Our top 6 mobile gaming controllers to use in 2023

by MaddOx
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Mobile devices have become increasingly versatile, and nowadays, they like to be perceived as mobile gaming portals in their own right.

iPhones and Android devices are making it easier for users to enjoy their favourite gaming titles whether they choose to download them from the Apple Store or Google Play Store. And with them able to handle some serious software nowadays, having a great controller has become paramount.

The mobile gaming sector is one of the fastest-growing industries, and phone manufacturers want to provide a natural extension for ardent video gaming enthusiasts by helping them transform their devices into full-on gaming machines. This is done by making them compatible with mobile gaming accessories such as controllers.

But what should you look for? And what are the best controllers for iPhones and Androids? We have highlighted a few that you should explore.

Our top 6 mobile gaming controllers

Backbone One (Both)

Designed to provide the ultimate Android and iPhone gaming experience, the Backbone One has analogue sticks and buttons which enable seamless gameplay. 

This controller holds onto your phone and connects it over a Lightning port or USB-C which is supposed to have a lower latency level than you would from traditional Bluetooth connections. The controller allows you to charge while playing thanks to a 3.5mm jack on the left-hand side of it.

If anything, the controller resembles something of a Nintendo Switch, and our only complaint is that the D-pad may be a little stiff for precise platforming.

Backbone One mobile gaming controller with phone showing Xbox Game Pass
Backbone One

MG-X Pro (Android)

If you’re in the market for a mobile gaming controller, the MG-X Pro is a top contender that should not be overlooked. While there are some minor design issues, overall this controller impressed me with its robustness and ability to greatly enhance the mobile gaming experience. Although it may be one of the more expensive options available, its high price point is justified by its quality.

The controller is small enough to easily fit into a bag, making it ideal for on-the-go gaming. It also boasts compatibility with the majority of Android phones running Android 6 or later, making it widely accessible. Unfortunately, it is not compatible with iOS, but given that it is marketed as an Android controller, this is to be expected. For Android users, the MG-X Pro is definitely a controller worth considering.

PowerA Moga XP7-X Plus (Android)

Widely cherished by Android gamers, is the PowerA Moga XP7-X Plus. Complete with stellar ergonomics, great analogue sticks, as well as being officially licensed, this controller seems to have it all. With an extendable design that mirrors the Backbone One, the PowerA Moga XP7-X Plus may look slightly wide, but the programmable back triggers are a nice touch.

What is clear from the PowerA Moga XP7, is that game controllers in general have become increasingly flexible, and it enhances the idea that the user experience is prioritised by developers. The need to have a one size fits all type of controller is pressing.

And the clamouring for it isn’t just restricted to video or PC games. The gaming devices you will encounter are now robust enough to handle other types of mobile games. For example, gamblers wishing to play the latest or most iconic slots at mobile casinos can do so. The latest Starburst slot review suggests the game is compatible with and well-optimised for iOS and Android devices.

PowerA Moga XP7-X Plus mobile gaming controller

Gamevice Flex (Both)

Moving on to the Gamevice Flex which is built for Android devices, this controller, judging by its name, is very flexible as it has a rubber-based bridge that slides open, enabling you to slot in between two comfortable controls that bear resemblance to the Nintendo Switch.

For certain games, such as first-person shooter titles, the Gamevice Flex connects using USB-C, you’ll enjoy the impressive and ergonomic D-pad along with thumbsticks, and it provides precise movements. The 3.5mm jack also allows you to listen to music while playing which is an added bonus.

GameSir X2

The GameSir X2 is an exceptional mobile gaming controller that I highly recommend with a rating of 9.5 out of 10. While it falls just short of perfection due to the lack of a 3.5mm passthrough, this is a minor flaw that I’m nitpicking about.

Additionally, I experienced some difficulties with using headphones through the USB-C port on my phone, although it’s unclear if this issue is unique to my device. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to other devices to confirm or deny this issue. Nonetheless, these small issues are outweighed by the overall excellence of the GameSir X2 and I would definitely recommend it as a top choice for any mobile gamer.

GameSir X2 mobile gaming controller

RiotPWR (Both)

Rounding things off in our carefully curated list is the RiotPWR. Although some users may find it too lightweight, this superb cloud gaming controller supports both USB-C and Lightning connections. This is a big selling point looking to upgrade their iPhone devices in the next few years.

The analogue sticks and eight-way D-pad are very responsive, and there is also a dedicated button for streaming and screen capture. Aesthetically speaking, it has been built with the modern gamer in mind and it is a premium product.

Closing thoughts

Naturally, there are a few things to think of when looking for a mobile controller to buy, such as compatibility and mounting, so you can support your device. More is demanded from a gaming controller, but the ones we have highlighted aren’t an exhaustive list, however, it should give you food for thought.

For even more content like this, check out our opinion pieces here.

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