller? Too limited in connectivity in its two versions, it is a little cheaper than an Xbox Series controller and more expensive, even if the dock is cute. The 8BitDo Ultimate Controller fulfills its mission, but made the wrong decision to divide and rule less. Afterwards, if your platforms are PC and Android, yes, that’s perfect. Otherwise, it may be better to see another model.

We wish to give thanks to the writer of this write-up for this awesome material

8BitDo Ultimate Controller


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