Best Game Controllers for Android Android Central 2020
Mobile gaming on your phone often offers the flexibility of gaming everywhere just using touchscreen controls. But let's be real — there's nothing better than gaming with a trusty controller in hand. The best option is the Razer Raiju Mobile which is a premium Bluetooth controller that will let you play all your favorite old-school games using emulators or the best Android games that support Bluetooth controls.
- Best Overall: Razer Raiju Mobile
- Best Value: SteelSeries Stratus Duo
- Best with AA Batteries: SteelSeries Stratus XL
- Best Retro Controller: 8BitDo SN30
- Best Controller for Customization: SCUF Prestige
- Best Gaming Grip: GameSir F1 Grip
Best Overall: Razer Raiju Mobile
When you consider everything that the Razer Raiju Mobile brings to the table — dual Bluetooth and wired connections, four multifunction buttons that can be remapped to fit your needs, hair-trigger mode for both left and right triggers, and a phone mount with a 60-degree tilt for comfortable viewing angles — the only thing that might give you pause is the price.
The Razer Raiju Mobile is a pro controller that feels perfectly balanced in your hand, even with a phone mounted. That makes this a great controller for extended gaming sessions, as does the 20+ hour battery life and the extra-long braided USB-A to USB-C cable that you can use to charge the controller as you game. The only issue I've had with it is sometimes the grip will block the volume controls or, in worst cases, put pressure on the power button.
Released as a premium accessory for the Razer Phone 2, the Raiju Mobile also works with two Android phones at once. That's one of my favorite features about this controller; there's a physical switch that lets you pair and connect to two different phones. It's perfect if you intend to share this controller with other gamers.
- Comfortable grip
- Easy to pair over Bluetooth
- Works with two phones at once
- Includes hair-trigger locks
- Comes with cables for wired connection and charging
- Works flawlessly for any app that supports Bluetooth controls
- Can't custom map buttons
- Phone grip may block access to volume controls
A pro controller for serious mobile gamers
The Raiju Mobile is the most complete Bluetooth gaming controller you can buy for mobile gaming.
Best Value SteelSeries Status Duo
SteelSeries has been delivering the best Bluetooth gaming controllers for Android, and the Stratus Duo is its latest and greatest. Once again, the company has designed a comfortable controller to hold. This time it's with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and a Wi-Fi dongle that allows you to just as easily connect it to a PC to play your favorite Steam games.
The Duo has replaced the Stratus XL as my favorite SteelSeries controller for Android. To start, the controller has been redesigned to be more ergonomic, especially around the top. The shoulder buttons are comfortable and the only thing missing is a phone mount (which is sold separately). Best of all, the rechargeable lithium-ion battery means I'm never left searching for AA batteries like I was with the XL.
- Rechargeable battery
- Designed for comfort
- Pairs reliably fast every time
- Easily switch between Android and PC
- Connects via Bluetooth or Wi-FI with a USB adapter
- No haptic feedback
- Phone holder costs extra
For those that bounce between Android and PC gaming
The Stratus Duo is a refined and comfortable controller that also connected to PCs with the included USB dongle.
Best with AA Batteries SteelSeries Stratus XL
The SteelSeries Stratus XL is still a great controller, but only if you don't mind dealing with batteries. The design is a good mix between the ergonomic build of an Xbox One controller and the superior button and thumbstick layout of Sony's DualShock controllers. It's a great combination that offers the best of both worlds.
Android users will recognize the three navigation buttons in the middle as the old Android navigation buttons, which are used to swap and close apps while the controller is connected. Above that are the LED notifications that give you visual cues for the controller's paired status along with battery life.
Of course, while you'll initially save some money with this controller, you will need to stock up on AA batteries. You can expect up to 40 hours of battery life as long as you remember to switch off the controller when you're done.
- Great value from a trusted brand
- Comfortable design and layout
- Dedicated home and back button for Android navigation
- Up to 40 hours of battery life on two AAs
- Batteries can get costly
- Phone holder sold separately
Best with AA Batteries
Stock up on those AAs
The SteelSeries Stratus XL is still a great pick for Android gamers, a well-designed controller at a great price.
Best Retro Controller 8BitDo SN30
If your childhood involved spending countless hours playing SNES, the 8bitDo SN30 is going to give you all the nostalgic feels.
