The 5 best iOS gaming controllers of 2021

  • The best way to play games on an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV is with a controller.
  • The SteelSeries Nimbus+ is our top pick because of its versatility, familiar layout, and iOS features. 

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

There’s no denying the popularity of iOS games. Apple gave them their own section of the App Store in 2017 and introduced the Apple Arcade subscription service in 2019 because its customers play so many games.

Many mobile games can be played with nothing but a touchscreen. Some titles can benefit from more precise controls, however, and the lack of an official Apple controller means eager iOS gamers have to use a third-party gamepad. (A situation that Apple’s been rumored to resolve for years but has never delivered on.) 

With so many controller options out there, it can be hard to figure out which iOS gamepad is best for your needs. The best controller for someone who owns an Xbox One and mostly plays on their Apple TV, for example, won’t be the same as the best controller for someone who doesn’t own a console and only plays games on their iPhone while they commute.

After testing several models across different iOS devices, we’ve selected the best controllers for playing games on the iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. Our picks are divided into categories geared towards specific buyers based on Apple’s expanded support for console gamepads, compatibility with different kinds of devices, and potential use cases. 

Here are our top picks for the best iOS Controller:

The best iOS controller overall

steelseries nimbus plus on table

The SteelSeries Nimbus+ is the most versatile yet familiar controller you can find for gaming across the entire Apple ecosystem.

Pros: Built-in stand that fits most iPhones; supports all modern iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac models; familiar layout complemented by iOS navigation buttons

Cons: Attaching the stand can seem a bit sketchy, prominent battery indicator detracts from the design

The SteelSeries Nimbus+ is the best iOS controller thanks to its incredible versatility. It can easily pair with iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac devices via Bluetooth. It can be used standalone, like a traditional controller, or it can be used with an iPhone mount that makes it seem more like a handheld console than a gamepad. And, it can even be customized using the SteelSeries Engine software.

All of those features help the Nimbus+ slot easily into the Apple ecosystem. So does the Lightning port that makes it easy for most iPhone and iPad owners to keep the battery charged. With that said, iPad Pro owners who rely on a USB-C cable for charging will have to dig up one of their old Lightning cables. The battery lasts up to 50 hours on a single charge, which should be more than enough for mobile use or gaming sessions around the house on the couch.

The Nimbus+ was clearly inspired by other controllers — it features the same layout as Sony’s DualShock 4 with a shape that best resembles Microsoft’s Xbox Wireless Controller. There are four face buttons, two shoulder buttons, a directional pad, two clickable analog sticks, and a trio of navigation buttons meant specifically for iOS devices. The controller should feel familiar to any experienced gamer.

This isn’t to say the Nimbus+ is perfect. Attaching the phone mount feels perilous, the prominent battery indicator is an eyesore, and the face buttons feel oddly slick compared to those found on other controllers. Yet, none of its competition manages to best the Nimbus+ when it comes to offering a great experience on every Apple device you own. That versatility more than makes up for a few design quibbles.

The best iOS controller for PlayStation owners

dualshock controller

The DualShock 4 is included with the PlayStation 4, it features a reliable design for gaming, and it’s easy to swap between Apple devices and your console.

Pros: Familiar layout; PS4 owners won’t have to purchase another controller; easy to switch between devices

Cons: Not everyone will find it comfortable to use; battery life can be lacking, especially late into the controller’s life

Sony introduced the first DualShock controller as an optional PlayStation accessory in 1997. Until the release of the PlayStation 5, which comes with the new DualSense controller, every other PlayStation console debuted with a next-generation DualShock controller that built upon the original design. The gamepad is familiar to millions of gamers — and PS4 owners can easily use the DualShock 4 with all of their Apple devices.

Apple officially added support for the DualShock 4 to iOS and tvOS in 2019 to coincide with the launch of Apple Arcade. Pairing the controller is as easy as simultaneously pressing and holding the Share and PlayStation buttons until the light bar flashes. The controller can then be selected in the iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV’s Bluetooth settings; the light bar will glow a solid color when it’s successfully paired.

Using the DualShock 4 is otherwise similar to using it with a PS4. The controller features the same basic layout as the original DualShock released in 1997: two clickable analog sticks, a directional pad, four face buttons, two shoulder buttons, and three navigation buttons are all here. Anyone who’s played on a PlayStation console in the last 23 years will have a familiar experience with the DualShock 4.

Unfortunately, support for all of the DualShock 4’s features varies by game. Some developers choose not to support “extra” features, such as the touch bar, light bar, and rumble-based feedback. Apple has made it easy for devs to customize on-screen control prompts based on the connected controller, which is nice, but they aren’t always perfect. And, the DualShock 4’s battery life often leaves a lot to be desired.

The best iOS controller for Xbox gamers

xbox wireless controller

The Xbox Wireless Controller is a great all-around gamepad for iOS devices, and it features a shape many people with larger hands will find comfortable.

Pros: Easy to switch between devices, Xbox One owners won’t have to buy a new controller, comfortable shape lends itself well to longer gaming sessions

Cons: Might be too large for some hands, requires batteries 

Apple didn’t just throw PlayStation owners a bone in 2019; it also officially added support for the Xbox One controller. It’s the same basic concept — make it easy for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV owners to use a gaming controller they might already own, but this time, applied to the gamepad Microsoft has shipped with every console since 2013. 

