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RiotPWR Xbox Cloud Gaming Controller (iOS) Review: A Clunky Design Is Better Than Nothing

Rating: 7/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $70
RiotPWR Xbox Cloud Gaming controller with iPhone 11 displaying Gears 5
Mark LoProto / Review Geek

As cloud gaming becomes more prevalent, gamers need a comfortable, convenient, and compact means of playing on the go. RiotPWR attempts to deliver with its Xbox Cloud Gaming controller, but several design flaws prevent it from outshining more effective competition.

If you’ve ever tried to play a AAA game like Gears 5 on a touchscreen device, you’ll know just how much it doesn’t work. No matter how many inputs you have at your fingertips, the experience is clunky and unintuitive. That’s why companies like RiotPWR quickly jumped into the market with a peripheral that completely removes the pangs of touchscreen gaming. Whether you’re diving into an Xbox classic or booting up a strictly mobile experience, having a controller in hand completely changes the approach to gaming on your smartphone.

RiotPWR did its best to emulate Xbox gaming with a lightweight controller modeled after Microsoft’s fourth-gen console peripheral. Unfortunately, designers took a few left turns that lessen what would have otherwise been a great answer to on-the-go cloud and mobile gaming.

Here's What We Like

  • Nearly replicates the Xbox wireless controller perfectly
  • Buttons and joysticks feel high quality
  • Delivers latency-free gaming
  • Pass through charging

And What We Don't

  • Poor weight distribution can get uncomfortable
  • Price is high for no additional features
  • Unnecessarily long cord can get in the way
  • No case for convenient transportation

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Design Flaws Mar a Decent Controller

RiotPWR Xbox Cloud Gaming controller with wire
Mark LoProto / Review Geek

On the surface, it looks like RiotPWR made the best choice by imitating the Xbox controller. For an Xbox Cloud Gaming device, the design makes perfect sense, and, for the most part, it is a near 1:1 replica of Microsoft’s peripheral. It may be a little lighter, considering it doesn’t have the same internals as an Xbox controller, but the general button layout, thumbsticks, D-pad, and triggers all look and feel generally the same.

The triggers on RiotPWR’s solution may have a harsher click, but it’s an inconsequential difference. You’ll also find the Xbox Cloud Gaming controller adds a capture button on the bottom left that instantly grabs the action using your phone’s screenshot application.

Unfortunately, the biggest departures from Microsoft controllers are also the most glaring issues with RiotPWR’s design. No matter how you use the controller—and there are technically 2 configurations—you’re bound to an approximately 2-foot-long lightning cable that’s about 1-foot longer than it needs to be.

Even if you’re not using the detachable mount, regardless of whether you’re using an iPad or an iPhone, it’s not going to be far enough from you to make two feet of cable necessary.

Awkward Placement of a Key Feature

RiotPWR Xbox Cloud Gaming controller with stand
Mark LoProto / Review Geek

While a longer-than-necessary cord may not sound like a big issue, it certainly ruins an otherwise clean aesthetic and can get in the way if it lays awkwardly. I do wish the cord was the biggest problem because it’s an otherwise easy dilemma to work around.

I recently had the opportunity to review the GameSir X2 Pro Xbox Cloud Gaming controller, which sits the phone in the middle of an extendable controller, similar to the layout of a Nintendo Switch. Compared to RiotPWR’s design, that was a remarkably more comfortable and functional layout.

RiotPWR’s phone mount sits in the middle of the controller, effectively covering the Xbox Home, Menu, and secondary Menu buttons. It’s just tall enough to not get in the way of the face buttons and right joystick, but if you’re the type that needs to look down at the buttons you’re pressing, your phone will certainly be in the way. I didn’t run into many issues with knocking into my phone, but it’s definitely possible for more enthusiastic players and larger phones.

The moment your phone is installed, you’ll notice just how much weight it adds. I tested the RiotPWR Xbox Cloud Gaming controller with an iPhone 11, which made the whole setup 6.45oz (182.85g) heavier than a standard Xbox controller. That may sound negligible, but it doesn’t take long for the extra weight to become noticeable. Battery life and an overheating phone aside, your hands are bound to get tired before long. The GameSir X2 controller managed weight distribution a bit better, making it easier to game for longer periods of time.

