Gaming on Android has evolved over the years, even to the point of being able to rival consoles. The problem ends up being that a touch screen interface can never rival a physical controller. Your fingers end up covering part of the viewing area, and it is much more difficult to use virtual buttons that provide no tactile feedback.
Satechi enters the already crowded arena of Bluetooth controllers with hopes of being your choice of controllers.
Satechi Bluetooth Universal Controller overview
The Satechi Bluetooth Universal Controller has the familiar shape of the Xbox 360 controller, but it is a tad smaller than the 360’s controller. That fact will stand out to you immediately when you first hold the controller in your hand. The main controls are placed in about the same place as the 360 controller, but the grips are noticeably smaller and the “L” and “R” buttons are a little small for my taste. I can only think of two reasons for this. The first is to keep the size small. The second has to do with the mechanism that grips the phone.
Speaking of which, there is a docking mechanism that slides upwards and grips your phone. It should fit most phones. I tried it with my LG G3 which has a 5.5″ screen. The phone fit perfectly without a case, but my phone was too big with my Zerolemon battery and case. That’s OK because the controller also works just fine without the phone being docked in its cradle.
The controller is also cross platform compatible. It can be used with Android, iOS, and Windows. There is also a mode that will allow you to use the controller as a mouse.
Satechi Bluetooth Universal Controller setup
The setup for the Satechi Bluetooth Universal Controller is fairly simple. First, make sure that the controller is fully charged. It has internal batteries that will charge from a standard micro USB connection. Second, turn the controller by way of the power switch at the bottom. Third, place the controller in pairing mode by pressing the link button for a few seconds. You can then search for devices from your phone, tablet, or PC and once it pairs, you’re done.
Satechi Bluetooth Universal Controller usage
The controls of the Satechi Bluetooth Universal Controller are very responsive. There wasn’t any noticeable latency at all. When I pressed the buttons and moved the joystick the corresponding action in the game happened instantly.
The build quality was good, but not great. It felt a little hollow and light in your hand. However, this is a plus when you have a phone docked into the controller because the phone will add quite a bit of weight.
While the phone is in the dock, it is held in tight and won’t come loose very easily. Even with moderate movements and shakes, the phone will stay secured.
The battery life is pretty good as well and will most likely outlast the battery of your device.
I found that most games I played with controller support would support the controller right out the box, but some would require a little key mapping.
I was able to also pair the controller to my Fire TV Stick and it worked pretty well.
What we liked
- Battery life
- Phone dock
What could be better
- Build quality
4.3 out of 5 stars
While Satechi is not the first to bring a Bluetooth controller to the field, they do have a very solid offering. If you’re looking to take your Android gaming to the next level, then I highly recommend that you pick one of Satechi’s controllers. The controller is on sale for $34.99 at Amazon.