10 best gamepads to play on your smartphone
*A review of the best according to the editors of expertology.ru. About selection criteria. This material is subjective, is not an advertisement and does not serve as a guide to the purchase. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.
Among the many types of game controllers, there is a separate special category — gamepads for playing on a smartphone. They, in turn, are divided into two fundamentally different types: mechanical gamepads, which are mechanical holders with mechanical manipulators, and full-fledged electronic gamepads, but adapted for playing on a smartphone at least through the presence of a gadget holder and compatibility with mobile operating systems.
The editors of Expertology magazine decided to help our readers with the choice by offering an overview of the best, according to our experts, gamepads for smartphones of both types.
Rating of the best gamepads for playing on a smartphone
The best mechanical gamepads to play on your smartphone
Let’s start with the simplest technical solutions for a comfortable game on a smartphone. They can look very similar to conventional gamepads, or they can differ significantly, up to the form factor of a pair of separate triggers with latches for attaching to the gadget’s body. Both of them are in decent demand, but for the most part they are extremely inexpensive.
As for trademarks, it is rare to see famous brands in this narrow segment. More often, even the manufacturer is not really known, the country of production is always quite obvious — China, and the device itself may not even have a name, but only an alphanumeric designation of the series. Nevertheless, individual copies at a price of a few hundred rubles show themselves quite well for playing on a smartphone.
The first “noname” gamepad, about which more than one kind word can be said, does not have a clear name, and you can find it on Russian online trading platforms by the alphanumeric designation — W11X. By comparing the characteristics of the found model with our description, you can reliably determine what you are dealing with. This model is produced by the Chinese company Seuno.
The W11X is a slightly improved version of the previous generation, which is quite good in this context, the W10 mechanical controller. This gamepad has a kind of specialization. The manufacturer positions it as optimal for playing the mobile version of the super popular action shooter PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds). The name of the game is even engraved on the surface of the «seat» for the smartphone. Equally, this specialization applies to other games in the style of the Royal Battle (Battle Royale).
The case of the gamepad is made of simple plastic, but it is well made. The coating has a matte texture, that is, it will dampen slip and effectively hide fingerprints. Metal triggers with a mirror finish are located in the usual places. At the ends of the triggers that are in contact with the surface of the screen of the smartphone, there are removable pads made of soft material, similar to the «pen» of the stylus. At the bottom of the gamepad there is a double folding stand — convenient for many hours of continuous mobile gaming.
The model is delivered in a simple cardboard box, very «none» in terms of protection against the vicissitudes of a long shipment. This can be confidently written down as a disadvantage until the manufacturer reconsiders the approach in the next batches. There are a couple more spares in the kit in case the main ones wear out. The course of the triggers is well adjusted, not tight and not flimsy.
The general conclusion on the W11X gamepad is unexpectedly good, as for a «no-name» model, the quality and objectively significant expansion of gaming capabilities with its help. You can use it not only for playing PUBG, but also for many other toys, not necessarily the Royal Battle family. The main thing is that the game allows you to assign the necessary actions to trigger touches.
We also add that this is not the newest model in the Seuno range. The updated version is W11X, and differs only in thicker rubberized handles. Whether such improvements justify the higher cost is up to you to decide for yourself.
- good quality of materials and assembly;
- comfortable running of triggers;
- firmly holds the gadget with latches;
- folding double stand;
- Spare trigger pads included
- in general, significantly expands the convenience and gaming capabilities.
- packaging with zero protection against «hard forwarding».
The second gamepad in our review in the form factor of an “advanced” mechanical trigger is actually an extended version of the previous version, although the manufacturer is different here. On the marketplaces, it is often referred to extremely succinctly — X2, sometimes you can find something more like a normal model name, for example, Union PUBG Mobile X2 or other options, but «X2» is a kind of key. You can refer to our description.
Differences from the previous model for the better are visible here at first glance. Firstly, the area of the seat for the gadget is much larger. This means that not only smartphones with a large diagonal will fit in the gamepad, but even small tablets. How convenient it will be to play in such a configuration is a separate question, but at least there is such an opportunity.
The body of the gamepad is made of durable ABS plastic with a similar matte texture as the previous model. On the surface of the seat of the gadget is engraved a spectacular pattern in an angular-aggressive gaming style. Unobtrusive yet expressive blood red designer inserts add visual appeal. The assembly is good, solid. At the bottom there is a folding stand for desktop installation of the controller.
The functionality of the gamepad is obviously much wider than the previous model. There are four triggers with levers — two for the index fingers, two for the middle ones. Additionally, a button is included, which is already fixed on the screen itself.
