Review: FC30 Bluetooth/USB gamepad - Android Review (Hardware)

FC30 Bluetooth/USB gamepad - Android Review: Official GBAtemp Review

Hardware 5,984 views 5 likes 9 comments
Reviewed by Thomas Hugh, posted Aug 15, 2013
We all know mobile gaming is a huge business that is becoming more popular as entry level devices become cheaper and even more powerful. The only thing that stops it being more mainstream has been the touch screen controls. The touch screen controls may be fun for the casual gamer, but the hardcore gamers amongst us demand buttons! This is where the FC30 fits nicely into the market, a retro styled game controller with modern features. Read on to see what the FC30 brings to the world of mobile gaming!
Aug 15, 2013
The FC30 is a Bluetooth/USB gamepad released in the spirit of the original Nintendo Famicom controller. This week I received a review sample of the FC30 and have been testing it out with various emulators and games using a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1" running Android 4.1.1.
Thomas Hugh

Introduction

The first thing you will notice about the FC30 GamePad is that it looks strikingly similar to the original Famicom (Japanese NES) control pad. This is no coincidence as the FC30 name actually stands for 'Famicom 30th Anniversary' as this is the year of the 30th birthday of one of Nintendo's most successful home consoles!

The pad is really lightweight, which I actually prefer in a portable device, if I am going to be carrying it around a lot I want it to be as light as possible. For those who prefer a weightier controller, the casing is held together by 6 Phillips head screws so adding weight to the pad could be possible. 

If you have larger hands like me, you may find hitting the trigger buttons a bit of a game in itself. As the pad is a replica of the original Famicom joypad, it is very small. I did not however feel any discomfort whilst playing.

Contents

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      - FC30 GamePad (12CM x 5CM x 2CM)
      - MicroUSB to USB Cable (about 1 metre in length)
      - 
Gamepad Cover - Phone/Tablet Stand
      - 
Metal FC30 commemorative keychain

Online Manual

Setup

Before using the pad, I charged it up for a few hours using my PS3. There is a green light on the pad that shows when it is charging, which flashes red when the battery is nearly out of juice. You can see if the Bluetooth is active via the flashing blue light on the gamepad.

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Setting up the FC30 couldn't be easier. I was initially a bit weary about using the pad as I didn't want to root any of my devices, luckily it was as simple as turning on the Bluetooth and scanning for devices.

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Once the gamepad is connected it worked almost like a cursor on my tablet. The dpad controls the same way like arrow keys would on your desktop. It is possible to use precise touch control with the FC30, however, this requires root, and as I was mainly testing out the controller for gaming, I decided not to try it out.

Emulators Tested

      - Nostalgia.NES (NES)
      - SNES9x EX+ (SNES)
      - MyBoy! (GBA)
      ​
Drastic (DS)

All of the emulators support gamepads and all of them detected the FC30 GamePad. To map buttons it is as simple as selecting the button in the app and then pressing the button you want to map on the gamepad.

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Here is a video of me using the pad with all of the above emulators:

I chose to play Castlevania II for the NES, Super Castlevania IV for the SNES, Castlevania Aria of Sorrow for the GBA, and Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow for the DS. The video shows each of these games running flawlessly with no input lag from the FC30. You can also hear the loud button clicks coming from the A, B, X and Y buttons. The L and R buttons aren't loud at all. The D-pad is great, although it does move around slightly in the shell casing. Directional input is good, as you can see in Super Castlevania IV, stair cases are not a problem!

Conclusion

The FC30 GamePad is a real pleasure to use. It functions well and makes playing retro games so much more fun than using touch controls. The outer plastic shell casing feels cheaply made, but the rest of the controller is high quality and I think it will last a very long time. The buttons feel good to press but some are quite loud when clicked. Overall I think the FC30 is a great controller option for anyone who is looking to buy a gamepad for their Android devices. It also functions with PC, Laptop and iOS devices. Look out for a PC functionality review coming soon!

Thanks to the FC30 Team at 8Bitdo for the review sample

 

-Update 18/8/13-

I forgot to mention this is how you are meant to use the cover/stand which is great for using with a phone but I wouldn't trust it with a 10" and over tablet!

Verdict
Pros
+ Lightweight
+ Easy set-up
+ No ROOT required
+ No noticeable input lag
+ Can be used via Bluetooth or USB
Cons
- Lightweight
- Face button clicks are loud
- Plastic shell casing feels cheap
8.5
out of 10
Overall
If you are considering a Bluetooth controller for any of your Android devices then I strongly recommend the FC30. It's well made, easy to use and performs amazingly well. I can't really fault the device apart from the cheapish feel of the plastic casing.
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