The best mobile controller for gaming 2024

Backbone One PlayStation Edition on a desk mat with RGB border lighting
(Image credit: Future / Duncan Robertson)

The best mobile controllers are versatile tools to have in your gaming arsenal. whether you do most of your playing on a mobile, or you need something for when your flatmates, family members, or spouses take over your console's screen, a mobile controller can come in handy. Some grip your phone like a Nintendo Switch, and others have a clever folding clip that holds it above a more bog-standard gamepad. Some of the best options are actually multi-platform controllers you can get a bit more value out of. 

If cloud gaming is your thing, connecting one of the best PC controllers to your phone can be an easy solution due to their wide range of uses. Being able to use your new gadget with different devices really allows you to get the best bang for your buck so it's worth keeping other platforms in mind when you're on the hunt for a new controller. You'd be surprised by the number of controllers from other platforms that will work with a mobile or PC. Even a PS5's DualSense will work if you set things up correctly.

Not to mention, the amount that people are using cloud gaming services has grown exponentially in recent years, and having a mobile controller handy can ensure you're always ready for your next play session. More and more mobile controllers are cropping up on our shelves nowadays, with some of the best brands in gaming starting to realize their value. Annoyingly, not all phones are made equal, and finding the best mobile controller for your specific device might be the trickiest part. Luckily, we've spread our testing across a wide range of Android and iPhone models.

The best mobile controllers in 2023

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The best mobile controller overall

Specifications

Wireless: Yes (Wired USB-C connection to your phone)
Powered by: Phone battery / USB-C wired connection
Battery Life: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Great size and comfort
+
Solid back buttons
+
Pivoting USB-C connector
+
PS5 Remote Play and Game Pass support

Reasons to avoid

-
Thumbsticks aren't perfect
-
No official licensing (for any platform)

The GameSir G8 Galileo saw the bar that Backbone had clearly set for the mobile controller market and raised it in ways I didn't know it could. This is a bigger, better mobile controller in almost every way, and its cheaper price than its rivals makes it an easy pick for the top of this list.

The G8 Galileo has chunkier, larger grips than other mobile controllers you'll find, and sports Hall Sensor thumbsticks and triggers that make you feel like you're playing on an ordinary gamepad, not a stand-in phone controller for shorter sessions. The design choices here make so much sense - even down to the pivoting USB-C connector that removes any fear your phone could snap it off during removal. 

I didn't realize that I viewed mobile controllers as a means to an end - I only really tend to use them when I'm on a journey somewhere, I have a brief moment of time to kill, or I'm at a friend's house and need to take my games on the go. The G8 Galileo is so much more comfortable and so much more enjoyable to use that I now seek it out for certain games - it's an excuse for me to cloud stream games or use PlayStation Remote Play (yes, it can do both).

The catches here then? Well, unlike the Backbone One, it doesn't have official licensing on either side of the console war, which means it could run into problems further down the line if either company takes a harsher line on third-party mobile controllers. Elsewhere, even if its thumbsticks are immune to stick drift, they aren't quite perfect - they can be subject to friction with the stickgates and run a little hot in first-person shooters. These are hardly big issues though - this is by far the best mobile controller money can buy right now.

The best licensed mobile controller

Specifications

Wireless: Technically yes
Powered by: Phone battery
Battery Life: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Amazing build quality
+
No battery or charging required
+
Comes with three months of Game Pass Ultimate (if not the PlayStation version)

Reasons to avoid

-
Higher price point
-
USB-C connector doesn't pivot
-
Phone cases don't fit
-
Small size makes it less comfortable

The Backbone One has been revolutionary when it comes to gaming on an iPhone or Android smartphone. Now with support for USB-C and Lightning connections, it's one of the best all-round options on the market if you want a mobile controller with official licensing from PlayStation or Xbox. From some hands-on time with both the normal edition for iPhone, and the PlayStation Edition for Android, it's an easy recommendation for anyone wanting to do some gaming on a mobile device.

While slightly more expensive than other options on the market, our testing revealed that this is certainly money well spent. This is more than just a responsive set of clicky buttons. Combined with the Backbone app, the Backbone One mobile controller really does turn your phone into a portable console. Add Game Pass Ultimate (you get three months free in the box if you don't grab the PlayStation edition) and your smartphone becomes unstoppable. 

