Nintendo Switch Pro Controller vs 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Controller: Which should you buy?

Pro Controller
Pro Controller (Image credit: iMore)

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller vs 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Controller: Let's break it down

We love to get our game on with our Nintendo Switches here at iMore. We've tried out nearly every controller option there is out on the market to help you pick out the best controller for your needs.

When it comes to gaming on your Nintendo Switch, you definitely want to get the best experience, and that's best done with a separate pro-level controller besides the Joy-Cons. The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is a great versatile option, but 8Bitdo's SN30 Pro is fantastic for retro games, so they each have their own purpose.

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller vs. 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Controller: What is under the hood?

Both the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller and the 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Controller are great options for Switch gamers. It really depends on if you prefer an overall versatile option, like the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, or if you want something that's best suited for classic NES and SNES games available, which is where the SN30 excels. Let's take a closer look.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Nintendo Switch Pro Controller8Bitdo SN30 Pro Controller
Cost$70 MSRP$50 MSRP
Battery lifeUp to 40 hoursMileage may vary
RechargeableYes via USB-C to USB-AYes via USB-C to USB-A
HD RumbleYesYes
Motion controlsYesYes
Amiibo supportYesNo
Multi-platformDesigned for Switch, requires workarounds for other platformsYes, for Switch, Android, Windows, macOS, and Steam
D-padYesYes, more authentic for retro games

Overall, both controllers are very similar. The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is very modern and feels comfortable in hand, and the buttons are laid out in the same kind of fashion as the Joy-Cons, so it's not much of a learning curve. Plus, you have motion controls and HD rumble just as Nintendo intended: without any wonkiness. There's also a full NFC reader for your amiibo needs built right into the controller.

However, if you play more classic, retro games on your Nintendo Switch, such as those NES titles available through Nintendo Switch Online, then the 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Controller is a better pick. The D-pad on it feels just like the original SNES controller, and the button layout stays true to the original, making it a great option for classic games. It also doesn't feature Amiibo support, though it does offer motion controls.

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller vs 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Controller: Is it comfortable?

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller (Image credit: iMore)

8bitdo pro controller (Image credit: iMore)

Source: iMore

All the technical specs in the world won't mean a thing if the controller isn't comfortable. Thankfully, both controllers are incredibly comfortable and fit great in your hands, no matter if they're big or small. The Pro Controllers layout mirrors the Xbox One's layout, so it'll feel very familiar to players who hop between consoles. The lightweight frame is very sturdy, and both control sticks are marked with a slight ridge for added stability. This is one of Nintendo's finest controllers.

The 8Bit SN30 Pro Controller is also very comfortable, though it does place both control sticks near the controller's bottom. The controller is light and compact. Plus, the control sticks also feel sturdy and comfortable. The only problem is that emulating the Old Snes controller doesn't leave much room for the shoulder buttons. They're just a little too close together, and that could be a deal-breaker if you're playing a shooter, for example.

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller vs. 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Controller: How accessible is it?

One of the SN30 Pro Controller draws is that it can be used across multiple platforms with ease. The controller will work well with your Android, Windows, macOS, and Steam devices on top of the Nintendo Switch. Unfortunately, it will not work with iOS due to Apple's MFi protocol requirement. The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller can also work on Steam or a Windows PC with relative ease. Both are excellent options for use on the PC, but the SN30 does support a few extra platforms, so we have to give it the edge here.

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller vs 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Controller: Which should you buy?

The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller and 8bitdo SN30 Pro Controller are excellent controllers for the Nintendo Switch, but we recommend the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. It doesn't lack any Nintendo Switch exclusive features and feels really comfortable to use. 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Controller is handy, especially if you favor older games or want to use your controller across multiple platforms.

Christine Chan

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed. When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.