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8BitDo’s Tiny $20 Zero 2 Controller Works with the Switch

8BitDo Zero 2 Controller

8BitDo has updated its keychain-sized Zero controller, a model described as being the world’s smallest yet most powerful wireless Bluetooth gamepad. Now the Zero 2 brings support for new platforms, including the Nintendo Switch.

The Zero and Zero 2 are designed to be taken with you wherever you go, and while they aren’t ideal for all-day gaming, they are functional enough to get you through a session of Super Mario. Since the design lacks analog sticks, it’s probably best for playing your favorite 2D games, and it has all the buttons you’ll need for that: a D-Pad, A, B, X, Y, two shoulder buttons, as well as Start and Select. All of that is squeezed onto a controller that measures a meager 73 x 36.5 x 14.7 millimeters and weighs only 20 grams.

8BitDo Zero 2 Controller

Strangely, both controllers list a 180mAh battery, but the new Zero 2 supposedly only gets eight hours of battery life while the original cites 18 hours. We’re not sure if that’s due to a smaller battery or if it’s just burning through the same battery that much faster—perhaps due to newer Bluetooth standards that are optimized for controllers, low-latency input, and so on.

Adding support for a bunch of new platforms might be the biggest change 8BitDo made on the Zero 2. You can use the controller to play games on the Switch, Windows, MacOS, Android, Steam, and Raspberry Pi, whereas the original Zero could only play games on Windows, MacOS, and Android.

This controller was previously unveiled way back at E3 2018 with a different design that looked more like borrowed from the aesthetics of a Super Nintendo, while the design that has ultimately made it to market looks more like a companion for the Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite.

Zero 2 Shown E3 2018, Old Design
Old Zero 2 design shown at E3 2018. 8BitDo

Back in September, 8BitDo released a less compact but still pocket-sized controller aimed at the Nintendo Switch Lite, and the new Zero 2 comes in the same blue, pink, and yellow colors. Of note, the controller that 8BitDo released earlier this year for the Switch Lite only costs $5 more, and might be of greater interest if you want all the core buttons you’d use on Nintendo’s latest platform.

The 8BitDo Zero 2 is currently available for pre-order on Amazon for $19.99 with an expected release date of December 31.

Source: 8BitDo, Amazon via Engadget

Matthew DeCarlo Matthew DeCarlo
Matthew DeCarlo has been in digital publishing for more than a decade, during which time he has authored and edited thousands of technology articles including industry news, hardware and software reviews, product buying guides, how-tos, editorials, in-depth explainers, trivia, and more. Read Full Bio »