Mobile gamers will be incredibly impressed by the Backbone One, but even casual iPhone tappers will find extraordinary value.

Backbone One review

Compiling all your Apple Arcade, Google Play Store, Google Stadia (RIP), Game Pass, and Remote Play titles into one neat home screen and providing a place to store all your captured gameplay (a dedicated button allows you to keep videos and screenshots), this software really is the cherry on top of a particularly delicious cake.

It's the small details that truly make the Backbone One a contender among the best mobile controllers. An extra lightning port/USB-C port allows you to keep your phone charged as you play, and a 3.5mm jack allows for wired headphone use as well. Everything just works straight out of the box, and not only feels great but exceeds expectations with small bonuses that feel so intuitive it's a wonder nobody had done them before. We were jumping in and out of PS5 remote play sessions as quickly as we would on the console itself, skipping between Sony's titles and Xbox Game Pass with an ease that feels hilariously ironic as the two companies battle out legal proceedings about studio acquisitions and exclusivity.

If you're a PS5 fan, it's worth checking out the Backbone One PlayStation edition. This version has been designed with Sony to offer the ultimate Remote Play experience, in full PS5 white and black and with glass face buttons. It's also the same price as the standard model, coming in at $99.99 at Amazon

Read more: Backbone One Review

The best gamepad mobile controller (for Android users)

Specifications

Wireless: Mobile - Yes, PC - No
Powered By: Rechargeable Batteries
Battery Life: 90 Hours

Reasons to buy

+
Great value for money
+
Works with Android phones and PC
+
Wireless (when used with mobile)
+
Very extensive battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Can't be used with iPhone
-
Wired when used with PC

The Steel Series Stratus+ comes with some extra features which you might not find on other mobile controllers on the market - especially at the MRSP of $70. The battery life on this controller makes it really stand out against the crowd. 90 hours of gameplay in one charge is something extremely hard to find in wireless gamepads. 

A great little wireless controller which still provides you with that comforting feeling of playing on console

SteelSeries Stratus+ review

The SteelSeries Stratus+ is compatible with Android but not iPhone so Apple users beware. It is also compatible with PC but has to be used wired in order to take advantage of this. This is a little disappointing considering it comes in at a higher price point than the HyperX Clutch, which can be used wirelessly both ways. This gamepad also comes with a removeable mobile clip in the box, which isn't as sturdy as the one that comes with the HyperX Clutch, but still works perfectly fine. 

One of the great features on offer with this mobile controller include clickable joysticks - which are industry standard with console gamepads but much harder to find on mobile versions. Another feature is the hall-effect triggers, a new trigger design which allows for your inputs to be picked up faster and for longer periods of time until full release. 

Read more: SteelSeries Stratus+ Review

The most satisfying mobile controller

Specifications

Wireless: No
Powered By: Phone battery
Battery Life: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Secure bridge design
+
Satisfying face buttons and d-pad
+
Additional programmable buttons
+
Comfortable grip shape
+
Lightweight design

Reasons to avoid

-
Cheaper plastic feel than competitors
-
No audio port
-
Nexus software is basic

The Razer Kishi V2 packs a serious punch compared to its predecessor, and while there are some functionality concerns in the iOS model (you won't be able to use PlayStation Remote Play on your iPhone for example), the satisfying buttons, plethora of extra features, and comfortable grip shape will make for a particularly tactile experience. 

The process of sliding your phone into the USB-C cradle never felt dangerous in our testing, and there's plenty of shift in here to safely remove the device afterwards again. The controller does feel a little hollow compared to more substantial options, but the tradeoff is a particularly lightweight, portable device that won't bulk out your backpack. Plus there's actually wider grips here compared to the Backbone One, which make for a far more comfortable experience during longer sessions. 

It's those microswitch buttons that make all the difference though. Snappy, satisfying, and fast, these clickers are the best thing about the Razer Kishi V2. If you don't get on with the sometimes mushy feel of a longer travel distance, these sharp shooters will immediately feel great. Not only that, but you're also getting additional buttons along the top, with two programmable macro options placed next to the shoulder buttons. 

