Games on mobile have gotten really good in the past few years, but there is still one major disadvantage to playing games on your smartphone. That is the touchscreen. Luckily, there are a ton of great gaming controllers out there that you can use to play games on your smartphone or tablet. But with many, many knockoffs out there, which are truly the best? We've rounded up the very best mobile game controllers on the market today. Some are a bit more expensive than others, while others are cheaper and offer less features.
SteelSeries Stratus XL Bluetooth Mobile Gaming Controller
SteelSeries is pretty well-known for its game controllers for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and it also has one available for Android smartphones. The SteelSeries Stratus XL is actually one of the cheaper and well-rounded game controllers on this list, coming in at under $40.
The Stratus XL is going to look and feel a lot like an Xbox One controller, and for those that do game on Xbox, that might be a good thing. It's a larger controller than some others on the market, and that's because this is not meant to fit in your pocket. It is a very ergonomic controller to use when gaming on Android, and does have all of the usual buttons. So you can pick up your game where you left off, pretty easily.
SteelSeries also touts that the Stratus XL will get you around 40 hours of battery life on a single charge, which is pretty impressive. That means that it can withstand those long gaming sessions too, without needing to stop to recharge the controller.
You can pick up the SteelSeries Stratus XL Bluetooth Mobile Gaming Controller from Amazon using the link below, it is currently priced at $35.13.
PowerA MOGA Hero Power
This is an oldie but a goodie, as far as gaming controllers go. The MOGA Hero Power has been around for a few years, and it's still a really good option for a lot of people. It has the word "Power' in its name because it is a controller that has a battery built-in that can charge your phone. Don't get your hopes up though, it's a pretty small 1800mAh capacity battery. This controller came out in a time when smartphones typically had a 2000mAh battery, so times have changed since then.
The MOGA Hero Power is a smaller controller, so it won't be as comfortable to play on, as the SteelSeries Stratus that is above. But that should be okay. As this is meant more for casual gaming, and it can also fold up, to go in your pocket. It does also have a space to hold your phone, turning it into a handheld gaming console. And given how powerful smartphones are in 2019, that is not too crazy to think about.
MOGA has two joysticks, a D-Pad and the A, B, X, and Y buttons available. Most games are compatible with this controller out of the box. So you can just connect to it over Bluetooth and you'll be good to go.
You can grab the PowerA MOGA Hero Power controller from Amazon using the link below, it's pretty inexpensive at around $25.
SteelSeries Free Mobile Wireless Gaming Controller
This is another great option from SteelSeries and this is their Free mobile wireless gaming controller. This is a smaller one that will fit in your pocket, so no matter where you are, you'll be able to get some gaming in.
The SteelSeries Free will connect to your smartphone over Bluetooth, and it does work with Android as well as iOS devices, so no matter which platform you have, you'll be covered. You also have the ability to remap all of these buttons using the SteelSeries Engine app that is available on Android and iOS. So you can use these buttons to do exactly what you want.
SteelSeries says that this gaming controller will get you around 10 hours of playtime on a single charge. That may seem pretty small compared to the SteelSeries Stratus XL that is at the top of the list, but this is also a much smaller controller, which means a much smaller battery.
You can pick up the SteelSeries Free Mobile Wireless Gaming Controller from Amazon using the link below. It is not a cheap controller, coming in at $89.99. But for the convenience that it offers, it might be worth the price.
CHENGDAO Mobile Game Controller
This game controller from CHENGDAO is not going to be all that impressive to a lot of hardcore gamers. It basically gives you the necessities and that's about it. For some, that's all you really need. It is also pretty inexpensive, coming in at under $40 - and can fit in your pocket.
CHENGDAO made sure that your smartphone could attach to this game controller, so you don't need to hold your phone or prop it up on something while you're gaming, which is also a pretty big deal here. It should fit most smartphones - except maybe the really large 6.5-inch and larger smartphones that we have these days. It does have a pretty small 400mAh capacity battery inside, but that should still last you around 10 hours of gameplay.
This controller has the typical setup for a controller, with the two joysticks, a D-Pad as well as the A, B, X and Y buttons. These will work, by default on most games that are available today. Where this one does fit in your pocket, it makes it a pretty versatile game controller for those that do want to get some gaming done while on the go.
You can pick up the CHENGDAO Mobile Game Controller from Amazon using the link below. It is currently priced at $38.99, and it does come with a 30-day warranty, so if it doesn't work too well, you can get it taken care of by CHENGDAO.
Xbox Wireless Controller
If you already own an Xbox, then this is a no brainer. As the wireless controller that Xbox includes with its consoles also work over Bluetooth and will work with your Android smartphone. For many gamers, the Xbox Wireless Controller is the best gaming controller on the market, and to be able to use it on your smartphone, makes it a much more versatile game controller than some of the others that are on this list.
The Xbox Wireless Controller does share a lot in common with the SteelSeries Stratus XL that was at the top of this list. It looks fairly similar with the buttons in the same locations. Which is why the Stratus XL is also so popular. This one is a bit more expensive though, with slightly less battery life. We're looking at around 30 hours, and it does also use AA batteries instead of rechargeable batteries. Something that Xbox really needs to change.
Like with using this controller on the Xbox, you can still remap all of the buttons on this controller. So if you want to change up some of the buttons so that they are more to your liking, you can do just that with the Xbox Wireless Controller. There is also a 3.5mm headphone jack - something your smartphone likely doesn't have. This will allow you to play games in silence without disturbing others around you.
You can pick up the Xbox Wireless Controller from Amazon using the link below, it is currently priced at $46.88, making it one of the more expensive game controllers on this list, but definitely worth the price. Xbox does offer the Xbox Wireless Controller in a variety of colors too.
When it comes to game controllers for using with your smartphone, there's something you have to ask yourself. Do you want a controller that is going to fit in your pocket so you can take it everywhere? Or do you want a game controller that is going to be more comfortable to play games, and also offer better battery life? That's essentially what this list boils down to.
If you want something that's comfortable, then the SteelSeries Stratus XL is going to be hands down the best option on this list. The Xbox Wireless Controller does come in a close second, but the main thing that sets the Stratus XL apart is the price and its battery life. It's about $12 cheaper, and has around 10 hours more gameplay - not to mention it does have an actual rechargeable battery inside.
Then when it comes to controllers that fit into your pocket, it's almost a toss up. The three on this list are all basically the same, just different prices and a few different features. They all last around 10 hours on a charge. Though the PowerA MOGA Hero Power does allow you to charge your phone's battery (very slightly) while you are playing, and that is going to be a big deal for a lot of people.
All of the options on this list are really great options, and it's all going to come down to your own personal preference. So keep that in mind when you are purchasing yours.