Includes 3 cases to perfectly fit your smartphone. Companion app for customizing button layouts. Supports wide range of games. Over 100 hours of battery life. Bluetooth connection.
Pricier than competing controllers.
Offers advanced tactile feedback from built-in motors similar to other controllers. Wired connection eliminates the need for constantly recharging any batteries. USB cable is 6.5 feet long.
Controller is made of cheap plastics that can flex and bend during heavy gameplay.
Telescopic design adjusts to different sizes of smartphones, eliminating most compatibility issues. Buttons are easy to access with the thumbs without straining. Offers eight hours of continuous play. Compatible with Android 4.4 and up.
Largest phones may not fit in the telescopic cradle without sitting vertically.
Built-in cradle holds many types of smartphones with little adjustment. Button layout is similar to other common controllers. Connecting the controller only requires a few seconds.
Phone cradle can move and sway while playing games, making the phone feel loose.
Includes an internal lithium battery. Can make a wireless Bluetooth connection. Ergonomic design for comfortable playing.
The controller is connected to the phone via a bracket, and the combination of phone and controller can become heavy with extended use.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Whether you’re a high-level gamer or someone who enjoys playing smartphone app games, having a separate controller can make or break your gameplay experience. Playing games on an Android without a gaming controller can make your hands cramp, become frustrating when the touchscreen buttons are too touchy, or just not feel like you’re really gaming.
An Android-compatible gaming controller offers an at-home gaming experience wherever you may be, whether that’s taking a long road trip, waiting at the doctor’s office, or even lounging outside on a beautiful day. A gaming controller has easy-to-use buttons, is more ergonomic for your hands, and gives you better overall control of the game.
Our buying guide covers all the ins and outs of shopping for an Android gaming controller, from compatibility to how much you should pay. For our picks for the top five gaming controllers for Android on the market today, see the matrix above.
Some Android gaming controllers have wireless connectivity, usually in the form of Bluetooth. Controllers that use Bluetooth must remain in a certain range of the Android device you’re using, and this range should be large enough to game at a comfortable distance from your Android phone.
Gaming controllers for Android with a cord will connect either to the charging port of the smartphone or the headphone jack. If you’d like to connect the controller and it doesn’t have a cord, there are various adapters available.
Wraparound gaming controllers for Android connect to both sides of the smartphone, similar to how the Nintendo Switch controllers work. That way you’re still holding your phone as normal, but you have additional controller and button options for each hand.
Almost every Android gaming controller is compatible with the Android operating system version 4.0, which is also referred to as “Ice Cream Sandwich.” The well-integrated technology allows you to use a compatible controller to operate your smartphone, whether it’s while playing a game or just doing daily tasks.
Some Android-compatible gaming controllers are also compatible with other systems. However, these systems do not include Apple iOS because of licensing issues. The most common compatible alternative systems are different versions of PlayStation, Wii, and PC operating systems.
It’s important to know which software version your Android smartphone is currently running. If the version is older than 4.0, it doesn’t mean that the gaming controller won’t work. However, a controller may be unpredictable and glitchy with an older system. On the other hand, the most recent version of Android can sometimes cause problems with an Android gaming controller because it is too advanced. There are apps that can be downloaded to remap the buttons in order to have the best compatibility possible with your Android gaming controller.
Some Android gaming controllers come with a bracket to hold your smartphone while you play. This bracket will fit standard Android smartphones. But make sure to compare the bracket’s dimensions with your smartphone before purchasing.
For the daily gamer, complete with joysticks
This gaming controller for Android works exclusively with Android smartphones. It boasts an ergonomic design with a wireless connection feature. Play with the gaming controller as far as 10 yards away from your Android device and for as long as eight hours on its internal battery life.
Gaming controllers for Android are outfitted with rubber and padding to increase their ergonomic handling. Handheld gaming becomes a problem when your hands start to cramp and your fingers start to ache from being bent at the same angle for so long. Eliminate this problem by ensuring your gaming controller for Android has ergonomic features.
There may be LED lights placed behind the buttons or behind the button layout on the Android gaming controller. The buttons may always be lit up, or they may only light up when pressed. Another common feature is a back panel light that lights up when the gaming controller is in use.
The button layout differs among gaming controllers for Android, but there’s often an available feature to map the buttons to your preferences. All controllers should feature the standard buttons, such as joysticks, a D-pad, right and left triggers, and home or menu options. Changing the button layout will give the buttons different functions, which may be useful depending on what game you’re playing.
Once the Android gaming controller is connected to your smartphone, you’ll be able to see the controller’s battery level. Usually, there is a small battery icon to show how much life is left in the controller.
Some gaming controllers for Android run on conventional batteries, like AA or AAA batteries. Keep some spare batteries in the controller case or nearby at all times. That way you’ll never be without your controller.
Inexpensive: For $15 to $25, you can purchase a simple gaming controller for Android. It most likely won’t include any astounding features, and it probably won’t boast an ergonomic design. The controller will work for your gaming needs, but it may wear out after vigorous use.
Mid-range: If you spend between $30 and $50, you can purchase a reliable Android gaming controller. The button layout will be similar to what you’re used to, and the controller may have a wireless or wired connection.
Expensive: For $60 or more, you’ll find gaming controllers for Android with all the bells and whistles. These high-end controllers are ergonomic, offer Bluetooth connectivity, and have other special features, like a carrying case, a smartphone stand, or a separate charging cord.
Some Android gaming controllers feature additional buttons to control the music you listen to while you game.
Makes you feel like you’re gaming at home
Besides being Android-compatible, you can also use this gaming controller with Windows applications or a PlayStation 3. With its increased versatility, it resembles a classic gaming controller. There’s no need to relearn button function or adjust your gameplay with this conventional gaming controller for Android.
While the market isn’t extremely extensive for gaming controllers that are Android-compatible, we did find a few runners-up to our top five. Take a look at these options if nothing in our matrix catches your eye. We like the iPega Wireless Gamepad Controller because of its ability to play games with a stronger and faster connection. This gaming controller for Android also features colorful buttons, which add to the look of the controller. It has a comfortable design, and it will stay connected to your phone without being too bulky.
There’s also the SteelSeries Stratus Bluetooth Mobile Gaming Controller. This Android-compatible gaming controller resembles an Xbox controller, which can be beneficial for those who are used to playing on that system. It uses AA batteries, so as long as you are stocked up on those you can play as long as you like. This controller can also use a Bluetooth connection, but the adapter is sold separately.
Q. How do I charge my Android gaming controller?
A. Most gaming controllers for Android come with a charging cord. The cord will most likely be USB-compatible or micro USB-compatible.
Q. How does a gaming controller for Android stay charged if it doesn’t have an internal battery?
A. Controllers without internal batteries pull charge from the battery life of your smartphone. Once the controller is connected to the phone (usually via a wired connection), it begins to draw on the battery life of the phone to maintain its power.
Q. If I buy a new Android phone, can I still use my old Android gaming controller?
A. Absolutely. The controller should be able to pair up with any Android phone as long as the system version is compatible.
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