Best Old Gen Android Bluetooth Controllers: for the thrift shoppers
Remember back when portable handheld consoles were all the rage? Consoles like the Nintendo Gameboy, Sony’s PSP, and even the Sega Game Gear were remarkably successful. These days most of these handheld consoles have started to out, especially in 2022. That is partly due to the rise of mobile gaming.
Android gaming has become significantly advanced in recent times. Phones have gotten much more capable in 2022, and you can always have a digital library of games in your pocket. Casual games like Candy Crush may have dominated for a long time due to hardware limitations, but Android phones are now capable of running gorgeous graphics like Pubg, Asphalt 9, Tekken, and the handful of highly acclaimed MOBAs out there.
So if Android is becoming a serious gaming platform, then serious gamers need better controls. Touch controls just don’t cut if for a majority of players. So in this list, we’re going to highlight the best game controllers that have Bluetooth support, and are compatible with Android for gaming.
1. SteelSeries Stratus Duo
Best Overall Value
- Comfortable grip
- Quick and easy pairing
- Rechargeable 20+ hour battery life
- Phone clip sold separately
- Lacks haptic feedback
Connection: 2.4Ghz Wireless, Bluetooth 4.1 | Haptic Feedback: None | Compatibility: Windows and Android | Power: Rechargeable Lithium-ion (20+ Hours) | Weight: 245g
The SteelSeries Stratus Duo is reliable, has a great battery life, and utilizes amazing build quality. Honestly, there’s not much else you could ask for. The highlight here is definitely the amount of comfort it has. The Stratus Duo feels great in the hand, and it makes every other controller out there look bad.
Unlike other controllers, it has a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery. Most controllers out there have replaceable batteries, which means that you’ll be running around looking for a pair of batteries quite often. The 20+ hour battery life is a great bonus on top of that.
It works with most games out there, and it includes a wireless USB dongle so you could pair it with your PC as well. We wish it had some sort of haptic feedback, but that’s just minor nitpicking if you consider the price. The buttons are pretty responsive as well, and they have a good feel to them.
Feature Packed Controller Connection: 2.4Ghz Wireless, Bluetooth 4.1 | Haptic Feedback: Dual vibration motors | Compatibility: Windows and Android | Power: Rechargeable Lithium-ion (18 Hours) | Weight: 521g
2. GameSir G4s
Feature Packed Controller
Connection: 2.4Ghz Wireless, Bluetooth 4.1 | Haptic Feedback: Dual vibration motors | Compatibility: Windows and Android | Power: Rechargeable Lithium-ion (18 Hours) | Weight: 521g
The GameSir G4s is a full-featured Bluetooth controller at an affordable price. It has Android and even Windows support, though iOS support seems to be limited. It has a large battery claims to have around 30 hours of battery life. In reality, it holds up for the most part. If you are a casual gamer, the battery might last a few days till its completely empty. The battery is rechargeable, and a wireless USB dongle is included so you can use it with your PC.
The GameSir G4s has a “mouse mode”, which allows you to play games that don’t really support gamepads. Most importantly, the controller also has an integrated smartphone holder – no clips necessary, the smartphone holder simply lifts up from the middle of the controller.
The backlit buttons are a nice addition, and it adds a bit of flair to the design. The controller is pretty comfortable to use, and the layout is easy enough to understand. The shoulder buttons could also be of better quality, but that’s a minor complaint. If you’re someone who uses the D-pad a lot, you will be better off with a different controller.
Still, it’s hard to overlook just how many features the GameSir G4s brings to the table. It’s a worthy purchase if you can overlook the minor hindrances.
We know it sounds a bit unconventional, but this wired controller for Android actually surprised us a bit. Sure, when it comes to mobile gaming, many people will prefer a wireless controller because they are generally more convenient. However, if you can look past that minor caveat, you can get a great controller in your hands.
The build quality and feel are what surprised us the most. It looks like there was a lot of attention to detail paid in this department. It even has a phone bracket, so you can clip the phone into it. Plug in the USB-C cable into the phone’s charging port and you are good to go. You don’t need to worry about battery life either since it’s a wired controller.
