Staff, courtesy of Power A
Cloud and mobile games have been the butt of a lot of jokes within the games industry. For years, gamers and critics have lambasted the paid design practices of mobile games and the clunky interfaces of cloud gaming platforms (mainly Google Stadia). But with new quality platforms like Xbox Cloud Gaming and Apple Arcade, gaming on the go has improved the quality dramatically.
To truly experience the best of mobile gaming, you’ll need something a little more rugged than the touchscreen controls on your phone. We’ve put together a list of the best Xbox phone controllers to add convenience and precision to your mobile gaming sessions.
What to look for
When selecting the best Xbox phone controller for your mobile devices, the number one factor is compatibility. Many mobile controllers connect with Android or iOS, not both. Consider the devices you will be using and make sure that the controller you are considering is compatible. Also, decide if you want your controller to plug directly into your phone or connect via Bluetooth. Direct connectivity means less lag, but Bluetooth generally offers wider compatibility.
How we selected
Apart from the Steelseries Nimbus +, all of our recommendations are included on Xbox Approved List Xbox Cloud Gaming compatible controllers.
Many of these recommendations come from hundreds of hours of internal use. For products that we have not been able to test ourselves, we conduct intensive research, reviewing content from expert sources like Thread Cutter, The Verge, CNET, Tom’s Guide, DigitalTrends, and others, as well as thousands of consumer reviews from online storefronts like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart. As for the products themselves, we rated them on design, functionality and price.
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Best bluetooth controller
Xbox Core Controller
If you are looking for a simple and comfortable controller to play on your mobile devices, then the Xbox Core Controller is for you. Of all the controllers we’ve tested, this is by far the most well-designed, with excellent ergonomics, button-like feel, grip, durability and connectivity. As a result, games on Xbox Cloud Gaming and Apple Arcade feel great on this controller.
The main controller connects via bluetooth smartphones running at least Android 5.1.1 or iOS 14.5. But unless your phone is sitting on a table, you will need a mounting clip to have a true mobile gaming experience with this controller.
- Superior design
- Connects to Android, iOS and Windows
- Requires mounting clip
- Uses AA batteries
Best Controller Clip
PowerA MOGA 2.0 Mobile Game Clip
If you’re trying to use an Xbox controller that you already own as your mobile controller of choice, try pairing it with PowerA’s Mobile Gaming Clip 2.0.
This simple mounting clip combines your phone and your Xbox Core or One controller into one mobile gaming platform. With a largely rubberized plastic construction, adjustable viewing angle, and a foldable design, this simple piece of equipment has a lot to offer Xbox controller users.
Best of all, it’s affordable, which makes an Xbox plus PowerA Clip controller a great option for most mobile gamers.
- Great match for Xbox controllers
- Fits phones up to 3.12 inches wide
- Large phone cases can cause fit issues
Best split controller for Android
For Android users looking for a Nintendo Switch-like mobile gaming experience, we recommend the Razer Kishi. The star of the show here is the design: a split controller that places your phone front and center.
With its foldable construction, this controller shrinks to a much more portable size when not in use. Perhaps best of all, the Razer Kishi connects directly to your smartphone’s USB-C port, providing a much faster response time compared to connecting via Bluetooth.
- Responsive direct USB-C connection
- Portable and foldable design
Best split controller for iOS
For Apple users looking for the Nintendo Switch feel, consider the Backbone One, an adjustable split controller offering superior ergonomics and response time.
The Backbone One connects directly to your iPhone’s Lightning port, which means a much faster response time compared to connecting via Bluetooth. It also offers extensive connectivity like direct charging and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Overall, the Backbone One is a quick and ergonomic way to experience all of the best Xbox and Apple games on iOS.
- Responsive wired Lightning connection
- Charging and 3.5mm ports
Best clip controller for Android
Sometimes simplicity is better. For Android gamers, the Razer Raiju offers the best traditional all-in-one package we’ve seen. The controller itself has a built-in adjustable phone holder that closes when not in use.
While it may seem a little less sturdy than Xbox’s own controller, the Raiju makes up for it with additional button offerings like hair triggers on the underside of each grip. Through Razer’s own Raiju mobile app, you can customize the sensitivity options of the controller, which shooters fans will certainly appreciate.
- All-in-one design
- Additional hair triggers
- Some build quality issues
Best clip controller for iOS
SteelSeries Nimbus +
Yes, the Nimbus + features a design closer to Sony’s Dualshock controller than Microsoft’s Xbox controllers, but it’s still one of the best all-in-one iOS controllers.
Similar to Razer’s Raiju, the Nimbus + sports a traditional design with controls that make any mobile game a lot more fun to play. But unlike Razer’s Raiju, the Nimbus + has a mounting clip that detaches completely from the controller, making it slightly more portable.
Just make sure to download the SteelSeries app to get the latest firmware update; the Nimbus + will run much more smoothly afterwards.
- Apple licensed product
- Rechargeable via Lightning
- Requires firmware updates from the SteelSeries app
- Some build quality issues
The most portable
8BitDo N30 Pro2
The only pocket controller on our list of recommendations, 8BitDo’s N30 Pro2 is a throwback that puts portability and connectivity at the forefront. Connecting via Bluetooth, the Pro2 is compatible with a wide range of devices, including Android and iOS smartphones. Its small, flat, retro design feels right at home with 2D games like Or I and the Will of the Wisps and Alto’s Odyssey, with all the control options you need to be successful.
The only downside is the more Nintendo layout of the Pro2: Face buttons A and B won’t match Xbox game prompts.
- Compact form factor
- Versatile connectivity
- The layout of buttons A and B is reversed compared to the Xbox
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