Best portable Bluetooth gaming controllers

by: Kevin NetherJuly 10, 2014
32 42 96

Editor’s note – the following list details the best portable Bluetooth controllers on the market today. If you want the best bluetooth controller on the market, look no further than the Moga line of controllers – check out our review of them, here.

Mobile device gaming is quickly catching up to console level quality. With the evolution of better games, precise controls are now something that’s pretty much required. For some people, touchscreen controls simply don’t cut it. Have no fear because we’ve rounded up the best portable Bluetooth gaming controllers on the market today!

Drone Evolution Controller

Drone Evolution Controller

We begin our roundup with one a controller that is arguably the most portable. The $65 Drone Evolution controller is a colorful controller on the surface that looks like a normal gaming controller with a pair of analogs, a d-pad, face buttons, shoulder buttons and 2 buttons on the back that act as triggers. The controller is open source, so you will see a lot of mods, and unique configurations for this controller available online. If you head over to the forums you can see a few mods that are already in action right now.

Drone Evolution Bluetooth Controller-3

Beyond that, the controller is really easy to use. You can quickly charge it via micro-usb, and the battery life is quite decent as well. The analogs stick out just far enough to get a grip, and the d-pad is nice and clicky. The face buttons have a decent amount of depth when they are pressed down.

Even the start and select buttons are well placed and are easy to find.  The shoulder buttons are thinner that I would like, and they become tough to find when playing a game resulting in my finger sometimes slipping off when pressing them. Once you do get a good grip on a button, it does have a good feel to it. Just getting that feel is harder than it should be. The back trigger buttons are in a weird location, but are nice to have. The triggers have a smooth shape to them and angle out to be pressed easily. It’s just hard to make the jump from the bottom of the controller to the top shoulder. After the adjustment period, this controller stands tall this as one of the better ones, because of the size, nice face buttons and excellent d-pad.

Drone Evolution Bluetooth Controller-2

Thankfully, it also has a decent battery life to boot. It is rated for 17 hours of playing time, and up to 7 days of standby time. I can’t vouch for that since I have not gamed for 17 hours in a row, but off and on, the controller’s battery has not died and it’s been over 3 days since I started using it.

Drone Evolution Controller

Compact, great grip, and good battery life

  • Long battery life
  • Great grip
  • Good buttons
  • Adjustment period
  • A touch small
A solid bet, with great battery life, good grip, and nice clicky buttons.  Near sure bet that will delight mobile gamers.

Use coupon code ‘androidauthority’ for 10% off when purchasing from their website.


PhoneJoy Bluetooth Controller

This game controller makes my list due to the uniqueness of it. It features a very thoughtful design, and one that’s highly portable to boot. Plus, it will bring you back to your Sega Game Gear days, right?

The PhoneJoy is a controller that really tries to turn your phone into a gaming console. Featuring a slider design that you can fit your phone into, it also works even if your phone isn’t placed in it. This controller features the standard buttons one could expect. The shoulder buttons are spaced out more like a standard console controller, which is nice compared to some of the more compact controllers on the market. The analogs do however feel a bit mushy to use, but it’s quickly forgotten.

PhoneJoy Bluetooth Controller-2

In some games like Rip Tide GP the mushy analogs can hinder your movement. The d-pad also does not have that much ‘click’ to it, and honestly, it’s a bit tough to press. However, the face buttons and shoulder buttons make up for it. they are spaced out well, and also are really tight. The start and back buttons can be found on the side of the controllers.  The buttons are silent too, so playing in close quarters isn’t a problem at all. The controller does fit in you pocket as well, which is a huge plus.  The PhoneJoy store helps you pair the controller, and also has compatible games as well.

PhoneJoy Controller

Turns your phone into a gaming console

  • Highly portable
  • Generous spacing
  • Unique design
  • Buttons a bit mushy
Fun, unique design that is highly portable and one that affords the user a great old school gaming experience.

As far as portability – this controller collapses pretty well, and you do have a pocket size controller that can also hold your phone. The slider is held together with springs and a metal housing, which should hold up after a while. But only time will tell on this. The PhoneJoy also comes with a charging adaptor so you can play and charge, and also a few other accessories in the package.

Check out, and you can buy it on Amazon, too.

Steelseries Free

SteelSeries Free

The last controller on our list is $80 dollar SteelSeries Free mobile wireless controller. Featuring a design that is attractive and utilitarian, it reminds me of the original Playstation controllers. The controller has a solid feel to it, is lightweight, and definitely doesn’t feel cheap. I have bigger hands, and this controller is small, but the surface buttons and analogs are built in a way that affords the user easy, tight controls. Plus, it’s small enough to easily slide into your pocket, and quickly pull it out for some gaming. The battery life is really good due to the auto off feature. And, it actually lives up to its promise of 10 hours of gaming that it’s claims to have.

Steelseries Free Bluetooth Controller-3

The analogs are at the bottom of the controller, and the d-pad is also spaced out well. Although the controller is small, it does not feel cramped and all the buttons have a great “click to them.” One thing that I am disappointed with, though, is that there is only one set of shoulder buttons. For shooting games that uses both sets, this does cause some button remapping. To remap the buttons it does require a computer to do so. Something to note for potential buyers out there.

Steelseries free

Light, compact and good quality

  • Great build
  • Satisfying tactile action
  • Highly portable
  • Good battery life
  • Missing some buttons
  • Pricey
The SteelSeries Free offers a high quality, compact and portable gaming experience. Plus, it has great battery life.

And so there you have it. What are your favorite Bluetooth gaming controllers? Let us know down below!

  • Mista_Mr

    Nice review! I haven’t heard or seen some of these controllers.

  • JayJ

    The best Bluetooth controller is a PlayStation Dual Shock 3, I don’t own a PS3 but bought a Dual Shock 3 just for playing games on my Nexus 7. Add in the Sixaxis control app (root) and you have perfection for controller supported games.
    The only other thing I’d consider is a Moga but I bought my Dual Shock 3 for less than £20 GBP and I won’t get a Moga for that.

    • MasterMuffin

      Maybe, but it’s not the best portable :)

      • JayJ

        It’s worth the sacrifice IMHO…

        • Anarchaoz

          I’ve seen both the MOGA Pro Power and Hero go on sale a few times for $35. Definitely worth it for the clip.

    • tupmad

      Does it have to be rooted to use PS controller?

  • yakir

    good review!
    discover me the phonejoy and now i want to get one.
    but im not from us =[ any idea where i can buy it outside the usa??

  • Joao

    No madcatz CTRL? Best by far

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  • DaCaR

    Could you do a review on this and tell me if it works with the galaxy tab s?

  • DaCaR

    Oh and could you tell me a way to record my screen without root and without a computer?

  • Tikker

    the Impulse controllers are smaller than everything else, and work great once you get them sorted out

  • David Escalante

    No Moga? Really?

  • ganesha naik r

    does all android phones supports gamepad controller?

  • San

    I have never heard or seen any of these badboys! Thank you for the review. The PhoneJoy is the one made for me….

  • Alex Chamberlayne

    Could you update this list and also tell us how good the moga pro, pro power, hero and the mad catz C.TR.L.R are
    Thanks Alex

  • maniel

    no moga or madcatz, because those are _portable_ controllers, those you can just put in your pocket

  • Russ B

    I wish someone would make a better PS4 Controller without all the touchpad parts….