Most people probably won’t have to choose between an Xbox controller or a DualShock 4 for iOS, as it’s more likely you’ll own one or the other, and both are great performers. For those who do have an option, however, there are a few differences to note.

The most obvious is the shape: Microsoft opted for an asymmetric layout, slightly larger body, and more trigger-like shoulder buttons with its controller. It also chose to use AA batteries rather than a rechargeable battery, which can give the Xbox One controller a longer battery life at the expense of convenience.

I’ve been a PlayStation owner for most of my life, and I’m used to the DualShock lineup, but I’ll admit the Xbox One controller is a lot more comfortable when playing for extended periods. People with larger hands will probably prefer Microsoft’s offering; those with hands on the smaller side might be better off with Sony’s. But, again, the point is to use the controller you already own with as many devices as possible.

Pairing an Xbox One controller with an iOS or tvOS device is as easy as pressing the Xbox button, holding down the Pair button for a few seconds if it’s already connected to a console, and then selecting the controller from the Bluetooth menu of the device you want to play on. I haven’t encountered any issues switching between my iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV while I was evaluating the Xbox One controller for this guide.

It should be noted, however, that the brand-new version of the Xbox One controller released in conjunction with the Xbox Series S and X does not yet have official iOS support. It’s expected to be added, but only the older model linked to in this guide currently works with iOS.

The best iOS controller for Nintendo Switch fans

backbone one lifestyle

The Backbone One turns a connected iPhone into a makeshift Nintendo Switch with a bevy of software features that aren’t available with other gamepads.

Pros: Comfortable design, extensive software support, easy setup

Cons: Not as portable as some other controllers

There’s no denying the Backbone One makes the iPhone look like a Nintendo Switch. The designs are practically identical: a gamepad on the left, a screen in the middle, and another gamepad on the right. Anyone who’s used a Switch will feel right at home with the Backbone One — and might even find themselves wishing Nintendo would copy a few ideas itself.

Setting up the Backbone One is as easy as pulling the gamepads apart, lining up the Lightning connector with an iPhone’s equivalent port, and letting the controller snap into place. This can be a bit nerve wracking the first few times, but I haven’t encountered any problems despite using the controller for dozens of hours over the course of several weeks.

Once the hardware’s in place it’s time to set up the Backbone app for iOS. At its most basic level the app can be used to find and launch games that support the Backbone One. The app also lets you share experiences via screenshots, gameplay recordings, and social features such as the ability to join a friend’s game.

It’s clear the Backbone One was built with this platform in mind. It has a dedicated Backbone button for launching the app, an ellipsis button that can be pressed twice to mute the system’s microphone, and a capture button for recording gameplay or taking screenshots. (Plus the same menu button that can be found on many other gamepads.)

The result is a controller that offers a full console experience thanks to its dual analog sticks, bevy of face buttons, typical shoulder buttons, and its comprehensive social platform. It also includes ideal mobile features like a headphone jack, a Lightning port for passthrough charging, and the ability to operate without a battery.

The best iOS controller for travel

woman playing razer kishi

The Razer Kishi is an easy-to-transport controller with a small footprint and compatibility with a wide variety of iPhone models.

Pros: Great for travel, works with most iPhone models, doesn’t require a battery

Cons: Can be hard to set up the first time or reset between uses, can’t be used across the entire Apple ecosystem

Razer is mostly known for its PC gaming peripherals, but at CES 2020, the company announced a new Kishi controller for smartphones. (I’ve used the version made for iOS devices, but there’s also an Android version.) Unlike most of the controllers on this list, which emulate or simply are traditional gamepads, the Razer Kishi is at its best when it’s used as a travel companion that makes iPhone gaming more enjoyable.

Here’s how it works. iPhone owners can pull the Kishi apart, plug the right controller into their Lightning port, and then align their phone with the slot on the left controller. The peripheral then holds the connected iPhone securely in place while also offering the same inputs — two analog sticks, four face buttons, two shoulder buttons, etc. — as more traditional gamepads. When it’s fully set up, the Kishi is very similar to the Backbone One, creating a makeshift Nintendo Switch out of your phone.

This setup lends itself particularly well to gaming on the go — especially for people who need their controller to take up as little space as possible in their bags. Unlike the Backbone One, which bridges the gap between its controllers with plastic, the Kishi relies on fabric bands. The resulting setup is less sturdy than the Backbone One but also smaller when the Kishi is collapsed. People who prefer a better gaming experience should appreciate Backbone’s offering; those who value space should opt for the Razer and its more transport-friendly design.

The Razer Kishi is an excellent option for iPhone gamers on the go. The controller is responsive, sturdy, and easier to carry around than most of its competitors. It also features passthrough charging that should make it easy to keep the connected iPhone charged during prolonged gaming sessions. Other controllers offer greater versatility, but when it comes to playing games on an iPhone while you’re out and about, the Kishi is an attractive option for all but the most hardcore gamers.

