Hardware Review: 8BitDo Media Remote For Xbox - Cheep And Cheerful

We've long been fans of 8BitDo's products (their SN30 Pro Cloud Gaming controller is excellent), so we had little doubt their new line of Xbox media remotes would be worth a purchase. They look stylish, are available at a good price and do the job well — but if you've never owned an Xbox Media Remote before, you need to be aware of a couple of caveats.

There are two remotes you can pick from, with the smaller white controller retailing at $19.99, and the longer black controller retailing at $24.99. We've had a chance to try both, and there really isn't a major reason to buy the more expensive one unless you care about having numbers on the remote and/or some more enticing backlighting. It is the slightly better remote, but you certainly don't need to pay the extra money if you don't want to.

Regardless of which one you go for though, they both work the same way and come equipped with some handy features such as an app shortcut button, play, pause, rewind and fast-forward buttons (which have varying levels of usefulness depending on the app you're using), and the aforementioned backlit buttons.

The buttons have a nice clicky feel to them, and while we've seen some reports that the Guide button can get a bit sticky, we haven't suffered that issue ourselves. Better yet, the remote is essentially 'instant-on' so you don't need to worry about turning it on and off manually, and it can be woken by simply picking it up (no shaking required). Generally, it has a comfortable and premium feel to it, so you feel like you're getting your money's worth.

However, like many other Xbox media remotes on the market it's infrared-based, so you need to make sure you have a line of sight with your console. We tested it with an Xbox Series X placed sideways at the bottom of a media cabinet, and having to sometimes reach to point at the console's IR blaster (based near the front USB port) can be a little cumbersome. Because of this, the remote can occasionally feel unresponsive if the line-of-sight is disrupted.

Another thing to keep in mind is that we had difficulties getting the volume controls to work on the remote, even with a supposedly compatible TV. The Xbox Series X and S use HDMI-CEC to communicate with media remotes when using volume, and depending on the display you have, you might run into problems with this, or fail to get it working whatsoever. As far as we know, this has nothing to do with 8BitDo's remote, and is an issue on Xbox's end.

In terms of the remote specifically, however, it does what it says on the tin. The longer black variant adds some unnecessary buttons, but both remotes are well-priced and ready to go the moment you take them out of the box (with AAA batteries included). If you're in the market for a media remote, we'd happily recommend these.

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Have you bought the 8BitDo Media Remote for Xbox? Let us know how you're getting on with it below.