Xbox in Your Pocket – Review Geek

Evaluation:
9/10
?
  • 1 – Absolute hot waste
  • 2 – A kind of lukewarm waste
  • 3 – Severely flawed design
  • 4 – Some advantages, many disadvantages
  • 5 – Acceptably imperfect
  • 6 – Good enough to buy on sale
  • 7 – Great, but not best in class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with some footnotes
  • 9 – Shut up and take my money
  • 10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price: $99.99

Justin Duino

If you enjoy the wide variety of games on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate but haven’t played on your iPhone through Xbox Cloud Gaming, you’re really missing out. Touchscreen options are decent, but if you bring a Backbone One controller, you’ll have the full Xbox experience wherever you go.

Here’s what we like

  • Simple Setup
  • Looks like an Xbox Wireless Controller
  • Library of Giant compatible games
  • Support many cloud gaming platforms

And what we don’t do

  • You must sign up for Backbone+ for a free trial of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

Out-of-the-box mobile game

Preparing the Backbone One controller is as simple as separating each side like an extendable shower curtain rod, placing your iPhone inside, and gently pushing the edges together. iPhones can only go one way as they must plug into the Lightning adapter attached to the right grip.

Your phone will instantly recognize the Backbone once you download its companion app, which is currently only available for iPhone (with an Android version and controller in production), then you’re good to go.

As well as mimicking the layout of an Xbox controller, the Backbone One also has a headphone jack, dedicated mute, game recording, and Backbone+ buttons.

Speaking of Backbone+, the controller includes a free year of the company’s premium service, offering additional perks like cloud gaming trials like Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Google Stadia, and the ability to stream your mobile games directly. on Twitch. Just keep in mind that Backbone+ costs $49.99 per year after the initial trial ends.

Backbone One controller for iPhone on table
Arnold Carreiro

Mobile gaming enthusiasts considering their own Backbone One should browse Backbone’s full catalog to see if their favorite games will work with this controller.

To note: The Backbone One includes a special adapter for the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max models to accommodate its larger camera. This controller is compatible with anything running iOS 15 or later, from the iPhone 6s Plus to modern iPhone models.

The controller isn’t powered by an internal battery and instead draws a minimal amount of power from your iPhone, so you can game for much longer than expected. This means you don’t have to spend time charging another controller, and minimal power consumption means you’ll barely notice a difference in battery life – always a plus in my book.

Even better, the Backbone One offers passthrough charging using a Lightning port located under the right grip so you don’t have to stop the game when your battery needs a recharge.

Backbone playing Banjo-Kazooie
Arnold Carreiro

At 4.87 ounces in weight and 6.94 inches in diameter when contracted, the Backbone One is a breeze to slip into a bag or even deep pockets and take with you on the go.

Familiar feel for Xbox fans

As someone who’s made the Xbox his favorite console since 2002, I adopted the familiar Backbone control scheme fairly quickly. The controls are smooth and extremely similar to the Xbox wireless controller you might be used to. Although I couldn’t play at the competitive level I’m used to with my Xbox Series S and 65-inch TV at first, I was able to score a few online wins in some of my favorite action-packed titles like killer instinct and Dead in broad daylight right out of the box.

The controls are as comfortable as a regular Xbox controller overall, but shooter fans like Infinite Halo, Gears of War 5and perfect dark you might notice that the Backbone’s left and right shoulder triggers are a bit squishier than usual.

Granted, you won’t get the satisfying miniature click of shortened trigger locks as featured in more expensive pro controllers, and the Backbone One sure has a marshmallow-like signature to its triggers, but the triggers are more than responsive enough for solo and cooperative shooters. Personally, I think with a little practice you could take the Backbone One and cloud gaming combo to the top of the Xbox Live leaderboards.

Maybe it’s because I have a great internet connection in my office, but I’ve noticed that fast-paced multiplayer experiences and casual single-player games like Banjo-Kazooie and Jetpac fills up felt just as smooth and responsive when testing Xbox Cloud Gaming with the Backbone.

You’ll take this Backbone controller like a fish to water if you play Xbox a lot, but the one annoying change you might have to get used to is the placement of the Menu and View buttons. It’s far from a deal-breaker, and since the space where those two critical buttons would now be filled by your iPhone, it’s clear that Backbone was forced to put them elsewhere.

It will take a few tries to overcome your muscle memory and relearn how to pause and start your games, but the Backbone is an otherwise versatile quality mobile option for Xbox gamers.

Another thing to note, just like you can connect a wireless Xbox controller to your iPhone, you can also connect a Backbone controller to your Mac or PC using a Lightning to USB cable. The setup isn’t the most ideal, but if you don’t want to own multiple controllers, this might be the best solution for you.

Great selection, but some games are missing

The Backbone One is compatible with over 900 games on Apple’s App Store, but as mentioned above, you’ll still want to take a minute to double-check Backbone’s games list and make sure your favorite titles will work with the Backbone One. controller.

Despite many well-known App Store games like Among us and VectorMan Classic working flawlessly, mobile gamers who get a Backbone One without doing their research might be seriously disappointed that titles like Dead by Daylight Mobile and pokemon unite are partially or totally unplayable with this controller. Even if some of your all-time favorites aren’t supported, stay tuned to Backbone’s catalog as new games are added regularly.

Person playing a video game using the Backbone controller connected to an iPhone
Justin Duino

One of the main reasons to adopt this mobile game controller is its impressive library of compatible games and platforms. I decided to get an idea of ​​how the Backbone One worked as a replacement Xbox controller when paired with Game Pass Ultimate, but you can pick your preference from a list of apps like Google Stadia, Nvidia GeForce Now, Steam Link, Amazon Luna, and Apple Arcade.

Xbox Cloud Premium Gamepad

The Backbone One may not work with all games from your digital app store or favorite marketplace, but if you subscribe to a cloud gaming service like Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, Google Stadia, or Amazon Luna, the versatility , the incredibly massive game catalog and in-game controller feel make it a must-have for serious mobile gamers.

Evaluation: 9/10

Price: $99.99

Here’s what we like

  • Simple Setup
  • Looks like an Xbox Wireless Controller
  • Library of Giant compatible games
  • Support many cloud gaming platforms

And what we don’t do

  • You must sign up for Backbone+ for a free trial of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

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