We’re big fans of 8BitDo’s lineup of game controllers, which include modern recreations of classic gamepads, 90s-style arcade joysticks, and feature-packed Bluetooth controllers. Suffice to say, they know their way around buttons, analog sticks, and everything in between. The 8BitDo Pro 2 is their newest multi-platform Bluetooth controller and it’s designed to give the best gamepads out there a big run for their money.
Billed as the outfit’s “most advanced controller ever,” the gamepad is an updated version of their Pro+ controller from a couple of years ago, which brought granular fine-tuning and button mapping typically found in more expensive specialty gamepads. That’s right, they made that one even better, with additional buttons, greater customizations, and better ergonomics.
The 8BitDo Pro 2 retains the same general design as its predecessor, with the PS4-style layout and ergonomic side grips that have been updated for even more ergonomic handling. You get the same D-pad, analog sticks, and four action buttons combo out front, along with two shoulder buttons and two triggers. This time around, though, they add two paddle buttons in the back, allowing you to move any action you want to the rear controls, so you can keep your thumbs on the analog sticks for a lot longer. That’s right, they get those paddle buttons that you typically only find on higher-end gamepads, giving you new ways to control actions in your favorite titles.
It works with the outfit’s 8BitDo Ultimate Software (PC and Mac), where you can remap the buttons to your liking and assign macros to any of the available controls. You can also adjust the sensitivity for the analog sticks and triggers, so you can require just a gentle press to register action or require more pressure to minimize the effects of accidental presses, as well as adjust the vibration intensity (motors are installed on the grips) to whichever level you’re most comfortable feeling during gameplay.
The 8BitDo Pro 2 also allows you to preload up to three controller profiles from the companion software, so you can change mappings, sensitivity, and macros with a single button push. What if you have custom mappings for every single game in your library? Yeah… no one can help you with that, so just update the profiles each time you want to play a new group of games. It comes with a 1,000 mAh battery that’s rated for up to 20 hours of gameplay between charges. According to the outfit, it charges fully in around four hours.
It supports both Bluetooth and USB connections, so you can play wired or untethered, depending on which one you prefer. There are four control modes for the gamepad, namely Switch, Mac, X-Input, and D-Input, any of which you can easily trigger using a slider in the back. This multi-mode support allows it to be compatible with PCs and Macs alike, along with Android devices (smartphones and tablets), the Nintendo Switch, and even the Raspberry Pi. And yes, you can play any Steam games using the gamepad.
The 8BitDo Pro 2 is available now.