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Haute Board mini Review – A Fantastic Budget Keyboard Controller from Haute42

Ever since I bought my first 8BitDo Arcade Stick, I’ve gotten a bit obsessed with different sticks, controllers, and more for arcade games, fighters, shmups, retro games, and more. If you’ve read any of our fighting game reviews or shmup articles, you’ve likely seen the ones I use on a daily basis like my Hori SF6 edition stick or the leverless controllers I have like the Razer Kitsune and more-recently, Haute42 models. I took a chance on the Haute42 Board mini because it was very cheap, and also would be a new style of controllers for me with it basically using full keyboard keys. After spending a few weeks with the controller across multiple platforms, I’m glad I gave it a shot, because it has been eye opening in many ways, but it isn’t perfect.

Haute Board mini – the cheapest keyboard controller

So what makes the Haute Board mini worth covering? It is the cheapest keyboard style controller, and was very interesting to use in fighting games and shmups since I bought it. Instead of a d-pad or a stick like in traditional controllers for movement, the Haute Board mini has movement done via four keyboard keys that act as WASD on the keyboard. Aside from movement, the four main buttons act as A B X Y LB RB LT and RT. There are secondary buttons for home, back, start, left stick press, right stick press, and turbo as well.

Haute Board mini – what’s in the box

Well, the Haute Board mini doesn’t actually ship in a box, but a padded envelope. This includes the Haute Board mini, a USB cable (A to C), accessories (LEOBOG Graywood V4 switch, keycap puller, a switch puller, two 6mm button caps, six anti-slip pads), and a small instruction manual. Given the low asking price of the package, I didn’t expect a fantastic USB cable, but I recommend getting a good one like one of these.

Haute Board mini compatibility

The Haute Board mini works on Windows, Steam Deck, PS3, PS4, Raspberry Pi, Android, iOS (in my testing), and more as has been detailed on the official website. I’ve been using it mainly on iPhone, iPad, Switch, and Steam Deck. I also tested it on PS5 with an adapter that I’ll get to in a bit.

Haute Board mini performance and feel

Despite its low asking price, the Haute Board mini feels very sturdy and the major input buttons all feel great. It has one USB C port for plugging into other devices and a USB A extension port. The Haute Board mini is a wired-only controller. When using it to play games like Street Fighter 6, Tekken 8, G-Darius HD, Dariusburst, and more, I had no trouble with inputs. I did take a few minutes to get used to the Haute Board mini when I initially got it though. I’ve also used it for some rhythm games with no trouble since.

Haute Board mini on iOS

I didn’t see any mention of iOS for the Haute Board mini when I bought it from Amazon, but I saw the official website listed iPadOS as compatible in keyboard mode. I can confirm it does work in PS4 mode (you can change mode when you plug it in by holding a specific button listed on the controller backside) in the few games I’ve been playing with controller support like Streets of Rage 4 and Puyo Puyo Puzzle Pop.

Haute Board mini on Switch and Steam Deck

The Haute Board mini works flawlessly wired on both Switch and Steam Deck out of the box. There is nothing else required aside from plugging it in with the correct button held (indicated on the backside). On Switch, I use the Haute Board mini with retro games, shmups, and fighters. On Steam Deck, barring those, I also use it for some older platformers. Anything you control with an arcade stick will work fine here, as long as you are comfortable with the keys of course. Doing 360 and 720 motions on the Haute Board mini is difficult for me.

Haute Board mini on PS5 and Xbox

To get the Haute Board mini working on PS5, you need an extra dongle. I use the Brook Wingman FGC converter, but this only works for some fighting games and shmups. It will not work in many native PS5 games. The converter doesn’t work in Dragon Ball FighterZ’s PS5 version apparently as well. It does work in Tekken 8, Street Fighter, Guilty Gear Strive, and others though. On Xbox though, the Brook converter I had been using before doesn’t reliably work because Microsoft keeps pushing out updates to block it. I do not recommend getting this for use on your Xbox Series X.

Haute Board mini software and features

The Haute Board mini uses GP2040-CE and it is very easy to update, manage, and customize (software wise). The board itself doesn’t have

Haute Board mini – customization

It is easy to change the main buttons and switches on the Haute Board mini. If you’re up to it, you can even order a DIY kit from Haute42’s web store. Speaking of customization, I have two complaints with the Haute Board mini right now. The first is the secondary buttons are hard to press or differentiate while playing without looking down. You might get used to this, but I would’ve liked having one or two of them bigger than the others so I could press them easier. The second complaint is a minor one, but is customization related. Getting your own art on this is quite hard without a good quality sticker print. Haute42 has a template, but it isn’t as easy as working with art for their other controllers.

Haute Board mini – should you buy it

As my first keyboard button style arcade controller, the Haute Board mini has been amazing. Aside from the two issues I mentioned above, I have no hesitation in recommending this if you’re curious about the keyboard style controller options available. This is affordable and the compatibility is excellent. Just factor in the additional dongle purchase if you want to use this on PlayStation.

If you’d like to grab it, the Haute Board mini keyboard controller is available for $40 (or so) on Amazon here. A new Haute Board mini plus AKA the B16 is also available, but I’ll be covering that when the controller I bought recently arrives. If you do end up buying it or already own one, I’d love to know what you think about it. Let us know in the comments below, and also if you’d like to see any specific controller reviewed.

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