Most games work perfectly fine with this controller, even the emulators. The buttons have a smooth feel to them and are quite responsive. Unfortunately, this controller doesn’t get the D-pad right either. Apart from that, this is a great wired controller.
Most Versatile Connection: 2.4Ghz Wireless, Bluetooth 4.1 | Haptic Feedback: Dual vibration motors | Compatibility: Windows, Android, Nintendo Switch | Power: Rechargeable Lithium-ion (20+ Hours) | Weight: 222g
4. 8bitdo SN30 Pro Plus
Connection: 2.4Ghz Wireless, Bluetooth 4.1 | Haptic Feedback: Dual vibration motors | Compatibility: Windows, Android, Nintendo Switch | Power: Rechargeable Lithium-ion (20+ Hours) | Weight: 222g
8bitdo have made quite the name for themselves, especially in the crowd of retro gaming fans. They started off by making controllers that were similar to those found with the Nintendo NES and SNES, but with an updated modern look. The SN30 Pro + is a major improvement to those already premium controllers.
First off, the D-pad is absolutely incredible unlike a lot of other controllers out there. The buttons are also incredibly responsive and clicky. We’d even go far as to say they are as good as those found on the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. The haptic feedback motors are very strong and satisfying.
If we’re being honest, the only thing holding this one back is the lack of an integrated phone stand and the price. At $50, it’s a bit more expensive compared to most Android controllers out there. But since this one is so versatile, you can use it with your Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, and of course, Android. If you can look past the price, it’s a must buy.
Best Budget Controller Connection: 2.4Ghz Wireless, Bluetooth 4.1 | Haptic Feedback: None | Compatibility: Windows and Android | Power: Rechargeable Lithium-ion (18+ Hours) | Weight: 226g
5. Matricom G-Pad XYBA
Best Budget Controller
Connection: 2.4Ghz Wireless, Bluetooth 4.1 | Haptic Feedback: None | Compatibility: Windows and Android | Power: Rechargeable Lithium-ion (18+ Hours) | Weight: 226g
If you’d like an Xbox-inspired Bluetooth controller for Android gaming, the Matricom G-Pad XYBA is a great choice. It is a highly configurable controller and supports nearly all Android devices. Its sleek black design and large XYBA buttons will make you feel like you’re holding an Xbox controller.
The Matricom G-Pad XYBA is made with high-quality ABS plastic, and also has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. You can also plug in the micro USB cable to continue gaming even on a low battery. Finally, it has a built-in “Android mode” for gaming in VR.
It’s an incredibly compelling value considering the price and the overall quality. However, the buttons feel a bit soft and aren’t the most satisfying. The shoulder buttons could be a bit better, and the D-pad is just passable. Still, if you’re on a tight budget, this is a good choice.
Nostalgic Throwback Connection: 2.4Ghz Wireless, Bluetooth 4.1 | Haptic Feedback: None | Compatibility: Windows and Android | Power: Rechargeable Lithium-ion (18 Hours) | Weight: 245g
6. 8bitdo N30
Connection: 2.4Ghz Wireless, Bluetooth 4.1 | Haptic Feedback: None | Compatibility: Windows and Android | Power: Rechargeable Lithium-ion (18 Hours) | Weight: 245g
For retro gamers, the 8BitDo N30 looks pretty much exactly like an old NES controller (with 2 additional buttons). This adds a sense of nostalgia for playing Nintendo emulators on your Android device – although we didn’t have Bluetooth technology back in the Nintendo days, eh?
It has a lithium battery and USB connectivity. 8BitDo actually manufactures a lot of retro-style controllers, so you may also enjoy their Bluetooth-enabled SNES and Sega Genesis style controllers. They also make a Bluetooth arcade stick, which is really cool for classic fighting games.
The N30 is small and compact, so it’s perfecting for playing on the go. It works great if you want to enjoy all of the Classic NES games on an emulator. It doesn’t have any analog sticks however, as older games on the NES didn’t utilize those. It’s more of a nostalgic buy than anything, but still worth a look.
