Back in the old days of the first iPhone, mobile gaming used to be small games like Doodle Jump and Tap Tap Revenge. People saw the genre as more of a distraction than actual gaming. To be fair, this stigma still exists (no thanks to games like Candy Crush), but mobile gaming has evolved into something a lot more serious.
These days we have games that are similar to console titles like PUBG Mobile, Fortnite, the Asphalt series, and a lot more. Many of our favorite PC indie games like Monument Valley and Terraria have even come to mobile. There’s also a massive future in game streaming, with things like Google Stadia and Microsoft’s Project xCloud aiming to bring full console games to your phone.
But with games becoming more complex, touchscreen controls just won’t cut it. Playing Fortnite with a touchscreen works, but it’s far from ideal. If you’re serious about console gaming, it’s time to pick up a controller. Here are some of our favorites.
The Xbox One controller is my favorite controller of all time. Everything from the grip design to those amazing sticks and triggers is near perfection. Sure some controllers do some aspects better, but the Xbox One controller is the best overall package.
However, not all Xbox One controllers work with Android. Only the later ones with Bluetooth functionality will work. You can tell by the area surrounding the Xbox button: if it’s a separate piece of gloss plastic, it has no Bluetooth, but if it’s one piece with the front shell, it will work. No, the Elite will not work. As a bonus, you can also use it with a PC using a separate wireless dongle or a microUSB cable.
You can pick one up for an MSRP of $60, but they can go as low as $25 at times. They also come in an incredible variety of colors (and some people collect the various styles).
And to attach your phone to the controller, you can pick up generic clips pretty much anywhere. Here’s a well reviewed one for under $12.
- Price: $43.45
- Rating: 3.7/5 (2,800+ reviews)
I reviewed the Stratus Duo and found a lot to love about the controller. The grip design, the triggers, and the battery life were all highlights of a mostly well designed controllers. The downsides include some hard to reach buttons and a pretty mediocre D Pad. The missing rumble likely won’t affect mobile gaming. And it’s not cheap at $60. However it does include a dongle for PC for use with a 2.4GHz connection, and the battery is built in and rechargeable for easier travel.
You can pick one up for $60 along with the first party $10 SmartGrip to attach your phone to the controller.
- Price: $59.99
- Rating: 3.8/5 (1,800+ reviews)
If you’re willing to shell out some big bucks, the Razer Raiju Mobile offers a ton of features over the other controllers. It has a built in phone mount, extra buttons that can be customized via a phone app, “mecha-tactile” action buttons (these are pretty awesome), and a hair trigger mode.
It’s an awesome controller with a lot of customizability (and no need for carrying a separate phone clip), but it’ll cost you. It carries an MSRP of $149.99, but you can get it for a bit cheaper on Amazon. And as you can expect with some of Razer’s peripherals, you may run into some quality control problems.
- Price: $127.90
- Rating: 3.0/5 (80+ reviews)
The DualShock 4 is a classic, though it’s not the best on this list. The buttons feel a bit cheaper than an Xbox One, the D pad isn’t very good, the triggers are mushy, and the grip isn’t ideal for those with big hands. However, it’s still a solid controller and much better than many of the aftermarket offerings. It also comes in a variety of colors and designs, and despite the $60 MSRP, can be had for much cheaper than that.
These feature Bluetooth and nothing else, but will work with PC. You may even have one lying around if you own a PS4. The battery life is a weak point but you can always top it up with a battery bank.
You can pick one of these controllers up on Amazon or your local retailer (though the fancy colors will cost you extra) and you can get a Nyko smart clip for $13.50 to hold up your phone.
- Price: $45.95
- Rating: 4.3/5 (9,000+ reviews)
8Bitdo is a maker of retro style Bluetooth controllers, and they offer some awesome stuff. You can get controllers in the style of the NES, SNES, Genesis, Gamecube, and more.
They’re far more limited than the other controllers on this list, with less buttons and less comfortable grip designs, but they’re unique and fun and perfect for emulators. Want to get that old school feel when playing games? These may be the controllers for you.
You can pick up your favorite styles for pretty reasonable prices and relive the past. It won’t satiate your need for console quality games of this era, but they’re neat little controllers and can even work with the Nintendo Switch!