Review: 8BITDO FC Zero Mini Controller (Hardware)

8BITDO FC Zero Mini Controller: Official GBAtemp Review

Hardware 7,500 views 5 likes 32 comments
Reviewed by Krista Noren, posted Jul 15, 2016
Jul 15, 2016
We take a look at 8Bitdo's super-portable gamepad, the FC Zero Mini!
Krista Noren

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Perfect for your pocket!

With the advent of mobile gaming, more and more people are connecting controllers to their phones in order to get the full gaming experience when on the go. But who wants to carry around a bulky gamepad all day? 8Bitdo, known for their well-received controllers, answers this with their latest creation, dubbed ”the world’s smallest gamepad”, otherwise known as the FC Zero Mini.

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Inside the plastic packaging is a tiny micro USB cord in order to charge the controller, a wrist strap, and the controller itself. The Zero measures 73mm by 35mm, making its size perfect for just slipping in your pocket, or even attaching it to your keyring with the included lanyard. Taking after classic Nintendo design, the Zero’s button layout is exactly that of a SNES controller. You have ABXY, a d-pad, Start and Select, and L/R buttons on the top. This controller’s build quality really surpassed my expectations; all of the 8 face buttons, as well as the d-pad are very responsive, and have a excellent, satisfying click to them. The L/R buttons on the top of the unit don’t depress as much as I’d like them to, but are perfectly fine otherwise. The front of the Zero is slick and glossy, and the back is covered in a matte finish. While the gamepad is tiny, it was surprisingly comfortable to hold. I found that though holding the tiny controller normally can be a bit awkward, cradling it in my index fingers worked quite well. The combination of matte and gloss is nice to the touch, and feels like it was made with quality plastic. I was pleasantly surprised by just how good the build quality to this is. But form isn’t everything, so let’s take a look at how it functions.

Design and build quality

Connecting the controller was a snap. All it involved was simply opening bluetooth settings on your device of choice, turning the controller on, and pairing it. Holding Start+A/B/R as the controller boots lets it sync to either Windows, OSX, iOS, or Android. The back of the package has a card that tells you the exact combinations for each device. The Zero features a 32bit ARM CPU which makes bluetooth connections snappy and reliable, and I experienced little-to-no input lag, so long as I stayed within about 4 foot range of the connected device.

I tested the Zero with four different devices; an iPhone 6S (Unjailbroken, Retroarch/Apps), an Android tablet (Jellybean, Apps), a Windows PC (Windows, assorted emulators/Steam games), and a Macbook (BSNES). The controller worked flawlessly with each of them. Mobile games, such as Sonic 2, Gunman Clive, and Final Fantasy VII on iOS, and Temple Run, Rayman Jungle Run, and Terraria on Android worked right out of the box, requiring no extra effort. Emulators on both Windows and OSX immediately recognized the Zero as a joypad in the options, and PC games like Shantae, Mutant Mudds, and Bastion all worked as well.

The official list of supported mobile games can be found on the official 8Bitdo site. I did end up trying some games that weren’t listed there to test the controller, and they worked regardless. As I ran the gamut of different mobile games, I didn’t come across anything that was unsupported by the Zero, though I’m sure there are some apps out there that aren’t compatible.

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The Zero sports a 180mAH battery, which will get you about 20 hours of use on a single charge, meaning you can get a great amount of use out of it before you need to recharge it. Charging it to full takes just a little under an hour when connected via micro USB to a computer.

There’s also a couple of interesting inclusions that 8Bitdo has added for the controller. If you hold Select, the controller enters “shutter mode”, where you can use it to take photos from afar with your smartphone. It’s actually a pretty fun feature to have. Another addition is if you have two controllers, you can connect both of them and play multiplayer games on your phone or tablet. PC/Mac users can use up to 4 controllers at a time.

Conclusion

All-in-all, I wouldn’t recommend the Zero as a standard controller, but that’s not its purpose. If you’ve been looking for a comfortable, portable, and long-lasting gamepad for your mobile devices, you will not be disappointed with this controller. If you’re serious about gaming while you’re out and about, this is a must buy.

Many thanks to Willgoo for supplying GBAtemp with this review sample. If you wish to buy the Zero, you can do so by clicking on the link below.

Sale Link: Willgoo.com

Sale Link: Amazon.com

Verdict
Pros
+ Very portable.
+ Syncs to devices quickly and easily.
+ Nice build quality.
+ Low input lag for a bluetooth gamepad.
Cons
- Can be uncomfortable for long gaming sessions if you have large hands.
- If you keep it in your pocket, it might turn on at random, draining the battery.
8
out of 10
Overall
If you're looking for a controller that you can use for mobile gaming on the go, or just as a fun novelty controller to amuse your friends with at parties, the 8BITDO FC Zero Mini is a fantastic choice.
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