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One of the best mobile gaming controllers now supports Android phones
The Backbone One is shedding its iOS exclusivity, which is good news for Android users
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Backbone One
🤖 The Backbone One has been re-released for Android devices
🎉 The mobile gaming controller is one of the most popular phone peripherals
📱 It’s packed with features and makes prolonged mobile gaming sessions actually viable
💸 But it will cost you a pretty penny at $99.99
The Backbone One mobile gaming controller made quite a splash when it launched for iPhones a couple of years ago, and has now finally hopped over to Android devices with a fresh release.
The slimline portable gamepad has the features of a traditional controller but is designed to wrap around a mobile phone. Instead of connecting over Bluetooth, it plugs directly into your mobile device. Up until now, it’s only been compatible with the iPhone’s Lightning port, but the new Backbone One for Android is built with USB-C devices in mind.
According to Backbone, the controller is compatible with all Android phones with a USB-C port that are running Android 8.0 or higher, but mentions the Google Pixel 7 and Samsung S22 series by name. Now might be a good time to take a gander at all the Samsung Black Friday deals to bag yourself a bargain.
Paired with Xbox Cloud Gaming, Microsoft’s gaming streaming service that’s included in all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions, or Nvidia GeForce Now, the Backbone One lets you play triple-A games on your phone using tactile thumbsticks and inputs. It’s certainly more practical than trying to play some of the best Xbox Series X games using cumbersome (and usually irritating) touch controls and actually makes long-term gaming on your phone viable.
Since it doesn’t connect over Bluetooth but plugs directly into your phone, the lag is pretty minimal. Its collapsable middle strut means it takes up little space in a bag, and its headphone jack lets you play without annoying everyone around you. You can even use it as a standalone controller by connecting it to a PC, Mac or iPad, and while it doesn’t need charging (because it runs off the battery of your phone) passthrough charging lets you juice up your device while using the controller.
It’s also got a feature-rich companion app that lets you record gameplay, launch games, and join parties. You probably won’t use it much considering Xbox Game Pass has Xbox Live features built-in, but it’s a nice addition.
Coming in at $99.99, the Backbone One definitely isn’t cheap. An Xbox Series X|S controller will cost you $59.99 and a DualSense, with all its fancy haptic and adaptive trigger support, only $69.99. The Backbone One is aimed at enthusiasts who want to take their cloud gaming library on the go but don’t want to shell out on a dedicated cloud gaming handheld like the Logitech G Cloud.
Backbone recently released an official PS5 version of the Backbone One for iPhone. It features all the same gubbins as the original, letting you stream games from your PS5 or PS4 directly to your phone. It also boasts that all-important PlayStation button scheme. It hasn’t made it to our list of the best PS5 accessories just yet but it’s handy if you’re desperate to play your Sony console on the go.
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