Best android controller

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30 contributors
Up to date as of
After considering 24 android controllers, the Slant community recommends Moga Pro Power for playing on-the-go, Xbox 360 Wired for best reliability and SteelSeries Stratus XL for best comfort. These recommendations are the result of hundreds of contributions from the Slant community.
87
Slant Score

Best on-the-go choice

Moga Pro Power

Moga Pro Power is the best controller with a phone holder. It's better balanced and more comfortable that other similar controllers. It even extends your phone's life by allowing it to charge off of the controller's built-in battery. All this combined makes it great for gaming on-the-go.

Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon
Battery life
24+ hours
Weight
251 g
Power
Rechargeable 2200mAh batteries
Size
Full sized
Phone holder
Holds phones up to 3.2" (82mm) wide
Comfort
Build quality
Mobility
Connection reliability

Lets you game on-the-go

The middle-front strip of the controller folds out into an arm that holds onto your phone. If it weren't for this arm, you would have to prop your phone up against something, which isn't always possible especially when you're outside or traveling. It can fit virtually any phone —the maximum width it can hold is 3.2 inches (82mm). This means it can securely hold most phones, even if they have a case on them.

Internal battery can charge your phone while playing

When plugged together with a USB cable, the internal 2200 mAh battery of the MOGA Pro Power is capable of charging the user's phone while playing. This will reduce the battery life of the controller, but it's a convenient alternative to using a separate power bank.

Well-balanced and very comfortable to hold

The MOGA Pro Power is a full-sized controller comparable to a Playstation or Xbox gamepad. Most Android controllers are smaller, which makes them more cramped and uncomfortable for longer use. A larger controller fits your hands better, making it more comfortable. Also, in this case, it helps balance the phone's weight better so it isn't as top-heavy.

Bluetooth connection can be flaky at times

Users have reported that the controller sometimes disconnects when other bluetooth devices are active at the same time, or when playing for extended periods of time.

Somewhat expensive

At $49.99, it's a little expensive considering that it will be used for light gaming on a mobile device. But for what it is, it's worth it for that price.

Other things to note

It has both the MOGA profile and the generic HID profile for greater overall wireless support. Its internal 2200 mAh battery can be charged through USB so you won't need to worry about having batteries on hand. It's quite large though, so you will need to keep it in a bag or purse when carrying it around.

AubreyG
August 3, 2016

This controller is amazing for long gaming sessions when on the train or the bus. You can just stick your phone in the phone holder and play as much as you want (or rather, as much as your battery allows you to.) The connection is mostly okay and the lag is non-existent., but it sometimes disconnects when around other bluetooth devices (such as headsets or keyboards.)

85
Slant Score

Best wired controller

Xbox 360 Wired

If you don't trust a wireless connection not to flake, you need the reliability of a wired controller. The most comfortable wired Android controller is the Xbox 360 controller. Plus, it's really affordable and works with Android seamlessly.

Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon
Battery life
-
Weight
300 g
Power
Smartphone battery
Size
Full sized
Phone holder
-
Comfort
Build quality
Mobility
Connection reliability

Plug and play (with a USB OTG cable)

The Xbox 360 wired controller works out of the box as most Android devices recognize USB peripherals. You will need a USB OTG cable (can be bought separately for $2-3 usually) to connect the controller, but once you have that it's just plug and play.

Comfortable design

Xbox controllers are always phenomenal design-wise and the 360 controller is no exception. Inputs are unobtrusively located and the controller itself is smooth and fits perfectly in the hand.

Good value for money

Used and refurbished Xbox 360 wired controllers can be found for as little as $20 in some cases. For the value it provides, it's a relatively cheap controller.

Some devices won't have USB OTG support

Some devices, especially older ones won't have USB OTG support. To see if your device has USB OTG support, you can use an app like Easy OTG Checker.

Slightly mushy d-pad

While it's still an overall good d-pad, it does fall behind competition in quality. It's not as clicky and you have to be a touch more careful with how you press it to get the wanted output.

Rsnbl
November 1, 2016

After upgrading from a 360 to a Xbox One I found some new use for my trusted Xbox 360 wired controller. I use it for both PC gaming and when I play some retro games on my mobile. I almost never take it with me though. It's a hassle to carry it around and there's no way to play on-the-go if I don't have any place where I can put my phone.

84
Slant Score

Most comfortable

SteelSeries Stratus XL

It's the controller that fits perfectly in your hand and allows enables you to confidently communicate your intentions through button presses. No fatique, readjusting or wonky button presses.

Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon
Battery life
40+ hours
Weight
288 g
Power
2xAA batteries
Size
Full sized
Phone holder
-
Comfort
Build quality
Mobility
Connection reliability

Most comfortable

The SteelSeries Stratus XL is a full-sized controller that feels similar to the Xbox controller. Its curves help it fit comfortably in your hand, and the controller doesn't become uncomfortable to hold even for extended periods of time. Every button is placed as unobtrusively as possible and the joysticks are very comfortable as well. They are indented on top, giving your thumb extra grip and the rough texture makes them extra grippy.

