The NES Classic ships with a wired controller — and with a rather short cable, at that. The NES30 Bluetooth gamepad fixes that.
For everything that's great about the NES Classic — and there's a lot that is really fun here — one glaring black mark remains.
Wired controllers suck. And more than that, the wired controller that comes with the NES Classic is ridiculously short. Maybe not for 1987, but this ain't gonna cut it by 2017's standards.
And so we turn to Bluetooth.
The NES30 Classic Edition Wireless Controller Set from 8Bitdo was one of the first out of the gate. (At least that I initially found on Amazon.) And it's the first one we're taking a look at.
The obvious differences: No wire. That's a big one. But almost as big is that you get more buttons. It's really more of a hybrid — Super Nintendo layout in the original NES form. So that's taken my brain a little getting used to.
Pairing was simple enough. Turn off the NES Classic, plug in the receiver (I recommend using Port 1 for this, otherwise you won't be able to navigate the NES Classic menu system). Next, hold down the Start button on the controller for 3 seconds, then press the orange button on the receiver to initiate pairing. It shouldn't take too long at all. You'll see the blue LED on the controller and the blue LED on the receiver stop blinking once they're paired. (The second LED on the controller is to show when it's fully charged — there's a very short microUSB cable in the box to help with that.)
And ... That's that. The controller isn't quite the same shade of gray as the one that comes with the NES Classic, and that's a shame. But it's also a small price to pay to get rid of the wires.