If you’re looking to kill some time with a game on your phone, you don’t have to sit around and tap away on the screen. If you want the best gaming experience on mobile, you need to add a controller.
While good game controllers for iPhone and iPad are much harder to come by, there are a slew of choices for Android. That means finding a good one to suit your needs can be a challenge—fortunately, we did the digging so you don’t have to. Here’s the best controllers to pair with your Android device.
The Best Overall: SteelSeries Stratus XL ($44)
If you’re looking for a console-quality controller for the best response on those AAA titles for Android, look no further than the SteelSeries Stratus XL. This $44 controller is a great buy, because it not only works with Android, but also Windows and various VR units like Gear VR, Vive, and Rift.
But when it comes to Android support, it has proper back and home buttons for easy and accurate navigation, which is always a nice touch. The build quality is also top-notch, giving the Stratus XL the feel of a premium console controller.
The Stratus XL is powered by a pair of AA batteries, which are said to last for up to 40 hours of gameplay. While rechargeable controllers are nice, removable batteries are always a plus because if the controller is dying you can just throw a new set in without missing a beat.
The only downside to the Stratus XL is the lack of a phone mount, so you’ll need to have your own stand of some kind. If you can handle that, hit the link below to grab yours.
The Best for Portability: 8Bitdo Zero ($17)
8Bitdo makes some fantastic Nintendo-esque controllers, so if you’re into that style and want something insanely portable, the Zero is the controller for you. This $17 controller is pretty small—it has an instantly recognizable SNES controller form factor—so it may not be the best choice for extended gaming sessions from a comfort standpoint, but it’s also incredibly versatile with compatibility not just for Android, but also iOS and Windows. That’s awesome.
Given its tiny size, there aren’t a lot of bells and whistles here—it’s just a very small, reliable, and portable controller. It is USB rechargeable over micro USB, however, so there’s no need to carry extra-tiny batteries wherever you go.
The Best for PlayStation 4 Owners: The Nyko Smart Clip ($13)
If you have a PlayStation 4, you already have one of the best controllers on the market—which also happens to be compatible with Android. So instead of dropping coin on a new controller, you should just buy the Nyko Smart Clip so you can strap your phone to the DualShock 4.
That’s pretty much all there is to it: by the clip, connect it the controller, and put your phone in it. Then you have a portable gaming setup with your phone and a killer controller. For just $13. Easy peasy.
If you’re curious why we didn’t recommend trying the same trick with your Xbox One controller here’s why: the Xbox One controller can pair with Android but it does so poorly and full support requires rooting your phone. With that kind of hassle in front of you, it just makes more sense to use the Dual Shock or one of the other options above.