Smooth, Latency-Free Response Time

To test RiotPWR’s Xbox Cloud Gaming controller, I booted up Outriders and Gears 5. Like with my test on the X2, Gears 5 ran surprisingly smooth, and RiotPWR does deliver on its promise of latency-free gaming. Every input registered as if I were playing on my Xbox Series S or PC.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Xbox Cloud Gaming controller is that it feels like an Xbox controller. Button presses are comparable and responsive, and the joysticks are much looser than I expected. I’ve always found third-party peripherals to be rather stiff, but RiotPWR’s controller feels very authentic to Xbox gaming.

The biggest drawback to the whole experience of cloud gaming has nothing to do with the controller. While Gears 5 ran without a hitch, Outriders was incredibly laggy. Cloud gaming is still a new concept, and I suspect it will be a spell before we’re enjoying all-around smooth experiences. When that day comes, RiotPWR’s Xbox Cloud Gaming controller will certainly be a good option—though not the best.

Ludu Mapp Goes Beyond Xbox Gaming

You could just use the Xbox Cloud Gaming app and still get the most out of the controller, but RiotPWR recommends downloading the Ludu Mapp app (available for iPhone and Android). There is a host of free games available, primarily forgettable mobile titles, but Ludu also includes apps to link popular drone brands like DJI and Teal. I wasn’t quite brave enough to fully test my DJI Mavic Air 2, but the DJI Go 4 app did connect and the controller did initiate liftoff.

If the app only provided access to a library of games available on the Cloud Gaming app and your phone’s app store, I’d say skip it. However, it also includes access to Rainway, Steam Link, and PS Remote Play to further enhance its functionality. They’re not quite the same as Xbox’s cloud app, but they do offer a new way to play your favorite PS4 and Steam games.

Should You Buy the RiotPWR Xbox Cloud Gaming Controller?

RiotPWR Xbox Cloud Gaming controller pass through charging and headset jack
Mark LoProto / Review geek

If you’re looking to get into mobile cloud gaming, you’ll need a device to expand your library beyond simplified or overcomplicated touchscreen experiences. The few games I’ve tried without a controller, such as Gears 5, were virtually unplayable, and RiotPWR’s peripheral is a breath of fresh air compared to my phone’s touch controls. However, when compared to other options on the market, it falls a little short.

RiotPWR made a bold decision by sitting the phone right atop the controller, and it didn’t really pay off. The considerably ample weight sitting at the center can become uncomfortable over time, and you can expect your phone to get in the way a little. Even the smaller iPhone 11 I used blocked my view of the frontside buttons, so I can only imagine what gaming with a Pro model would be like.

RiotPWR’s Xbox Cloud Gaming controller has a few things working against it, but I think none are as detrimental as its price. The controller retails for $10 more than a standard Xbox wireless controller, and it’s practically a plastic shell without your smartphone to give it purpose. Looking at the fact that there’s no vibration or other add-ons to further justify the higher price tag, it’s a tough pill to swallow.

I do have to give credit to the pass-through charging port and headset jack on the bottom of the controller, the former of which is pretty crucial if you wish to keep your battery alive during lengthy gaming sessions. They’re small touches, but indicative of a company that’s trying to think of everything to create a well-rounded user experience.

You can pick the RiotPWR Xbox Cloud Gaming Controller up today for $69.99. Looking for a design with a little more flair? Check out RiotPWR’s ESL Gaming Controller.

Rating: 7/10
Price: $70

Here’s What We Like

  • Nearly replicates the Xbox wireless controller perfectly
  • Buttons and joysticks feel high quality
  • Delivers latency-free gaming
  • Pass through charging

And What We Don't

  • Poor weight distribution can get uncomfortable
  • Price is high for no additional features
  • Unnecessarily long cord can get in the way
  • No case for convenient transportation

Mark LoProto Mark LoProto
Mark is a freelance reviewer for How-To Geek and Review Geek, a seasoned freelance writer, and a marketing manager with a strong footing in the gaming and esports industries. He’s been featured across the net on Cultured Vultures, Heavy.com, Bloody Disgusting, and more. Read Full Bio »