Which gamepad to choose to play on Android and iPhone in 2023?

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Whether it’s for playing Fortnite, using an emulator, or the latest game streaming services, a controller is essential for proper gaming on an Android smartphone or iPhone. Small selection of the best controllers available.

The best gamepads for Android and iPhone smartphones

the safe bet

8 /10

Microsoft Xbox Series Wireless Controller

  • Versatility and universal compatibility
  • manufacturing quality
  • 3.5mm prize sack
  • still runs on batteries

the alternative

Duo SteelSeries Stratus

  • Bluetooth or Wi-Fi wireless connection
  • simplicity and sobriety
  • Rechargeable battery

There are more and more mobile games. multi platformas Fortnite. Unfortunately, the handling of an FPS (or certain other types of games) on a touch surface is still frankly lacking. Add to that an explosion of game streaming services on smartphones… and you’ll better understand why the controller is becoming more essential than ever for those who want to seriously game on the best possible smartphone.

Do you have a good gaming smartphone? Wondering what are the best controllers for Android and iOS phones? Discover our selection now.

If you’re more of a computer gamer, we also have a guide dedicated to PC drivers. Do you have a Nintendo Switch and need additional controllers? You will find what you are looking for in our recommendations for the best controls for the hybrid console.

  • Integrated smartphone holder
  • ergonomic buttons
  • 23 hours of autonomy

Available in €149 at Fnac

Razer’s reputation is well established in terms of gaming peripherals, the firm has released a mobile version of its Raiju controller. It differs from other models by the presence of a support intended to accommodate your smartphone to be connected with or without cable.

Razer presents its many buttons and its quality, and we can trust them on that. These can also be easily reassigned via the Razer app. Finally, there is the ability to adjust the stroke of the triggers for greater responsiveness. All in a beautiful box.

Its biggest flaw is its price: launched at 149 euros, it is now around 130 euros, but it is still a lot for a smartphone controller. Also note that it is only compatible with Android. If you have an iPhone, go your way.

where to buy the

Razer Raiju mobile at the best price?

8 /10

Razer Kishi 2020 (Android)

  • good ergonomics
  • Low latency direct connection
  • Charge phone via controller

Available in 89 € in baker

If the concept of controllers on the edges of the phone appeals to you, the Razer Kishi might interest you. As long as you respect the maximum dimensions (145.3 – 163.7 mm (height) x 68.2 – 78.1 mm (width) x 7.0 – 8.8 mm (thickness)), your smartphone will come, for Therefore, wedged between the two parts of the controller.

Razer Kishi - Full Test
The Kishi controller is compatible with most smartphones // Source: Edouard Patout for Frandroid

If comfort is there, it must be specified that the machine is designed above all for titles that support pads. It is also perfectly compatible with the various streaming services. Within the regret radius though, we noticed plastics that deserved to be better given the price charged. Find our complete test of the Razer Kishi.

where to buy the

Razer Kishi 2020 (Android) at the best price?

This first version was followed in 2022 by a second: the Razer Kishi V2. However, this one does not reinvent hot water compared to its big sister. It is certainly more compact, but also more expensive. The quality of the buttons still lacks a bit of care, especially considering the price. But if you have the means and are looking for a controller especially dedicated to the smartphone, don’t hesitate.

Find our Razer Kishi V2 test to make up your own mind.

where to buy the

Razer Kishi V2 2022 (Android) at the best price?

8 /10

Microsoft Xbox Series Wireless Controller

  • Versatility and universal compatibility
  • manufacturing quality
  • 3.5mm prize sack
  • still runs on batteries

Available in €59 on Amazon

If there is a controller that has had a great impact in the last fifteen years, it is the Xbox 360 controller. If it has not revolutionized anything, it has established itself as the industry standard meter, both in terms of ergonomics and compatibility. And the new version of the controller that accompanies the launch of Xbox Series X is no exception to the rule.

The new Xbox wireless controller // Source: Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

Microsoft doesn’t change a winning formula and so this controller retains the shape of its predecessor, however, with the measurements slightly revised downward. Microsoft has obviously learned from its higher-end Elite Series 2 controller, as we found a more effective grip and a redesigned D-pad. Triggers can also vibrate, but the feature is not active on smartphones.

The highlight of this controller is its near-universal compatibility: it works seamlessly on Windows, iOS, Android, Chromecast, or even your Nvidia Shield TV. It just won’t work on PS5… If you have the budget, we can’t do better right now, and as a bonus, you’ll have plenty of color options. And if you’re curious, find our Xbox Wireless Controller test.

Note that a revision with a nicer rubberized grip is available in a 20th Anniversary Edition.

where to buy the

Microsoft Xbox Series wireless controller at the best price?