Mad Catz has a long history of producing quality game controllers, and their Bluetooth-enabled controllers continue this tradition. The C.T.R.L.R has an Xbox-style design, with XYBA buttons and somewhat larger palm grips. Interestingly enough, the controller also has media control buttons along the top, for controlling your music (if you listen to music while gaming). That’s certainly an odd, yet unique and nifty feature.
The C.T.R.L.R has GameSmart / Mouse / PC modes, and comes with an attachable clip for your mobile devices. This controller does have a drawback worth mentioning, however – it does not support wired connections. It has a micro-USB port, but it is only used for firmware updates to the controller. The controller itself operates on two AAA batteries, which can provide up to 40 hours of gameplay. However, its 2020, and most BT controllers have rechargeable internal batteries, so we don’t blame you if you see it as a major flaw.
The grip isn’t exactly the most comfortable but for casual sessions it’s alright. There are a few latency issues here and there, so I wouldn’t use this for more heated gaming sessions.
The Stratus XL is sort of the bigger brother to the Stratus Duo. It’s a bit heavier, but some people might prefer the heft and the size of this compared to the Duo.
The SteelSeries Stratus XL is an exceptional Bluetooth controller. Like other BT controllers on this list, it is fairly reminiscent of an Xbox controller design. One awesome feature is that the controller has Home and Back buttons for Android, which is pretty unique.
The Bluetooth connectivity is stable and reliable. Unfortunately, the controller is powered by two AA batteries, which must be replaced from time to time. On the bright side, you can connect a micro USB wire, but reports vary – Windows 10, for example, seems to recognize it as a generic USB gamepad.
Yet again, we have another mushy and unsatisfying D-pad. It’s confusing as to why these companies just can’t get the D-pad right. Apart from that, people have reported that a few buttons can become unresponsive after rough usage, so keep that in mind.
A Hefty Premium Connection: 2.4Ghz Wireless, Bluetooth 4.1 | Haptic Feedback: Dual Vibration motors | Compatibility: Windows and Android | Power: Rechargeable Lithium-ion (23 Hours) | Weight: 306g
9. Razer Raiju Mobile
A Hefty Premium
Connection: 2.4Ghz Wireless, Bluetooth 4.1 | Haptic Feedback: Dual Vibration motors | Compatibility: Windows and Android | Power: Rechargeable Lithium-ion (23 Hours) | Weight: 306g
Razer is known as a premium gaming accessory brand, making top-end peripherals for serious gamers. Heck, this writer’s Razer Abyssus is still going strong after nearly 10 years of gaming abuse. That really speaks to the level of quality in Razer’s products.
The Razer Raiju is not cheap, be warned – it sells for around $140 currently on Amazon. Why so expensive? Well, the Razer brand-name, first of all. But it is also one of the most highly configurable Bluetooth controllers available. It is also focused on Android gaming, perhaps Razer was hoping you would pair it with their Razer Phone.
In any case, the Razer Raijufeatures a strong, sturdy clip that can comfortably hold larger Android devices. It uses Bluetooth 3.0, but can also use a micro USB for wired mode. There is a lot of customizability here, as you can virtually map any button however you like. The back paddles are something we’ve seen before in other pro controllers for the PS4 and Xbox One.
However, $140 for just a mobile gamepad is as ridiculous as it sounds. However, you can use this with your PC as well. So if you want to go all out, this is it.
If you already own a PS4 controller, which has built-in Bluetooth functionality, the Nyko Smart Clip is a great option. To put it simply, it is a clip-on device for your PS4 controller that holds your phone. Then you use the PS4 controller as a gamepad for your Android games. It honestly doesn’t get more intuitive than that.
There are actually a lot of phone mounts/clips out there for the PS4 controller, but Nyko is the most recognized brand. It’s a tad bit lower on this list because of the fact it’s more of just a clip than an actual Bluetooth controller. However, if you already have a DualShock 4, buying a separate controller for your phone might not make a lot of sense. Just remember that you’ll have to play with a few settings to get the Dualshock 4 working for every game out there.