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Revisiting the 8Bitdo SF30 Pro Gamepad

Written by thegaminggeek

July 30, 2021

Three years ago, I bought myself an 8Bitdo SF30 Pro Gamepad. I loved the accessory, but I eventually bought two official Nintendo Pro Controllers (one for me and one for my wife). Still, I kept the SF30 Pro, and there are several reasons why. Let’s revisit this accessory so I can share why I still keep mine around.

 

The SF30 Pro and the SN30 Pro

The 8Bitdo SF30 Pro Gamepad is a bluetooth controller that is compatible with the Nintendo Switch. This version is based on the classic Nintendo Super Famicom controller, with the colors of the face buttons matching up.

 

8bitdo sf30 pro - box

The original box for the SF30 Pro Gamepad.

 

There’s another version, the SN30 Pro, that’s exactly the same except for the face buttons. The SN30 Pro is based on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System controller. So anything I say about SF30 Pro in this article is also applicable to the SN30 Pro.

 

A Quick Review of the SF30 Pro

The 8Bitdo SF30 Pro has every control option that Switch Pro Controllers have. It’s got four face buttons, four shoulder triggers, two clickable analog sticks, and a D-Pad. It’s also got Select, Start, and two buttons that can function as the Home and Screenshot buttons when connected to the Switch. Everything here functions well. Buttons feel nice when you press them. The analog sticks are responsive and of the proper size. The D-Pad feels so good, it’s like this controller was made by Nintendo themselves.

 

8bitdo sf30 pro - front view

Front view of the SF30 Pro.

 

I do need to mention two notable things. The SF30 Pro is similar to Sony’s Playstation controllers, with the D-Pad aligned to the face buttons and both analog sticks lined up below them. If you’re used to Sony’s controllers, you might actually prefer the SF30 Pro over Nintendo’s official controllers. The second thing I wanted to talk about is the shoulder triggers. They’re a little thin, but they still work nicely.

 

sf30 pro shoulder view

Shoulder view of the SF30 Pro.

 

The SF30 Pro also has rumble and gyro motion controls. While it’s rumble function is just the normal kind, it worked well enough in my experience. It’s gyro is really good, comparable to the official Pro Controller. What it doesn’t have is an amiibo scanner and grips. I didn’t think grips would be significant, but they actually are. When I bought a Pro Controller, it became my default controller because the grips make it so much more comfortable. At home, I barely use my SF30 Pro. Right now, it’s function is as a back up controller in case we have guests and will play games that support three players.

 

My Travel Controller

At home, lacking grips makes using the 8Bitdo SF30 Pro less comfortable than the official Switch Pro Controller. However, the size of the SF30 Pro makes it more portable. Lacking grips made it easier for me to find a travel case that I can use for the SF30 Pro. Because of that, the SF30 Pro is now my default controller for when I’m travelling.

On long trips, I bring my dock with me. I don’t use my official Pro Controller because I can’t simply throw it in my bag – any time a button gets pressed, it will try to pair with the Switch. This will drain it’s battery. I can look for a carrying case, but that’ll be bigger than what I’ll need with the SF30 Pro.

I’ve done this on trips that require me to stay in a different place for more than a night that has an HDMI TV. I already need to bring the dock and the bulky charger, so not needing to bring a bulky case for the official Switch Pro Controller helps me travel light.

 

The Solution to Difficult 2D Games

There’s another situation that made the 8Bitdo SF30 Pro Gamepad quite handy for me. I recently played games like Celeste and the first four Mega Man X games – 2D platformers that are known to provide quite a challenge. It was sometimes hard to play games like those using the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller because of where the D-Pad is placed on the controller.

The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller also has some known issues when it comes to the D-Pad. Users have complained about wrong inputs when using the D-Pad. For example, if you press Up too hard, it might result in a Left or Right input. This isn’t a big deal in most games, but in difficult 2D platformers, this can be a major issue.