Our testing methodology

ios controllers

To determine the best iOS controller, I tested several models using a series of games and media applications. All of our controller picks were used to play a mix of iOS-native games, titles streamed from my PlayStation 4 Pro using the Remote Play app, and games streamed from my PC using the Steam Link app. 

The goal was to evaluate each controller’s responsiveness in a variety of scenarios, to confirm that each gamepad could work with the iOS interface, and to gauge each controller’s performance across genres.

Controllers were evaluated based on how comfortable they felt while playing, how swiftly their batteries died, and how easy they were to set up. Some of these metrics, like comfort, are admittedly subjective. However, I’ve reviewed many peripherals and strive to make the line between objectivity and subjectivity clear where applicable. Still, your mileage may vary based on some factors.

Tested hardware includes a new iPhone SE, second-generation iPad Pro, Apple TV 4K, and the 2018 Mac mini. The SteelSeries Nimbus+, DualShock 4, and Xbox Wireless Controller work with all of the devices. The Razer Kishi and the Backbone One, however, depend on a physical Lightning connection that limits them to the iPhone.

What we’re looking forward to testing

PS5 DualSense PlayStation 5 Controller Sony

Though our current picks represent the best controllers we’ve been able to test so far, there are always additional models we’d like to get our hands on. With the release of the PlayStation 5 as well as the Xbox Series X|S, there should be several new options soon. 

I look forward to testing these new controllers when iOS support is officially added. 

  • Sony DualSense Controller ($70): Sony introduced the DualSense controller alongside the PlayStation 5 in November 2020, breaking the DualShock line’s 23-year-long reign. Apple included support for the new controller with the beta release of iOS 14.5, so official support should arrive sooner than later. It will be interesting to see if developers take advantage of its unique features, like haptic feedback and adaptive triggers.
  • New Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller ($60): Microsoft also released a new controller alongside the Xbox Series X|S consoles in November. The new Xbox Wireless Controller features a slightly modified design with a Share button in the middle of the gamepad. Support for this controller arrived with the beta release of iOS 14.5, and with both Apple and Microsoft saying they want the gamepad to work with Apple devices, it seems like Xbox enthusiasts won’t have to wait long to use the controller elsewhere.
Read the original article on Business Insider

The best iOS gaming controllers

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

There’s no denying the popularity of iOS games. Apple gave them their own section of the App Store in 2017 and introduced the Apple Arcade subscription service in 2019 because its customers play so many games.

Experts said in July that the mobile gaming market would bring in $100 billion in revenues throughout 2020 – more than three times as much as titles released for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Many of those games can be played with nothing but a touchscreen. Some titles can benefit from more precise controls, however, and the lack of an official Apple controller means eager iOS gamers have to use a third-party gamepad. (A situation that Apple’s been rumored to resolve for years but has never delivered on.) 

With so many controller options out there, it can be hard to figure out which iOS gamepad is best for your needs. The best controller for someone who owns an Xbox One and mostly plays on their Apple TV, for example, won’t be the same as the best controller for someone who doesn’t own a console and only plays games on their iPhone while they commute.

After testing several models across different iOS devices, we’ve selected the best controllers for playing games on the iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. Our picks are divided into categories geared towards specific buyers based on Apple’s expanded support for console gamepads, compatibility with different kinds of devices, and potential use cases. 

Here are our top picks for the best iOS Controller:

The best iOS controller overall

steelseries nimbus plus on table

The SteelSeries Nimbus+ is the most versatile yet familiar controller you can find for gaming across the entire Apple ecosystem.

Pros: Built-in stand that fits most iPhones; supports all modern iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac models; familiar layout complemented by iOS navigation buttons

Cons: Attaching the stand can seem a bit sketchy, prominent battery indicator detracts from the design

The SteelSeries Nimbus+ is the best iOS controller thanks to its incredible versatility. It can easily pair with iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac devices via Bluetooth. It can be used standalone, like a traditional controller, or it can be used with an iPhone mount that makes it seem more like a handheld console than a gamepad. And, it can even be customized using the SteelSeries Engine software.

All of those features help the Nimbus+ slot easily into the Apple ecosystem. So does the Lightning port that makes it easy for most iPhone and iPad owners to keep the battery charged. With that said, iPad Pro owners who rely on a USB-C cable for charging will have to dig up one of their old Lightning cables. The battery lasts up to 50 hours on a single charge, which should be more than enough for mobile use or gaming sessions around the house on the couch.

The Nimbus+ was clearly inspired by other controllers — it features the same layout as Sony’s DualShock 4 with a shape that best resembles Microsoft’s Xbox Wireless Controller. There are four face buttons, two shoulder buttons, a directional pad, two clickable analog sticks, and a trio of navigation buttons meant specifically for iOS devices. The controller should feel familiar to any experienced gamer.

This isn’t to say the Nimbus+ is perfect. Attaching the phone mount feels perilous, the prominent battery indicator is an eyesore, and the face buttons feel oddly slick compared to those found on other controllers. Yet, none of its competition manages to best the Nimbus+ when it comes to offering a great experience on every Apple device you own. That versatility more than makes up for a few design quibbles.

The best iOS controller for PlayStation owners

dualshock controller

The DualShock 4 is included with the PlayStation 4, it features a reliable design for gaming, and it’s easy to swap between Apple devices and your console.

