Foldables are quickly becoming a larger share of the mobile phone market, and the size of their screens makes them excellent for gaming. Though built-in touch controls may be difficult to use depending on the game, what works best is a good mobile controller paired up with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4.
It may be a large phone, but there are still several wonderful options out there when looking for a controller to use with it.
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 has a 6.2-inch screen when folded and a 7.6-inch screen when unfolded. Regardless of how you use it, its full length — whether folded or unfolded — reaches 6.11 inches. That's the important number to consider when trying to find a mobile controller that supports it.
The best controllers for your Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
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The MG-X Pro has quickly found itself near the top of almost every mobile controller roundup for a good reason: it sports a near-perfect build with textured grips that mimic traditional console controllers. With a secure spring-loaded fit and a Bluetooth connection, it's almost like it was designed for the Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Best for tabletop play
After testing out PowerA's Moga XP7-X Plus, we found it to be an excellent mobile controller with a similar build to the MG-X Pro. Where it differs is that it comes with a small tabletop stand that can be used to prop up the phone, should you prefer to play games that way. If not, its body can still stretch to fit the Z Fold 4 like any other phone.
Best compact controller
The Gamesir X2 removes the traditional controller grip design for one that more closely resembles the Joy-Cons on the Nintendo Switch. The thumbsticks by themselves are a little too small but thankfully, GameSir includes larger ones in the box that pop on top of the existing ones, fixing that problem immediately. Both the Bluetooth and USB models work with the Z Fold 4 so you can save a few bucks by going the wired route.
Best for PlayStation fans
If you already have a PS5, then you have one of the best controllers lying around somewhere in your home. Despite being designed for a console, it makes a great mobile controller as well, and it works with any Android system running Android 12 or later. You'll probably want to get a stand for your Galaxy Z Fold 4 while using the DualSense, but it's a small concession.
Best for Xbox fans
For Xbox users out there, it doesn't get better than the Xbox Series X controller. Its concave, eight-directional D-pad works well for platformers, and its textured thumbsticks ensure that you can use it for hours on end without any issues. Like the DualSense, you'll probably want to get a separate phone stand if you choose to use this controller for the Z Fold 4.
Best tabletop stand
This isn't a controller, but it's an excellent companion accessory for the Fold 4, especially when gaming. SUPCASE already makes some of the best smartphone accessories in the business, and that includes the portable stand. It fits devices ranging from 4 to 13 inches and can adjust up to 270 degrees depending on how you want to view the screen. Considering it's compatible with such a wide range of devices, it's easy to recommend for the Fold 4.
Most mobile controllers aren't designed with foldables in mind
Foldable smartphones are still relatively new to the scene, and while more companies are making them for consumers, accessories aren't always being designed with foldables in mind. Likewise, foldables aren't designed with controllers in mind, and that can make for some awkward use cases with mobile controllers that are technically compatible.
Take the Razer Kishi V2, for instance: Because of its USB-C connection and the fact that the USB-C port on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is on the right side, using it would mean that you're essentially playing with the entire bottom half of the phone hanging out of the controller.
I tried this very thing with the Kishi V2 when I reviewed it, as you can see in the photo above, and it's quite comical to try to use. On the flip side, the GameSir X2 USB model works perfectly with the Z Fold 4 because the USB port is on the left side (pictures below).
In fact, you'll find the GameSir X2 is the best Nintendo Switch-like experience as its controllers have a very similar shape to the Switch's Joy-Cons. The positives here are that they are thicker and have a contoured grip — unlike Nintendo's Joy-Cons — and the joysticks are 100% better than the awful ones Nintendo uses on those controllers.
The GameSir X2 doesn't have analog triggers; they're just digital buttons placed on the top. This is great in some cases — when playing games like Fortnite or The Division Resurgence, for instance — as buttons for triggers make it simple to press quickly instead of having to apply pressure to an analog trigger and pull it all the way down.
When it comes to controllers for the Galaxy Z Fold 4, you can't go wrong with the Nacon MG-X Pro or the PowerA Moga XP7-X Plus. We've spent quite a while with both controllers and found them to be some of the best around. They also just so happen to support Bluetooth connections and have a wide enough build to fit the Z Fold 4.
Keep in mind that not all mobile games will feature controller support, but for those that do, it's well worth the money to invest in one. You'll find that plenty of the best Android controllers use either USB-C or Bluetooth connections. When it comes to finding the best for the Galaxy Z Fold 4, it'll commonly be Bluetooth.
What makes the best mobile gaming controller?
Since we already covered what makes a great controller for the large form factor of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 specifically, I wanted to touch on what makes a great mobile gaming controller overall. In total, it's about two main things: comfort and functionality.
Comfort can mean several different things on a gaming controller. Is the controller large or small enough for your hands? Does it have a grippy surface to make it easy to hold onto if your hands get sweaty? How do the buttons feel? Are they clicky or mushy? Does the controller have analog or digital triggers? How is the D-Pad designed? Are the joysticks tall enough, or do they have enough travel to be useful?
All of these questions are taken into consideration when we review a gaming controller and eventually provide a recommendation to buy it or not. Just because a big brand name makes a nice-looking controller doesn't mean it's automatically going to be good. The Razr Kishi V2, for instance, has a poor joystick design and hard-to-reach trigger buttons, even though it's the follow-up to one of the most beloved mobile gaming controllers.
Second, you'll need to think about functionality. All mobile gaming controllers connect with a phone and support basic button inputs via the Android operating system, but not all connection types are created equal. USB is the best connection type because it powers the controller while you play and provides the fastest lag-free input.
Bluetooth controllers are more convenient and will work with a wider range of phones, but Bluetooth isn't exactly the most reliable connection in the world. Being wireless also means that there's a slight input delay, which some people might be able to perceive better than others.
Lastly, a Bluetooth gaming controller needs to be charged by itself, and there's nothing more annoying than going to play your favorite mobile game only to find the controller is dead.
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- Matt ShoreFreelance Writer