Playing fast-moving games on a touchscreen is often frustrating. And while iOS supports external game controllers, combining one with an iPhone can be cumbersome. But not with the OtterBox Mobile Gaming Clip. It attaches an iPhone to an Xbox controller in a surprisingly usable setup.
I did some gaming with the phone mount to see how it stands up to real-world use. Spoiler: it performed far better than the many cheap alternatives.
OtterBox Mobile Gaming Clip review
I’m a huge fan of role-playing games. As just one example, I devoted more hours to Oceanhorn 2 than I like to think about. But playing these on a touchscreen really su…. Let’s say the experience is less than ideal. Thumbs sliding around on a flat display are a terrible way too interact with a game. And on-screen controls block the action.
That’s why there was much rejoicing when Apple added support for external game controllers to iOS 13. This is a better way to play. That said, when you’re holding the controller, you have to find somewhere to set the iPhone. You can’t easily lean back on a couch and play.
That’s where the OtterBox Mobile Gaming Clip comes in. Attach this to your controller, put your iPhone the padded clamps, and you’re good to go.
An it’ll become even more useful when Microsoft launches a cloud-based version of Xbox Game Pass playable on an iPhone. That’s expected later in 2021.
Hardware and design
The accessory is designed specifically to clip onto the front of a Xbox One controller, a Xbox Series X|S controller or a Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2. It attaches solidly — there’s no risk of it slipping off. I tested it for hours, and my iPhone never worked loose. And I left it on the controller for days, and it never accidentally came off.
The Mobile Gaming Clip has two hinges, giving you a wide range of options on how far the iPhone is in front of the controller, and the angle at which the screen is tilted. That’s important because I have a fairly exact arrangement that I find comfortable — anywhere else and the front or the back of the controller seem too heavy.
I can get my iPhone about 3 inches away from the front of the controller. That’s more than enough room for my fingers to comfortably hit buttons. Or the dual hinges can close down completely, allow the Gaming Clip to fold up for easier transport.
The handset is held in a clamp that expands to fit an array of devices. They can be up to about 3.5 inches wide by my measurement, and as narrow as 2.0 inches. The clamp easily handled my iPhone 12, and there’s nearly an inch of extra space after that. OtterBox says the accessory can hold an iPhone 12 Pro Max in a bulky case.
But just so there’s no confusion, it’s landscape only. No portrait-mode games.
OtterBox Mobile Gaming Clip final thoughts
I’ve used similar phone mounts before, but OtterBox’s is the best I’ve tried. I like the combination of adjustability and stability. The hinges let me position my iPhone where I want, and my device will stay there.
Just be careful because the Mobile Gaming Clip only works with a handful of controllers. These are popular models, though.
Over the years, OtterBox built up a reputation for well-made iPhone cases. It’s new foray into gaming accessories maintains that quality.
At the time of this writing, the accessory is listed on Amazon but not yet in stock.
Looking at other possibilities, there’s the Rotor Riot Wired Game Controller ($49.95) if you don’t want to go wireless. Made specially for the iPhone, it includes a Xbox-like design that communicates with your handset over a Lightning cable. Apple likes this enough to put it on the Apple Store.
And, of course, there are tons of $10 Xbox phone mounts for sale on the internet. But it’s possible you’re interested in the OtterBox version because so many of the cheap ones aren’t worth the cost. They’re either badly designed, badly made, or both.