  • Android and iOS compatibility
  • Soft touch
  • original design

Available in €694 at Fnac

Arriving with the PlayStation 5, the PlayStation DualSense controller is a relatively major evolution in Sony’s family of controllers. If you keep the same key layout scheme, this wireless controller takes on a more modern and, admittedly, a little more Xbox-inspired.

The ergonomics of the DualSense controller, the good idea of ​​the PS5
The ergonomics of the DualSense controller, the good idea of ​​the PS5 // Source: Frandroid – Arnaud GELINEAU

In practice, this pad is more comfortable than its predecessor, thanks to its larger dimensions and fuller curves. Like the Xbox controller, the plastic is also slightly textured, making it easier to grip, especially if your hands get sweaty quickly. Build quality is also impeccable overall. The buttons change very little, with a slightly softer feel. The biggest advance, though, adaptive triggers, won’t be used outside of the PS5.

On the other hand, the autonomy is better than that of the PS4 pad, since one lasts a dozen hours, which is not exceptional either.

The question of connectivity remains. In addition to USB-C, it can be connected to an Android smartphone via Bluetooth. No problem on iPhone either – with iOS 14.5, full support has been added.

If it’s still a bit less comfortable than its Microsoft competitor, PlayStation DualSense is an entirely possible option for mobile gaming if you prefer its form, or if you simply already own a PS5. Too bad, however, that it is so expensive.

where to buy the

Sony PlayStation DualSense at the best price?

  • Bluetooth or Wi-Fi wireless connection
  • simplicity and sobriety
  • Rechargeable battery

Available in €69 at baker

Smartphone controllers with symmetrical sticks are not legion. However, SteelSeries has managed to deliver a product that meets this demand with the Stratus Duo. Compatible with Android smartphones (as well as PCs and Chromebooks), the SteelSeries Stratus duo is one of the best Xbox controller alternatives for smartphone gaming.

It has two joysticks at the bottom and a directional pad. Its 4 LEDs allow you to know the battery level, or indicate your player number if you are playing a multiplayer game. The Stratus Duo has a rechargeable battery and is Wi-Fi compatible (via supplied USB adapter) for lower latency PC gaming. Please note that it works with Android, but not with iOS.

where to buy the

SteelSeries Stratus Duo at the best price?

  • affordable price
  • simple and efficient
  • most original design
  • less comfortable grip

Available in €47 on Amazon

As we said in our guide to the best PC controllers, but also the best controllers for Switch, we have a soft spot for 8Bitdo controllers. The firm is in the habit of updating several iconic models of our old home consoles, but with modern technologies. On the SN30 Pro model, therefore, there are sticks and triggers, plus Bluetooth for wireless connection.

This is a good option for those who love old world designs but want to enjoy modern gaming. They all work with Android, but also with PC or even with Switch. However, they are not compatible with iOS. It is also a generally less expensive option.

If you want to know more about this type of controller, we tested the SN30 Pro+ from 8bitdo.

There are many versions of 8Bitdo controllers. We really like the version inspired by Super Nes at 48 euros.

where to buy the

8BitDo SN30 Pro at the best price?

What about cheap Android controllers?

You’ll find plenty of cheap smartphone controllers on Amazon, produced by unknown brands, often direct from Shenzhen. In general, these products are of poor quality, and will only be possible if you are looking for an extra controller, to play from time to time on your phone. We recommend that you pay an extra twenty euros for more reliable and durable controllers.

Choosing the right smartphone driver

Bluetooth or USB handle?

Both technologies have their pros and cons. The Bluetooth of a wireless controller has for him simplicity and the ability to get away from his phone a bit. In exchange for your cable-to-leg, a USB controller avoids Bluetooth-induced latency. A point to keep in mind if you mainly plan to play fast titles or require perfect respect for timing.

How do I map gamepad buttons to controllers?

iOS takes care of everything, if you have an iPhone you don’t have to do anything (whether it works or not). On Android smartphone, the Octopus app can help you assign keys to specific commands.

What if I want to stream games?

With the arrival of Xbox Game Pass or GeForce Now on smartphones, investing in a controller is a very good idea. The vast majority of titles are designed to be played on the pad. Among the current services, it is especially Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming service that catches our eye. With a very extensive catalog and availability on all platforms, including smartphones, it seems set to establish itself as the Netflix of video games.

If you’ve already bought your PC games, feel free to take a look at Nvidia’s GeForce Now service, which is also very efficient. For a more complete description, feel free to read our archive on the subject.

Do you want to join a community of enthusiasts? Our Discord welcomes you, it is a place of mutual help and passion for technology.

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