Backbone One 2nd Generation Black Usb C Hero Lifestyle
Source: Crackberry

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Best gaming controller for iPhone CrackBerry 2024

Gaming on iPhone has come a LONG way since the Candy Crush days!

With titles like Resident Evil 4, Assassin's Creed Mirage, and Death Stranding making their way to iPhone we are seeing titles coming to iPhone 15 Pro & Max that were previously only playable on current gen consoles.

But swiping on-screen controls never feels as good a a proper graming controller. Fortunately there are lots of good options to choose from. Over the past two years, I have been hands on with about one dozen different controller grips and phone clips with various controllers to try and find the best mobile gaming experience. Based on that, there's one option I recommend above all others.

Best Overall

Backbone One Usb C Gaming Controller Gen

Backbone One (Gen 2)

The best for iPhone 15

For the quality feel, ease of use, and excellent software, the Backbone is an easy choice to recommend. Make sure, though, that you get the USB C version if you have iPhone 15. It's available in white and black. With the included software you can easiliy connect your game's library from services like Game Pass, Steam, Luna, and more.

Best for iPhones with lightning connector

Backbone Gen 1 Lightning

Backbone One

Best for iPhone 14 or older

Make sure to choose the right Backbone for your phone! There are Android models with USB-C, and a new iPhone USB C version. But if you have iPhone 14 or older, you're going to need the version that has the lightning connector.

Razer's best model

Razer Kishi V2 Usb C

Razer Kishi (V2)

Best Backbone alternative

If for whatever reason you don't want a Backbone controller then Razer has a very similar option. Keep in mind that they make a lightning version (iPhone 14 and older) and an "Android" version (USB C). So if you have an iPhone 15/Pro/Max, you'll want to buy the "Android" version since you're gonna need that USB C port.

Backbone knock-off

Leadjoy M1c Iphone Controller Grip

LeadJoy M1C+

Best budget controller

LeadJoy makes a few different gaming accessories including a controller grip that looks very much like the design of the Backbone One. It has a dedicated capture button for screenshots and videos. It also supports attaching magnetic cooling fans if your iPhone gets toasty during a gaming session, but honestly, who has one of those? The price is a little cheaper than Backbone, so if you want to gamble a bit on quality to save a little money, this is an option.

Xbox option

PowerA Moga Mobile Clip 2.0 For Xbox Controller

PowerA MOGA Xbox

Works with Xbox Series X Controllers

If you LOVE the feel of your current Xbox controller but want to use the beautiful screen and harness the power of your iPhone 15 pro for gaming, then PowerA MOGA is a fantastic option. The key with their design compared to others is the dual adjustment dials. These allow you to get just the right distance between the screen and the controller as well as a perfect angle for the display. Plus it's a VERY inexpensive option if you want to see whether you even like hardcore gaming on iPhone before investing in something like a Backbone One.

PlayStation option

Powera Moga Mobile Gaming Clip For Playstation Dualsense And Dualshock Controllers

PowerA MOGA PlayStation

Works with DualSense controllers

For the exact same reasons we suggest this for an Xbox controller clip, we also picked this one for PlayStation fans. The dual adustment dials help you precisely setup the postiion of your screen for how you like it. This model works with PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 controllers. So if you like gaming on your PlayStation controllers and want to add the phone into the mix, this is a solid choice.

Best Overall: Backbone One (2nd Gen)

Straight up, Backbone one is the best choice for a mobile gaming controller. The hardware design is very solid. When your phone is enclosed within the Backbone and you're gripping the controller tightly everything feels very stable. Unlike some competitors where you feel like you might get carried away while gaming and accidentally twist the controller, snapping the USB port off inside your phone, Backbone has a very sturdy uniform feel when you're gaming.

Swapping your phone in and out of this device is very easy. The extendable arms make allow you to quickly get your phone in place, line it up wih the USB C connection, and close it within seconds. A really great feature of Backbone is that with various sizes of included bumpers, you may actually be able to use your phone while it's still in the case. Taking off your case doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but once you have the conveneince of leaving it on when you're going from phone to game mode, it's very nice.

