Top positive review
With updated firmware: THE BEST Genesis controller on the market and at a great price
Reviewed in the United States on March 17, 2019
I am going to write my review at the top, but if you are looking for information about the disconnection glitch and the firmware update supplied by the manufacturer than skip down, or search for <firmware update>
With that out of the way, I want to highlight how awesome the controller really is.
It has a very solid design, an amazing D-Pad similar to the classic 6 button Sega controllers, and great feeling buttons.
The shoulder buttons function as extra "C" and "Z" buttons, meaning your thumb never has to move across more than one button at any time. This is great for games where reaction time is important.
The 2.4GHz model feels as responsive and lag free as a wired controller. Testing has shown that this model is actually more responsive than its Bluetooth counterpart.
The receiver supplied with the 2.4GHz model has a smaller form factor than the Bluetooth model. This is actually very important on the Genesis which uses an array of pins for the controller connectors. Too much wiggling or force applied from the sides can cause those pins to bend and break and the likelihood and potential for damage is significantly less with the smaller and lighter receiver. I also think it looks a lot nicer.
Even though it uses 2.4GHz RF, you can connect this controller to a PC via USB, and it makes an excellent controller for playing older games, or newer games like Sonic Mania, Cuphead, etc. It uses standard X-Input controls which works out great because A, B and X, Y are in the same positions on this controller as an X-Box controller.
My one current complaint is that there is no "home button"; similar to the "home keys" on a computer keyboard, on the original Sega 6 button controllers there are small bumps on the B and Y buttons, so you know without looking where your thumb is. These are missing from this controller. However, I do not deduct this from the review because the shoulder buttons actually solve this issue by allowing you to keep your thumb over the four left buttons and use your index fingers for C and Z. But it would still be nice to have.
The battery life is fantastic, 35 hours off of a single 1-2 hour charge.
Overall, this is the best Genesis controller on the market and a crazy deal at $25. The only downside is that if yours has the original firmware you will need to update it.
Below I have documented my experience as well as the fix supplied by 8Bitdo.
- - - <firmware update> - - -
After reaching out to 8Bitdo support (they were very fast and very helpful), I was sent an email containing Beta firmware drivers to try out. The ones that I was sent were labeled as version 2.00, along with a README that was a DOC formatted file with embedded pictures (so open this with Word or similar). I have uploaded an image of the files.
IMPORTANT! The only firmware updates currently listed on their support website are for the Bluetooth version of the M30! You cannot use these for the 2.4GHz model, and you cannot use the auto-updater from their site for it either (i will talk about this more soon). You will need to get the new firmware files either from 8Bitdo support, or wait for them to be made available.
So, if you are having similar issues - please email their support team!
There are separate drivers for both the controller and the receiver.
This is VERY important because the receiver has a Micro USB port that can only be accessed by unscrewing the shell.
I have attached pictures of this to make it as clear as possible.
YOU WILL NEED A SMALL STAR SCREWDRIVER TO OPEN IT!
Another VERY IMPORTANT piece of info, you do not update the firmware for the 2.4GHz controllers the same way as you do with other 8Bitdo controllers and receivers. As of this review - you have to put the controller into "update mode" by holding the shoulder buttons and then start. Once in this mode you connect it to your computer with the included USB cables. The controller will show up as a very small drive, complete with a drive label (on a Windows machine).
This is where you copy the controller's firmware files, "V2.00_GamePad". Make sure to securely disconnect it, and then remove the USB cable. You then can connect the receiver (a blue light indicates a connection) and copy the retro receiver firmware files to it the same way as you did the controller. Be careful, as the instructions I was sent had a typo and asked for me to copy the controller firmware over twice, first to the controllers and then again to the receivers - however for the receivers you will copy the receiver specific file, in my case the file named "V2.00_RR".
After that you are all set!
My controllers were dropping connections regularly after around ~1 hour of playing on the original firmware. Now I have tested them both well past that limit with 0 dropping and 0 lag. I really hope the controllers will begin shipping with an updated firmware already installed, but if you need to make the update I hope that this has been helpful.