Pros: Familiar layout; PS4 owners won’t have to purchase another controller; easy to switch between devices

Cons: Not everyone will find it comfortable to use; battery life can be lacking, especially late into the controller’s life

Sony introduced the first DualShock controller as an optional PlayStation accessory in 1997. Until the release of the PlayStation 5, which comes with the new DualSense controller, every other PlayStation console debuted with a next-generation DualShock controller that built upon the original design. The gamepad is familiar to millions of gamers — and PS4 owners can easily use the DualShock 4 with all of their Apple devices.

Apple officially added support for the DualShock 4 to iOS and tvOS in 2019 to coincide with the launch of Apple Arcade. Pairing the controller is as easy as simultaneously pressing and holding the Share and PlayStation buttons until the light bar flashes. The controller can then be selected in the iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV’s Bluetooth settings; the light bar will glow a solid color when it’s successfully paired.

Using the DualShock 4 is otherwise similar to using it with a PS4. The controller features the same basic layout as the original DualShock released in 1997: two clickable analog sticks, a directional pad, four face buttons, two shoulder buttons, and three navigation buttons are all here. Anyone who’s played on a PlayStation console in the last 23 years will have a familiar experience with the DualShock 4.

Unfortunately, support for all of the DualShock 4’s features varies by game. Some developers choose not to support “extra” features, such as the touch bar, light bar, and rumble-based feedback. Apple has made it easy for devs to customize on-screen control prompts based on the connected controller, which is nice, but they aren’t always perfect. And, the DualShock 4’s battery life often leaves a lot to be desired.

The best iOS controller for Xbox gamers

xbox wireless controller

The Xbox Wireless Controller is a great all-around gamepad for iOS devices, and it features a shape many people with larger hands will find comfortable.

Pros: Easy to switch between devices, Xbox One owners won’t have to buy a new controller, comfortable shape lends itself well to longer gaming sessions

Cons: Might be too large for some hands, requires batteries 

Apple didn’t just throw PlayStation owners a bone in 2019; it also officially added support for the Xbox One controller. It’s the same basic concept — make it easy for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV owners to use a gaming controller they might already own, but this time, applied to the gamepad Microsoft has shipped with every console since 2013. 

Most people probably won’t have to choose between an Xbox controller or a DualShock 4 for iOS, as it’s more likely you’ll own one or the other, and both are great performers. For those who do have an option, however, there are a few differences to note.

The most obvious is the shape: Microsoft opted for an asymmetric layout, slightly larger body, and more trigger-like shoulder buttons with its controller. It also chose to use AA batteries rather than a rechargeable battery, which can give the Xbox One controller a longer battery life at the expense of convenience.

I’ve been a PlayStation owner for most of my life, and I’m used to the DualShock lineup, but I’ll admit the Xbox One controller is a lot more comfortable when playing for extended periods. People with larger hands will probably prefer Microsoft’s offering; those with hands on the smaller side might be better off with Sony’s. But, again, the point is to use the controller you already own with as many devices as possible.

Pairing an Xbox One controller with an iOS or tvOS device is as easy as pressing the Xbox button, holding down the Pair button for a few seconds if it’s already connected to a console, and then selecting the controller from the Bluetooth menu of the device you want to play on. I haven’t encountered any issues switching between my iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV while I was evaluating the Xbox One controller for this guide.

It should be noted, however, that the brand-new 2020 version of the Xbox One controller released in conjunction with the new Xbox Series S and X does not yet have iOS support. It’s expected to be added, but only the older model linked to in this guide currently works with iOS.

The best iOS controller for Nintendo Switch fans

woman playing razer kishi

The Razer Kishi is an easy-to-transport controller that turns a connected iPhone into a makeshift Nintendo Switch.

Pros: Great for travel, offers a similar experience to the Nintendo Switch, fits most iPhone models

Cons: Can be hard to set up the first time or reset between uses, can’t be used across the entire Apple ecosystem

Razer is mostly known for its PC gaming peripherals, but at CES 2020, the company announced a new Kishi controller for smartphones. (I’ve used the version made for iOS devices, but there’s also an Android version.) Unlike the other controllers on this list, which emulate or simply are traditional gamepads, the Razer Kishi effectively turns the connected iOS mobile device into something like a Nintendo Switch.

Here’s how it works. iPhone owners can pull the Kishi apart, plug the right controller into their Lightning port, and then align their phone with the slot on the left controller. The peripheral then holds the connected iPhone securely in place while also offering the same inputs — two analog sticks, four face buttons, two shoulder buttons, etc. — as more traditional gamepads. It’s basically a pair of JoyCons for a phone.

This setup lends itself well to gaming on the go and, unlike the SteelSeries Nimbus+, setting up the Razer Kishi doesn’t feel precarious. It also takes up less space than the Nimbus+, but it’s less versatile as a result. Nobody’s going to be using the Kishi with anything but an iPhone, so people who own multiple Apple devices will have to find something else if they plan on playing games across the whole ecosystem.

Still, the Razer Kishi is an excellent option for iPhone gamers. The controller is responsive, sturdy, and easier to carry around than most of its competitors. It also features passthrough charging that should make it easy to keep the connected iPhone charged during prolonged gaming sessions. 

