Review: NES30 - Successor to FC30 Bluetooth Controller

Reviewed by Ryukouki, posted Jun 21, 2014
I had gotten my hands on the FC30 a while back, and left some thoughts about it in a previous review. I loved the controller. It was quirky, it was unique. I received the chance to review the newer version of the controller, which was dubbed the NES30. Naturally, I jumped on the chance, and secretly hoped that the controller fixed all the issues that the FC30 had. Did it do that?
The NES30 is the successor to the FC30 Bluetooth controller, and was designed by 8BitDo. Featuring upgrades such as better button quality and micro-USB charging, this device is for sure an upgrade to its predecessor.

Going Back to the FC30...

This whole controller idea started a while back, with the 30th anniversary of the Famicom. The team came out with a commemorative controller as shown below, and even came out with some extremely limited edition controllers which had pure gold accents, which as you might imagine, had a pretty hefty price tag. 

A lot of people loved the controller, but a lot of people had some issues with it. In the first controller design, the buttons were rather mushy and loose. They had a cheap plastic feel that really didn't feel like it was truly emulating the controller, despite the controller being an homage to the real deal. Aesthetically, the device looked beautiful with its red and gold color scheme, but the quality felt a bit subpar. 

On the other hand, the controller was very easy to connect to many different devices. It had a handy little stand that could hold the phone or device in question. It had an excellent presentation that felt like it could be a real quality product. Inputting commands into the controller had no input lag and the connection was seamless and could be done in very little time. What more could the team improve on, besides the quality?

What does the NES30 controller come with?

For starters, the NES30 controller comes with much of the same materials that its predecessor had. The controller came with the following items:

  • An NES30 controller
  • Case/mini-stand
  • Promo key chain
  • Micro-USB cable
  • Instructions

The packaging on the device was exceptionally solid. It could survive an international trip from China with maybe a little bit of extra protection. The packaging was very similar to the FC30's packaging. The only difference was that instead of leaving cables and accessories in small plastic bags, the team upgraded and spent a couple more dollars on creating a more visually pleasant packaging, with small cardboard boxes for each individual item. I'm not going to lie when I say that I loved the packaging of the FC30; seeing this revision was a pleasant little surprise. 

Connecting Devices

Connecting devices is easy as pie, with almost zero need to actually set things up. All you will need to do is activate the bluetooth on your device of choice, and the controller will do the rest once you select it on the device. The LED lights will twinkle on the controller, when it attempts to pair with the device (I have a soft spot for blinkies...). You're going to see that it even has a name that's easy to recognize as well! It can connect to almost any Android or iOS device, even your computer or Wii! Yes, you can use this as a Wiimote. I tried, and it's even advertised on 8BitDo's pages. 

Build Quality and Runtime

As I noted above, one of my biggest qualms about the original FC30 was that it had a really mushy button setup. The quality felt a bit cheap and lackluster, resulting in a rather uncomfortable button setup. Some claimed that the Famicom felt like that, but to me, it could be slightly updated with a better feel. I couldn't feel attached to it, and I docked some points off on the review I had written for the controller. 

For the latest revision NES30, the controller feels very solid. The quality is improved, with a tighter button feel. The rubber start and select buttons are present, emulating the original controller. With the addition of shoulder buttons, the controller could have ended badly, but 8Bitdo pulled it off with aplomb and integrated it without sacrificing the quality. The addition of X and Y buttons has its uses as well, which was nice because a lot of the games I like to play revolve around the four button set up. The moderness of the controller was also improved, with 8Bitdo having dropped the older USB charging format and opting for a better micro-USB charging adapter. The older method of charging - honestly, I don't see it a lot anymore, so seeing something that even my own Galaxy S4 could use was absolutely wonderful. A lot of fans are going to be happy about this!

As far as the runtime of the NES30, 8Bitdo advertised twenty solid hours of gameplay. I got fifteen - sixteen hours on my initial chargethrough before I had to charge it again, which is exceptional. The device is powered by a lithium ion battery, with up to 1000 charges, which means that there is going to be a lot of runtime. It will also automatically sleep after fifteen minutes of no input. Talk about handy!

Conclusions

8Bitdo created the FC30, and it was a fine controller. Fans commented and wanted to see improvements to the next model, so 8Bitdo did exactly that. The buttons felt way better on this model and the inclusion of micro-USB charging will definitely please people. A lot of the previous concerns from the FC30 have been resolved, and the result is an absolutely wonderful little Bluetooth controller. I would like to thank the folks at 8Bitdo for providing GBAtemp with a review sample, and for listening to their fans in creating a solid product. I would recommend this controller for those who loved their NES console, and for those who want to be able to have a more accurate gaming experience on the go. 

Verdict
Pros
+ -Micro-USB charging
+ -Improved button quality
+ -Seamless bluetooth connection
+ -Supports MANY devices, including a Wii
+ -Excellent visual presentation
Cons
- -Could be pricey for some people
- -Shoulder/XY buttons take away from the "authenticity" of the original NES controller
8.8
out of 10
Overall
8Bitdo created the FC30, and it was a fine controller. Fans commented and wanted to see improvements to the next model, so 8Bitdo did exactly that. The buttons felt way better on this model and the inclusion of micro-USB charging will definitely please people. A lot of the previous concerns from the FC30 have been resolved, and the result is an absolutely wonderful little Bluetooth controller. I would like to thank the folks at 8Bitdo for providing GBAtemp with a review sample, and for listening to their fans in creating a solid product. I would recommend this controller for those who loved their NES console, and for those who want to be able to have a more accurate gaming experience on the go.
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