Is the holiday season. And whether is for gifts, bonuses, or simply because you want something nice, it’s a great time to take the sales, and buy a controller to foster your Holy-gamer spirit. But with so many options, designs, and platforms, which one is right for you. To answer, we made this shopping guide. So, you can know which one suits you. Welcome back. I am Claudio, and this is 0to.Tech. So, let’s start.
For the guide we only considered controllers we have reviewed in the channel. The only exceptions are the first-party controllers from Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft that we use as references and many people know. Then we separated them by the categories that make the most sense when buying one. Some by controller type, others by platform. And we finish with the Controller of the Year, where we considered all of them. When applicable we made sub-categories to better show the options, especially when there are important differences in price. Also, if there is any controller you should avoid.
And without further ado let’s start with controllers for the iPhone. This year, supporting the iOS ecosystem is easier than ever, even with Apple's closed ecosystem. The compatibility with controllers from XBox, PlayStation, and, more recently, Switch has opened the door to more controllers without paying extra to Apple. Any controller that speaks these protocols works. And there are no artificial locks like Call of Duty and Apex Legends on Android. On iOS if the game supports a controller, it supports any that can be connected. Just remember that there are no Screen Mapping apps, Apple blocked them since iOS 14.
This year Razer brought the Kishi Version 2. While we expected a major improvement of features. Instead of improving on the original version, it's a clone of the Backbone One. That's doesn’t mean it's bad, but with the change to Switch type sticks it's not good for Shooters or games that require a lot of sensitivity. For $99, the Kishi V2 and Backbone One are premium options, with good DPads, and ergonomics. But for half the price my recommendation is still the original Kishi. It has the same features and better analog sticks. Just the DPad is not as good.
If you want a another option, also for $50, there's the Gamesir X2 for iPhone or the Bluetooth one. Their DPad use Microswitches and work better in Retro games. Now, if you want a cheaper option, under $20 bucks, we will see the BSP-D3 and D5 a lot, they are very good options and they work with on iPhone with no problems. Using Bluetooth they have more latency. But they costs half as much as the previous ones. Be careful of any controller that claims to be supported via ShootingV3, which most of the cheap Chinese ones are.
This application no longer works, and most manufacturers do not update the sales information. Now, if you want a traditional controller, or one for the iPad, check multi-Platform controllers’ section for the best ones. Since Android is the most popular platform in the world, the options are endless. Let's narrow down to telescopic controllers first. I think the best telescopic controller of the year was the MOGA XP7. Many of you might not like this decision because it’s huge, when most are looking for portability. But the quality is top notch, and it has the best sticks in this format. As additional options we have the original Razer Kishi.
It’s new price of 50 dollars makes it an excellent option, just be careful if your phone is very large, like the Galaxy Note or Ultra, because it must extend so much that it can break. Another one is the Gamesir X2 Pro, which at $80 dollars is pricier. But it is the first Gamesir X2 that with analog triggers and has better DPad. Other edge cases are the Gamesir X2 Bluetooth, because, unlike the previous controllers we mentioned, works natively with Call of Duty Mobile and APEX Legends. And if you have a phone that gets too hot, like the Galaxy S22. Consider the Gamesir X3.
With its cooler, it will give your phone a 30% boost in performance. It's not cheap, but it does solve an increasingly common problem. And the same. If you want something even cheaper. The BSP D3 and D5 are excellent choices, they not only work with all supported games, but also natively with Call of Duty and APEX. The only mentionable details of these 2 controllers are the lack of analog triggers. We tried other options like the SHAKS S5B, the iPega DualThorn, and the Saitake 7008, but skip those and go straight to the BSPs.
Now, some specific cases. If you play games that don't support controllers, you need a screen mapper. The Flydigi APEX 2 and APEX 3 were a big surprise. They are expensive, but their sticks are first class, super sensitive, and work amazingly well with their mapping application. You can even link the Gyroscope to the right stick. That makes them lethal on shooters. And let's make an honorable mention for the Mantis Pro App. It allows you to do the same with any controller.