Our testing methodology

ios controllers

To determine the best iOS controller, I tested several models using a series of games and media applications. All of our controller picks were used to play a mix of iOS-native games, titles streamed from my PlayStation 4 Pro using the Remote Play app, and games streamed from my PC using the Steam Link app. 

The goal was to evaluate each controller’s responsiveness in a variety of scenarios, to confirm that each gamepad could work with the iOS interface, and to gauge each controller’s performance across genres.

Controllers were evaluated based on how comfortable they felt while playing, how swiftly their batteries died, and how easy they were to set up. Some of these metrics, like comfort, are admittedly subjective. However, I’ve reviewed many peripherals and strive to make the line between objectivity and subjectivity clear where applicable. Still, your mileage may vary based on some factors.

Tested hardware includes a new iPhone SE, second-generation iPad Pro, Apple TV 4K, and the 2018 Mac mini. The SteelSeries Nimbus+, DualShock 4, and Xbox Wireless Controller work with all of the devices; the Razer Kishi’s dependence on a physical Lightning connection limits it to the iPhone.

What we’re looking forward to testing

PS5 DualSense PlayStation 5 Controller Sony

Though our current picks represent the best controllers we’ve been able to test so far, there are always additional models we’d like to get our hands on. With the release of the PlayStation 5 as well as the Xbox Series X|S, there should be several new options soon. 

I look forward to testing these new controllers when iOS support is added. I’m also still waiting to get my hands on a few existing controllers from Rotor Riot and Backbone for consideration in our guide.

  • Sony DualSense ($70): Sony introduced the DualSense controller alongside the PlayStation 5 in November 2020, breaking the DualShock line’s 23-year-long reign. Apple devices don’t support this new gamepad yet but it’s possible support will be added in the future. It will be interesting to see if developers take advantage of its unique features, like haptic feedback and adaptive triggers.
  • New Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller ($60): Microsoft also released a new controller alongside the Xbox Series X|S consoles in November. The new Xbox Wireless Controller features a slightly modified design with a Share button in the middle of the gamepad. Apple and Microsoft have said they’re going to make the controller compatible with iOS.
  • Rotor Riot Wired Video Game and Drone Controller ($50): Rotor Riot’s controller is similar to the Nimbus+ in that it features a built-in stand that can hold an iPhone steady while providing a console-quality gaming experience. It features a physical connection to the paired iPhone, too, which should lead to greater reliability than wireless connections.
  • Backbone One ($99): The Backbone One is a lot like the Razer Kishi in that it effectively turns a connected iPhone into a makeshift Nintendo Switch. Backbone’s offering also includes a suite of software tools designed to make sharing moments from within games, playing games with friends, and discovering new titles easier than ever.
Read the original article on Business Insider

The best Nintendo Switch accessories

Like the Wii before it, the Nintendo Switch is one of the most innovative game consoles of the past decade, not to mention popular. It’s versatile, allowing you to play on the big screen in your living room or on the go. There are plenty of excellent games for it, and now there’s a portable-only model that’s less expensive, the Switch Lite.

As fun as this system may be, as any gamer will tell you, the experience can only get better with the help of some must-have accessories.

There are hundreds of accessories for the Nintendo Switch, but they’re not all created equal. In our list, we’ve narrowed down the essential Nintendo Switch accessories that will take your game to the next level.

Here are the best Nintendo Switch accessories:

Updated on 12/23/2020 by Nathaniel Mott: Added a new pick and category for best Nintendo Switch wired internet adapter.

The best controller

8bit pro

The 8BitDo SN30 Pro+ is the best controller for playing Switch games on a TV.

Pros: Well-designed, cheaper than Nintendo’s official Pro controller, D-Pad and analog trigger make some games more enjoyable to play

Cons: Lack of NFC for Amiibo, weaker rumble and motion controls.

While the Switch’s included Joy-Con controllers are ideal for handheld gaming in portable mode, they can be cumbersome when used in console mode — when the Switch is connected to the TV with its dock— due to their tiny size. For big screen gaming you should opt for the 8BitDo SN30 Pro+, which is a full-size controller that is solidly built and has clicky and responsive buttons.

The 8BitDo SN30 Pro+ design is a mashup of both the original Super Nintendo controller’s familiar button layout and the PlayStation 4 Dualshock controller’s comfortable grip. The old school D-Pad is a significant step up from the four separate directional buttons on the standard left Joy-Con, especially while playing platformers, or any 2D games that need precise inputs.

The 8BitDo SN30 Pro+ has a removable battery pack that lasts 20 hours on a single charge and can be charged via its USB-C port. It also offers the flexibility of using AA batteries in case you don’t have access to a power outlet.

Nintendo offers an official Pro Controller for the Switch, which is also a fine choice, but it has a few minor issues that hold it back from being our top pick. Firstly, Nintendo’s accessory has a D-Pad that is slightly spongy compared to the 8BitDo SN30 Pro+ which makes it come across as less responsive. Compared to the Pro Controller, the 8BitDo SN30 Pro+ manages to hit the sweet spot in size making it more comfortable to hold for extended gaming sessions. Finally, the biggest pro in the SN30 Pro+ column is that despite the above advantages it is $20 cheaper than Nintendo’s Pro Controller.

