Even budget Android phones these days are capable of pushing PSP emulation, and high-end phones are running open-world games like Fortnite and Genshin Impact. This makes connecting a gamepad to your Android phone enticing. Adding a gamepad will greatly improve input accuracy and viewability. Here are the best gamepad for Android you should get to turn your Android phone into a gaming device.
What Makes a Good Android Gamepad?
The main three things to look for in an Android gamepad are
- compatibility with your device
- great build quality,
- and mapping software.
An Android gamepad with all three of these things is a rare gift, and we’ve narrowed down the best options that hit those critical points below.
There is an alternative worth considering, though, especially if you’re using a tablet – a regular Bluetooth-enabled gamepad!
If you’re on an Android phone and have an Xbox One/Xbox Series controller, we also recommend considering a phone-to-controller clip! It’ll be a little weighty, but if you prefer to use authentic-to-console controls, that’s your best option.
1. Best Overall Android Gamepad – Razer Kishi
Our pick for Best Overall Android Gamepad is the Razer Kishi.
The Razer Kishi has it all: compatibility with a decent wide range of devices, an ergonomic design, and great mapping software. The mapping software is particularly notable since you can get it to work with just about anything – even touch-based games that don’t officially support gamepads.
Software aside, the hardware on offer here is great. If your phone has a centered USB-C port, chances are high that it’ll be compatible with this controller. The controller being USB-C based also minimizes input lag that would normally be introduced by using Bluetooth. It even supports passthrough charging, so you don’t need to stop gaming to charge your phone like you would with other telescopic controllers.
2. Best Small Android Gamepad – 8Bitdo Sn30 Pro for Xbox Cloud Gaming
If maximum portability is what you want, the 8Bitdo Sn30 Pro for Xbox Cloud Gaming is a great pick. With the included clip, it pretty much turns your phone into something more like a Game Boy or PSP than a Switch. The Xbox design leans into its Xbox Cloud Gaming compatibility, but you can use this with Steam Link and any gamepad-supported apps just fine.
The one downside is the lack of touch-mapping software, but that’s mainly because this is meant to be used for apps built around gamepads. You can still map your buttons, and on the hardware side, even adjust resistance/sensitivity on the sticks and triggers. It’s basically a tiny Xbox Elite controller, with the exception that it doesn’t actually support XInput on Windows.
3. Best Traditional Android Gamepad – PowerA MOGA XP5-X
Our pick for Best Traditional Android Gamepad is the PowerA MOGA XP5-X. If you prefer authentic-to-console controls but ALSO want great touch-mapping software and two extra programmable back buttons, this is the controller for you. The shape and feel is very close to that of a regular Xbox One controller, with a more pronounced D-Pad.
The touch-mapping software is good for the most part but doesn’t support every touch-based game on Android like Razer Kishi’s does. Even so, this is a superb all-around Android Gamepad, and with the added back paddles, it even has some light Xbox Elite Controller influences.
4. Best Budget Android Gamepad – XFUNY Mobile Game Controller
Last, but certainly not least, is the XFUNY Mobile Game Controller. Don’t let the branding fool you, as these are actually rebranded Saitake STK-7007xs. For those not in the know, it’s considered by many to be the best telescopic controller for Android. (At least, before Kishi and the likes entered the scene.)
However, there are downsides to this compared to something like the Kishi. While it has great physical compatibility, it’s Bluetooth-based, so there will be added input lag. Additionally, you won’t be able to charge your phone while still playing. Remapping software isn’t available, either.
However, what you get in return for those compromises is a fairly well-built telescopic controller for your Android device, with a great D-Pad and all-around feel, at a low price. If you want to get gaming on Android without breaking the bank, this is a great choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I really need a gamepad, or are touch controls good enough?
Outside of games that are explicitly built for touch controls (like Fruit Ninja, for example), a gamepad will always provide a better experience. In addition to not obscuring the screen with your fingers, it also becomes much easier to develop muscle memory for quick reactions and complex maneuvers with actual buttons and triggers. Especially if you’re looking to emulate, having a proper gamepad is a must for hardcore gaming experiences on Android.
What makes a quality D-Pad so important?
For comfortable and accurate inputs, especially in platformers or fighting games. We chose to focus on gamepads with great D-Pads for this reason because if your gamepad can’t even handle a solid Super Mario World session, that’s a pretty bad sign.
Can I use these Android Gamepads with a tablet?
Absolutely! You’ll want to make sure that it supports Bluetooth, so you may not want to go with the Kishi. Additionally, if you already have an Xbox controller laying around, it can make a great gamepad for your tablet.
And that’s it! We hope this article helped you find the best Android gamepad for your needs. Whether you’re emulating, playing native Android games or streaming games, every controller on this list should serve you well. Comment below and let us know: which Android Gamepad are you using and why?