This model even has a small official warranty from the manufacturer — 30 days. The warranty period, of course, cannot be compared with the “standard” in most cases 12 or at least 6 months, but the same can be said about the price — you can buy this improved model in some places even cheaper than the previous one.
- body made of strong ABS;
- four triggers;
- button on the screen included;
- folding stand;
- reliable fixation of the gadget;
- fits gadgets with a large diagonal;
- effective design and decoration.
- «safe» packaging.
Another mechanical gamepad for playing on a smartphone manufactured by the Chinese company Seuno. The H9 model is the most advanced in the “H” line, there is already such an important element as active cooling.
On the body of the Seuno H9, in general, only good things can be said — durable black ABS plastic, solid assembly. The matte texture of the surface reduces slippage in the hands and completely hides fingerprints.
There are four triggers here — in addition to the main two for the index fingers, there is another pair for the middle fingers. They can be used for side bending, and in games where there is no side bending, they can be adjusted to other movements — crouch, lie down, run, etc.
The triggers are metal, with a comfortable ride, and, what is very important, they are on metal springs. Often in such mechanical gamepads, the role of a shock absorber is played by plastic elements that often break, and in Seuno H9, the triggers are almost eternal. The package comes with a couple of extra nozzles.
Now about the most, if not important, then definitely the most noticeable. This model uses active cooling — a fan in the center of the seat, which is equipped with a simple but pleasant backlight from one blue LED on the side. The fan is powered by the built-in rechargeable battery and lasts for hours. The battery is charged via the supplied USB cable from any suitable device — PC, laptop, power bank, adapter.
We add that in this line there is a model Seuno H5, which is simpler and cheaper. It provides 2 triggers, and due to the additional space received, a larger diameter fan is installed.
- sufficient quality materials and assembly;
- matte finish of the body (does not slip, fingerprints are not visible);
- soft pads to avoid scratching the smartphone case;
- triggers on metal springs;
- large handles, comfortable grip;
- fan illumination;
- pleasant and clear course of triggers;
- No obvious cons have been identified.
Triggers Blue Shark Shooter PUBG Mobile
Now consider a minimalistic, but elegant, and in this case, convenient and high-quality technical device for mobile gaming. This is not even a gamepad in the classical sense, but a pair of triggers that are installed on the smartphone body, but they fit into this category, and for a significant part of potential users they will be even more suitable than a monolithic gamepad due to the ultra-compact form factor.
The name Blue Shark of this model is not given by chance — outwardly, being installed on a smartphone, the triggers really look very much like two blue sharks in their shape.
The first advantage of such a separate form factor is that there is no rigid positional binding to the touch points of the screen. The triggers can be moved separately from each other, choosing the most convenient location, and without having to do simple, but sometimes tedious adjustment of the sensory zones. Triggers are attached with latches that fit snugly to the back of the smartphone.
The second positive point is the merit of the manufacturer. The triggers are well made, both in terms of materials and the comfortable feel of the moving parts. The course of the triggers is unusually pleasant, light, and at the same time distinct — when pressed, a characteristic click and tactile feedback are heard.
At the end of the description, we will give a little hint to our readers. If suddenly Blue Shark is not available for sale, there is a model that is completely similar in terms of characteristics and functionality — Tattoo 98K. They differ only in design, but in general they are just as comfortable and reliable.
- high-quality and strong plastic case;
- comfortable, distinct and pleasant stroke of the triggers;
- no need to restart the smartphone screen every time when removing and reinstalling triggers;
- reliable clamps;
- cute design with streamlined shapes reminiscent of a shark.
- no obvious cons found.
Seuno Proda PD-03
Completing the selection of the best mechanical gamepads for playing on a smartphone according to Expertology magazine is the top model, which, in addition to convincing characteristics, also confirms the quality with European certificates of conformity. At the time of production of the PD-03, Proda already had investments and quality control from Germany, so the gamepad can even be considered German to some extent.
In this model, the main emphasis is on cooling efficiency. And the point is not the discomfort from feeling in the hands of a hot smartphone, but the fact that when overheated, performance drops, and games can and will lag. So this approach is justified from all sides — for comfort, for the safety of the gadget, and for performance.
This is perhaps the only high-quality mechanical gamepad with active cooling on the market that uses a vortex-type fan. Such a fan does not blow over the surface to be cooled, but, on the contrary, removes air, taking it through the slots on the metal lining in the seat for the gadget and ejecting it through the slots on the back sides of the gamepad handles. This is a doubly elegant idea, since the player’s hands get additional ventilation, sweat less, and therefore slip less. The aforementioned metal plastic plays the role of a radiator — the smartphone fits snugly against it, effectively dissipating heat. This scheme allows literally 20-30 seconds to cool the smartphone from more than 40 degrees to body temperature.