The SN30 Pro+ has a couple of minor downsides, the first being a lack of NFC support for Nintendo’s Amiibo toy figurines —  for this you’ll have to rely on the Joy-Cons. And lastly, its Rumble and motion control feature are a slight step down from Nintendo’s official offering. But, it’s a better value buy for most Switch users and as a bonus is compatible both with Windows 10 and macOS right out of the box. — Siladitya Ray

The best Nintendo Switch power bank

anker nintendo switch editon battery

Extend the Switch’s battery life with the Anker Powercore 13400 Nintendo Switch Edition so that your gameplay doesn’t get interrupted.

Pros: Licensed by Nintendo, compact, fast charging (USB-C Power Delivery), USB-C cable included, can be used with phones and some laptops

Cons: Pricey compared to other power banks with similar or larger capacities, no fast-charging wall adapter included

According to Nintendo, the battery life on the original Nintendo Switch (2017) is approximately 2.5 to 6.5 hours, while an updated version (2019), with more efficient power usage, yields about 4.5 to 9 hours; the Switch Lite averages between 3 to 7 hours. If you’re an avid gamer and you have all the settings on high — brightness on high and Wi-Fi enabled, for example — you should bring along a portable USB power bank to lengthen the battery life. Our pick is the Anker PowerCore 13400 Nintendo Switch Edition.

You might be thinking, can’t you use any power bank since they are all the same? No: Because of the significant amount of power the Switch draws (more so when it’s in use), you need a power bank that supports USB-C Power Delivery (PD) fast charging. As for capacity, you would want as your budget allows; 10,000 mAh should be the minimum. And, you’ll need a USB-C-to-USB-C cable.

Considering speed, capacity, and price, we like Anker’s PowerCore 13400 Nintendo Switch Edition. Switch-brand licensing aside, the battery is rated to support the full amount of power that the Switch draws. You can expect between 3 to 4 hours of playtime, depending on settings; it has a capacity of 13,400mAh. There’s no way to neatly attach the battery to the back of the Switch, but the PowerCore 13400 Nintendo Switch Edition is compact enough for travel. The power bank also works with smartphones and other portable devices and comes with a USB-C-to-USB-C cable. When used with a PD power adapter, the power bank recharges in about 4 hours, but the adapter is optional.

There aren’t many portable batteries specifically designed for the Switch. The few we found either came from unfamiliar brands or had batteries that were too small, not to mention pricey. For your money, we didn’t feel they were worth considering and you’d get more value out of a standard power bank, as they can also be used to recharge phones, tablets, and other small USB-powered devices.

We also didn’t consider power banks that use Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology, since the Switch does not support it. We want to note that you could theoretically use a power bank you already own, but unless it supports fast charging, it may not deliver the performance that’s needed. However, it’s probably fine for recharging overnight when you’re not playing.

The big downside might be the cost. For around the same price or less, you can usually find higher-capacity USB-C PD power banks, including ones from Anker, like the PowerCore Essential 20000 PD. If the Nintendo certification doesn’t matter to you, opt for something less expensive — just use a reliable brand with a good warranty. On a positive note, Anker’s power banks tend to be value products. We have used them for years and found them to be reliable and perform well. — Les Shu

The best Nintendo Switch microSD card

Samsung memory card

The Samsung Evo Select 256GB is the best microSD card for expanding the Switch’s measly internal storage.

Pros: Great value for a high-capacity card, meets Nintendo Switch’s speed requirements for SD cards, durable

Cons: None

The Switch’s 32GB internal storage can fill up almost instantly with individual major games taking up anywhere between 10 to 20GB of space. We recommend the Samsung Evo Select 256GB microSD card as an essential purchase for any new Switch buyer.

The Samsung Evo Select 256GB microSD card adds eight-fold more storage to the Switch and should comfortably hold a large collection of AAA, retro and indie games. Samsung’s card is rated with 100MB/s read and 90MB/s write speed, which should enable shorter game load times over lower performance cards.

While you could do with a 128GB card initially, if you plan on buying mostly digital games, then you would be better served going with the larger-capacity 256GB card since it costs only slightly more and is more future proof.

SanDisk makes a Nintendo-licensed microSD card. It has specs which are similar to our pick but often retails for a higher price. Pass on this and save the money unless you really want the card with Mario art on it. — Siladitya Ray

The best Nintendo Switch carry case

Nintendo switch case

The RDS Industries Nintendo Switch Deluxe Carrying Case is a sturdy hard case with room for a Switch, Joy-Con controllers, and game cartridges.

Pros: Hard exterior, room for Switch and eight games, built in kickstand for gaming on the go

Cons: Not large enough to carry the dock and other accessories

The RDS Industries Nintendo Switch Deluxe Carrying Case is an officially licensed case that protects a Nintendo Switch and accessories with a hard, water-resistant exterior. 

