While the vast majority of Android games are designed with the touchscreen in mind, the reality is that there are certain times when using a traditional controller just makes more sense. This applies particularly to games that were ported from a console over to Android, as well as to emulators. It also rings true for games where using the touchscreen just isn’t possible, such as VR games where your phone is strapped to your face.
There are many different Android game controllers to choose from on the market today, with all different sizes and layouts.
- Best emulators for Android
- Best Android games
- Check out the best games with Bluetooth controller support!
For this list, I wanted to focus on the five Android game controllers we think are the very best, regardless of the price or form factor. My goal was to have a healthy mix of different sizes, shapes, and layouts. Upon digging in, however, I found that most of the “ultra portable” Bluetooth controllers just aren’t that great.
That means the vast majority of the Android game controllers here look almost identical in size and shape, with nearly all the best ones taking on an almost Xbox-esque design. However, there is one big exception to this rule. So without further ado, let’s jump right in.
Steel Series Stratus XL
The Stratus XL has been on the market for a few years now, but don’t let that fool you — for most users this is absolutely the controller you should buy. The Stratus XL is without a doubt the most beautiful Bluetooth gamepad available, featuring a nice black design with orange and gray accent colors. And it feels equally great in the hand, with a nice heft to it (without being too heavy) that makes me feel like it should be pretty durable.
The Stratus XL is a mix between an Xbox and a Playstation controller.
The Stratus XL looks like an Xbox controller at first glance, but with a button layout that is actually a bit more similar to a Playstation controller. That includes two joysticks that are near the bottom and lined up directly across from one another, and a d-pad to the upper left. Otherwise, you get four main action buttons (A,B, X, Y) on the face, alongside three unique buttons in the center, and at the top you’ll find two triggers and two shoulder buttons.
The SteelSeries Stratus XL is compatible with both PC and Android, and while I spent most of my time using it with Android, I can confirm it plays nicely with my PC, as I used it to run through Fallout 4 for a bit without any issues. When using with Android, it’s equally flawless and should work in every game that supports controllers — including your favorite emulators.
I can’t speak for how long the battery lasts, but after eight to 10 hours of usage, I still haven’t come close to needing to change out the AA batteries. In other words, this shouldn’t be any worse than any other typical AA-powered controller like the Xbox 360 and Xbox One gamepad.
Unfortunately, this Android game controller is really geared more at tablet users, VR users, and those that want to also use it on the PC, due to the fact that there is no phone holder option. You can certainly get a phone case with a kickstand to pair with this, but that certainly limits its portability. That said, if you want a beautiful looking controller that feels high-quality as hell, you can’t go wrong with the SteelSeries Stratus XL.
Beboncool Bluetooth game controller
This is one of the best Android game controllers because of is its telescopic holder for your Android phone, which makes playing games a lot easier. The device sports two joysticks, a D-pad, four action buttons, start and select buttons, and shoulder triggers.
Beboncool game controller offers up to 10 hours of battery life and comes with a companion app.
It packs a 350mAh battery that promises between eight and 10 hours of use before running out of juice. When that happens, you can get the battery back to 100 percent in around three hours of charging. The device also comes with a free companion app, which shows a list of over 300 compatible games — around half of which are free.
The Beboncool controller has a simple design and comes in black with red accents. It’s not the most premium-looking product on this list, but it still gets the job done. It’s small and light enough for you to easily drop it in a bag, and will turn off automatically when not in use for five minutes. It’s also cheap — you can get it on Amazon for just $26.
8BITDO Zero Wireless Game Controller
How would you like to own a fully functional game controller for your Android phone that’s so small you can put it on your keychain? You can with the 8BITDO Zero Wireless Game Controller. This impressive device weighs just 50 grams, but includes four action buttons, a select button, a start button, a four-way D-pad, and two shoulder trigger buttons.
The battery should last for up to 18 hours on a single charge.
Since this controller has Bluetooth technology, you can use it on any gaming device with compatible hardware, such as a PC, Mac, iPhone, or iPad in addition to Android phones and tablets. It’s 73 mm wide, 35 mm tall and 13.7 mm thick, and is powered by a 180mAh rechargeable battery that is supposed to last up to 18 hours on a single charge. If your phone or tablet still has a micro USB port, you can charge the controller up with its included micro USB connection. It reportedly takes about an hour to charge.
While gamers with big hands could have some issues using the 8BITDO Zero Wireless Game Controller, everyone else should not have any problems playing Android games with controller support with this device. Its small size is easily the best thing about it, but that’s a pretty big deal. Amazon is currently selling it for around $20.
8BITDO SNES30 Wireless Bluetooth Controller Dual Classic Joystick
Here’s another product from the Japan-based 8BITDO that we think is pretty cool, especially if you are a long-time gamer, or just one who appreciates some history. The 8BITDO SNES30 Wireless Bluetooth Controller Dual Classic Joystick closely resembles the controller included with the classic Super Nintendo console.
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That means you should be able to play ports of these and many other retro games on Android with a familiar control scheme. It includes four action buttons, a select button, a start button, a four-way D-pad, and two shoulder trigger buttons, all set in the double circle design of the original Super Nintendo gamepad. It has Bluetooth support for wirelessly connecting to your Android phone or gamepad, along with support for PC, Mac, iOS and even the new Nintendo Switch console.
The controller also comes with a micro USB port for charging up its 480mAh battery. It is supposed to last up to 18 hours on a single charge. You can get this trip back in time for your Android device on Amazon for only $30.
Bounabay Android game controller
The last model on our list of the best Android game controllers comes from Bounabay and it’s a bit different. It turns your smartphone into something resembling a portable game console, adding controls to the left and right of the device.
It’s very compact, which makes it easy to take with you on the road. Its battery comes in at 300mAh and promises to last for around 8 hours. The controller is compatible with phones measuring a maximum of 165mm from top to bottom and run Android 4.4 KitKat or higher. It won’t work with iOS devices and isn’t compatible with Fortnite, which may be a dealbreaker for some.
It has all the buttons you’d expect on a game controller including two joysticks, four action buttons, and a D-pad. It also comes with a tool for remapping buttons. The Bounabay Bluetooth game controller will set you back a little more than $40.
Those are five of the best Android game controllers on the market. Are there any others you’d recommend? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments.