Hyperkin Scout Premium – Design and Features
Let me start off by saying this is a niche product for a niche subset of gaming hobbyists. If you’re one of the hardcore retro gamers who insists on playing games on original hardware, the Hyperkin Scout Premium for SNES is designed explicitly for use on the original Super Nintendo, Super Famicom, or modern retro console with SNES controller ports. Inside the box is the controller, a (generously long) USB to Micro USB charging cable, and a Bluetooth receiver.The controller is based on the design of the original Super NES controller, with concave X and Y buttons and convex A and B. The Select and Start buttons are made of a hard rubber, with the D-pad and L/R buttons made of hard plastic. What I liked the most about the Scout Premium is how authentic every button press feels. The start and select have just the exact amount of give at the bottom of travel to make them feel exactly like the buttons on the official controllers. The face buttons, too, have a great, truly genuine feel about them, and the D-pad is similarly excellent.
I’ve encountered lots of third-party retro controllers where the D-pad has a tendency to register a “down” press when you don’t hit the “right” direction 100% accurately. I’ve even noticed it on the first-party wireless Nintendo Switch Online NES controllers. There’s no such sloppiness in the Hyperkin Scout. Every direction press was registered where I wanted it to register. Every face button and D-pad press felt perfect.
My one complaint, although it’s minor, is the shoulder buttons don’t feel quite as accurate as the rest of the controller. They’re just a hair too spongey for my liking. In fact, as far as feel is concerned, I would put button presses on the Scout a little higher than the ones on the pack-in Super NES Classic controllers.
The controller itself has the same dog-bone shape as the Super NES and Super Famicom controllers, with a slight bulge on either side of the back. The little bit of extra meat makes the Hyperkin Scout quite comfortable to hold. On the top of the controller, where you find the charging port and sync button, is a series of raised plastic ridges that give a little extra bit of texture and help differentiate between the shoulder buttons and the top of the controller. It sounds pointless, but I found it made holding the controller more comfortable.
It feels solidly built, but there’s a little extra space around the charging port and the Bluetooth sync buttons where the two halves of the controller meet. The sync button is also really off-center, but as small as it is, it’s not a deal breaker. Other than that, everything feels solidly constructed.
Hyperkin Scout Premium – Gaming
This particular Hyperkin Scout is designed to work with the Super NES and any third-part consoles with Super NES controller ports. I tested the Scout using an Analogue Super NT as well as Hyperkin’s own Retron 5. I had hoped to test it with my original Super NES, but I was unable to locate the A/V cable. However, given the fact the Analogue console is Super Nintendo hardware on a chip, it is more than adequate for testing.
Right away I popped Star Fox into the Analogue and plugged in the wireless receiver. Syncing was a snap, and I was off to protect Corneria. I felt absolutely no difference between the Hyperkin Scout and my first party Super NES and Super Famicom controllers. Every button press registered exactly how I expected it. I also never encountered any battery issues, but I also plugged it in to charge after every other session. I appreciate how the Scout doesn’t require a charge before and after every use, and if you do forget to plug it in, you can still use it to play while it’s charging.
I decided to play Super Mario World to test the controller with a game requiring more precision. Each button registered just how I anticipated, and when I did die or miss a jump, I felt confident in blaming it on my own ineptitude and not sloppy controller input. The Scout let me skate, pass and shoot to my heart’s content in NHL 94, as well. To see how it handled RPGs, I tested it on my Retron 5 with Bahamut Lagoon, a Super Famicom tactical RPG that never came stateside. No matter the type of game, the Hyperkin felt right.
Of course, it’s the wireless feature that really made me prefer the Hyperkin Scout Premium to my stock Super NES controller. Not having to worry about kids or dogs snagging a wire on a living-room run-through was great. Even at my desk, the freedom from wires is great: I didn’t need to worry about getting one of my classic controller’s cables wound up in, or otherwise destroyed by, my desk chair.
Make no mistake, though: this is an extremely niche product, and that’s its biggest weakness. Since it’s Bluetooth, you can use it on your PC, Mac, or Android device, which makes it a great choice for emulators or classic game collections. But it doesn’t work with Nintendo Switch, nor does the Super NES version work with the Super NES Classic. The lack of Switch functionality is a huge miss, especially as more classic gaming collections like the excellent Castlevania Anniversary Collection and the Mega Man X Collection 1+2 bring Super NES games to Nintendo’s hybrid system.
While there’s no Nintendo Switch version, Hyperkin does make other versions of the Scout, including one designed for wireless use with the Super NES Classic, as well as a USB version. A representative for Hyperkin told me the controllers work with either receiver, but unfortunately you can’t buy the receiver separately at this time. I would love to have a slew of compatible receivers and just one controller, but that’s not the case; you buy the Scout to fit your needs, and if those needs change, you have to buy a whole other controller/receiver combo.
The Hyperkin Scout Premium wireless SNES controller has an MSRP of $32.99, but it’s usually less expensive online.
Hyperkin Scout Premium Wireless SNES Controller