I’m a big fan of the Backbone One gaming controller for iPhone. In a pinch, I’ve used it to play games on my laptop too. There’s some good news for Android users who have been wondering what all the fuss is about: an Android version of Backbone One is here.
Along with native mobile games such as Call of Duty: Mobile, Diablo Immortal and Apex Legends Mobile, you can use the controller to play games that you stream from your console or PC. It also supports cloud gaming services such as Xbox Cloud Gaming, GeForce Now and Amazon Luna — and Google Stadia in case you still happen to have some games there.
You have the option to play games on PC, Mac or iPad with it by connecting your Backbone One to one of those devices via a USB-C cable. Backbone also recently debuted a PlayStation-branded version of its controller, which hopefully means that there will be a way to access PlayStation titles through cloud gaming on mobile soon.
Elsewhere, the Backbone App is now available for Android on the Google Play Store. It offers swift access to games on multiple services, the ability to record and share gameplay and a place where you can party up with your friends.
In my experience, the Backbone One is the best mobile gaming controller around (disclaimer: Backbone sent me a unit a while back. I gave it away and bought my own one.). I don’t typically enjoy using touchscreen controls to play games, unless they only need simple inputs like taps and swipes. So, a controller like the Backbone One can come in very handy for gaming on the go.
The two sides of the controller are connected by an extendable bridge. You slide that open, slot your phone into the USB-C connector and close the other side to hold your phone in place. The controller runs off your phone’s power and using a physical connection rather than Bluetooth reduces input lag.
At least on the iPhone version, the Backbone One controls feel comfortable and responsive. It’s a good size and weight. The collapsible bridge means it won’t take up much space in your bag either. I do like the fact that there’s a proper headphone jack as well as passthrough charging. The Android model looks just like the iOS one, albeit with a USB-C connector instead of a Lightning one.
Like the iPhone version, Backbone One for Android costs $100. Backbone says that orders placed now will arrive in time for Christmas. The company added that Backbone One is compatible with most Android phones from manufacturers such as Samsung and Google.
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