The iconic Nintendo controller design is updated with Bluetooth connectivity that lets the 8BitDo SN30 work with Android, Windows, macOS, Raspberry Pi, and even the Nintendo Switch. Such versatility will be especially valuable if you happen to have a collection of retro games you love to revisit. Not so good is the lack of a dedicated power switch or button for pairing — instead, you use the Start and Select buttons, and that can result in unpairing by accident.
8BitDo does a great job of delivering all the modern features we've come to expect from a quality wireless controller. Not only do you get the familiarity and comfort of the beloved SNES controller but it's also available in all the classic colors of the GameBoy Color, which is perfect if you're planning to buy a couple for multiplayer. Everything is powered by a rechargeable 480mAh battery, and pairing and resetting are accomplished using the Select button.
- Wireless SNES controller
- Well-built with tactile D-pad and buttons
- Available in nostalgic color options
- Compatible with Android and more
- No dedicated switches or buttons for power or pairing
- No thumbsticks
Best Retro Controller
The perfect pairing for retro gamers
This is the wireless SNES controller you dreamt about as a kid. Get your game on with this Bluetooth controller for playing classic platformers and RPGs.
Best Controller for Customization SCUF Prestige
SCUF is a third-party accessory brand that has carved itself out as one of the leading controller makers for eSports, and the SCUF Prestige is an excellent example of how. It's a premium, customizable Xbox One Elite-style controller that is designed for maximum comfort and to shorten response times for competitive gamers.
Everything here is about being quick, accurate, and accessible. You can customize the triggers on the fly from a full pull through to the shortest of taps, which is ideal for shooters. The front plate and thumbsticks can also be swapped out and customized with your favorite colors.
While this is primarily a controller designed for Xbox One and PC gaming, it also works just fine with Android since it connects via Bluetooth. It's probably overkill for most mobile games out there, but it's a great pick up if you also love to game on Xbox One or PC.
- Premium controller used by eSports competitors
- Also works with Xbox One and PC
- Adjustable triggers and mapped paddle controls
- Complete customization
- Lightweight for extended gaming sessions
- Up to 30 hours on a fully charged battery
- High asking price
- Overkill for most mobile games
- Uses micro-USB for charging
Best Controller for Customization
A controller designed to be used by pro gamers
Want to use the same equipment that eSports gamers use? SCUF has you covered with this fully customizable wireless controller.
Best Gaming Grip GameSir F1 Grip
In theory, any controller that offers physical buttons has to be better than touchscreen controls, but this is not always the case. I've dealt with plenty of frustrating Bluetooth connectivity issues or laggy inputs when all I want is a more comfortable thing to hold in my hand than my flat smartphone.
That's where I've come to appreciate the GameSir F1 Game Grip. You can use it on practically any sized phone to provide your palms with something to rest on. It takes a little while to get used to where your thumbs naturally fall holding the grip versus just holding your phone. But it does wonders if you frequently deal with hand fatigue after playing games for multiple hours.
It also includes a conductive joystick that rests on the screen and lets you control your character's movement with a more tactile response. It's a simple snap to change its orientation or remove it altogether. And the grip can also be used as a kickstand for watching media or gaming with a Bluetooth controller.
- Compatible with pretty much any phone
- No pairing or compatibility issues
- Conductive joystick works well sometimes
- Adds much-needed comfort
- Compact and affordable
- Conductive joystick is awkward with other games
Best Gaming Grip
Just get a grip!
The GameSir F1 Grip gives you a bit more to hold onto while you enjoy your favorite mobile games.
The value of a Bluetooth controller for gaming will continue to grow with game streaming services like Google's Stadia and Microsoft's xCloud, letting us do more gaming on the go. If you don't already have a premium Bluetooth controller, you should look at something like the Razer Raiju Mobile, which is part of Razer's big push into the mobile gaming scene.
The Raiju Mobile lets you keep two devices paired simultaneously with a wired connection also supported, at least when using the Razer Phone 2. It's perfectly balanced and supports phones of all sizes with the adjustable phone mount. You also get premium features like physical switches for short-travel triggers and four customizable buttons you can remap with the Raiju Mobile app.
The Raiju Mobile is my preferred Bluetooth controller, but there are also great options available from SteelSeries, 8BitDo, and SCUF. There's also a staggering amount of cheap controllers being hocked online. But anything priced under $30 is bound to have issues with build quality or Bluetooth connectivity. So, I've kept our list short with just the very best options you should consider.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Marc Lagace is the Apps and Games Editor at Android Central. He's been a gamer for most of his life and actually took a university course on Video Game Theory — which he aced! You can reach out to him on Twitter @spacelagace.
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