The case is available in multiple designs apart from the standard black that includes artwork from Mario, Zelda and Splatoon 2. Besides the Switch with Joy-Con controllers attached, there’s room for up to eight games in two separate plastic cases, cables, two SD cards, and other small accessories. We also like that the screen-protecting cushion doubles as an adjustable kickstand for gaming while on the road. There’s also a carry-handle. — Siladitya Ray

The best Nintendo Switch headset

Steel Series Artcis 1

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is the best headset for Switch gaming on the go for its price and versatility.

Pros: Comfortable, light, stellar battery life, great audio for gaming

Cons: Plastic build quality, occasional interference due to Wi-Fi signals.

SteelSeries is known for making great gaming headsets, and the Arctis 1 Wireless continues that tradition. The wireless headset comes with the same drivers that were present on our previous pick, the SteelSeries Arctis 7, offering immersive audio and a wide soundstage. The cushioned ear cups make it comfortable to use during extended gaming sessions.

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless comes bundled with a USB-C transmitter dongle that plugs into the Switch and allows you to connect the headphones wirelessly to the Switch. The Arctis 1 uses 2.4GHz wireless on its dongle instead of Bluetooth to connect to the Switch, which ensures that there is no noticeable lag and crystal-clear audio. While in console mode, the dongle can be connected to the Switch’s dock using an included USB-C to USB-A adapter.

Priced at $100, the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless lacks the premium build quality that you would expect from top shelf SteelSeries headphones, but the plastic-clad device is adequately sturdy for regular use. The design aesthetic is unassuming and doesn’t scream “gamer”, making it more versatile for use with other devices, like your phone. The most impressive part is that the headset lasts for 20 to 22 hours on a single charge, which is close to three times the Switch’s average battery life.

One downside of the 2.4Ghz band used by the headset’s dongle is that you may deal with occasional choppiness in an area crowded with Wi-Fi devices, but this shouldn’t be an issue for most people. — Siladitya Ray

The best screen protector

tempered glass screen protector

The amFilm Tempered Glass screen protector protects the display from dings and bumps.

Pros: Thick, two in the box, inexpensive

Cons: Thickness makes it noticeable

As with any portable device, the screen on the Nintendo Switch can be easily scratched if it isn’t properly protected — like throwing it into a backpack. For a strong, protective screen protector, we recommend the amFilm Tempered Glass Screen Protector.

It’s a little thicker than other screen protectors, at 0.3 millimeters, which makes it harder to cut through it. In the box, you get two screen protectors — if one gets damaged, there’s another one to replace it — and wet wipes and microfiber cloth to clean the screen before applying the protector.

The downside: Given the thickness, it’s more noticeable than other screen protectors. — Christian de Looper

The best controller charging dock

powera controller dock

Charging Joy-Con and Pro controllers is relatively easy with the PowerA Joy-Con and Pro Controller Charging Dock.

Pros: Charges Joy-Con and Pro Controllers, well-designed, inexpensive

Cons: Wire is flimsy

While the Joy-Con controllers can be recharged when attached to the Nintendo Switch, it’s more convenient to use the PowerA Joy-Con and Pro Controller Charging Dock. In addition, if you own the Pro Controller, it will recharge that too.

The dock is a great way to keep things organized. It looks basic, but it complements the Switch dock. It is also cheaper than many other charging docks for the Nintendo Switch, and, if you care about such things, it’s officially licensed by Nintendo.

In our test, the dock works well, but the included USB-C cable for charging the Pro Controller isn’t very strong. — Christian de Looper

The best Joy-Con alternative

Hori switch joycon

The Hori D-Pad Controller is perfect for 2D platformers, NES and SNES games while on the go.

Pros: Cheap, fairly solid design, the best way to play 2D-platformers in handheld mode

Cons: Lack of wireless, rumble and motion controls

Despite being loaded with sweet features, the Switch’s Joy-Con has one major flaw: the lack of a true D-Pad. Every single one of Nintendo’s previous consoles came with its iconic plus-shaped D-Pad, but the Switch’s unique design did not allow for the same. The Hori D-Pad Controller, which replaces the left Joy-Con, helps fix that flaw as it comes with a directional pad.

The Hori D-Pad Controller is frugal by design, and comes with no wireless connectivity, no rumble, no motion control and no battery. It only works when it’s connected to the left rail of the Switch in handheld mode. Despite these limitations, the controller is simple to use and delivers precise directional inputs.

The precision of a D-Pad is immediately evident if you play a lot of 2D side scrolling or fighting games. Games like Sonic Mania, Metal Slug, and Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap are ideal to play using the controller. The peripheral also shines when used with NES and SNES classic games that come bundled with the Switch’s online subscription. If you want to speed-run classic Mario in handheld mode, the Hori D-Pad Controller is your best weapon.

Other parts of the controller are well designed too, the analog joystick and both shoulder buttons work just as you would expect on an original Joy-Con. The assembly feels sturdy but significantly lighter than a real Joy-Con as it lacks a lot of the additional wireless, gyroscope and rumble hardware that add heft.

The Hori D-Pad Controller is officially priced at $25, which makes it significantly cheaper than the $80 Nintendo charges for a pair of new Joy-Cons. Additionally the gamepad is officially licensed by Nintendo, and is available in three separate designs; a black-and-gold Zelda version, a red Mario version and a yellow-and-black Pokemon version. [Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, some versions are currently out of stock.] — Siladitya Ray

The best Joy-Con controller handles

MoKo grip

The MoKo Grips turn your Joy-Con controllers into console-style controllers, making them easier to hold and more convenient for multiplayer games.

