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The best Bluetooth gaming controllers for Android, PC, and more!

Your options extend well beyond Microsoft and Sony.

Published onFebruary 22, 2024

PS5 controller plant shell
Adam Birney / Android Authority

Some games play better on a controller, even if you’re a PC or mobile gamer. While a mouse and keyboard might be more accurate, they’re usually cumbersome when there’s limited space or you’re sitting on a sofa. Bluetooth controllers hit a sweet spot, yet not all Bluetooth controllers are created equal. Some are designed specifically for Android devices, while others work across all platforms. To help you decide, we’ve compiled a list of the best Bluetooth controllers for Android, PC, and more.

The best Bluetooth game controllers

8Bitdo Pro 2

8Bitdo Pro 2

8Bitdo has been making cross-compatible Bluetooth controllers for years, and the Pro 2 is no different. Compatible with Switch, mobile devices, Steam, Raspberry Pi, macOS, and PC, this controller might become your go-to everywhere you play.

The 8Bitdo Pro 2 has a full button set, including R3 and L3 buttons, and has companion software for firmware updates and button customizations. The controller even has a couple of extra buttons in the back of the handles, which are entirely programmable. Other perks include USB-C recharging and a 1,000mAh battery for extended play sessions.

8Bitdo’s design is tried and true. It feels great in your hands with side grips, excellent control sticks, and responsive triggers. The D-pad is made to feel like a retro D-pad, such as on an NES controller, so it’s ideal for retro games or fighting games.

Xbox Core Controller

Xbox Series S controller against the console
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

The Xbox Core controller is what you get with the Xbox Series X and Series S. The great news is that it also works on other platforms.

At first glance, it’s reminiscent of the previous Xbox controller, but small changes have the potential to make a huge difference. For starters, the D-pad is now rounded and more agile. It should offer a better response than the simple four-direction pad it replaced.

Microsoft has also revamped bumpers and triggers, adding a stippled texture for a better grip in the heat of the action. It retains a 3.5mm headphone jack, and there’s an all-new share button. After all, gaming is more connected than ever, so you have to show off your highlights.

Those looking for a more advanced experience should look at the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller. It comes with customizable accessories, programmable handle buttons in the back, longer battery life, and a premium design.

Sony DualSense

PS5 PlayStation 5 controller 3
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Sony’s DualSense controller is built for the PlayStation 5. It keeps some of the same design cues as Sony’s past controllers, but looks more like a spaceship than anything else.

More importantly, it’s rocking an adaptive haptic trigger setup, which means you’ll feel different responses as you interact with different parts of your environment. The effect is uncanny when game developers choose to exploit it.

The DualSense has a 3.5mm headphone jack, as well as a built-in microphone for voice chat. A “create” button is present to help you share content and go live on streaming platforms. For better or worse, you won’t be able to replace AA batteries and keep playing — the controller charges exclusively via USB-C.

Sony DualShock 4

staff picks oliver cragg hero pixel 4 xl shield tv ps4 controller
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

The design of the DualShock 4 harkens back to the early PlayStation days, but don’t let that fool you. It offers a headphone jack, a touchpad, and more. Sony refined its fourth-generation DualShock with sensitive triggers, and even better stick controls.

The built-in light bar is another unique feature, though it doesn’t do much outside of setting the ambiance for your gaming sessions. Some colors are harder to find than others these days, so get the DualShock 4 while you can.

SteelSeries Stratus Duo

SteelSeries Stratus Duo

The SteelSeries Stratus Duo features a rechargeable battery rated for 20 hours of use. In addition to working over a Bluetooth connection, the Stratus Duo can connect via 2.4GHz wireless in Windows and Steam. If your desktop computer doesn’t have Bluetooth, this is perfect — just plug in the USB wireless adapter that comes in the box.

Check out our full review above for a more detailed look, but we found the device excellent for both mobile and PC gaming. The only significant complaints were a lack of USB-C charging, an oversight in this day and age, and a slightly mushy D-pad. The labeling on the buttons is also quite challenging to read due to the gray-on-black color scheme.

The Stratus Duo is best paired with a phone stand or SteelSeries SmartGrip when playing mobile games. There’s a Stratus XL, but the Duo is significantly lighter at 245 grams.

PowerA MOGA XP7-X Plus

PowerA MOGA XP7 X Plus

The PowerA MOGA XP7-X Plus mobile controller is unique in many ways. Above all it employs the less common dock form factor, in which a phone sits in the middle with handles on either side of the screen.

This gives your device a Switch-like console touch, and the handles are both ergonomic and console-quality. If you like, you can remove your phone and turn the unit into a more traditional controller.

Other features include programmable buttons, and a 2,000mAh battery that can act as a wireless power bank for your phone. If you’re looking for a similar mobile-first controller, check out the Razer Kishi V2. It’s not Bluetooth, instead connecting directly to your phone’s USB-C port.

8Bitdo M30

8Bitdo M30 controller

If you’re looking for a Bluetooth controller to use with Sega Genesis games, this is it. The M30 is broadly compatible with the Nintendo Switch, PC, macOS, and Android, but it’s designed with Sega’s classics in mind. Thankfully, you get modern conveniences like a USB-C port and turbo mapping.

Its ergonomic design fits comfortably in your hands, letting you game for hours at a time without needing a break. Both the D-pad and shoulder buttons feel good, and are highly responsive.

8Bitdo Zero 2

Sometimes you don’t need the best-performing or most ergonomic controller. The 8Bitdo Zero 2’s selling point is that it’s tiny, making it ultra-portable and extremely light, weighing in at just 20 grams.

It’s compatible with all the usual suspects, such as the Switch, Windows, Android, macOS, and so on. Battery life is low at 8 hours, but that’s probably enough to last a long flight or train trip.

Buying the best Bluetooth controller

ps5 vs xbox series x controllers
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Bluetooth has more or less become the standard when it comes to controllers. You get a reasonable balance of reliability, latency, and power consumption without being tethered.

When picking the best Bluetooth controller for yourself, your first consideration should be the device(s) you’ll be using it with. A common controller like the Xbox Core Controller or Sony DualSense, for instance, is fine not just with Microsoft or Sony consoles but with a PC. You get all the features you need, and they’re industry standards on which other gamepads are modeled — especially the Xbox layout.

If you’re getting a Bluetooth controller for your Android phone, portability and battery life are going to follow close behind. There are some interesting form factors for mobile-focused controllers, most notably ones that sandwich your phone as if you were using a Steam Deck or Nintendo Switch.

Charging is another factor to consider. Some controllers have an integrated battery, and charge via USB or a dock. Others use standard AA batteries. If a product does use the AA format, it’s best to pick up some rechargeables.

Frequently asked questions

No, but the vast majority of Bluetooth controllers work with Android without any fuss.

Bluetooth controllers are more or less on the same level as wired controllers now, especially with reduced latency figures. The major difference is the need to charge the controller, which is an inherent sacrifice going wireless. You’ll want to go wired to completely eliminate worries about power or latency.

Yes, they are. Bluetooth controllers offer a solid value for the money now, packing in tons of functionality at affordable price tags. Even if you choose to go premium, you get more features, often enough to justify the expense.

Any rechargeable AA batteries with a higher capacity than the average work well with Bluetooth controllers. Our favorites are the Panasonic Eneloop Pro and EBL 2800mAh.

Yes, you can. Windows supports many Bluetooth controllers, as long as your PC has Bluetooth built-in, or support via a Bluetooth USB adapter. Here’s how to use Bluetooth in Windows 11 and 10.