The 8BitDo Ultimate controller demonstrates that third-party pads can compete with and sometimes even outperform the official Nintendo Switch controllers. This controller has it all: a comfortable design, configurable shoulder buttons, and a charging stand. Support for unique features like gyro aiming is included at a lower cost than the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.
In this case, the 8BitDo Ultimate controller for Nintendo Switch is notable because it nearly entirely outperforms the official Nintendo offerings. Even before you load a game into the 8BitDo Ultimate, you’ll get a positive first impression. The pad, its charging port, and a USB-C cord are all neatly tucked away in the little box that the controller comes in, and the controller’s high quality is immediately obvious upon first use.
An unmarked package containing a sleek black controller was delivered to our doorstep with biro markings. When you open the package, you’ll find a sleek, what seems like a hybrid between a Switch Pro controller and a standard gamepad. All the necessary controls for operating the Switch are at your disposal, including rearranged A and B buttons.
It fits snugly and snugly into the compact charging holster. To the point where we’d make Microsoft investigate the inner workings of this charging dock if we had our druthers. The larger footprint ensures the controller won’t be jostled off your desk and prevents the charging pins from becoming dislodged.
There is a subtle quality to each stick that makes switching between them effortless. And GuliKit sticks are actually homes on the inside. The magnetic connection and anti-drift properties of these make for a superior joystick.
It’s better in terms of comfort than the Switch’s official Pro controller, but the directional pad is a weakness. It’s not overly firm, but it also won’t win you over to the joy of using a directional pad not made by Nintendo.
There are two back buttons on the 8BitDo Ultimate Controller; they’re not as responsive as the paddles on Microsoft’s Elite controller, but they’re comparable to the satisfying click of the Steam Deck’s rear buttons.
Even macros can have their functions mapped to them. In fact, you can turn the entire controller into a macro machine for your favorite in-depth MMORPG.
If we’re being really honest, we thought the changes to the trigger to be a little bit strange. You may program when you want the action to begin based on the pull, eliminating the need for a mechanical switch to lock them into place.
We utilized Perfect Dark HD on the Xbox with the Elite controller as an example. For the Elite Series 2, it made logical to mimic the Nintendo 64’s trigger setup because the game can’t detect if the trigger is being pulled halfway or all the way. It was much more convenient to lock the trigger and have it function as a button.
Here, imitating the controller with the Ultimate Controller felt off because the tiniest press of the trigger was required to activate it. Something like coming upon a yellow fire hydrant in Shelbyville. It’s a cost-saver, but it seems like an unusual choice to let the software decide when hardware would be more effective.
A combination of software and 2.4GHz technology
The settings can even be adjusted from your mobile device. Meanwhile, the quality of the software is high. It’s unobtrusive, it doesn’t appear to be hogging resources, and it’s easy to browse through and load new profiles onto the controller.
In a pinch, you can switch between Bluetooth and 2.4GHz (for use in other places) on the device’s rear. Nowhere was the superiority of 2.4GHz over Bluetooth more apparent than on the Steam Deck.
It has been a problem for us since the Steam Deck was released because there is a noticeable delay between docking the device and activating features like Bluetooth. The lag is usually unnoticeable, but even when it is, the experience is off. Switching to the 2.4GHz frequency band has resolved most of these issues. The 2.4GHz connection is so fast that we never used Bluetooth for anything beyond testing on iOS.
The 8BitDo Ultimate not only succeeds in terms of aesthetics but also performs reliably. First of all, pairing the pad with the Nintendo Switch is a breeze; all you have to do is hold the pad’s pairing button while in the console’s controller order screen and the pad will automatically be recognized.
The controller maintained its responsiveness throughout the playtesting of multiple games. The 8BitDo Ultimate more than held its own in both situations, with the Bluetooth connection never causing any discernable delay in the user’s input.
You should expect about 20 to 22 hours of use from a full battery charge, which is also quite respectable. Although that’s only approximately half the features of the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, it’s plenty for a few marathon gaming sessions. The integrated charging dock will have you back up to 100% in no more than three hours. Keep your pad charged up at night, and you won’t have to worry about it dying on you throughout the day.
Plus, the 8BitDo Ultimate Software app is accessible on both Android and iOS devices if you want additional features than what you get by default. Connecting your controller to your mobile device lets you customize the button layout to your liking. That includes the back buttons on the controller if you want to assign a secondary mapping to them. You can also create macros, which allow you to assign many controls to a single button. It’s a fully-featured program that allows you to personalize your gaming experience by adjusting the intensity of the analog stick and the trigger.
Simply put, the 8BitDo Ultimate Controller is fantastic. It’s nice that we can play video games pretty much anywhere, thanks to the availability of high-quality controllers.
This is a great controller to pick up if you’re looking for something with a bit more adaptability thanks to its responsive bumper buttons, a speedy connection, and no latency. Although it is incompatible with Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation, we are confident that there is a solution for converting wireless signals to these consoles among 8BitDo’s offerings.