Triggers in Seuno Proda PD-03 are metal, as in other gamepads for smartphones of this and parallel Seuno lines. But here they are even more perfect in terms of mechanism. If in Seuno H9 the triggers moved on metal springs, which is already very good, here metal shock-absorbing plates are used for this.
The linear parameters of the gamepad are as follows. The body dimensions are 160x120x50 mm. The fan is about 70 mm in diameter and about 15 mm thick. Rotation speed — 2400 rpm.
- strong plastic case;
- non-slip and non-marking surface;
- solid assembly;
- triggers on metal spring plates;
- spare nozzles for triggers included;
- the most efficient and thoughtful active cooling;
- EU quality certificates;
- 6 months manufacturer’s warranty.
- packaging without protection against shocks and falls.
The best electronic gamepads to play on your smartphone
In the second selection of the best gamepads for playing on a smartphone, according to Expertology magazine, we will consider controllers that are already full-fledged in all respects, which are electronic devices that no longer interact mechanically with the surface of the gadget, but with its operating system. Such devices are universal, they can be used to play on a PC or laptop, but they also have additional mechanical and software functionality — a smartphone can be fixed on a gamepad using a special latch, and further interaction takes place via wireless communication channels.
Let’s start traditionally with the most inexpensive device in the selection. The Chinese brand IPEGA is known just for its solid and inexpensive gamepads. The universal model PG-9129 honestly earned high marks due to its good quality combined with an affordable price, comparable even to some of the above models, which do not even have such electronic filling and such functionality.
Outwardly, this model is slightly reminiscent of Dualshock 4, the layout of the controls is made in the style of branded Xbox gamepads. For beginners, the sticks in such controllers are not located next to each other on the same line, as in gamepads for the PlayStation, but are separated at different ends of the control panel diagonally. The controller is compact, dimensions — 158x102x62 mm, weight — 168 g. Package dimensions — 175x135x65 mm, total weight with packaging — 267 g.
The body of the gamepad is made of durable ABS plastic, the assembly is solid, without squeaks and backlashes. Immediately striking is a pleasant bluish color in the bases of the sticks. The surface of the handles has a matte texture, which reduces slip and makes fingerprints and fingerprints invisible. The surface itself is hard and scratches are formed on it extremely reluctantly, and the same matte surface hides small scratches well. When turned on, the XYBA control buttons are illuminated. The folding latch is treated inside with an elastic compound to protect the body of the installed smartphone from scratches. The latch can be set to two positions to choose from, depending on which angle will be convenient for the player. The latch also has a retractable addition, so that a large gadget up to 90 mm wide can fit in the seat.
The gamepad is “sharpened” for interaction with iOS or Android OS via the built-in Bluetooth 4.0 radio module with a range of confident signal transmission and reception up to 8 meters. The minimum operating system versions are Android 6.0 or iOS 11.0. True, according to user reviews, this model does not interact very confidently with Apple gadgets.
The device is powered by its own battery with a capacity of 400 mAh, which corresponds to 10-14 hours of playing time. Charging — via a miniature USB socket, the charging cable is included.
An important innovation in this and parallel series of IPEGA gamepads is the presence of the DirectPlay function, which allows you to easily play mobile games that are not specifically adapted for gamepad control without using bulky emulators.
A hint from the Expertology editors for those who do not accept the diagonal arrangement of the sticks, but are used to the fact that they are located almost close to each other. IPEGA’s product range includes the PG-9076 model, which is made in the style of PlayStation gamepads with exactly the same functionality as the PG-9129.
- durable case with a non-marking matte surface;
- quality assembly;
- two positions of the smartphone lock to choose from;
- customizable function buttons;
- DirectPlay function — playing unadapted mobile games without using emulators;
- nice blue color of the bases of the sticks;
- uncertain «friends» with iOS;
- First you need to remember the key combinations for connecting to different devices.
The next gamepad for playing on a smartphone in this collection is more expensive, but also much more interesting than the previous one. This is also a completely universal model, suitable for both smartphones and PCs.
Already only the appearance of the gamepad hints at its decent quality, and taking it in hand, you can be sure of this almost 100%. If not everyone and not immediately distinguishes high-quality and durable ABS plastic from faceless scratched plastic, then you can’t confuse a pleasant non-slip soft-touch coating with anything — this is the surface of the back side, which is exactly what the player holds with his hands.
