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Best Controllers for Android Gaming

Updated on May 3, 2014
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Why a Controller for your Android Device?

In the history of gaming, the controls of a video game are often synonymous with a great gaming session. No matter how incredible a game can be, poor controls can lead to much frustration for the player. However, with the advent of smart phones and tablets, touch-based gaming is becoming an unavoidable norm in the video game industry. Touch-based gaming can be intuitive and great for certain games but awful for some, namely classic games. That is why more physical controllers are being produced mobile devices. Even Apple is incorporating support for MFi game controllers for iOS devices.

If you love emulation and playing classic games such as platformers and JRPGs on your Android device, you may experience the mind wrecking experience of controlling via the virtual buttons on screen. Having a physical controller for gaming can provide a different gaming experience. Here is the list of some of the best and top Android gaming controllers available on the market!

MOGA Hero Power / Pro Power

The MOGA Pro Power and Moga Hero Power are updated iterations of the original MOGA Pro (bigger, full sized) and MOGA Mobile (smaller, compact) gamepads respectively.

Both models have a comparatively slimmer profile, improved ergonomics and have a built-in rechargeable battery that can charge your mobile phone while you game (via the micro USB cable). The smaller Moga Hero Power now supports HID as well. The previous iteration of the smaller Moga Mobile did not. Needless to say, the controllers are priced higher with the additional features.

The MOGA Pivot App allows you to play a number of compatible and officially supported titles. However, it is highly recommended to download the Moga Universal Driver from the Play Store, that provides you with infinite possibilities beyond the 'official' titles. Now you can use your controller with any game/app (Read: emulators!). The Pivot App is meant for the entire range of MOGA controllers.

MOGA Pro Mobile Gaming System

The MOGA Pro was widely considered to be the best controller for Android prior to the Hero Power and Pro Power. It can be conveniently attached to your mobile phone (works fine on Galaxy Note series and phablets) with its retractable arm. For larger tablets such as the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10, Power A has decided to include a stand that holds your tablet firmly on a flat surface. Noteworthy features include the dual analog sticks, directional pad, shoulder buttons, full-sized rubber grips, a non-removable rechargeable battery (via USB) and HID mode. The design and handling is very similar to the Xbox 360 controller, albeit being thinner.

MOGA Mobile Gaming System

The MOGA is the younger sibling of the Moga Pro. For those who want a smaller and pocketable version, look no further. It is not only cheaper, smaller and lighter but it cuts short on certain features as well.

The dual analog sticks are slightly flatter and there is no directional pad. There is also no HID mode and the buttons are a far more clicky than the Pro edition. Despite being smaller, it still fits bigger phones rather well, even the Galaxy Note series. However, it does not come with any stands for the tablets. There is also no rechargeable battery built-in and you are required to use two AAA batteries. I used 2 decent AAA batteries and they died at the 16 hour mark.

Despite the qualms and not drawing comparisons to the Pro version, it is really a very decent controller for gaming. It is responsive, slick, well-built and very portable. I also appreciated the 3 free games and faux-leather pouch that they included.

Gametel Portable Games Controller

The Gametel Portable Games Controller simply oozes classic and simplicity when you look at it. It resembles a SNES or NES controller with a modern touch. It is decently sized and is certainly very portable, being just slightly larger than an iPhone 5. The official specifications indicate that the controller can only hold a device with a maximum width of 72 mm. The Note series has a width of 80 mm which means the Gametel Controller will not able to hold the bigger phablets.

The simple design means there is only a single directional pad without dual analogs found in the latest controllers. There is a left and right trigger button though. It also has a rechargeable built-in battery which claims is able to last for about 9 hours.

Due to its basic and no-frills design, it is best suited for gamers who enjoy classic gaming via emulation. In addition to its HID mode, it also comes with an iOS mode which means it should work with the iDevices as well. If you like a minimalist design and a portable controller, the Gametel Controller is an excellent choice.

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The Gameklip

The Gameklip is not a controller but a "klip" or a mounting platform which allows you to attach your Playstation Dualshock controller to your mobile phone or tablet. You will have to download the Sixaxis app from Google Play and obviously buy the controller separately.

The Dualshock controller controls far better than any Android controller in the market despite the bulk and the fact you will have to carry 2 pieces of hardware around (thus defeating the purpose of portability). That said, if you enjoy using your Dualshock controller at home, the Gameklip is an excellent choice being very well-built, sturdy and solid. It is also cheaper than rest of the "real" controller options available.

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Zeemote JS1

The Zeemote JS1 is a quirky looking miniature controller that resembles the Wii Remote controller. It is powered by two AAA batteries with no built-in rechargeable option. However, it is definitely not as comfortable as the Wii Remote or Nunchuck controllers, only offering a single analog stick and 4 buttons. Obviously, there is no motion sensor despite the Wii-mote resemblance. You can use the controller with one or two hands due to the super small size. In fact, it feels more comfortable to use with a single hand. I believe the intention of the creators was single-handed use as well.

The Zeemote JS1 is really quite small so I would only recommend the controller if you do not have large hands or require extreme portability. It is really small so it should it the smallest of all pockets. It is even compatible with the Windows using the Zeekey application (currently in beta).

Do you prefer physical or touch-based controls?

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    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

      It seems I'm the only one so far who voted for this poll! I never knew that there are such controllers. I love to play games on my smartphone and tablets but I'm struggling with the touch screen. I'm glad they bring back some of the old school gaming style.

    • logoquiz profile image

      Missy 4 years ago from London

      wow! Had no clue these controllers for phones existed! Such a good idea! Thanks for the review, glad I stumbled upon this. voted up.