Words with Friends, Pokemon GO, Candy Crush, even Flappy Bird: Whatever tickles your fancy, there’s a mobile game for it. It’s hard to overstate just how popular mobile games are these days. In 2016, for example, mobile games generated more revenue than either console or PC games for the first time, an impressive $36.9 billion.
Unfortunately, trying to play games on a tiny smartphone touchscreen isn’t always the greatest experience. The good news is that you can fix that — there’s plenty of ways for you to get your hands on a mobile-enabled gaming controller that you can have with you while you’re on the go, at work or just lying in bed. Here’s how to find the perfect controller that will make your gaming experience so much better.
The One You Already Own
If you’re already a console gamer, you’ll be happy to know that you can easily use your PlayStation or Xbox controller together with your Android smartphone or tablet. Here’s a rundown of your options:
PS3: You can connect your PlayStation 3 DualShock 3 controller to your device via Bluetooth using an app called Sixaxis Controller. Note that you’ll need root access on your device, as well as a mini USB cable to connect the controller with your computer.
PS4: PlayStation 4 controllers can also connect via Bluetooth, but the process is much simpler; all you have to do is use your device to scan for the controller.
Xbox 360: Connecting an Xbox 360 controller only requires the use of a plug-and-play USB On-The-Go (OTG) cable.
Xbox One: As with the PS4 controller, connecting an Xbox One controller just requires you to scan for it using Bluetooth. One caveat: Although games with button mapping will work just fine, your results may vary when using the controller on other games.
The One You Buy
No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a controller to match your needs on Amazon, eBay or another online retailer. Here’s a look at some of the best options on the market for Android and iOS devices.
SteelSeries Stratus XL: Serious about your mobile gaming? This controller is for you — solid and well-built, like the ones you use for console games, with a strong battery life too.
Moga Hero Power: If portability is your chief concern, check out this controller that lets you attach your phone directly above it. Flatter than console controllers, you can easily slip it in and out of your bag.
8BitDo Zero: The Zero is inexpensive and tiny, small enough to attach to a key ring, yet it packs a powerful punch. The classic Nintendo-inspired design and surprisingly good battery life make it an excellent choice.
Gamevice Controller: This nifty gadget is like a console controller that’s been split in half, attaching to either side of your iPhone or iPad. There’s enough joypads and buttons on it for any game that your device can throw at you.
Mad Catz C.T.R.L.i: This Xbox-inspired controller gets good reviews for its design and battery life. However, it isn’t officially compatible with the iPhone 6, likely because the bottom volume button is pressed when the phone is mounted on the device.
SteelSeries Nimbus: Another SteelSeries offering, the Nimbus has a traditional shape while blending aspects of both the Xbox and PlayStation controllers. As part of Apple’s MFi program, it can automatically work with any controller-supported game on the App Store, as well as Apple TVs.