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Best controllers and accessories for Xbox Cloud Gaming

Best controllers and accessories for Xbox Cloud Gaming

Xbox Cloud Gaming was initially released on Windows PCs and Android devices in a limited beta version via its Game Pass app, and Microsoft initially introduced Xbox in this manner to Windows and android devices. Since then, Xbox Cloud has moved on to open beta status, adding browser-based gameplay that expands the list of supported devices to include iPhones and iPads, as well as anything that runs Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Safari browsers.

Xbox Cloud Gaming, nee Project xCloud, lets you play a subset of Xbox Game Pass games on teh other than .net consoles by streaming them from the cloud, similar to Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now. To use it, you must be an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber, which costs $15 per month or $160 per year (with four three-month membership codes). Game Pass for PC allows you to play games on Windows PCs that your system wouldn't normally have the power or space to run locally.

I'm not here to review Xbox Cloud Gaming, which requires a fast internet connection for smooth gameplay. Instead, I'm highlighting the best controllers and accessories to use with supported devices. As you'd imagine, the various Xbox controllers are your primary options, but there are plenty more controller models and accessories to choose from, including some that are designed exclusively for Android smartphones and iPhones.

According to Microsoft, this is the official list of supported controllers, but you'll also find other that work. Microsoft claims that the Xbox Wireless Controller is "currently the only official controller" if you're playing cloud games using a web browser. However, "other controllers may or may not work for cloud gaming on a browser."

As more controllers and accessories are released and we test more products, I'll update this list.

Best Xbox Cloud controllers for Apple devices for Xbox controller for Microsoft Xbox clouds

Best iPhone controller for iphone

Backbone is the backbone of the spine.

The Backbone One is my favorite iPhone controller, as it mimics the Nintendo Switch's physical experience, just like the Razer Kishi. But as part of the Designed for Xbox initiative, it's also got special features that make you feel more like you're playing on an Xbox or standalone device.

The Backbone One gamepad has a layout similar, though not identical, to Microsoft's own Xbox controllers. But Backbone's software is also a key to its success, making the controller incredibly easy to update for current owners to access the new features. It's compatible with all iPhones running iOS 13 or later.

For example, it already has a dedicated gameplay capture button, can tag gameplay and share as cd, and has an interactive feed, which, since it's designed for use with all mobile games, will serve as the central hub for those titles.

The Backbone One will come with three free months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (saving $1 over Microsoft's current three-month offer of $1).

Amazon.com: $100 for $100 at Amazon; $100 on Amazon for $120 at the store; $130 on amazon.

iPhone 5G option with Razer.

David Carnoy/CNET/Davis Carmoyer/Carnegie/NET

The Razer Kishi for iPhone, unlike the Backbone One, isn't an official Xbox Cloud controller. However, it works well and has been selling for less than the Razer's official Kishi Xbox iPhone controller (there are a few cosmetic differences between the two and the Xbox version includes .

It stands out from other mobile controllers thanks to its Nintendo Switch-like design, with paddles attaching to either side of the screen. It also connects directly to the phone, in this case via Lightning, rather than using Bluetooth, which is how game controllers work on mobile. It also has a passthrough port for charging your iPhone while you play.

It is wide enough to fit all iPhone models and folds down into a small package. It's a good controller, although I prefer the Backbone' s ergonomics, particularly for longer gaming sessions.

$93 at Amazon for $95 at the store.

Best universal controller for Macs and iPads

Microsoft has partnered with Microsoft to help Microsoft achieve its goals.

If you have access to Xbox Cloud gaming, you most likely have an Xbox system, which means you already have a Xbox controller. Any 2 Xbox Wireless Controller with Bluetooth will connect wirelessly to anything from iPhones to iPads and Macs. You can also connect the controller to a Mac via USB cable. Microsoft does sell a controller with uPort-C cable that allows you to connect to the USB-c port on dozens of devices, including USBC-equipped Macs, but only on one. (Make sure to update your Xbox controller to the most recent firmware.)

The Xbox Core controller retails for $60, but it also occasionally sells at $50 or less. The Xbox Elite Series controller retails for $180, but it also retailes at $150. While the Elite Series controller has a rechargeable battery, the Core controller lacks, which is the one complaint about it. On Microsoft's Xbox accessories page, you'll find a large selection of Xbox controllers.

Microsoft states that iOS 14.5 or higher is required for play on all Apple devices.

$56 at Amazon.com.

Your favorite PS4 controller

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While you're probably better off using an Xbox controller if you have one, the PlayStation DualShock 4 Wireless Controller works with Apple devices, including Macs, via Bluetooth. What's even better about the DualShock 4 than the Xbox Wireless controller is that it has a built-in rechargeable battery.

It's on Microsoft' XCloud controllers' list, but remember that Microsoft states that if you're using a web browser to play cloud games, the Xbox Wireless Controller "is currently the only officially supported controller." However, "other controllers may or may not function for cloud gaming on a browser." The DualShock 4 worked well for me, though I experienced a bit of lag.

Note that the buttons are labeled differently than those on an Xbox controller, so you'll want to check how they stack up before playing.

This is how you pair your DualShock 4 with Apple devices.

Best Buy: $60 at Best Purchase.

Sony Premium Sony is a premium Sony camera.

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If you have a Sony Playstation 5, Sony's new DualSense controllers work with iPhones, iPads and Macs as long as they're running the latest operating systems (iOS 14.5, iPad OS 14.4, macOS Big Sur 11.3, tvOS 14.5 or higher). If you don't have a PS5, it's an expensive controller, but it worked well for me on an iPad. Again, the buttons are labeled differently than that of an Xbox controller, so check how they stack up.

Like its predecessor, the DualShock 4, the dualSense controller features a built-in rechargeable battery.

