RetroUSB Wireless Controller Review

This is a review of the wireless controller from RetroUSB. It’s well-built, but the clicky buttons and “bomerang” design might not be the best fit for some people. Please support the Patreon:
Link to controller:

Link to 3rd party knockoff:


PersianImm0rtal says:

It’s so stupid that they didn’t design it with the SNES controller, should buttons and X and Y. So stupid.

samysnes says:

I was hoping for a neighbor to get out of their apt. and see you walking down the hallway holding up a controller and filming it like a lunatic lol

Jason Johnston says:

Aweome review! Thank you.
I am leaning toward ordering one just because I always likes the microswitch feel on some games.
Could you 3D print lower controller shell to house the battery in the middle and accommodate the Wireless unit.

Ray Commend says:

Great review. Seems like a modular revision should be possible where the legs/wings could be separate from the NES shaped controller since those are just empty plastic. This would allow for it to be snapped on for those that want the winged shape while those that don’t could keep it separate.

VideoGameVictims says:

I wonder why they decided to go with microswitches for the buttons instead of the usual conductive rubber.

CPS2 says:

Great review. Think I’ll give this one a miss. That clicking would drive me mad…

Alex says:

I just got mine and it works fine. I’d imagine it was just a defect that you got.
I do love the micro switches and the shape works for my big ass hands. I assume the LED on the front is perpetually lit so I will have to stash it away at night. Overall it is fine.

dododub says:

I had my reservations about the shell shape, but for me it totally felt fine in my hands. Had no issues with the right d-pad at all, responsiveness was fine. The clicking does stick out when you first start using them, though I’ve gotten used to it already. Guess controllers are just a very personal thing.

ryoandr says:

I think you having problem with right is because of controller shape and dpad placement your thumb has to reach farther so you’re not pushing it straight down but more diagonaly down-right (when looking from above). With of course adding the decades of muscle memory playing on the original thing. Proof is, when in the hacked shell, you had far less problems. And when you tried again, notice you held the pad on the inside, where you could push straight down.

Snail Tooth Gaming says:

Man, that thing is loud

James Drummond says:

Maybe we can create a fundraiser for a 3D printed back for the mod…If your interested like this post, and if I get enough interest I’ll start a kickstarter or something….Have 2 or these myself, including shipping and import duty (live in uk) they work out to £65 each! Worth every penny IMO 8/10 and with that possible future 3d printed back 10/10

SNBfilms says:

10:25 Dig the bear slippers

Silverhold says:

I got burned with the 8bitdo wireless controller when I bought my super NT. It seems like Classic controller’s are still the best.

Zeke Coughlin says:

Might you try putting the rubber inserts from the after-market pad into the retroUSB controller to eliminate the click and make it feel more like the original?

Luka says:

Why Snes? It’s not Smario World or Smetroid or Sempire Strikes Back. SNES and NES is an abbreviation. Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo Entertainment System. There for it would be Super En E Es, or Es En e Es or En E Es. We don’t call the CIA Seeuh or the FBI Fibee. Your videos are great but every time I hear it… cringe.

sdekaar says:

it’s easy too to make a nes to snes pad adapter and use the retro receiver from 8bitdo.

Dave Kircher says:

Excellent review.

I do wish that the precision on the lag timing was higher. What you’ve got is still better than nothing. But with eyeballing, being off by a frame is just over 4 milliseconds at 240fps (I think that was the framerate you mentioned). So error accumulates quickly.

Also, maybe it’s just me. But I really dislike the sound of sped up disassembly at 11:27 and would prefer either muted sound there or music playing over the top like you did in your modification section.

skins4thewin says:

Sounds pretty bad… specially with the high price. Seems like a really poor, cheap design. Way too pricey to be worth it. Button malfunctions on a $65 controller? Yea, I’ll stick to the original pad with an extension cord.

The fact that in one short episode Bob was able to find all these issues when the actual product creators couldn’t is just plain sad…. RetroUSB should fire their product testers immediately.

Jose Echeverria says:

stick with 8bitdo and a ps4 controller … best combo ever

Mark Bessert says:

I have one and love it. My biggest complaint is that it’s ugly. Works great though.

ecmyersvids says:

I had not previously noticed the problem you experienced with pressing Right on the D-pad, but tonight I noticed a similar issue with pressing up on my controller while playing Ninja Gaiden III, and I used the menu on the RetroN 5 to do the same sort of test you did with Tetris–it was definitely skipping inputs, and sometimes I could jam on the button repeatedly without it registering.