Backbone One Main Menu Settings
Source: CrackBerry

The software that comes with your Backbone One is top-notch. Your controller comes with a one month free trial. But after that you'll have to subscribe for $39.99 a year. The best part of the subscription service is the way the Backbone software It organizes your games library from a huge number of services (Apple Arcade, Xbox Game Pass, Steam, Geforce Now, Luna, even the Google Play Pass if you've got one). However, if you're mostly playing in Steam or Game Pass, it's not that big of a deal to just open those apps rather than use Backbone's unified system. Also within the app you can find your captured photos and videos, calibrate your controls, are remap your buttons.

Pros:

  • Solid design
  • Includes spacers for precise fitting
  • Supports certain cases
  • Software is excellent

Cons:

  • Software requires subscription (after free trial)

Best Overall

Backbone One Usb C Gaming Controller Gen

Backbone One (Gen 2)

The best for iPhone 15

For the quality feel, ease of use, and excellent software, the Backbone is an easy choice to recommend. Make sure, though, that you get the USB C version if you have iPhone 15. It's available in white and black. With the included software you can easiliy connect your game's library from services like Game Pass, Steam, Luna, and more.

Best for iPhones with lightning connector

Backbone Gen 1 Lightning

Backbone One

Best for iPhone 14 or older

Make sure to choose the right Backbone for your phone! There are Android models with USB-C, and a new iPhone USB C version. But if you have iPhone 14 or older, you're going to need the version that has the lightning connector.

Razer's best model

Razer Kishi V2 Usb C

Razer Kishi (V2)

Best Backbone alternative

If for whatever reason you don't want a Backbone controller then Razer has a very similar option. Keep in mind that they make a lightning version (iPhone 14 and older) and an "Android" version (USB C). So if you have an iPhone 15/Pro/Max, you'll want to buy the "Android" version since you're gonna need that USB C port.

Backbone knock-off

Leadjoy M1c Iphone Controller Grip

LeadJoy M1C+

Best budget controller

LeadJoy makes a few different gaming accessories including a controller grip that looks very much like the design of the Backbone One. It has a dedicated capture button for screenshots and videos. It also supports attaching magnetic cooling fans if your iPhone gets toasty during a gaming session, but honestly, who has one of those? The price is a little cheaper than Backbone, so if you want to gamble a bit on quality to save a little money, this is an option.

Xbox option

PowerA Moga Mobile Clip 2.0 For Xbox Controller

PowerA MOGA Xbox

Works with Xbox Series X Controllers

If you LOVE the feel of your current Xbox controller but want to use the beautiful screen and harness the power of your iPhone 15 pro for gaming, then PowerA MOGA is a fantastic option. The key with their design compared to others is the dual adjustment dials. These allow you to get just the right distance between the screen and the controller as well as a perfect angle for the display. Plus it's a VERY inexpensive option if you want to see whether you even like hardcore gaming on iPhone before investing in something like a Backbone One.

PlayStation option

Powera Moga Mobile Gaming Clip For Playstation Dualsense And Dualshock Controllers

PowerA MOGA PlayStation

Works with DualSense controllers

For the exact same reasons we suggest this for an Xbox controller clip, we also picked this one for PlayStation fans. The dual adustment dials help you precisely setup the postiion of your screen for how you like it. This model works with PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 controllers. So if you like gaming on your PlayStation controllers and want to add the phone into the mix, this is a solid choice.

Bottom line

We think Backbone absolutely crushes it in the smartphone gaming controller space.

Most of the quality controllers in this space are around the $100 mark. If you want to splurge and add the subscription to connect your existing gaming services/libraries (Luna, Steam, Game Pass) then adding on the $40 annual membership is a nice-to-have feature. But the Backbone doesn't rely on it's software to make it good, which is why we can confidentally recommend it whether or not you use Backbone Plus.

Backbone One Xbox Game Pass Menu
Source: CrackBerry

In our review, we noted that the comfort and quality totally justify the $100 price tag. Playing Resident Evil 4 on iPhone using Backbone is a pure joy!

Having said that, if you're new to gaming on iPhone and want to test the waters first, then the PowerA MOGA options are definitely the best clip-on controller mounts for iPhone. This is because you can really dial in the perfect angle for your phone because of the dual adjustment points.

Gaming on Mobile got a whole lot more interesting since the release of iPhone 15 Pro and Max. With the screen quality on flagship phones having such high refersh rates and beautiful aesthetics, there's a lot of appeal to gaming on your phone. And with the right controller grip the experience can be even better.

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