What used to be the Gameboy is now the smartphone. Without a cell phone controller, gambling on the iPhone is annoying

As much as it annoys the inclined PC gamer, mobile games for smartphones are the future. However, playing on an iPhone or Android phone is torture for most gamers. Large paws in particular clench when they try to aim sensibly on the touchscreen and they also seem to cover half of the screen. Cell phone controllers solve this problem by converting the smartphone into a handheld console and thus noticeably improve the gaming experience.

This works either with gamepads attached to the side, as gamers are familiar with from the Nintendo Switch, for example, or with a controller with a clip holder. Anyone who is now wondering why on earth he or she should play smartphone games at all should be told that triple-AAA titles are now also flickering on mobile phones. This is made possible by streaming services such as Microsoft’s Gamepass.

Backbone: Mobiler Gaming-Controller

The backbone is one of the best-known cell phone controllers. It was originally only available for the iPhone, but the manufacturer has now also launched an Android version. Of course, they differ in terms of connectivity, because iPhones need a Lightning connector and most Android smartphones need USB-C. Attention: Gamers with an iPhone 13 or 14 Pro need an additional adapter to gamble. Otherwise its handling is self-explanatory.

Gamers insert the smartphone in the middle of the backbone and the controller communicates with the cell phone via USB-C or Lightning connection. This is slightly better than Bluetooth because the latency (input lag) is lower than the wireless standard. There is a jack on the lower left side that gamers can use to connect their headphones. On the lower right side there is a USB-C socket so that the smartphone can be charged while playing.

Razer Kishi V2

Razer should be familiar to most gamers for their headsets, mice and keyboards. The manufacturer follows a similar principle with its Kishi V2 as Backbone, because gamers clamp the smartphone in a holder in the middle. Again you need to be careful to buy the right version because again the phone controller is available for both Android smartphones and iPhones. Compared to the backbone, the Kishi V2 unfortunately lacks a jack for headphones. On the lower right side there is a USB-C socket, which you can use to charge the smartphone while gaming. Curious: In the test by the colleagues from Giga, so little power came through the USB-C socket that the smartphone lost more power when gaming than it received. Incidentally, Razer also does without a Bluetooth connection.

Nacon Holder MG-X PRO

In terms of controller design, Backbone and Razer are more reminiscent of the gamepads on a Nintendo Switch. The slightly smaller controllers could cause some gamers with large hands pain in the long run. The Nacon Holder MG-X Pro, on the other hand, is a bit bulkier. The design of the mobile phone controller is somewhat reminiscent of the gamepads on an Xbox. However, the manufacturer does not rely on a cable connection to the smartphone, but on Bluetooth. In addition, the Holder G-X Pro is only compatible with Android devices with a maximum size of 6.7 inches. According to the manufacturer, its integrated battery lasts 20 hours. The battery is charged via the USB-C socket. Too bad: Unfortunately, the controller for the cell phone does not offer a jack connection for headphones.

Price-performance winner: Xbox controller

By the way, if you already own an Xbox, you can save money by owning an Xbox Bluetooth controller. There is a clip holder for it, on which you can hang your smartphone. Of course, you have to connect the controller itself to your smartphone via Bluetooth. This works equally well with iPhones and Android models. Most of the time, this involves navigating into your device’s Bluetooth settings and then pressing and holding the Xbox button on the controller. Your smartphone should automatically recognize the controller. Select it to pair your smartphone and gamepad. There is not much to say about the Clipper. According to Amazon customer reviews, it even fits the iPhone 13 Pro Max. For PC gamers, the Xbox controller is also a good investment because of course it works with Windows computers.

Handy-Controller: Razer Raiju Mobile

With its Raiju Mobile, Razer follows a concept similar to the clip holder for the Xbox controller. Instead of the iPhone as with the backbone

SteelSeries Stratus Duo

The SteelSeriers Stratus Duo connects to the Android smartphone via USB or Bluetooth. If you also want to use the controller on the PC, you can use the supplied USB dongle. According to the manufacturer, however, the controller is not for iPhone users. The SteelSeries Nimbus is ideal for you. Unfortunately, the Stratus Duo is also not suitable as a PlayStation 5 or Xbox controller. The manufacturer specifies its battery life as 20 hours. The controller also does not offer a holder for the smartphone. You have to buy them extra. At 2.99 euros, the additional costs are bearable. It is also a pity that the controller is not charged via USB-C. The manufacturer relies on a micro-USB socket.

Connect PS5 controller to phone?

You can of course also connect a Playstation controller to the smartphone. As with the Xbox controller, this involves navigating into the Bluetooth settings on the iPhone or Android phone, then pressing the Playstation button on the controller to then pair the two devices. However, a clip holder for Playstation controllers is a rarity. It makes sense to use an external mount here, although it’s not the best solution when you’re on the go.

Conclusion: This has to be considered with mobile phone controllers

If you own a PlayStation 5 or an Xbox Series X, you can usually save the additional costs for a cell phone controller. This applies in particular to the Xbox controller, which can be easily converted into a cell phone controller thanks to the clip holder. The only disadvantage of it is the fact that it connects to the cell phone via Bluetooth and the latencies are therefore slightly higher than with a cable connection. Otherwise, dedicated cell phone controllers hardly offer any added value.

Either they only work with Android or only with iPhones, or they are not suitable for Xbox, Playstation or computers. And this despite the fact that they are consistently as expensive or more expensive than the Xbox controller. Of course, it is practical if the smartphone can be charged via the controller. A charger with two connections also charges the controller and mobile phone at the same time and is also a welcome gadget in everyday life. Before you buy, also check whether the controller and smartphone operating system are compatible with each other and whether the game of your choice allows controller control at all. This is not always the case. Most cell phone controllers require Android 6 or higher. That should hardly be a hurdle in 2023.

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