So I took it apart again and investigated, and when I pressed the microswitches directly on the PCB there was no problem. I placed the plastic crossbar of the D-pad directly on the PCB and again, no problem, so I figured something is happening when you actually assemble the controller, and I think it has to do with the tightness of the screws. If you tighten the screws until they’re snug, it messes with the D-pad inputs, but by loosening the screws slightly, I was able to make it fully responsive again.

I imagine that when you transferred the parts into the NES third-party shell, you were also eliminating the problem of too much pressure on the D-pad. Interestingly, there is one tiny washer in the controller which I believe was placed on the screw above the D-pad–perhaps to help alleviate the pressure there? When I did my teardown, I neglected to replace the washer, which is probably why my D-pad ended up so unresponsive, but it’s back in place now, and the controller is again functioning the way I expect it to. Odd that it would be so sensitive to getting the screws in just the right amount. Anyway, I probably wouldn’t have thought of this if not for your review, so thanks! And I hope this information is helpful to someone else.

Emmett Turner says:

A Retrobit dogbone NES controller has all the same supports, stand-offs, and cable-routing posts, but they are different heights and such. Heck, they didn’t even use the cable-routing posts so the cord could freely slide in and out of the controller while directly pulling the wires in the PCB!

VideoGameVictims says:

I really don’t feel any noticeable lag from the 8Bitdo bluetooth controllers. Using the SNES30 and the 8bitdo SNES receiver with the manual lag test in the 240p test suite on a CRT came up with consistent results at and around 0 frames of lag. The same was true for the NES30 I tried out.

Has anyone posted some lag results showing that the 8bitdo controllers do indeed show enough lag that an alternative like the RetroUSB controller is even necessary?

Blackened says:

nice thorough review. how would you compare it to the 8bitdo controller and wireless dongle?

charvelgtrs says:

I understand he wanted to try to “improve” on the original design, but I never thought the original design really needed to be fixed. Just round the corners and it would be fine, no need to add handles or microswitched buttons.

namdor 07 says:

I cringe with each click of that controller. An nes controller shouldn’t make any noise when you are using it. Its  I used one at PRGE last year and it felt like garbage. I thought he cared about making things affordable. I mean the AVS is 170 currently and he is charging 65 for 1 controller? That is more than a PS4 controller and almost as much as a switch pro controller which are both crammed with a ton of tech. I just don’t see a market for this controller.   Atleast the AVS is affordable in comparison to other items HD NES solutions currently available.I bought an Analogue NT mini and I don’t think I would ever pay never pay $65 for a wireless nes controller so I am not sure what his target audience is. If I was going to pay 65 dollars for an nes controller it would have to be an exact replica like the 8bitdo controller as far the aesthetics and have no lag. 8bitdos NES30 has some control issues for sure making games like contra near impossible but they they aren’t charging $65 so I am more than okay with the trade offs even though I wish they didn’t exist..

Retro_rhymer says:

Interesting design, a creative solution to fit the components in the cheap controller would be to 3d print a new back plate with proper standoffs and a slightly taller sides to accommodate the battery and antenna.

Niko says:

Completely unimpressed with the guts of the controller, especially at the $65 price point. They used those cheap Chinese RF transceivers. Thats what that black PCB is on the back. No way this thing was designed for the “lowest latency” possible. I’m not saying its bad, or it isnt a good controller. Just kinda hard to believe.

zolwikwkurwik says:

I don’t get why controller manufacturers use micro switches instead of rubber pads

SnoopKatt says:

Kinda disappointed they just slapped on the wireless board (NRF24L01+) instead of integrating the RF part into the PCB. Also, the NRF24L01+ IC is a very good wireless transceiver that is amazing for these applications, but I’m 99% sure retroUSB (probably not knowingly) is using counterfeits of the chip. Fairly certain of this because that exact RF board is all over eBay, Aliexpress, and just about any place that sells electronics from China. Easy to fall for though – the finished RF boards can be had for less than $1 each, and the genuine IC’s cost > $1.50 each in bulk.
More info on it:

Silverhold says:

What are your thoughts on the AVS NES console? Is the quality better than this? Analogue doesn’t make the NT mini anymore so I was considering the AVS NES. The controller quality here has me worried.

S G says:

Plays for 40 seconds and tottally negative about it, your taste is in your fat ass son! along with your so called work R O U G H !

radfoo says:

Good review, thanks. I think the clicky buttons and maybe shape would be a problem for me. Could you not just wire the antenna bit to an original pad (or decent 3rd party one)? Eg. remove the wire and put the antenna and the battery on the outside of the case so would be not destructive, would be easy(ish) to swap back later. Perhaps too much modding for something that is pricey, will probably stick to wires, not found anything that beats and original nes controller yet!

Martin Myre says:

Thanks for this awesome review!

Douglie007 says:

so you could use the front and the RetroUSB back 🙂

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