With the ability to heavily customize the performance and functionality of its various buttons and sticks, the 8BitDo Pro 2 remains one of our favorite third-party controllers. One of our few complaints is the controller’s symmetrical side-by-side joystick layout, which 8BitDo is finally addressing with a new version of its Xbox Ultimate wired controller that also finally goes wireless.
The 8BitDo Pro 2 looks more or less like a heavily updated and augmented version of the Super Nintendo’s classic gamepads, which is fitting, because while it’s compatible with Windows, macOS, and Android devices, it only plays nice with the Nintendo Switch when it comes to consoles. That makes its use of side-by-side analog joysticks a bit confusing, because Nintendo has been using an asymmetrical joystick layout since the GameCube WaveBird, and continues to use it on its Joy-Cons and Pro Controller. Sure, the Wii U Pro Controller uses a symmetrical layout, but the stick placement on the 8BitDo Pro 2 is more like a Dualshock’s than that controller’s.
To finally address that stick placement issue, 8BitDo has updated its Ultimate Wired Controller for the Xbox Series S & X, first announced back in March, with a more generic design (that’s still reminiscent of the Xbox controller and the Nintendo Pro controller) and both Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless connectivity. It’s now simply called the 8BitDo Ultimate Controller, and will be available in three versions that cater to pretty much everything except, ironically, the Xbox (and Playstation).
At $70, this is the most expensive of the three new 8BitDo Ultimate Controllers, but is still the one most gamers should get, as it includes both Bluetooth for connecting to devices like the Nintendo Switch, as well as a 2.4GHz wireless connection for connecting to PCs with less lag. It comes in black or white.
It offers all the same features and functionality of 8BitDo’s wired Xbox controller and the wireless Pro 2, including compatibility with special software and apps for configuring the controller, the ability to store and easily switch between three different configuration profiles, and an extra pair of re-mappable paddle buttons on the back. Unlike the Pro 2, the 8BitDo Ultimate Controller’s rechargeable battery isn’t removable, but is now easier to keep charged with a bundled dock that also includes a compartment for storing an included 2.4GHz USB adapter.
A slightly cheaper option at $50, this version of the 8BitDo Ultimate Controller skips the Bluetooth for 2.4GHz only, but retains the rest of the programmable functionality, plus the charging dock that includes a place to store the included 2.4GHz USB adapter. It’s also available in black or white, as well as a subtle pink colorway.
You can save yourself a tidy sum of money with the $35 wired version of the new 8BitDo Ultimate Controller, which is compatible with the Switch, Windows PCs, Android mobile devices, and even the Raspberry Pi, although it only works with 8BitDo’s Ultimate Software for configuring its hardware through the Windows 10 app. There’s no dock included as there’s no batteries that need a charge, and colors are limited to black or white.
All three 8BitDo Ultimate Controllers are available for pre-order right now through Amazon: the Bluetooth one, the 2.4GHz one, and the wired one, with shipping expected on October 28. They won’t replace the wireless 8BitDo Pro 2 controller, however, as that controller’s side-by-side joystick layout will still appeal to some gamers.