So when I’m playing these games, I end up setting my official Switch Pro Controller aside and dust off my 8Bitdo SF30 Pro. Like I said earlier, the D-Pad of the SF30 Pro is of amazing quality. I’ve used it and tested it and can confirm that my SF30 Pro has a D-Pad that works perfectly.

 

A Mobile Phone Controller

Recently, I’ve started playing games from the third generation (NES/Famicom) to the fifth generation (Playstation, N64) of video games. I’ve got several ways to do this, and one of those ways involve using my Android mobile phone.I actually tried this a few years back but I didn’t enjoy the experience. It just feels different to play a game on a touchscreen. I prefer pressing physical buttons when playing video games.

Luckily, the 8Bitdo SF30 Pro can pair up with Android phones easily. The emulator apps that I’ve used (Nostalgia.NES Lite and Snes9x EX+) are compatible with the SF30 Pro. The only problem I had to worry about was a clip. Thankfully, 8Bitdo also sells a special smartphone clip that fits nicely. The smartphone clip fits most Android phones but not the Nintendo Switch tablet. You wouldn’t want to play the Switch that way anyway – it is simply too heavy for that.

 

Mobile phone clip

This clip is a separate accessory.

 

The clip comes in two separate pieces, with one part that attaches itself to the controller. The other part has a retractable clip so it will adjust to the size of your phone. Both are made of the same sturdy kind of plastic. And it’s easy to detach the pieces from each other. The piece that clips to the controller is a little hard to remove though, and you’ll need to do that occasionally to charge the device.

 

8bitdo sf30 pro with mobile phone clip

The SF30 Pro with mobile phone clip.

 

Since purchasing the smartphone clip, I’ve had a much better experience playing classic games on my mobile phone. I also purchased a copy of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for Android and the SF30 Pro works really well with it too, so I can assume that this will work with a lot of other mobile games.

 

Other 8Bitdo Controllers

Unfortunately, 8Bitdo has discontinued the SF30 Pro. They already have better models, such as the SN30 Pro G Classic, the SN30 Pro SN, the SN30 Pro+, and the SN30 Pro 2. These controllers are similar to what I have, but with more features. I simply don’t own any of them, so I can’t really discuss how good (or bad) they are. There’s also the

And I would have bought one of those if I wasn’t already happy with my official Switch Pro Controllers. So if you are interested in them, just visit the 8Bitdo website to find the best option for you. I’ll say this though – I’m glad I was able to get my hands on the first version of the SF30 Pro. I love the Super Famicom color scheme, and I also like the slanted Select and Start buttons on this controller. If there’s one thing I don’t like in 8Bitdo’s newer controllers, its the layout of the Start and Select buttons.

However, there are several stores who still sell both the SF30 Pro and the SN30 Pro. 8Bitdo still has firmware updates for both controllers posted on their support website. So if you’re like me and you prefer how this is designed, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a store that still sells these.

 

Final Thoughts

If I were to recommend the 8Bitdo SF30 Pro, I would recommend it to someone who wants a cheaper Switch controller from a trustworthy brand. This is also a good option for gamers who prefer the Sony Playstation layout for the analog sticks. I definitely recommend this to someone who travels a lot but still prefers playing in docked mode. If you don’t have a Nintendo Switch, but would love to play using your Android phone, this is also a great option. You just need to buy that smartphone clip too. I don’t think I’ll sell or give my 8Bitdo SF30 Pro away. It has an important role to fill in my controller collection, and it might be a good fit for your needs too!

 

Unfortunately, I can no longer find trusted stores who still sell the 8Bitdo SF30 Pro. But like I said, the SN30 Pro works exactly the same. If you’d like to get your 8Bitdo SN30 Pro (the SNES variant) and you live in the Philippines, you can purchase from Shopee using this link. To get the smartphone clip, you can purchase one here. Note that these aren’t the cheapest deals, but are links to reputable stores that I’ve had successful transactions with in the past.

For more Nintendo Switch accessory reviews and posts, click here.

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