Which gamepad to choose to play on Android and iPhone in 2023?

Whether you're indulging in Fortnite, utilizing emulators, or making the most of the latest game streaming services, having a controller is crucial for an optimal experience on your smartphone or iPhone. We've curated a concise list of top-notch controllers to enhance your gameplay.

With the proliferation of cross-platform games like Fortnite on mobile devices, the limitations of maneuvering with a touch interface become evident, especially in first-person shooters (FPS) and certain other game genres. Couple that with the rapid expansion of smartphone game streaming services, and you'll quickly grasp why having a controller has become increasingly indispensable for serious gamers aiming to maximize their gaming performance on the best smartphones available.

Do you own a high-performance gaming smartphone and are curious about the finest controllers for Android and iOS phones? Dive into our selection right now.

The best gamepads for smartphones in 2023

The Razer Raiju Mobile

Razer has a well-established reputation in the world of gaming peripherals, and they've introduced a mobile version of their popular Raiju controller. What sets it apart from other models is the built-in support designed to securely hold your smartphone, allowing for both wired and wireless connectivity.

Razer takes pride in the abundance of buttons on the controller and their exceptional quality, a claim they can back up. These buttons can also be conveniently remapped using the Razer app. Additionally, users have the option to customize the trigger sensitivity for enhanced responsiveness, all packaged within an aesthetically pleasing design.

However, the primary drawback lies in its price tag. Initially launched at $149, it has seen a slight reduction to around $130, but it still represents a significant investment for a smartphone controller. It's important to note that it is exclusively compatible with Android devices; iPhone users will need to explore alternative options.

The Backbone One for Android

Within the realm of smartphone controllers, the Backbone brand boasts a range of offerings. The Backbone One for Android stands out as a versatile option compatible with various smartphone models, effectively transforming your smartphone into a fully-fledged gaming console.

In terms of dimensions, this controller measures 9 centimeters in height and 17 centimeters in width when folded. Weighing a mere 138 grams, the Backbone One is designed to provide a comfortable gaming experience without adding excessive bulk.

Notably, the controller features a USB-C port, allowing you to charge your smartphone while engaged in gaming sessions. On the opposite side of the triggers, you'll find a 3.5mm mini-jack port for connecting headphones, enhancing your overall gaming immersion.

It's worth mentioning that the Backbone One controller does not have an internal battery, ensuring minimal power consumption. Additionally, there's a version tailored for iPhone users, equipped with a Lightning port or USB-C, suitable for iPhone 15. The price of these controllers is set at $119.

Razer Kishi 2020 (Android)

If the idea of having controllers attached to the sides of your phone intrigues you, the Razer Kishi might pique your interest. As long as your smartphone fits within the specified dimensions (145.3 – 163.7 mm in height, 68.2 – 78.1 mm in width, and 7.0 – 8.8 mm in thickness), it snugly fits between the two halves of this controller.

When it comes to comfort, it's worth noting that the Razer Kishi is primarily designed for games that support gamepad inputs. It also seamlessly integrates with various game streaming services. On the downside, there are some regrets concerning the plastic materials used, which could have been of better quality considering the price point.

Following the release of the first version, Razer introduced the Razer Kishi V2 in 2022. However, it doesn't bring groundbreaking changes compared to its predecessor. It's indeed more compact but also pricier. The quality of the buttons still leaves room for improvement, especially considering the cost. However, if you have the budget and are in search of a controller specifically designed for smartphones, it's worth considering.

Xbox Series Wireless Controller

best gamepads

Over the past fifteen years, one controller has left an indelible mark, and that's the Xbox 360 controller. While it may not have brought a revolution, it has unquestionably become the industry benchmark, excelling in both ergonomics and compatibility. The latest iteration of this controller, released alongside the Xbox Series X, continues this legacy.

Microsoft doesn't tamper with a winning formula, and this controller retains the familiar shape of its predecessor, albeit with slight downward adjustments in measurements. Drawing inspiration from the high-end Elite Series 2 controller, Microsoft has refined the grip for improved handling and introduced a redesigned D-pad. Additionally, the triggers are now capable of vibrating, although this feature isn't active on smartphones.

The standout feature of this controller is its near-universal compatibility; it seamlessly functions on Windows, iOS, Android, Chromecast, or your Nvidia Shield TV. The only exception is the PS5, where it won't work. If budget permits, there's currently no better option available, and you'll have a plethora of color choices to choose from as a bonus.

Sony PlayStation DualSense

Introduced alongside the PlayStation 5, the Sony PlayStation DualSense controller marks a significant evolution within Sony's controller family. While it retains the familiar button layout, this wireless controller embraces a more contemporary design, somewhat inspired by that of the Xbox.

In practice, this controller offers improved comfort over its predecessor, featuring larger dimensions and more pronounced curves. Similar to the Xbox controller, the surface of the plastic has a subtle texture, making it easier to grip, especially for those prone to sweaty hands. The overall build quality is impeccable. The buttons remain largely unchanged, with a slightly softer feel. The most notable innovation, adaptive triggers, unfortunately won't be fully utilized outside of the PS5 ecosystem.

In terms of battery life, it surpasses its PS4 counterpart, providing approximately twelve hours of gameplay – though not exceptional.

Regarding connectivity, it offers versatility. In addition to USB-C, it can connect to an Android smartphone via Bluetooth, and there are no issues with iPhone compatibility either, as iOS 14.5 introduced full support.

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While it may be slightly less comfortable than its Microsoft counterpart, the PlayStation DualSense remains a viable option for mobile gaming, especially if you prefer its design or if you already own a PS5. However, its high price remains a drawback.