The arrangement of control tools here is also made according to the Xbox principle with a diagonal arrangement of sticks. The bases of the sticks are bright orange. The smartphone holder is extremely versatile — it can be used to fix gadgets of different diagonals, including large ones with 6-inch diagonals and even a little more. Reliable grip and installation is provided by an additional latch with wire on the back of the fastener. And what’s remarkable, the mount is removable — for maximum convenience of playing on a PC, it can be completely removed in one motion and then put back just as easily.
In the lower part there is a folding stand for installing the device on the table and, accordingly, reducing the load on the hands, since such a tandem of a gamepad and a smartphone can weigh quite a lot. The center of gravity is carefully calculated, and even a heavy smartphone will not outweigh the gamepad itself.
There are two types of wireless connection available to connect the controller to a computer or wearable device. For a PC or laptop, the package comes with a miniature receiver, similar to those through which wireless mice and keyboards work. Bluetooth is used to communicate with the operating system of the smartphone.
On the central part of the front panel there are three control buttons, pressing combinations of which change the operating modes. The gamepad supports both the main and most used APIs — X-Input and Direct Input. Modes and states reflect LED indicators. With the folded smartphone holder on, they are hidden under a folding latch.
The device runs on its own battery with a very good combination of capacity and power consumption. So, the gamepad is quite capable of actively working up to 20 hours. Charging — via the micro-USB socket, the whole process takes no more than 2 hours.
The Artplays AC55 gamepad comes in a good transparent package with a hard backing to prevent damage during transportation. Included with all of the above are USB-cable for charging and documentation.
- quality assembly, nice design;
- soft-touch coating on the back;
- support for X-Input, Direct Input;
- two options for wireless connection — Bluetooth and radio channel through the receiver;
- Reliable and at the same time removable mount for a smartphone;
- mode LED indicators;
- well-adjusted ergonomics;
- impressive autonomy with relatively fast charging.
- short auto-off timer;
- you need to reconnect if the gamepad has gone into sleep mode.
Xiaomi Feat Black Knight X8pro
Now let’s go one step up in terms of quality, functionality, and overall «coolness» of gamepads, and consider the bright FlyDiGi X8 Pro model. The discrepancy in the title in the subtitle is not accidental.
This model was developed and created by Flydigi Lab., which has been producing high-quality computer peripherals since 2008. Xiaomi has only financial relation to it — the lion’s share of sponsorship money as part of a crowdfunding campaign. That is why the name indicates «Feat», that is, «Featuring», that is, in Russian «represents». And all the intellectual and production developments are the merit of the Flydigi Lab team only. Therefore, on different trading floors you can find different names, including the shortest FlyDiGi X8 Pro without the Black Knight prefix, but it should be understood that we are talking about the same model.
The X8 Pro is not much more expensive than the Artplays AC55 gamepad described above, but a cursory glance at the specifications is enough to understand that we are dealing with a device of a higher class. This can already be seen in the spectacular design, which clearly shows meticulous attention to detail.
The dimensions of the device are 155x103x64 mm, weight is 220 g. The case is made of durable black ABS plastic. An unobtrusive, but noticeable and attractive abstract engraving pattern is applied to the surface of the handles. It simultaneously has a decorative function and hides prints. The visual effect is added by the color style of the controls — the blue color of the left stick against the black right one (diagonal arrangement, like for Xbox gamepads), plus the blue illumination of the XYBA control group of buttons.
This model uses exceptionally sensitive 6-axis gyroscopes located inside the handles. They are responsible for accurately detecting motion and broadcasting it to the gameplay. To connect the gamepad, you can choose between Bluetooth 4.0 or a 2.4G receiver. The device is compatible with Android, Windows, and even Steam platforms. It can also be used for VR experiences without any problems. Compatibility with iOS is declared, but the device does not have official MFI (Made For iPhone) certification, and this will disappoint users of “apple” smartphones.
The controller is powered by a built-in 300 mAh battery. A full charge is enough for 8-10 hours of continuous play or up to 80 hours of standby time. A full charge requires 3-4 hours of time.
- produced under the patronage of Xiaomi;
- innovative approaches of a manufacturer owning a number of patented inventions;
- high build quality and materials;
- quality workmanship;
- built-in six-axis sensitive gyroscope;
- reliable lock for a wearable gadget;
- there is vibration feedback from two vibration motors;
- aero-mouse function based on gyroscopes;
- compatibility with different platforms, including Steam and VR experiences;
- spectacular appearance.
- there is no official MFI certification, although the manufacturer claims iOS compatibility.