Yes, the Razer Nexus software is a little tired and by no means adds too much to the experience. It's a basic feature ticked off here, offering access to all your games in one place and a few rudimentary settings options as well. 

Read more: Razer Kishi V2 review

The best mobile controller under $50

Specifications

Wireless: Yes
Powered by: Rechargeable Battery
Battery Life: 19 Hours

Reasons to buy

+
Wireless
+
Can be used on mobile and PC
+
Great value for money
+
Comes with phone clip

Reasons to avoid

-
Not compatible with Apple's iPhone
-
Less available in the UK

The HyperX Clutch Wireless mobile controller is now my go to gamepad on both mobile and PC. For a MRSP of $50 you are getting a gamepad which can be used wirelessly and also be plugged in if the battery is low or if you want zero latency. It's slightly smaller and lighter than a standard controller which contributes to the portability, however it is definitely not the most portable option on this list. 

Genuinely one of the best value for money controllers you'll find

HyperX Clutch Wireless review

It is only compatible with Android and connects easily via Bluetooth. Included in the box is also a 2.4G connector which allows for wireless connectivity when using the controller with PC. When testing the HyperX Clutch Wireless controller I found it such an easy experience to connect it to my phone or computer - something which can be extremely complicated and fiddly with other controllers. You receive a removable mobile clip in the box too. 

We also regularly see deals on this controller, often making it even better value for money. The fact you get a fully wireless controller with some great features like clickable joysticks, a sturdy mobile clip and an ergonomic grip all in one controller for such a good price point puts this controller at the top of our list. 

Note: The HyperX Clutch Wireless is a little tricky to get your hands on in the UK

Read more: HyperX Clutch Wireless review

The best customizable mobile controller

Specifications

Wireless: No
Powered By: Phone battery
Battery Life: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Extra cooling
+
Satisfying low travel buttons
+
Feels safe for phone corners and port

Reasons to avoid

-
Chunky design
-
Wobbly D-Pad in 4-direction mode

The GameSir X3 is a serious piece of kit. Packed in a luxury carry case (an additional feature that many mobile controllers lack), you'll find a range of extra accessories packaged in with this Android wraparound controller that will quickly make it a must-see. You can swap the thumbsticks, D-Pad, and face buttons here, making it one of the most customizable gamepads we've had our hands on so far. While the process of actually digging those face buttons out leaves a lot to be desired, there's no denying you've got more options here than with standard stock controllers. 

The X3 is a mobile controller designed for the hardcore players - that much is obvious from the massive great fan strapped to the back of it. We did find this fan to keep our Black Shark 5 Pro slightly cooler during more intense gameplay sessions, and to its credit this did make for a far better experience during at-home play. However, you'll need to plug the controller into a separate power port to be able to utilize this feature, which does significantly detract from its portability. 

Of course, this is no easy backpack buddy. The GameSir X3 is one of the chunkier wraparound controllers we've had our hands on. However, there's a comforting heft to it that makes every snap of a button or flick of a thumbstick feel precise and solid. You won't find that kind of feeling with a lighter model like the Backbone One or Razer Kishi V2. 

Read more: GameSir X3 review

The best multiplatform controller

Specifications

Connection: Wired USB-C to USB A
Remappable buttons: 2
Buttons: 17
Headset connection: 3.5mm
Cable length: 2m
Weight: 380

Reasons to buy

+
Great value
+
Hall effect sticks
+
Responsive feel
+
Two ergonomic back buttons

Reasons to avoid

-
No wireless mode
-
Interface buttons are a tad confusing
-
Turbo mode brought about some problems
-
Only two back buttons

A transparent controller design isn't seen all too often these days, especially among the best Nintendo Switch controllers. The GameSir T4 Kaleid is the latest multi-platform controller from GameSir, and it's available for use on PC, Android devices, and Nintendo Switch. It asks an important question: how expensive should a pro controller be in this day and age? Because despite the number of features on offer here, it might be one of the cheapest controllers worth buying right now.