$70 on Amazon for $70,000.

Best MagSafe accessory: Magsafe

David Carnoy/CNET/Carnaby DavidCaroly/ CNET

The OtterBox Mobile MagSafe Gaming Clip isn't cheap at $40, but it's a well-designed accessory for people who want to magnetically attach their iPhone 12 or 13 to otterbox'' Magsafe Gaming clip. I personally use a MagSafe case with this accessory to keep my phone safe. However, if you don't have a MagSafe case, you may use your Magsafe-enabled iPhone naked (the phone stays securely on the mount but it isn''snazzy so it can fall off unless you drop your controller).

The clip is adjustable for a variety of Xbox controllers, including the newest version for the Xbox Series X and Elite controller. MagSafe makes it easy to get your iPhone on and off the clip mount so you can quickly make a call if necessary during u h e o g.

$40 at Amazon.com.

Best value gaming clip for your money.

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The PowerA MOGA Mobile Gaming Clip 2.0 is a great choice for $15 if you're simply looking for 'a gaming clip to mount your iPhone on your Xbox controller'. It's not as fancy as the Otterbox MagSafe, which has a slightly more premium look, but it does performs well.

$15 at Amazon: $15 on Amazon.com. $15 for $15.

Best Xbox Cloud controllers for Android and Windows PCs

Best Android controller for Android 2.2.

Lori Grunin/CNET Lore Gruinin (CNet Lora Gruunin)/ Loris Gruness/Llori Grnine/PNET

The Razer Kishi for Xbox Android is similar to the iOS version, but connects via USB-C instead of Lightning (there's no Bluetooth) and has a pass-through port for charging while you play.

Like the iPhone version, this has a Nintendo Switch-like design, with paddles attached to either side of the screen. It is large enough to accommodate a variety of Android phones and folds into slouchy pieces. It can accommodate Android devices with center-mounted USB-C ports and has dimensions of 145.3 to 163.7 mm (height) by 68.2 to 78.1 m (width) and 7 to 8.8 x (depth).

If you're searching for a controller that wraps around your Android phone, the Kishi is the only game in town (Backbone currently only makes an iOS controller). It's still a good controller and is often discounted to merely $100.

$63 at Amazon for $65.

Best value for money Best quality for a good price.

Lori Grunin/CNET Lore Gruinin is a CNET correspondent. Lora Grunism/Lori Grnine/Melis Gruenin

The PowerA MOGA XP5-X Plus comes with a wireless game controller and sling for mounting your phone. It's a good controller that also comes with oh-so-comfortable 3000-mAh batteries to charge your phone while you play. It's a bit clunky, with the cable going from the controller to your phone, but it works and is incredibly useful during longer gaming sessions.

The controller is compatible with Android devices and Windows PCs. It's arguably the best value when it comes to Xbox Cloud Gaming accessories for your Android phone. It's on Microsoft'' s official list of gaming controllers and it looks and feels like a cheaper Xbox controller.

$33 on Amazon, $33.30 on the web.

Optional under $50 under 50

David Carnoy/CNET/David Carsoi/Benjamin Carmoyer/

While the SteelSeries Stratus Duo Wireless Gaming Controller isn't on Microsoft's official Android game controllers list, it performed well in our tests, is ergonomically sound and has a sturdy feel to it. (The older Stratus XL is on Microsoft's list of supported controllers.) It's also designed to work with Windows PCs, Chromebooks, and certain VR devices.

One of the primary reasons to get this over the Xbox Wireless Controller is that it has a built-in rechargeable battery. Alas, it uses micro-USB for charging, but that's a minor problem. We assume that future versions will be compatible with USB-C.

$47 at Amazon.com. $48 at eBay.

PlayStation 4 is a PlayStation option.

Mike Sorrentino / CNET Mike Inrentino (CNET) Mike SORRRENO & Mike SORREntino

Many people have a PlayStation DualShock 4 Wireless Controller lying around. It's compatible with Android devices via Bluetooth (using it with android devices running Android 10 or higher is preferred, according to Microsoft). What's great about the DualShock 4 is that, unlike the Xbox Wireless controller, it has a built-in rechargeable battery. As noted, the buttons are labeled differently from an Xbox controller, so just observe how they stack up. It worked perfectly for me on a Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 tablet.

This is how you pair the DualShock 4 with Android devices.

Best Buy $60 at Best Purchase for $60.

Sony Premiere Sony Premium Sony

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Sony's new DualSense controllers for the PS5 work with Android devices via Bluetooth. It's a bit pricey to buy separately, but if you already have one, you might as well give it ten minutes to try. It currently isn't on Microsoft's list of supported controllers and the buttons arent the same as those on a Xbox controller, so check how they stack up before you start playing.

To connect via Bluetooth to your Android device, press and hold the PlayStation Button and the Share button to enter Discovery Mode. The controller should appear in the list of available devices in your Android device's Bluetooth settings.

$69 at Amazon.com.

Value gaming clip for Android phones.

PowerA is a powerful weapon that can be used to power up your power supply.

If you already have an Xbox wireless controller and want to mount your phone on it, you may purchase the PowerA MOGA XP5-X Plus or simply buy the MOG Mobile Gaming Clip 2.0. It's a great clip for iPhones, but it works equally well on Android.

$15 at Amazon.com.

Versatile gaming headphone.

Sarah Tew/CNET Sarah Twa/Sarah TeW/ CNET

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 is a good choice if you're looking for sturdier gaming headphone that's comfortable, performs well for its price, and has uC port for Android phones (aswell as the Nintendo Switch and PS5). It also works with Xbox, PS4 and PC -- but there's no Bluetooth, so don't expect to use it with Apple devices.

$99 at Amazon.com.
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