It requires more configuration than Flydigi to be at the same level. But it’s a must-have tool for any Android gamer. I never thought that 2022 would bring us so many controllers for the Switch. But by being so popular, everyone wants a small bite. From 8BitDo, the SN30 Pro, the Pro+, the Pro-2 and the Ultimate Bluetooth are all compatible, and surprises like the Gulikit King Kong 2 Pro, and the Flydigi APEX 3 too. And of course, the BSPs, especially the D5. If we add the official controller to the mix, it’s not easy to choose one. I would separate the choices like this.
If you want a controller for Retro or 2D games, which are now common on the platform, the entire 8Bitdo SN30 series is the best. Its DPad and shape based on the Super Nintendo controller makes them perfect for these games, but they include the required sticks for modern games. And for $50 or less they're great value options. I would recommend the Flydigi APEX 3 if you want maximum customization. With the 4 additional buttons you can add Macros. And the sticks are better than the official ones. But consider it only if you are willing to pay its expensive price.
There is also the 8BitDo Ultimate Bluetooth. It includes a dock and 3 ways to connect it to the Switch. It has the same premium DPad, but in a more current position. And its best trick, Hall-Effect sticks, much more sensitive than any other controller. The only issue is that, for 70 dollars, it costs the same as the Gulikit King Kong 2 Pro, which has the same sticks, but better calibration. It has the shape of the Xbox controller, that many love, but more importantly, it is the only one that can read Amiibos. The DPad is not as good as 8BitDo’s.
But for the same $70 bucks it's also a great option. But none of these include HD vibration. Something that the official Pro Controller do. So if you want the complete feature set, the original is the safest choice. Right. We mean multi-platform controllers compatible with Android, Windows, and iOS. Any additional platform is welcome. And no, this does not include XBOX. Which wirelessly only supports official controllers.
With USB, there are more options like 8bitdos. And opens the possibility to adapters such as the Brook Wingman. Which we will test in the following weeks. So don't forget to subscribe. Let’s start now with the cheapest ones. Again, The BSP D3 and D5. Yes, they are telescopic controllers, but compatible with all platforms. The main 3, the PlayStation 3 or 4, and the Switch. Especially consider the D5 if you want a controller that includes gyro and vibration.
And yes, even if you look weird with a controller like that. They punch well above their price. We also have 8Bitdo options with the SN30 and Ultimate series. The latter one is confusing. The 2.4g version needs the dongle and is only compatible with Android and Windows, and the Bluetooth version is compatible with all the platforms in Switch mode, but removes support for analog triggers. So, my recommendation still is the trusty SN30 in its Pro2 version. It's not just great for Retro gaming.
Its sticks are first class and is compatible with the 3 main platforms and the Switch, and you can customize everything in its App. Including the 2 additional buttons. In addition, it connects via Bluetooth and USB. For $50 dollars it's hard to find competition. Although for 70 bucks if there is someone else to mention. The Gulikit King Kong 2 Pro. It is compatible with the same platforms and has additional features such as mapping the gyro to the right stick, macros directly on the controller, and on Android, is compatible.
With CoD and APEX natively. But most importantly, it has the best sticks we've tested in this channel. Yes, they are the same Hall-Effect as in the 8BitDo Ultimate, but the calibration is impressive, with less than 1% error in the rounding test. And if you want longer sticks or Xbox layout buttons, you can buy them as additional accessories. And I can also recommend the usual suspects, controllers that guarantee quality and compatibility with many platforms. The Xbox official controller and the Dualsense for PlayStation 5. They are easy to get almost everywhere, and usually for acceptable prices.
