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4 controllers that make mobile gaming a great experience

From streaming to native gaming, these controllers legitimize mobile.


Image: Resident Evil 4 / Capcom
Image: Resident Evil 4 / Capcom

Even in 2023, I still see the same detriments applied to playing games on mobile platforms. Chief among them are the buttons, such as the virtual gamepad eating up screen real estate in Resident Evil 4 on iOS. But the reality is this is a solved issue, with controller support across myriad mobile platforms better than ever. And I don’t just mean using Bluetooth to connect your DualSense or Xbox pads and then buying a mount or something equally clumsy.


The market for controllers made explicitly for mobile gaming has only grown better and better, hitting an arguable peak point in 2023. Several brands have entered the arena, and as we close in on the holidays, some clear standouts have emerged. So check ‘em out! Here are some of the best controllers you can get for mobile gaming.



Image: GameSir
Image: GameSir

While GameSir is one of the silliest brand names out there, there’s no denying how this company has stepped up to the plate in recent years. The Galileo has tons of cool and top-shelf features, such as Hall Effect sticks and triggers, and an adjustable USB-C connection made to accommodate wear, tear, and different-sized devices. You can even detach the faceplates for customization efforts. (Retail Price: $79.99)



Image: BACKBONE
Image: BACKBONE

This thing is a modern classic; one of the devices in this space that kickstarted a mobile controlling arms race. These controllers just work. Snap your phone in, and thanks to a software-based approach, games just work. An included app helps you organize your content and discover new controller-compatible games, and if you’re a PlayStation fan, the officially branded alternative feels like a miniaturized DualSense. (Retail Price: $99.99)



Image: Turtle Beach
Image: Turtle Beach

The two controllers above use direct connections, but controllers like the Atom here use Bluetooth for wireless connection and then utilize magnets to secure your phone. The two halves also snap together when not in use, making for an incredible pocket or bag-friendly storage mode. Bluetooth may raise questions about latency, but the tradeoff is a much higher convenience factor. (Retail Price: $59.95)



Image: RiotPWR
Image: RiotPWR

For our last controller, we’re looking at something more traditional. Riot PWR is a full-size, traditional controller based on the Xbox model, with a mount and cable for a direct connection. It’s light, easy to use, and adjustable for a variety of comfort needs. While the specific use case here is the most specific, it meets those needs perfectly. (Retail price: $69.99)


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