Mobile gaming used to get a bad rap among hardcore gamers. Thanks to services like Apple Arcade and Xbox Game Pass, mobile no longer caters to just casual players.
Since hardcore gamers are playing more on their phones, it only makes sense that more companies are looking to offer controller solutions. While both the Xbox and PS4 controllers can connect to phones via Bluetooth, there’s one major problem: the lack of a clip to hold your phone while both hands are using the controller.
One cheap solution is to buy an Xbox controller phone mount clip. But that assumes that your phone can connect to the controller with Bluetooth. If you don’t have an Xbox One or Xbox Series X controller but like its design and want to play mobile games, the Riot Pwr Wired Game Controller is a decent option for supported Android devices.
First off, we should not that the unit that we received was the Android model. There is a separate model specifically for Apple’s iOS. So if you own an iPhone, make sure that you get the version that is specific for iOS. Whether you buy the Android or iOS model, both are meant to be plug-and-play, although we had compatibility issues on Android devices.
The RiotPWR ESL controller is designed just like an Xbox controller. The dual analog sticks, D-pad, and face buttons are all placed the same as the Xbox. In addition, it has four shoulder buttons (two bumpers and two triggers. Pressing in on the analog sticks provides you with an R3 and L3 input.
The controller fits comfortably in my hands. It is virtually the same dimensions as Xbox One and Xbox Series X controllers. The front face is smooth while the back is slightly rough although not as much as on Microsoft’s first-party controller. My main gripe here is that the triggers and bumpers feel cheap compared to the Xbox. The D-pad has the same issue.
The most significant design element here for mobile gamers is the adjustable device stand. It clips into the controller just above the home button. Plus, the stand is removable for easy storage. Adjusting it to fit the width of your phone is as simple as gently pulling one of the arms. Overall, the design of this product is solid.
The main appeal here is that it is advertised as plug-and-play. So in theory, it should be ready right out of the box. There’s only one problem with that: we could only get this to work on certain Android devices. The box does not say which Android devices are compatible with the controller and the digital manual is for the iOS model.
I can confirm that it works with a Moto G Stylus smartphone and a Lenovo Tab4 8 Plus tablet. According to the company, the issue is that some low-cost Android devices don’t provide power to the controller’s USB-C port. So Samsung Galaxy phones should be fine, but I did not personally test them since I do not own a Galaxy.
One thing to keep in mind is that you absolutely need an Android phone with USB-C since that is how the controller connects to the phone. On the plus side, the connection is fast and you can simultaneously charge your phone since the controller supports passthrough charging.
The main downside here is that phones with USB Micro are out of luck. So I wasn’t able to test this controller on my phone. You could potentially try an adapter, but it’s not something that I tested out myself.
The controller also does not work with the Lenovo Tab M10 Plus that I tested it on. The Tab M10 Plus has a USB-C connection and the pass-through charging worked, but the tablet would not recognize the device. Of course, a tablet this size would never fit in the mount anyway, but my plan was to rest it on my leg while playing since you can remove the adjustable stand. Troubleshooting did not resolve the issue.
The RiotPWR ESL controller has a share button to allow for streaming and gameplay capture with upload functions via the Ludu Mapp. The box contains a QR code for you to download the app along with the manual. The app is not particularly useful; it shows you a list of compatible games.
Just like with Xbox, the bottom of the controller features a headphone socket. So you can plug in your favorite headset and use that for a better mobile gaming experience. Plus, as previously mentioned, there is a female USB-C port at the bottom of the controller for pass-through charging. At the top of the controller is a male USB-C cable that connects to your phone or tablet.
The Riot PWR ESL wired gaming controller for Android works well, at least with compatible devices and games. The main issue is figuring out whether your Android device supports it or not. You’ll need a USB-C connection since this controller does not support Bluetooth. And even if your phone or tablet supports USB-C, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work (as I found out with my Lenovo Tab M10 Plus).
Overall, the $60 price is pretty steep without Bluetooth as an optional connection method. The design and concept are good, but it has flaws in terms of compatibility and documentation.
Game Freaks 365 received a review unit.