Pros: Comfortable, inexpensive, great for multiplayer games

Cons: Not for games that require vertical use of Joy-Con controller

The Pro Controller we recommended is more conducive to console-style gaming, but if the price is a turn-off or you just don’t want a bulky controller, stick with the Joy-Con controllers but add this affordable accessory, the MoKo Grip.

Coming in a pack of two, the grip, made of resin, is a sleeve that you wrap around a Joy-Con controller, giving it handles that make holding a Joy-Con more comfortable. It also has left and right buttons trigger buttons. There are plenty of similar products like this, but we like the MoKo because it provides a better fit.

Having tested the MoKo Grips, we find them to enhance the experience of playing multiplayer fighting games like “Super Smash Bros.” where you would want a tighter hold on the controller as you mash those buttons, as well as lengthy solo gameplay like “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.”

Where the grips don’t work are games where you need to use the controller vertically, like “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!” or “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee.” Also, it’s not an improvement over the Pro Controller since they don’t offer those large buttons and analog sticks, but it’s an affordable upgrade nonetheless. — Christian de Looper

The best controller for “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate”

GameCube style switch controller

The PowerA GameCube-style Wireless Controller looks and feels like the original, but works better.

Pros: Feels like original GameCube controller, wireless, great for “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate”

Cons: Expensive, AA batteries instead of rechargeable, no rumble

“Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” is an immensely popular Nintendo Switch game, and die-hard fans swear by a controller for an old Nintendo console that actually came out in 2001: the GameCube. Nintendo took notice — so much so that it introduced a GameCube controller for the Switch specifically for “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” which is now hard to come by. If you don’t own an old GameCube controller (you can use it with the Switch via an adapter), you can get a third-party option, like this licensed product from PowerA, the GameCube Style Wireless Controller.

This controller looks identical to the classic GameCube controller, but it has extra buttons for the Nintendo Switch: home, plus, and minus. Apart from that, you get the large “A” and shoulder buttons that make this controller popular with gamers. Since it works over Bluetooth, no wires are required. Unlike using an original GameCube controller, this one has motion controls.

While the controller works with nearly all Switch games, it doesn’t have the rumble function. And, it’s powered by two AA batteries instead of a rechargeable one; PowerA claims 30 hours of gameplay, so either have spares handy or use rechargeable AA batteries. Another downer: It’s expensive. — Christian de Looper and Les Shu

The best Nintendo Switch wired internet adapter

Ugreen USB 2.0 Ethernet Adapter lifestyle

The UGreen USB 2.0 Ethernet Adapter is the best wired internet solution for Switch owners seeking a more reliable and faster connection while the console is docked.

Pros:  Enables a better internet connection when the Switch is docked, affordable

Cons: Requires slightly more setup than simply relying on a Wi-Fi connection

Nintendo officially recommends that Switch owners access the console’s online features via Wi-Fi. That recommendation makes sense — a wireless connection doesn’t care if the Switch is being used in TV mode, portable mode, or kickstand mode — but Wi-Fi isn’t always ideal. 

Luckily the Switch does support a wired connection when it’s docked. That is, as long as you use an Ethernet-to-USB adapter, like the UGreen 20254, to bridge the gap between the console and your network.

That extra setup can be worth the hassle, though, especially if you play a lot of games online. Wi-Fi is great when you want to be able to play no matter where you are in your home, and it complements the Switch’s versatility well. But, sometimes wireless connections are less reliable and slower than their wired counterparts. Those drawbacks can lead to increased download times as well as potentially game-breaking performance issues in online titles.

Wired connections don’t suffer from those problems, which is why Nintendo’s Masahiro Sakurai recently told “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” players that the best way to improve performance for online battles was to use an Ethernet adapter. Having a more reliable connection leads to better performance in competitive games like “Smash,” faster downloads from the Nintendo eShop, and improved experiences in games that feature significant online components.

Here’s the good news: There isn’t a significant difference between adapters. Some cost more than others, sure, but most offer similar performance. It’s kind of like buying an expensive HDMI cable. Sometimes it’s necessary, but the reality is that most people will be content with any cable that meet’s the relevant standards (USB 2.0 and Ethernet in this case). Don’t feel pressured into buying the most expensive Ethernet-to-USB adapter for your Switch.

That’s why our pick for the best Nintendo Switch wired internet adapter is the UGreen 20254. It’s an affordable and versatile adapter, with support for many other devices besides the Switch. Swapping it out if you decide you don’t need that competitive edge in “Smash” should be a cinch. Just remember that you’ll have to supply your own router and Ethernet cable as well.

Setting up the adapter is as easy as plugging an Ethernet cable into the appropriate port on your router, connecting that cable to the adapter, and then plugging the adapter’s USB 2.0 cable into the USB port on the official Nintendo Switch dock. The console should automatically switch between the wired connection when it’s docked and a Wi-Fi connection when it’s not. — Nathaniel Mott

Read the original article on Business Insider