Even though they only speak 1 protocol, all platforms are supported. In Windows you can even use the additional features, including the trigger vibration on the Xbox, and the adaptive triggers and HD vibration of the DualSense. Safe options with great quality. What about the Xbox Elite 2 and the Flydigi APEX line. They belong to a separate category of Pro-level controllers. Not just for the price but for the quality and features included. And we start with, let's say less expensive, the APEX 2. For $96 dollar it includes options similar to the Elite 2.
With a case and additional sticks. But most importantly, additional features ranging from slider buttons to the best gyro-to-stick mapping we've ever tested. And with 6 face buttons, and 6 programable ones, it can do anything. Except accelerating and braking because their only issue is that the Triggers are Digital. But if you want accelerator and brake, then the APEX 3 might be a best choice. Its triggers are not only analog, but they are also adaptive like those on the DualSense. Too bad that only with fixed settings, or with some mods on PC. But for $120 dollars, it has less buttons than the APEX 2, and there is no reWASD support.
Its screen is just an ornament until someone decides to put DOOM on it. Finally, there's the most expensive controller we've tested. The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2. typical Microsoft name. Elite 2 for the rest. A controller that oozes quality. It includes a case, interchangeable sticks and DPads, and 4 additional buttons that can be mapped on Xbox or Windows with reWASD. Although on the rest of the platforms it is only an Xbox controller.
There is now a cheaper version, but it does not include the accessories, and we have seen the complete one for 150 dollars in sales. The best controller for those who are willing to pay the price. And well, before checking the Control of the Year award, let's give some honorable mentions to innovation. Like the Mantis Pro app, which, on Android, allows you to map any controller to movements on the screen. Also to Flydigi mapping mode. Which seriously feels like native support.
And let's also mention its excellent Gyro to Right Stick mapping. First class and doesn’t the need for the game to support it. Let's not forget the sliding buttons on the APEX 2. And the front buttons of the APEX 3. With their special mechanical system, they combine the travel of membranes with the satisfying click of switches. And now are my favorites ones. Also, the 8BitDo Ultimate Wireless Docks. They make charging the controller very easy, and connect the 2.4 adapter at the same time.
Ideal for game stations. Let's also mention the M30, inspired by the SEGA Genesis controllers. It surprised us with how well it works for fighting games. 30 years later, the war between Super Nintendo and the Genesis DPads is still alive. The easiest way to get these controllers is by using the links in the description. They all point to Amazon or AliExpress, and most importantly, it won't cost you more, but you will help support the channel. Finally. The nominees for 2022 best controllers are: The BSP-D3.
A controller from an unknown brand. Absolutely generic. But that, with its compatibility and well-calibrated sticks, changed our perspective of what a cheap controller can do. And with its brother the D5, we hope will push players like iPega, Saitake and MOCUTE to improve their offer. The Gulikit King Kong 2 Pro. With its magnetic sticks, it renews faith in a technology we haven't seen since the Sega Dreamcast, that pushes the quality of the sticks to a new level.
They are so good that we are starting to see them in other brands and devices such as the Aya Neo. And if they keep their promise, they will bring the technology to the Switch Joycon Sticks. And the Sony DualSense, the official controller for the PlayStation 5. Which shows us that Sony is willing to work in other platforms by permitting the use of adaptive triggers and HD vibration in Windows games, and gives us hope that big companies sometimes do think more about their customers, and less about their pockets. And the winner is… you.
Because with so many options there is something for everyone. Jaja. Not at all, just kidding. The 0toTech controller of the year goes to… the King Kong 2 Pro. A surprise that such a new company has polished such a good controller in such a short time, and will hopefully standardize the magnetic sticks to finally end the war with Drift. If you want to know the full story behind the nominees, click on any of these videos. Don't forget to like and subscribe, and remember Retro Games, Modern Technology. 0toTech.
The 2022 Controller of the Year is… It has been an exhausting week. But I was able to prepare this video. It is a shopping guide for those who are looking for a controller during these holidays. It is divided by categories and prices to facilitate your decision, and at the end we give the prize to what we consider to be the best controller of the Year.