Nyko Cygnus Bluetooth Controller review: A great companion for your Android gaming needs

I don’t know about you, but I’m not generally a fan of gaming on a touchscreen. Like many gamers out there, my gaming roots are based on using a controller. The touchscreen is fine if it’s a strategy or puzzle type of game, but fuller 3D games (first-person shooters or racing games) are just not ideal to me without a controller.

Nyko is such brand that makes accessories to up your experience on just about any gaming device (even the Nvidia Shield). It reached out to us about the company’s latest crack at a Bluetooth Android controller, the Cygnus.

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The company has a good foundation in building controllers for full-on consoles, so with the Cygnus, it wanted to bring full-sized control to demanding Android games. Let’s check out if it delivers.

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Design

The Cygnus is…a controller. Most of us know how a full-sized controller looks/handles. I would say that Xbox owners would most feel right at home here, the design has a close resemblance to what Microsoft offers.

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That isn’t a bad thing; the design works. But what caught me off guard (in a good way) upon unboxing the Cygnus is the feel. I love the material that Nyko chose. It’s a rubbery plastic with the softest finish, from head to toe. This means that it’s very grippy – something you want when your hands are sweating up a storm during those intense gaming moments.

What’s also great is that the handles are made even more grippy with pronounced ridges on the sides.

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This design feature works as fabulously as you’d guess. This controller does not escape your grip.

The controls are all pretty much laid out just like the Xbox controller. You have your left and right thumbsticks, a directional pad, and four action buttons on the right. The thumbsticks have a ridged texture around the edges for added friction.

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Front and center are the Start, Back, and Home buttons. On the top we see the familiar bumpers and triggers, four in total. You’ll also see a micro-USB port. However, it isn’t for charging the controller (which runs on 2 AA batteries). The micro-USB support allows you to run a wired connection with the gaming device (i.e. if the controller is out of battery, or use on a PC).

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Usability

Nyko says that the Cygnus is gaming-ready for Android. It uses the standard Android HID (Human Interface Devices) protocol, which essentially means that its functionality is compatible with loads of Android games that are optimized for controller use.

It’s easy to set up and pair. Simply hold down on the Home button for 2 seconds to make it discoverable (you’ll see the LED lights cycle quickly). Then find it on the gaming device’s Bluetooth settings.

The bottom LED remains lit to signify that the link is active.
The bottom LED remains lit to signify that the link is active.

As far as usage, the controller worked as advertised. Gaming was as responsive as it should be and the connection stayed active for the duration. All the design cues that address grip make for a nice in-hand experience in practice. The Cygnus is a pleasure to use.

However, I will say that I wish Nyko had engineered some phone attachment mechanism on the controller. As is, it’s not reasonable to game on a phone (unless you’re casting it to a bigger screen).

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Final Thoughts

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Nyko built a very solid Android gaming controller with the Cygnus. If you regularly game on Android, you should definitely think about a companion like this to enhance your experience. Bear in mind that it can also be useful for VR headsets.

The Cygnus retails for $25, and can be found on Amazon or Nyko’s online store. Head over the product page for details.

I'm a tech enthusiast with a love for Android. I enjoy finding out about new devices/features that add to our lives. I love to see what manufacturers come up with and want to critique their decisions. I love diving into gossip on upcoming products. I have some strong (and hopefully helpful) opinions to share. The world of tech is a very interesting place, and there are things that need to be said.