Simple setup

Setup on Android is as simple as pressing the pairing button on top, and pairing it to your Android device like any other Bluetooth accessory.

40 hours of gameplay per 2xAA batteries

On a single pair of AA batteries, you can expect up to 40 hours of game time. There are 4 lights on the front that indicate the battery life which will blink when there are only 20 minutes of battery life left.

Not ideal for gaming on-the-go

Unlike other mobile controllers mentioned, this one doesn't fold and it isn't flat so it can't easily fit into a pocket. You'll need a purse, backpack or satchel to carry it around which makes this a less attractive option if you'll be gaming while outside or traveling. It also does not have a foldout or attachable clip for mounting smartphones despite being designed for mobile gaming from the get-go.

Uses AA batteries

Instead of an internal rechargeable battery which can be recharged via a cable, this controller uses AA batteries. You'll need to keep some on hand, and this will add to the overall cost in the long run from having to buy additional batteries.

Other things to note

It sas 4 LED lights in the back which show important information such as pairing status and battery. It also has a very pleasant design and premium feel. Sometimes the analog sticks feel stiff and the sensitivity needs to be manually increased for certain games.

BarretP
November 2, 2016

The Steelseries Stratus XL is probably the best controller I have ever owned. It's comfortable, solid build quality and the battery lasts forever. I don't usually play games when I'm on the move so the large size and weight is not really an issue for me. However I can understand why some people have an issue with that.

What others are saying

Here are some of the best reviews from around the web on android controllers.

How they compare

When picking the best android controller for you, the Slant community thinks you should consider the following criteria: Comfort, Build quality, and Mobility.
Comfort
For people who spend considerable amounts of time gaming, controller comfort is of paramount importance. The button placement, responsiveness and the size and shape of the controller are all important factors to take into account when measuring how comfortable a controller is.
SteelSeries Stratus XL
    • It’s a full sized controller that is comfortable to hold, and feels similar to the Xbox controllers. Its curves help it fit comfortably in your hand, and the controller doesn't become uncomfortable to hold even for extended periods of time.

    • It has great joysticks that are indented at the top and with a grippy texture that improves traction. Also, these joysticks can be pressed like an additional button.

    Moga Pro Power
      • The MOGA Pro Power is a full-sized controller comparable to a PS3 or Xbox gamepad. It’s very comfortable to hold and well balanced. Most Android controllers are smaller, which makes them more cramped and uncomfortable for longer use. A larger controller fits your hands better, making it more comfortable. Also, in this case, it helps balance the attached phone's weight better so it isn't as top-heavy.
      Xbox 360 Wired
        • Inputs are unobtrusively located and the controller itself is smooth and fits perfectly in the hand.
        • The D-pad for the 360 wired controller is terrible. It’s workable for games that use the D-pad for actions like switching weapons or opening doors, but if you use it to move around then it’s not very responsive and can be quite frustrating to get used to.
      Comfort Specs
      Moga Pro Power
      Xbox 360 Wired
      SteelSeries Stratus XL
      Battery life
      24+ hours
      -
      40+ hours
      Moga Pro Power
      24+ hours
      Xbox 360 Wired
      -
      SteelSeries Stratus XL
      40+ hours
      Weight
      251 g
      300 g
      288 g
      Moga Pro Power
      251 g
      Xbox 360 Wired
      300 g
      SteelSeries Stratus XL
      288 g
      Size
      Is the controller foldable or full sized.
      Full sized
      Full sized
      Full sized
      Moga Pro Power
      Full sized
      Xbox 360 Wired
      Full sized
      SteelSeries Stratus XL
      Full sized
      Phone holder
      Holds phones up to 3.2" (82mm) wide
      -
      -
      Moga Pro Power
      Holds phones up to 3.2" (82mm) wide
      Xbox 360 Wired
      -
      SteelSeries Stratus XL
      -
      Build quality
      The build quality of any good controller essentially boils down to one question: does it break easily?
      SteelSeries Stratus XL
        • The SSXL has a pretty good build quality. It is quite sturdy and compact.
        Moga Pro Power
            • The controller itself is quite sturdy and strong. The flip phone holder however feels weak and prone to breaking if the user is not careful and leaves it open.
          Xbox 360 Wired
              • The Xbox 360 wired controllers are usually very sturdy, however there are some older batches which would start creaking when held with enough strength. It’s not enough to break them, but it may be annoying.
            Mobility
            Since mobile gaming is usually done on-the-go, controllers should have some sort of mobility factor in them. They should be small, lightweight and preferably have some sort of extension where you can place your mobile device.
            Moga Pro Power
              • The middle-front strip of the controller folds out into an arm that holds onto your phone. If it weren't for this arm, you would have to prop your phone up against something, which isn't always possible especially when you're outside or traveling. It can fit virtually any phone —the maximum width it can hold is 3.2 inches (82mm). This means it can securely hold most phones, even if they have a case on them.