Unlike more of the best mobile controllers on this list, it doesn't have a lot of mobile-dedicated features like an attachment that holds the screen while you play. But arguably more important for a multiplatform controller is that, the offset or asymmetrical sticks are Hall Sensor ones, meaning you won't encounter stick drift here, despite it being much cheaper than a lot of the alternatives. On the textured grips of the T4 Kaleid, you'll find two back buttons. These are excellently placed where my middle fingers wrap around the controller and take absolutely no displacement of my hands to use.

If you're a gamer on all platforms looking for something to serve you across multiple devices, shopping can be tough. You want a cheaper brand, but you want quality, and you want something that will last you. The T4 Kaleid is that controller, and its price is insanely affordable in the current market. 

Best mobile controller: FAQs

Which mobile controller is best?

We have determined after testing that the best mobile controller is the GameSir G8 Galileo as it is the best value for money and has incredible features. More than the Razer Kishi V2 and the Backbone One, it offers comfort, support for Xbox and PlayStation, and durability thanks to Hall Sensor thumbsticks and triggers.

Is Call of Duty Mobile better with a controller?

Playing Call of Duty Mobile with a mobile controller definitely gives you the advantage vs handheld players. Being able to have precise inputs makes the game significantly easier and can allow you to reach a higher skill level. Match-making doesn't match people based on whether or not they have a gamepad. 

Which controller is best for PUBG Mobile?

We have determined the best mobile controller for playing games like PUBG is the HyperX Clutch Wireless. This would make a great controller for PUBG as it allows for precise inputs and is comfortable to hold. If you want something a bit more bespoke for your phone, you could go for the Bacbone for either Android or iPhone. 

How we test mobile controllers

We test our mobile controllers by putting them through vigorous testing. Please be aware that we have not tested all of the controllers which have made it onto our buying guides. You can find information on reviews underneath each controller in the guide.

In brief, every controller that we have had our hands on is used in a series of different video games to accommodate most genres. This means that we'll test the responsiveness of the sticks, face buttons, bumpers, triggers, and any other additional features found on the unit. If a controller is wired or relies on rechargeable batteries, then the duration of the lifespan is tested, too. The same can be said for any specialist software, such as drivers, that may be included with the gamepad as well. 

For more on how we test controllers at GamesRadar+ check out our full article, and for something more representative of our holistic approach to the latest gear, check out our Hardware Policy


If you're on the lookout for other ways to play then you can take a look the best steering wheels for PC. And if you're looking for a chance to upgrade from mobile gaming then take a look at our best gaming laptops

1. Razer Wolverine Ultimate

The best Razer controller overall

Specifications

Wireless: No
Powered By: USB
Battery Life: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Reliable
+
Quality Razer build
+
Interchangeable thumbsticks and d-pads
+
Onboard media controllers

Reasons to avoid

-
Higher price tag to match the 'ultimate features'

The top Razer Xbox controller is the Wolverine Ultimate, without question. It's one of the highest-quality Razer controllers out of this entire guide, too. 

Featuring the classic Razer Chroma RGB lighting that changes while you play, it matches those visuals with interchangeable thumbsticks and d-pads, four extra back buttons, and two extra shoulder buttons. Everything is within reach of your fingers no matter the controls you need or the game you're playing, increasing response-time dramatically.

The Wolverine Ultimate does have the 'Ultimate' price tag, but its features, quality design, and build largely justify it. It gives you the undeniable precision, quality, and pizazz a Razer controller should. In fact, it's the go-to controller of a few Xbox players we know - and for good reason.

Duncan Robertson
Hardware Editor

Ever since playing Journey at the age of 15, I’ve been desperate to cover video games for a living. After graduating from Edinburgh Napier University with a degree in Journalism, I contributed to the Scottish Games Network and completed an Editorial Internship over at Expert Reviews. Besides that, I’ve been managing my own YouTube channel and Podcast for the last 7 years. It’s been a long road, but all that experience somehow landed me a dream job covering gaming hardware. I’m a self-confessing PlayStation fanboy, but my experience covering the larger business and developer side of the whole industry has given me a strong knowledge of all platforms. When I’m not testing out every peripheral I can get my hands on, I’m probably either playing tennis or dissecting game design for an upcoming video essay. Now, I better stop myself here before I get talking about my favourite games like HUNT: Showdown, Dishonored, and Towerfall Ascension.
Location: UK Remote

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