Mad Catz CTRL R Mobile Gamepad
Further in our review follows the already very expensive gamepad of the almost cult Mad Catz CTRL series. This is also a universal model that works equally well for playing on a smartphone or on a PC / laptop. The designation R in the name implies compatibility with Android. For Apple gadgets, there is a separate modification with the index I instead of R.
This model is also made in the functional style of Xbox 360 controllers with a diagonal stick arrangement. The plastic of the case is of high quality, the surface of the upper part is glossy, the lower one is matte. This is a good combination, as the matte texture of the bottom of the handles reduces slippage in the hands. But not everyone likes the glossy top, plus scratches, scuffs and fingerprints are much more noticeable. The right tusk has a red Mad Catz logo.
Of the controls, there is everything you need: four XYBA control buttons, a D-pad, two analog sticks, two triggers, two shifts. The sticks are pleasant to the touch, with a distinct stroke and vertical pressure. In the center of the panel is a round button for turning on and wirelessly pairing with a computer or smartphone. When a connection is established, it lights up in an unobtrusive blue color. On the sides of it are the «Start» and «Back» buttons. A separate «trick» of the model is the presence of a block of multimedia buttons that automatically turn the gamepad into a remote control.
The smartphone is attached to the gamepad with a removable sliding bracket that comes with the package. The bracket itself, in turn, is connected to the controller housing with a threaded fastener. Sliding doors with ribbed rubber on the contact surfaces fit wearable gadgets with a diagonal of 4 to 6 inches.
The device connects to a PC or wearable device via Bluetooth. Standard 4.0 is supported and even obsolete Bluetooth 3.0, which will definitely please owners of computers of older generations.
This model works on two AAA batteries (or accumulators). One set is enough for the duration of the game up to 40 hours. The battery compartment itself has a micro-USB socket. Contrary to the first opinion that comes to mind, connecting the gamepad to a power source in this way will not work. This type of connection is provided exclusively for flashing if desired or necessary.
Due to the bankruptcy and sale of Mad Catz, the branded application that users are used to has disappeared from the official Apple and Google stores. This created some difficulties in finding compatible and suitable games, but finding workarounds will not be difficult.
- quality of technical performance;
- pleasant and distinct movement of the sticks with vertical pressure;
- block of multimedia buttons;
- backwards compatible with the legacy Bluetooth 3.0 standard;
- quite powerful vibration motors in the «tusks»;
- spectacular appearance.
- difficulties in finding content due to the bankruptcy of the manufacturer and the disappearance of the official application from the Apple and Google stores.
Razer Raiju Mobile
The review of the best gamepads for playing on a smartphone will be completed by a traditionally top-end model, which leaves far behind all the previous ones taken together, both in terms of characteristics, and in class, and, quite expectedly, in price. Already one trademark — Razer — clearly hints that we are dealing with something at least special.
It should be said right away that this model is more «sharpened» for gaming on PC and mobile gadgets on Android and is much less suitable for use with games on «apple» devices. In Android devices, you can connect in two ways — wirelessly via Bluetooth or wired via a USB Type-C jack. The advantage of the former is obvious, and a wired connection guarantees speed and lightning-fast data exchange — in serious competitions, this can really affect the game result. You can switch connection methods with a simple lever on the back.
In terms of functionality, the Razer Raiju Mobile commands genuine respect. This is a real weapon for mobile eSports. In addition to the basic set of the main control buttons, sticks and crosses, there are also basic triggers and a number of additional ones. The travel of the triggers can be reduced with a simple lock, thereby adjusting the device for an experienced player, increased reaction and polished fine motor skills. On the other hand, you can lower the sensitivity of the sticks — most often this technique is used for more reliable aiming with a sniper rifle, but this is not the only way to use the adjustment.
Like any premium electronics, Raiju Mobile pleases with the exclusive attention of the creators to the details. The back of the controller is finished with a notched rubber material that feels like a glove in the palm of your hand. The body plastic itself is durable, but also rough with a matte texture, which does not slip and does not emphasize fingerprints and minor scratches. The seat-clamp accommodates mobile gadgets with a maximum width of 79 mm.
The autonomy of the model is also worthy of praise — almost a day of continuous active work on a single charge of the built-in battery. Charging is via a USB Type-C cable. The kit comes with two regular cables — short and long. Top-end cables — in a fabric braid and with reinforcement in the most potentially vulnerable places.
- premium class;
- exceptional quality;
- wired and wireless connection methods;
- adjustment of the stroke of the triggers;
- stick sensitivity adjustment;
- exorbitant price.
Rate the article
Total votes: 0rating: 0
Attention! This rating is subjective, is not an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.