SteelSeries Stratus Duo

Smartphone controllers with symmetrical thumbsticks are a rare find, but SteelSeries has answered the call with the Stratus Duo. Compatible with Android smartphones, as well as PCs and Chromebooks, the SteelSeries Stratus Duo stands out as one of the premier alternatives to the Xbox controller for mobile gaming.

This controller boasts dual thumbsticks at the bottom and a directional pad. Four LEDs on the controller serve as indicators for the battery level or denote your player number in multiplayer games. The Stratus Duo comes with a rechargeable battery and offers Wi-Fi connectivity (via the supplied USB adapter) for low-latency gaming on PC. However, it's important to note that it is Android-compatible but not iOS-compatible.

8BitDo SN30 Pro

best gamepads

We hold a special appreciation for 8Bitdo controllers. The company has a knack for reviving several iconic models from our classic home consoles while infusing them with contemporary technology. The SN30 Pro, for instance, features thumbsticks and triggers, as well as Bluetooth connectivity for wireless gaming.

This controller offers a compelling choice for those who cherish the designs of yesteryear but yearn to immerse themselves in modern games. They are compatible with Android devices, PCs, and even the Nintendo Switch. However, it's essential to note that they do not support iOS. Additionally, they tend to be a more budget-friendly option.

What About Affordable Android Controllers?

You'll come across many inexpensive smartphone controllers on Amazon, often produced by lesser-known brands, often directly from Shenzhen. Generally, these products tend to be of subpar quality and are suitable primarily for those seeking an extra controller for occasional smartphone gaming. We strongly recommend investing an additional twenty dollars for a more reliable and durable controller.

Choosing the Right Smartphone Controller Bluetooth or USB controller? Both technologies have their pros and cons. A wireless controller's Bluetooth offers simplicity and the freedom to move a bit farther from your phone. On the other hand, a USB controller eliminates the latency associated with Bluetooth. This is an important consideration if you plan to play fast-paced games or ones that require precise timing.

How to Assign Controller Buttons to Functions? For iOS, it's a straightforward process; you won't need to do anything extra if you have an iPhone. On Android smartphones, you can use the Octopus application to help you assign keys to specific commands.

What if You Want to Play Streaming Games? With the advent of services like Xbox Game Pass or GeForce Now on smartphones, investing in a controller is an excellent idea. The majority of titles on these platforms are designed to be played with a gamepad. Among the current services, Microsoft's Xbox Cloud Gaming service stands out, boasting an extensive catalog and compatibility across all platforms, including smartphones. It appears well on its way to becoming the Netflix of gaming.

best gamepads
Image credits: TheVerge

Tips and tricks for using gamepads to play games on Android and iOS:

Choosing the right gamepad

There are a variety of gamepads available for Android and iOS devices, so it's important to choose one that is compatible with your device and the games you want to play. Some factors to consider include:

  • Compatibility: Make sure the gamepad you choose is compatible with your Android or iOS device.
  • Features: Some gamepads have more features than others, such as additional buttons, triggers, and rumble. Consider which features are important to you and choose a gamepad that has them.
  • Price: Gamepads can range in price from around $20 to $100. Set a budget before you start shopping and choose a gamepad that fits your budget.

Connecting your gamepad

Once you've chosen a gamepad, you need to connect it to your Android or iOS device. The process for doing this varies depending on the gamepad and your device. However, most gamepads connect via Bluetooth.

To connect a Bluetooth gamepad to your Android device:

  1. Open the Settings app on your device.
  2. Tap Connected devices.
  3. Tap Pair new device.
  4. Tap Bluetooth.
  5. Select your gamepad from the list of available devices.

To connect a Bluetooth gamepad to your iOS device:

  1. Open the Settings app on your device.
  2. Tap Bluetooth.
  3. Turn on Bluetooth.
  4. Select your gamepad from the list of available devices.

Configuring your gamepad

Once your gamepad is connected to your Android or iOS device, you may need to configure it before you can use it to play games. The process for configuring a gamepad varies depending on the gamepad and the game you're playing. However, most gamepads allow you to map buttons to different functions.

To configure a gamepad on Android:

  1. Open the Settings app on your device.
  2. Tap System.
  3. Tap Advanced.
  4. Tap Game mode.
  5. Tap Game controller settings.
  6. Tap the button you want to map and then press the button on your gamepad that you want to map it to.

To configure a gamepad on iOS:

  1. Open the Settings app on your device.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Game controller.
  4. Tap Custom controls.
  5. Tap the button you want to map and then press the button on your gamepad that you want to map it to.

Using your gamepad to play games

Once your gamepad is configured, you can start using it to play games. Not all Android and iOS games support gamepads, but there are a growing number of games that do. To check if a game supports gamepads, look for the gamepad icon on the game's App Store or Play page.

To play a game with your gamepad, simply open the game and follow the on-screen instructions to pair your gamepad. Once your gamepad is paired, you should be able to use it to control the game.

Tips and tricks

Here are some additional tips and tricks for using gamepads to play games on Android and iOS:

  • Use the right grip: When using a gamepad, it's important to use the right grip. This will help you to avoid hand fatigue and improve your performance.
  • Adjust the sensitivity: Some games allow you to adjust the sensitivity of the gamepad controls. This can be helpful if you find that the controls are too sensitive or not sensitive enough.
  • Take breaks: If you're playing a game for a long period of time, be sure to take breaks. This will help to prevent hand fatigue and eye strain.

I hope these tips and tricks help you to get the most out of using gamepads to play games on Android and iOS.

Source/VIA :

Via: gizchina.com

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