Published on November 11th, 2010 | by Cameron Woolsey
Hardware Review: Snakebyte Premium Remote XL+ for Wii
Let me be honest: I do not buy third-party video game accessories anymore and the reason is quite simple really: most of them are terrible. It’s almost as if these manufacturers have a ready check list of all the things they could do wrong with the device. Uncomfortable? Check. Cheap feel? Oh, you bet. Completely unresponsive at the wrong moments? Got that in spades.
I’m sure you can get where I’m coming from by now; I honestly have not purchased anything third-party in nearly a decade.
So I’m sure you can imagine how I felt when I received the snakebyte Premium Remote XL+ sent by the good people of Sunflex. Nine years ago I would have been hard-pressed to believe that a third-party device could outperform an official peripheral. But when I first began using the snakebyte Remote, something changed: Sunflex may have finally made me a believer.
As you can see from the above side view of the controller, the snakebyte Premium Remote XL+ is nearly identical to the original Wiimote from Nintendo. The only differences that are immediately apparent is that the power, Home, and the (+) and (-) buttons are rubberized and the power button is raised. The d-pad is more concave in the center allowing the thumb to rest on it more easily. The 1 and 2 buttons are also a little larger than the original’s. The controller also comes in two color options: white and black.
One of my primary issues with most third-party controllers is the comfort factor. The snakebyte Remote, however, is molded almost exactly like the original remote, which is already fairly comfortable to begin with. The controller feels solid and has a good weight to it that keeps it from feeling cheap. No matter how you use it, whether standard or horizontal, the controller feels great, looks great, and has a feeling of quality that many third-party controllers cannot match.
Design/Feel Rating: 9.5/10
The snakebyte Premium Remote XL+ has a few features that are worth noting. First off, the controller comes with Nintendo’s Motion Plus technology already inside much like the recently released Wii Remote Plus by Nintendo. Secondly, the remote comes with two rechargeable batteries packed in the box. The battery cover is fixed closed with a screw but don’t worry, a small screwdriver is included. After installing the batteries all that needs to be done is to charge it using the included USB cable, wait for the light to turn green, and the controller is ready to be used.
Wii users will now no doubt wonder why they would want to be forced to unscrew the battery cover every time they need to sync their remotes. Well, don’t worry about that because the sync button has been relocated. Where, you might ask? Right here:
That’s right, the sync button has been moved to the top of the controller. This is a smart move in my book as it removes the long unnecessary process of syncing controllers when you have guests that bring their own. Plus since the controller is shaped just like the original, it fits snuggly into the rubber grip which finally ends the awkward need to remove the grip and battery cover just to sync the remote. The controller comes with its own wrist strap for the overly energetic gamer.
Rechargeable batteries obviously means that not only will players no longer need to remove the grip and cover to replace the batteries, but that the snakebyte Remote will actually save you money over time since you no longer need to keep buying batteries in order to play. Plus the sync button on the outside of the controller makes it just an intelligent design overall. Added to all this is the fact that the snakebyte Premium Remote XL+ comes with the Motion Plus technology already inside makes the design of the controller second to none.
Features Rating: 5/5
Sound and Fury
The only real issues that I have had with the controller thus far happen to be with the rumble and the speaker. The rumble itself doesn’t feel weak while playing, it just sounds as if it rattles slightly which makes it feel a little cheap. The audio speaker is louder than that of the original Wii remote which isn’t a bad thing, but it can often sound crackly and it has a slight high-pitched squeal that occurs for about a half a second after a sound plays. This might not bother everyone and to be honest I barely noticed after playing for a while. However with the design and feel of the controller be so top notch it’s unfortunate that the quality of the speaker and rumble don’t quite match up.
Audio/Rumble Rating: 3.75/5
Now we get to the fun part: game functionality. Since Greg is our resident Wii expert I got his assistance in helping me play test a few Motion Plus only games. The first was an obvious choice. Wii Sports Resort was the first game to come out for Wii Motion Plus and still, to this day, stands as one of the best functioning games for it. The second game we played was Red Steel 2 which has been noted as one of the better games out there for the Motion Plus.
Wii Sports Resort:
During our play session Greg and I played many of the featured games from sword fighting, to archery, to Frisbee, and more. As we played we constantly swapped the snakebyte and the standard Wii Remote Plus as a mini-game of “spot the difference.” After hours of play time, not even our resident Wii expert was able to notice a real change in gameplay between the two remotes and neither did I. The snakebyte controller functioned perfectly with every featured game we played and never gave us any cause for alarm.
Red Steel 2:
Again, the controller worked like a champ and never gave us any reason to doubt that it was a perfectly functional controller. The difference between the official Nintendo brand and Sunflex was nearly non-existent. Every sword swing, movement, and button press worked as one would expect it to. Hooking up the nunchuck didn’t create any problems either. Both devices worked together perfectly.
Playability Rating: 4.75/5
The snakebyte Premium Remote XL+ has shattered my opinion on third-party controllers. The design, the feel, the features, and the functionality, are all what one would expect from a first-party device. But it also does something I didn’t expect by actually out-performing the original controller. I like the snakebyte Premium Remote XL+ so much that it has now completely replaced my standard Wii controller as the default peripheral. The stereo and rumble are just a small price to pay for an otherwise great controller.
Overall Score: 4.75/5
+ Great feel and design
+ External sync button
+ Rechargeable via USB
– Crackly stereo
– Rattling rumble
PRICE: $39.99 — the same as the Wii Remote Plus.
For more information on the snakebyte Premium Remote XL+ visit Snakebyte-USA