              • When plugged together with a USB cable, the internal 2200 mAh battery of the MOGA Pro Power is capable of charging the user's phone while playing. This will reduce the battery life of the controller, but it's a convenient alternative to using a separate power bank.

              • The controller is quite large and cannot be folded, so there’s no way you can keep it in a pocket. You’ll need to carry a bag or purse where you can store the controller.
            SteelSeries Stratus XL
                • It’s wireless so there’s no connection wire to carry around. Other than that, it’s not as easy to carry it around. It’s quite heavy and bulky. It also does not fold, so in order to carry the Stratus XL you need to keep it in a bag or backpack.

                • Instead of an internal battery which can be recharged via a cable, this controller uses AA batteries. You'll need to keep some on hand, which is not always ideal. Or if you are using rechargeable AA batteries, you will need to carry the AA battery recharger with you in case you run out of juice.

              Xbox 360 Wired
                  • This controller was not designed with mobile gaming in mind. It was designed to be used at home with an Xbox 360 and a TV. Not only is it bulky and heavy, the wire you need to carry around with the controller can also be a bother.
                Mobility Specs
                Moga Pro Power
                Xbox 360 Wired
                SteelSeries Stratus XL
                Battery life
                24+ hours
                -
                40+ hours
                Moga Pro Power
                24+ hours
                Xbox 360 Wired
                -
                SteelSeries Stratus XL
                40+ hours
                Weight
                251 g
                300 g
                288 g
                Moga Pro Power
                251 g
                Xbox 360 Wired
                300 g
                SteelSeries Stratus XL
                288 g
                Power
                The way the controller is powered
                Rechargeable 2200mAh batteries
                Smartphone battery
                2xAA batteries
                Moga Pro Power
                Rechargeable 2200mAh batteries
                Xbox 360 Wired
                Smartphone battery
                SteelSeries Stratus XL
                2xAA batteries
                Size
                Is the controller foldable or full sized.
                Full sized
                Full sized
                Full sized
                Moga Pro Power
                Full sized
                Xbox 360 Wired
                Full sized
                SteelSeries Stratus XL
                Full sized
                Phone holder
                Holds phones up to 3.2" (82mm) wide
                -
                -
                Moga Pro Power
                Holds phones up to 3.2" (82mm) wide
                Xbox 360 Wired
                -
                SteelSeries Stratus XL
                -
                Connection reliability
                Controllers need to have a reliable connection to the mobile device where the game is being played. If a controller is prone to losing connection or lags frequently, then it makes for a very frustrating gaming experience.
                Xbox 360 Wired
                  • Using a wired connection pretty much means that there are no connectivity-related issues whatsoever. There’s virtually no drops in connectivity or lag to speak of.
                  Moga Pro Power
                      • Bluetooth connection can be flaky at times. Users have reported that the controller may disconnect at times when other bluetooth devices are active at the same time, or when playing for extended periods of time.
                    SteelSeries Stratus XL
                        • Since this controller uses a wireless connection, all the usual issues with wireless are still here. Lag, interference from other wireless devices and random disconnections can happen occasionally. It should be mentioned that the connectivity for the SteelSeries Stratus XL is better than what you usually get from wireless devices.
                      Other Specs
                      87
                      Slant Score
                      87
                      Slant Score
                      Best on-the-go choice
                      Moga Pro Power
                      Available on Amazon
                      85
                      Slant Score
                      85
                      Slant Score
                      Best wired controller
                      Xbox 360 Wired
                      Available on Amazon
                      84
                      Slant Score
                      84
                      Slant Score
                      Most comfortable
                      SteelSeries Stratus XL
                      Available on Amazon
                      Other products we considered
                      Check some of the 24 other products our community recommends.
                      Community Discussion
                      Have a question about picking the the best android controller? Ask Jeff Gremban, Mason Goodknight and the 28 other Slant community enthusiasts that contributed to this guide.
                      Why should I use a game controller to play mobile games? Isn't the touch-screen enough?

                      For simple games such as Angry Birds, the touchscreen works just fine and sometimes is even better than using a controller. Some more complex games, such as first-person shooters, racing games or platformers are played better when using a controller because touch-screen controls are not ideal for those types of games.

                      Annerry's avatar
                      Annerry
                      Is it hard to connect and use a controller?

                      Not really. Most modern smartphones will work with bluetooth and wireless controllers out of the box, some may not have USB OTG support but that's easy enough to check.

                      Ryan's avatar
                      Ryan
                      Will the Xbox 360 wired controller consume my smartphone battery?

                      It will use a small amount of battery to work, but if you are gaming then chances are your phone is using the majority of the energy to run the game anyway so it's almost unnoticeable.

                      Aubrey's avatar
                      Aubrey
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